SAN JUAN – Yesterday Ricardo Rosselló, Michael González Cruz, and Joel Isaac Díaz, leaders of Boricua ¡Ahora Es! (BAE), a political advocacy group that believes in changing Puerto Rico’s current territorial status with the United States, filed a joint complaint to the Puerto Rico’s Commission on Civil Rights, saying that that the civil rights of voters who participated in last year’s plebiscite on territorial status were violated. In that November non-binding vote, 54% of voters rejected the island’s current commonwealth arrangement with the U.S.
News sites NOTICEL and El Vocero, quoted Rosselló: “The complaint filed today to this honorable committee is to request that public hearings be held to investigate whether [the current government] is violating the civil rights of the Puerto Rican people by not respecting our will exercised by last year’s vote, when we withdrew our consent to continue living under the current territorial status.”
The document submitted included signatures by 114 voters —symbolizing the 114 years of colonial rule under the United States— from the three different status positions that form the BAE: Statehood, Independence, and Free Association. The complaint was filed to represent the 970,910 voters who voted under the NO option in the plebiscite. The question asked if voters wished to continue living under the current territorial status.
The complaint also lists President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and House Speaker John Boehner, amongst others.
Puerto Rico’s Commission on Civil Rights (CDC) was founded on June 25, 1965 to serve as a watchdog for human rights within the legal confines of the Commonwealth’s territorial government. It also serves to educate the population and government officials about inalienable rights and how to respect them. This is in contrast to the federally-sponsored bipartisan United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), which was created in 1957 as an independent and bipartisan group charged with the responsibility for investigating, reporting on, and making recommendations concerning civil rights issues that face the nation and U.S. citizens. Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States.
The CDC has no reach into the federal government, nor does it have any connection to the USCCR.
According to sources, the BAE and Roselló have more ambitious goals set forth, but will neither confirm nor deny the possibility that the BAE will submit a similar complaint with the USCCR, and other organizations, such as the Organization for American States, and the United Nations.
Today local San Juan news is reporting that Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi will appear at the UN on June 17 to discuss Puerto Rico’s decolonization process.