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"Self-Determination: Fulfilling its Promise to Colonized People in the 21st Century"

November 21, 2000

Puerto Rico Herald,

To Whom It May Concern:

Hello, my name is Neil Weare and I am a university student from the island of Guam. I am writing to ask your assistance in making some contacts in Puerto Rico. Let me elaborate. Coming from Guam, I share many of the same concerns regarding decolonization and self-determination as the people of Puerto Rico. I have been studying these issues for several years, and have even submitted testimony to the Congress regarding Guam's quest for self-determination. This coming year I will be writing my senior thesis for International Affairs. I have tentatively titled my thesis, "Self-Determination: Fulfilling its Promise to Colonized People in the 21st Century."

My interest in the people of Puerto Rico has stemmed from my interest in self-determination. Whether it be issues regarding their political status or issues surrounding Vieques, I have always empathized with puertorriquenos. The trials and tribulations faced by puertorriquenos have been a lesson to me regarding what Guam should do in pursuing its political status.

This spring (May) I have decided to spend a month in Puerto Rico to learn more about its political status and its people. I hope that during the month, I will have the opportunity to work alongside those in Puerto Rico who are fighting for a change in political status. I hope to conduct interviews with experts on self-determination in Puerto Rico regarding what they view the future of self-determination to be in their home and beyond to use in my thesis. Most importantly, I hope to be exposed to Puerto Rico culture and gain some understanding as to how Puerto Rico culture plays a role in influencing status decisions.

Unfortunately, I do not really have any connections in Puerto Rico. I desire desperately to come, but do not know who to talk to or where to look for opportunities. Ideally, I see myself either interning at an NGO in Puerto Rico that deals with political status (of which I know there are many, but do not know how to contact), studying or researching with scholars at one of Puerto Rico's Universities, interning at a government office, or interning with some other group that is serious about self-determination.

I've had trouble finding contacts in the Universities, Government, and non-governmental sector, but I figured that… Puerto Rico Herald [readers]…might have some contacts or resources that might help me in my search for somewhere to work/intern/study. Considering my background, I feel that I will both contribute and benefit from working/studying/interning at one of these types of groups.

In closing, I would appreciate any help… I have moderate proficiency in the Spanish language, have done a large amount of research regarding US territorial status and self-determination/decolonization in general, and am a dedicated and hard worker. Thank you for your help.


Neil Weare

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