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Puerto Rico Asks to Be Included in U.N. Colony List

July 20, 1999
Copyright © 1999 EFE NEWS SERVICES (U.S.) INC. All Rights Reserved.

Washington, July 20 (EFE).- Puerto Rico on Tuesday asked the United States to support its inclusion in the list of U.N. colonial territories and to withdraw the U.S. Navy from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello met Tuesday in Washington with U.S. Deputy Secretary for International Organizations David Welch and asked him to get his country to change its stand [stand=official position] and allow the United Nations to take over the case of the island.

Five days before the 101st anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico, Rossello insisted that the United States must consult the Puerto Rican people on the political future of the island, and that the United States participate in any consultations on changes to the political status of Puerto Rico.

The United States invaded Puerto Rico on July 25, 1898. Fifty-four years later, it established the island's current commonwealth status , making Puerto Rico dependent on the U.S. Congress and Constitution.

Rossello said that he would welcome a Cuban initiative to bring the issue before the U.N. General Assembly, which excluded Puerto Rico from the list of non-autonomous countries in 1953.

Rossello also met with White House officials and U.S. congressmen to request the withdrawal of the U.S. Navy from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Naval maneuvers in the area were suspended April 19 after several bombs fell over a Vieques Navy Base observation post, killing a Puerto Rican civilian employee.

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