Acevedo Vila was indicted last March for violating federal campaign laws and he previously backed commonwealth status for the island.
Other petitioners who spoke in front of the committee varied in their opinions of Puerto Rico’s political future; yet in the end, the committee passed a resolution with several clauses:
The Special Committee on Decolonization today called upon the Government of the United States to expedite a process that would allow the Puerto Rican people fully to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.
In a resolution adopted by consensus, the decolonization body…requested the President of the United States to release all Puerto Rican political prisoners serving sentences for cases relating to the Territory’s struggle for independence and to the Vieques Island “peace struggle”.
The Special Committee…urged the Government of the United States to complete the return of occupied land and installations on Vieques Island and in Ceiba; respect the fundamental human rights to health and economic development of their inhabitants; and expedite and cover the costs of decontaminating the areas previously used in military exercises.
Last year Congress passed the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007, which allows for a congressionally authorized referendum to be held by the end of 2009. In 2006, the Bush administration laid out a set of rules on how to decide Puerto Rico’s future status.
Sources- UN.org, The Latin Americanist, BBC News
Image- Fact Checker (Protestor holding sign in favor of Puerto Rican statehood)