The General Council of Tainos Borincanos having proposed - as part of our activities to promote conservation and respect of the environment - the clean-up of the Bucana river to mend the damage caused to the sacred site of Jacanas, Ponce, PR and to renew its integrity; had made efforts since the beginning of February to contact the Department of Natural Resources, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and other governmental agencies through various means of communication such as faxes, telephone calls, letters and personal visits. The Taino Council’s requests were never officially answered.
The Department of Natural Resources sent a delayed and confusing letter with no instructions on the procedures for carrying out such an activity; however they implied that the Taino Council needed to have the endorsement of federal agencies to clean our rivers and to protect Mother Earth.
On April 11th representatives of the Taino Council received a visit in the area designated for the activity, from agents of the Department Natural Resources who indicated that we could NOT hold this activity and that they had received orders from their superiors in San Juan.
At that time, leaders of the Council asked what law existed that prohibited the cleaning of the river and what violation constituted their action. No answer was received from the agents. This is ironic since the government of Puerto Rico and the Department of Natural Resources invest so much money and energy in announcements to the people of Puerto Rico insisting that the public mobilize to clean-up the environment. Here in Jacanas the government of Puerto Rico and the Department of Natural Resources has gone against the public mandate of set by their organizations.
This situation is especially sad since garbage continues to accumulate at the river and contaminate such an important and sacred place. There are NO signs to indicate that garbage should NOT be thrown. All of these realities offend the dignity and disrespect the memory of our ancestors and in general the people of Puerto Rico.
As this is happening at this very moment in Puerto Rico, this unfortunate and possibly dangerous situation is evidence of the state of repression that the descendants of the Taino-Boricua People and the People of Puerto Rico are facing. These actions taken by the government of Puerto Rico and the Department of Natural Resources clearly constitute discrimination and a violation of law and the freedom to exercise our rights.
General Council of Tainos Borincanos is requesting support from all Puerto Rican/Boricua environmental, cultural and indigenous communities as well as international indigenous rights organizations in order to exercise our rights as a people as well protect our patrimonial legacy.
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