Taíno join opposition to Financial Control Board for Borikén (Puerto Rico)

Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana and Roberto Mukaro Borrero sound the guamo 
(conch shells) to open the demonstration in New York opposing the 
U.S. imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board for Borikén 
(Puerto Rico). Photo courtesy of Mario Rubén Carrión
New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) - On Friday, September 30, a diverse group of human rights defenders rallied in New York to voice their opposition to the first formal meeting the newly created and U.S. imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board for Borikén (Puerto Rico). The rally was held outside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York, home to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in NY. The rally opened with an indigenous Taíno invocation to the 4 directions and followed with about 3 hours of passionate calls to abolish the board and end colonialism for Puerto Rico. 

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico was created by the Obama administration’s Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, or Promesa as a way to deal with Puerto Rico’s economic crisis, which includes a debt of over 70 Billion dollars. Many activists and analysts note that it is the colonial condition of Puerto Rico that has created the crisis and the U.S. should be accountable for the debt. This control board named Jose Carrión III as chairman, clearing the way to officially take over financial decision-making from Puerto Rico’s government. A Republican, Carrión was recommended by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). He also presides over the Puerto Rico subsidiary of HUB International, a global insurance brokerage company. His appointment is controversial as he is the brother-in-law of Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s non-voting member in Congress. 

At the demonstration, Roberto Múkaro Borrero stated the “imposition of this financial control board by the United States violates Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination.” Borrero continued stating that “Promesa and along with the continuance of the Jones Act are clear proof of the island’s colonial status.” Borrero is a community leader representing the Guainia Taíno Tribe and is the current President of the United Confederation of Taíno People. Borrero continued stating that a specific area of concern with the legislation is that “it gives the board the power to expedite approvals of energy and other projects they deem critical, which could have severe consequences to the island’s environment if the projects are not evaluated properly.” 

Puerto Rico’s central government, three retirement systems (teachers, judicial and employees), university (UPR) and all its public corporations, including the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority and Electric Power Authority, are now under the immediate control of the new entity. The board also has oversight over the restructuring negotiations with creditors. The governor of Puerto Rico holds a non-voting position on the board, In addition, the board and its employees are exempt from liability claims. 

There is no information as to when the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico will meet next. 

UCTPTN 09.30.2016


Taino Flag flying at Oceti Sakowin Camp

Guainia Taino Tribal member Nova Saigo at the Oceti Sakowin camp with the 
flag of the United Confederation of Taino People 
and other flags of Indigenous Peoples 
Oceti Sakowin Camp, ND (UCTP Taino News) – The flag of the United Confederation of Taino People joins the other flags of Indigenous Peoples flying in solidarity at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota where thousands of American Indians and their allies are opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline threatens the only fresh drinking water source of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its construction will destroy sacred sites and burial grounds of the area’s Tribal Nations. The flag was presented by Nova Saigo a member of the Guainia Taino Tribe registered with the United Confederation of Taino People. During the flag presentation, Saigo also read an official solidarity message from the Confederation to the “Protectors” at the camp and was assisted by Cliff Standing Deer Mathias, President of the Redrum Motorcycle Club of which Saigo is also a member. 

UCTPTN 09.25.2016


Hundreds Support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Washington D.C.

Representing the International Indian Treaty Council, UCTP President Roberto Mukaro Borrero addresses the large crowd gathered in Washington D.C. to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. 
Washington D.C. (UCTP Taino News) – Several hundred American Indians and allies rallied outside the Washington D.C. Federal District Court on August 24, 2016 to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who are seeking an injunction to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Tribe argues that the pipeline construction was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers without proper consultation with the tribal government of the Standing Rock Sioux. 

While the court proceedings took place inside, supporters gathered outside to hear a full day of solidarity statements from American Indian leaders and community members, environmental activists, and celebrities such as Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley, as well as American Indian drumming and singing. Representatives of the Piscataway Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Redrum Motorcycle Club, the American Indian Community House, and the International Indian Treaty Council were among the many who addressed the gathering. Taino community members representing the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Women’s
Vanessa Inarunikia and Gina
Rixturey of Bohio Atabei at the
rally in Washington D.C.
Circle, a member of the United Confederation of Taino People, also participated and addressed the crowd. 

The proposed construction is scheduled to cross the Missouri River, which would greatly endanger the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s only source of drinking water. Star of the Divergent series, actress Shailene Woodley noted that the Missouri River is also a water source for 18 million Americans. The pipleline’s construction also endangers and could possibly destroy indigenous sacred places, including burial sites along its route. 

Judge James Boasberg is expected to rule on the motion by Sept. 9, 2016. The construction of the pipeline in North Dakota is halted until a ruling is issued. 

 UCTPTN 08.24.2016


Taino Support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. 
(AP Photo/James MacPherson)
Ft. Yates, North Dakota (UCTP Taino News) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) approved construction permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will bring it within a half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. If completed, this pipeline would transport approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day and cross the Missouri River, which is the only source of water to the reservation. A key issue is that the USACE did not consulate with or gain consent from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST), which is a violation of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other International Human Rights instruments whose provisions the United States is obliged to uphold. According to tribal officials the pipeline will damage or destroy sacred sites and burial grounds along its proposed route. The SRST has issued a call of support for its opposition to the pipeline, which the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) responded to on August 16, 2016 in an official communication to Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II. 

The Confederation’s solidarity letter supported the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s courageous efforts to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and that it is clear that federal laws and treaties were bypassed in the planning process requiring direct consultation with the Tribe.” The Tribe’s External Affairs Director Steven Sitting Bear confirmed receipt of the Confederation letter stating, “Standing Rock appreciates the Taino People’s support.” 

Roberto Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President of the UCTP noted that “Taino People have experience with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their lack of consultation with regard to sacred sites and burial grounds.” Borrero continued stating that “despite provisions in the Historic Preservation Act for consultation, the USACE proceeded to remove ancestral remains without meeting with local Taino even after several official requests were made with regard to the Hacanas (Jacanas) PO29 archeological site in 2007.” 

“Considering these past actions and the current situation affecting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the USACE continues to violate the right to free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples as defined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is contrary to the Obama administration commitment to implement the Declaration.” 

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filled an injunction to halt the construction of the pipeline scheduled to be heard case being heard in Federal Court in early September 2016. 

UCTPTN 08.19.2016


NYC Mayor de Blasio Approves Borinqueneers Way

In this photo: Katherine Benson (EH Preservation); Rosa Cruz (PR Federal Affairs); Zaida Rodriguez (EH Borinqueneers Honoring Committee- EHBHC); Mayor Bill de Blasio; Roger Hernandez (EHBHC/UCTP); Evelyn Collazao (EHBHC); and Ruben Pratts (Purple Heart Recipient and Taino Community Member).
City Hall, New York City (UCTP Taino News) – On August 3rd, 2016 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed off on naming 102nd Street and Lexington Avenue as "Borinqueneers Way." The street naming will honor the members of the U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment, a segregated unit made up of Puerto Ricans, who fought in World War I & II, and Korea. The street renaming was lead by Roger Hernandez, the Chairman of the East Harlem Borinqueneers Honoring Committee and a founding board member of the United Confederation of Taino People.  

The U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment received their nickname from the soldiers themselves on their way to Korea who referenced the Taino name for the island of Puerto Rico, Borikén, as many were direct descendants of the indigenous Tribe. Today, many Puerto Ricans refer to themselves as Boricuas in recognition of the Caribbean Indigenous heritage of their homeland - Borikén. 

On April 13th, 2016, the U.S. Congress unveiled the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in Washington, DC to honor the service and sacrifice of the previously forgotten solders of the 65th Infantry. Following-up on this historic initiative, Hernandez and the East Harlem Committee organized several events to raise awareness about the regiment including facilitating the presentation bronze-cast replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal in an awards ceremony to honor the New York and New Jersey area veterans who were unable to attend the Washington DC event. 

Fifty-six veterans received the medals in this special ceremony that took place at Hunter College on July 17th, 2016. The Hunter College event was live-streamed by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and is one of several local ceremonies that have been planned or will be planned across the country.

“While I was in Korea fighting with my fellow brother soldiers and officers, I never thought that something like this would happen. I am honored to have served in the 65th and to this day I don’t regret my service with the regiment,” said Eugenio Quevedo, one of the veterans being honored that day. 

The official street renaming event will be held in November. 

 UCTPTN 08.03.2016


Taino submit statement to Special Committee on Decolonization

United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - Various petitioners submitted testimony to the UN Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples on June 20, 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. In a resolution adopted last year, the Special Committee decided to continue hearing testimony on Puerto Rico.

The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) submitted a statement to the Committee Chairperson via Committee Secratary, Ms. Jullette Ukabiala. The UCTP' intervention highlighted Boriken's (Puerto Rico's) colonial situation, environmental racism on the island, and the release of political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, among other issues. The UCTP recently submitted a related statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues  during its 15th session. 

The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the Special Committee on decolonization or C-24), the United Nations entity exclusively devoted to the issue of decolonization, was established in 1961 by the General Assembly with the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the Declaration (General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960).

UCTPTN 06.21.2016


UCTP Statement to UN Decolonization Committee

To: UN Special Committee on Decolonization via email

Re: Special Committee decision of 22 June 2015 concerning Puerto Rico: hearing of petitioners, United Nations Headquarters
Monday, 20 June (2 meetings)

Greetings, Mr. Chair:
In May 2016, the United Confederation of Taíno People presented an intervention at the 15th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which we are enclosing with this communication.

The rampant and vicious Environmental Racism Puerto Rico is enduring at the expense of the health of her people, water, land and air, with factors such as Military Waste; Incinerators; GMO experimentation; Carbon Ashes; Water and Natural resources being negotiated to accommodate interests of multinationals and others that just come to the island to squeeze the benefits out while destroying the economy for the locals, for there are more incentives for foreigners than there are to help the locals prosper, are just a some examples of the colonial impacts on the island of Puerto Rico .

For 118 years, the violation of Human Rights, Cultural Rights, the Right to Self-determination, Genocide and Ethnocide in Borikén (Puerto Rico) have gone with impunity while the powers of the empire, which are now on the open continue impacting the people and resources. Violations that this Committee has heard throughout the decades, and/or via the dialogues about the colonial situation of the island of Borikén, are all the result of the lack of transparency about the real relationship between the United States and the colonial powers it continues to execute upon the island and all her peoples, including the indigenous Taino peoples.

The intimidation methods used, where we have seen leaders that work towards the independence of the island, either be shot to death, incarcerated, etc., is another imperialistic way of denying the people of Borikén the right to protest and work towards the inalienable right to self-determination.

With this in mind, the United Confederation of Taino People, joins all the other petitioners and states who have made a call for the immediate release of Oscar López Rivera.

Mr. Chair, it is also our hope, as was stated by petitioner Mr. José Ortiz-Velez, earlier this afternoon, that this process goes beyond just the formulation of yet another Resolution to join another previous 34, but that it results in the release of Oscar López Rivera, and ultimately and finally as is their inherent right, for the United States to begin an immediate process of decolonization of Puerto Rico, to respect the Right to Self –Determination, and the release of this debt that was created by their imperialistic ways, while exploiting Borikén and its diverse peoples and resources for 118 years.

Hahom (Thank you).
Respectfully Submitted,
Roberto Mukaro Agueibana Borrero,
President, United Confederation of Taino People


Taino Ambassador in Cuba

Idalis Rojas, Taino, of Caridad de los Indios and Ambassador Miguel Sague, Taino
Baracoa, Kuba (UCTP Taino News) - The United Confederation of Taino People's ambassador to Cuba, Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague, visited the island from 11-17 June to meet with several local Taino community representatives. On a diplomatic mission for the Confederation in support of the 2016 Peace and Dignity Journeys, Sague meet with  Idalis Rojas a representative of the Caridad de los Indios community and daughter of Kasike (chief) Francisco Ramirez Rojas in the town of Baracoa and members of the organization "Grupo Kaweiro" in Havana. In 2014, Grupo Kaweiro became an allied treaty partner with the Confederation.

Ambassador Sague returned to the United States with a specially cut piece of wood for sacred "matuko" (staff) that will become a prayer staff eventually to join others staffs that will be held by runners during the Peace and Dignity run this year. The wood was blessed by the local Cuban Taino leaders. The Peace and Dignity Journeys are continental ceremonial runs that connect all participants to Indigenous  Communities rich in ancient wisdom and traditions.
UCTPTN 06.18.2016


UCTP President to Speak at Gaming Conference

A scene from Arrival: Village Kasike
Brooklyn, New York (UCTP Taino News) – The President of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto Borrero will join CEO of Raindrop Games, Josh Samuels on a panel focusing on Indigenous Peoples and video game development at the Different Games conference on Saturday, April 9th, 2016.

After community consultation, the Confederation entered into a collaboration with Raindrop Games, which resulted in the production and release of the game “Arrival: Village Kasike” in 2012. The game is currently available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iTouch. According to Raindrop Games, plans are now being made to release Arrival: Village Kasike on other platforms, possibly as early as next year. A recent UNESCO report highlights Arrival: Village Kasike as a best practice initiative with regard to Indigenous Peoples and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).  

Different Games is New York City’s first conference on diversity and inclusivity in games culture, drawing more than 700 attendees to NYU’s Downtown Brooklyn campus, in addition to more than 100 arcade games and 150 presenters and speakers! The fourth annual Different Games Conference will be held over 2 days, April 8-9, 2016 at NYU MAGNET in Brooklyn.

See more information at the Different Games website: http://2016.differentgames.org/

UCTPTN 02.14.2015


Confederation Raises Visibility of the Taino Language at the United Nations

United Nations, NY (UCTP Taino News) - An expert group meeting on “Indigenous languages: preservation and revitalization" was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 19 to 21 January 2016. The meeting was organized by UN DESA/DSPD. This was the second international expert group meeting on indigenous languages organized by the UN DESA. It built upon the findings and recommendations of the 2008 expert group meeting on the principles of cultural diversity and indigenous languages as a way to promote intercultural dialogue and affirm indigenous peoples’ identity.
The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) submitted a statement to the meeting to increase attention on the situation of the languages of Taino and other Indigenous Peoples in the Caribbean. The UCTP also participated at the first expert group meeting in 2008. The Confederation's 2016 recommendations included: the creation of an International Day and Year of Indigenous Languages; the development and or strengthening of programs aimed at promoting the empowerment of indigenous languages through all communication mediums; and support mechanisms for projects focusing on Caribbean based indigenous language initiatives. 
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with the mandate to discuss issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. 
UCTPTN 01.28.2016


UCTP Appoints Second Liaison Officer in Connecticut

UCTP President R. Borrero and
UCTP Liaison Officer Angel Ortiz
West Haven, Connecticut (UCTP Taino News) – On December 31, 2015, Angel Ortiz was appointed a Liaison Officer in the State of Connecticut by the President of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto “Múkaro Agüeibaná” Borrero following final approval by the UCTP’s Governing Board. Liaison Officers serve as focal points for the Confederation in their designated areas of responsibility. Angel Ortiz now serves in this distinguished post along with Hector Baracutey Gonzalez. 

Ortiz is a Borikén Taino born in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He is a member of Taino iukaieke Guainia and has resided in Connecticut since 1985. Oritz has a Bachelors Degree in Counseling, and has worked with patients suffering from Mental Health illness. He currently serves in the United States Team Coast Guard / Department of Homeland Security as Seaman, working on Search and Rescue Operations for Sector Long Island Sound; and represents the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, as Academy Admissions Partner. Oritz currently lives in West Haven with his wife Carmela. 

UCTPTN 01.17.2016


Climate Change panel in Hialeah includes Taino representative

Participants of the City of Hialeah's Climate Change panel on December 6, 2015
Hialeah, Florida (UCTP Taino News) - CLIMA, an exhibition by world-renowned artist Xavier Cortada opened in the city of Hialeah on November 30 and will run until January 29, 2016 at the Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment. The exhibition uses art, performances and panels to address the issue of global climate change and sea level rise and how it impacts South Florida. A key component of the exhibit was 12 panel discussions on global climate change during the 12 days of the Paris Talks - from Nov 30 - Dec 11. Each panel concluded with a performance art piece addressing a topic presented in the panel. 

On Sunday, December 6, the guest panel entitled “Moral Nature: Faith in the face of a Global Climate Crisis” included Mildred Karaira Gandia (Taino) along with a diverse ecumenical group. The panelists discussed the faith community’s response to environmental degradation, and particularly its impact on the poor and generations not yet born. 

"The one thing that everyone on the panel agreed on was that in order to protect Atabei (Mother Earth) and our future generations, we all need to work together regardless of religion, color, etc." stated Gandia. 

She continued stressing that "we all have something to contribute and this crises cannot be solved by anyone alone". 

Gandia is a South Florida representative of the United Confederation of Taino People and an elder representative of the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle. 

CLIMA is presented the City of Hialeah in partnership with FIU and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

UCTPTN 01.03.2016