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PR Government Supporting Abuse and Referring to Hunger Strikers as Cannibals

      Utuado, Puerto Rico: On the 7th day of the indigenous occupation
      of a state-run archeological park, Ta�o activists are now
      reporting increasing levels of cruelty by a hired "goon squad" in
      Puerto Rico. The Ta�o have been occupying the park in an effort
      to draw national and international attention to island wide
      desecration of sacred sites and the lack of recognition of their
      basic human rights.

      On Thursday, Utuado Judge Concepcion Figueroa directed the local
      representatives of the Puerto Rico?s Institute of Culture to
      resolve the situation through civil means and not use police.
      Shortly after, a private security force was hired and has been
      terrorizing the Ta�o protesters inside the Caguana Ceremonial
      Park. The press, legal advisors and supporters are being denied
      direct access to the group, some of whom are on their six day of a
      hunger strike. The Institute of Culture has ordered the park's
      electricity and water shut off and will only allow medical
      services if there is a 911 call. An ambulance has already been
      called twice to administer aid and two protesters were treated for
      dehydration. Paramedics have stated that if there is another 911
      call they will have to remove one protester, Taina Rosado, from
      the premises and admit her into a hospital.

      Three protesters made it to the park's gates to inform supporters
      of the increasing harassment by club waving guards from the
      Genesis and Caribbean security companies. "The guards have
      threatened our leaders with bodily harm and are not allowing them
      any rest at night by continuously taunting them with spotlights
      and shouts" stated an Roger Atihuibancex, a representative of the
      United Confederation of Ta�o People.

      The group's legal counsel Maurico Hernandez stated "Although they
      are weak from hunger and despite the inhuman treatment, the
      protesters will not be deterred and have vowed to remain until
      they can secure a meeting with the Governor"

      The Office of Puerto Rico's Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila has been
      silent despite increasing international attention to the
      situation. "The Ta�o protesters have been receiving letters from
      indigenous peoples and other supporters from all over the world"
      stated Hernandez. Letters to the Governor have been sent from the
      International Indian Treaty Council, which is the oldest
      indigenous NGO accredited to the United Nations and the United
      Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Other letters have come from
      throughout the United States and as far as Belgium, Italy, Hawaii,
      Canada, New Zealand, Tibet and India. Television, radio and
      newspaper reports have also been increasing attention on the
      occupation.

      Yesterday, Puerto Rico's El Nuevo Dia newspaper revealed the
      disdain that officials have for Ta�o in Puerto Rico as the
      Institute of Culture's Executive Director Dr. Teresa Tio publicly
      issued various discriminatory remarks against the group, which
      included denying their legitimacy. In a response that would be
      well suited for a 15th century Spanish Conquistador Dr. Tio also
      demeaned the Ta�o?s call for religious freedom by stating the
      Institute "would not allow cannibalism or the sacrifice of
      captured enemies to take place there".  No such demand was ever
      issued by the Ta�o.

      As increased local and international support is being sought, the
      Ta�o have stated via the news media that they will leave the
      Ceremonial Grounds if they can be assured in writing that a
      meeting with the Governor will take place.

      The Ta�o expect a barrage of phone calls and letters to inundate
      the Governor's Office on Monday as the eyes of the world turn
      toward Puerto Rico.



      Related Story (En Espanol) : http://www.endi.com/

      El Nuevo Dia
      No hallan foro los "ind�enas"
      S�ado, 30 de julio de 2005

      Por Sandra J. Kuilan Torres
      skuilan@elnuevodia.com

      UTUADO - El grupo que hace seis d�s se mantiene en huelga de
      hambre en el Parque Ceremonial Ind�ena Caguanas acus�ayer a los
      oficiales de seguridad de privarlos de agua y de comida, entre
      otras cosas.

      A trav� de un comunicado de prensa que hicieron llegar por medio
      de Josu�Xuerix Camacho, los manifestantes se�laron que "desde el
      28 de julio los oficiales de seguridad, tanto pblicos como
      privados, han intensificado sus movimientos hostiles y represivos
      contra nosotros".

      "Nos han privado, no s�o de agua y comida, sino para comunicarnos
      con el exterior con nuestro abogado ni con la prensa y no les
      permiten llegar a nosotros", a�dieron a trav� de Camacho, quien
      supuestamente como conoce el �ea puede salir sin que los
      oficiales puedan detenerlo.

      Hace cerca de una semana, representantes del Consejo de Ta�os
      General Borincanos, Caney Quinto Mundo y Confederaci� Unida del
      Pueblo Ta�o tomaron el parque Caguanas y exigieron al gobernador,
      An�al Acevedo Vil� que les garantice lo que ellos llaman sus
      derechos constitucionales.

      De hecho, ayer, el representante legal de estas personas, el
      licenciado Mauricio Hern�dez, dijo que aunque ya fueron citados
      para el 3 de agosto en el tribunal, �tos no abandonar� su causa,
      que es obtener la garant� de que los restos y el lugar de
      descanso de sus antepasados ind�enas ser� respetados.

      Segn las declaraciones escritas del grupo, el Instituto de
      Cultura Puertorrique� les invit�a reunirse en sus instalaciones
      el pr�imo lunes, 1 de agosto, "sujeto a que abandonemos el lugar
      antes de las 12:00 del mediod�. No estamos dispuestos a seguir
      sus condiciones, cuando no cumplen con los acuerdos pre
      establecidos. Nosotros estamos de acuerdo a concluir con nuestra
      ceremonia cuando el Gobernador nos de una cita para reunirnos con
      � directamente".

      Sin embargo, el Instituto de Cultura Puertorrique� refut�anoche,
      en comunicaci� escrita, esa informaci�.

      "Les reconocemos el derecho a asociarse y a practicar todo tipo de
      ritual y ceremonia que deseen. Claro est� siempre todo ello
      sujeto a las leyes y el orden de nuestra sociedad puertorrique� y
      de los reglamentos sobre uso de las instalaciones del ICP que
      aplican a todos. Pues si entre los ?yorubas? es aceptada la
      poligamia, ello no podr� tolerarse en Puerto Rico. Como tampoco
      se les permitir� la pr�tica del canibalismo ni el sacrificio de
      los enemigos capturados en combates", se�l�el ICP.

      La directora de la agencia, la doctora Teresa Ti� a�di�que
      "estos llamados 'ta�os' mantienen una actitud de supremac� sobre
      los dem� puertorrique�s. Se consideran ser los nicos
      "boricuas" aut�ticos. Quieren que se les concedan privilegios y
      prerrogativas que se les negar�n a todos los dem�. Asumen una
      actitud de rechazo y confrontaci� hacia quienes, con v�idas
      razones, no les reconocen sus alegaciones de "herencia ta�a
      ancestral".

      Finalmente, Ti�enfatiz�que "no podemos, ni debemos reconocerles
      lo que no son, ni dar legitimidad a un reclamo que no tiene
      fundamento".


      
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