Candle Light Vigil Scheduled For Taino Hunger Striker in Puerto Rico

      Utuado, Puerto Rico - It is the 13th day of a hunger strike for
      Naniki Reyes Ocasio, a Taino Indian leader who is trying to bring
      attention to the lack of recognition of Taino Rights in Puerto
      Rico. She and several other Taino leaders from around the island
      have been occupying the state run archeological park, the Caguana
      Ceremonial Center, in Utuado Puerto Rico for over two weeks. The
      group inside the park and their supporters outside the park have
      stated they will leave the grounds, which they consider sacred, if
      a meeting with Puerto Rico's Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila can be
      secured. As of today, there has been no official communication
      from the Governor to the protesters or any statement from his
      administration on this issue.

      "The desecration of sacred sites and our ancestor's remains has
      been going on for far too long, and our pleas for change and
      dialogue have been ignored" stated Naniki Reyes Ocasio. "We will
      continue here in Caguana for as long as we can to bring attention
      to this issue".

      "The candle light vigil that we will observe tonight from 8-8:30pm
      tonight is a call for solidarity for our sister and leader Naniki"
      said Roger Atihuibancesh, a representative of the United
      Confederation of Taino People who is supporting the action with
      others outside the park. "We obviously are concerned for her
      health but we know our ancestors and all the prayers coming from
      around the world are sustaining her". Although the Taino entered
      the park on Sunday July 24th, the first official day of the
      occupation was set to coincide with the celebrations of the Day of
      the Puerto Rico Constitution on the 25th. The Taino chose this day
      to highlight the lack of recognition of indigenous rights in the
      constitution of Puerto Rico.

      While there has been no word from the Governor, and the island's
      Institute of Culture has been hostile to the peaceful protesters,
      the Taino continue to gain support from island residents and the
      international community.

      Yesterday, the Mayor of Utuado, the Hon. Alan Gonzalez Cancel,
      expressed his support for the Taino protesters in a meeting held
      with the protesters in front of the park. With about 250
      supporters in attendance, Mayor Gonzalez Cancel read an official
      Proclamation, which supported the action, the Taino protesters,
      and the importance of Caguana Ceremonial Center. He proclaimed the
      25th of July a special day of commemoration for the Taino action
      in Utuado. The Taino responded positively as elders accepted the
      Mayor's Proclamation on behalf of the local community. Taino
      presented songs and dances, which were enjoyed by community
      residents and the Mayor's entire cabinet.

      Native American organizations and communities have also been
      supportive with some originations, like United Native America,
      calling for a tourism boycott of Puerto Rico until the Governor
      meets with the protesters to hear their proposals.  United Native
      America represents thousands of Native Americans across the U.S.

      The protesters are due to appear before a local judge tomorrow to
      answer to additional charges being pursued by the Institute of
      Culture against the Taino for the occupation. Last Thursday,
      arrest warrants were issued for 5 protesters including Naniki
      Reyes Ocasio but police have not come forth to remove them.

      Along with calling for prays for Naniki Reyes Ocasio, the Taino
      hope the candle light vigil tonight will help the Governor to see
      that they have wide support and he will finally decide to meet
      with them.

      *Source - http://uctp.blogspot.com/

      * For Information on site in Puerto Rico contact:
      GUATIBIRI 1-787-519-3551

      *To contact the United Confederation of Taino People:



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