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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Casa Pueblo, before the UN, demands energy independence as colonial reparation



Arturo Massol Deyá, associate director of Casa Pueblo (susminor.nd.edu)

By The Star Staff


The community organization Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas demanded on Thursday before the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations (UN) that the United States facilitate Puerto Rico’s energy independence as a measure of colonial reparation.


Arturo Massol Deyá, the associate director of Casa Pueblo, urged the immediate transition toward renewable energy sources and the decentralization of the energy system.


“We have experienced unjust and undemocratic energy transitions,” Massol Deyá asserted in his presentation. “Under Spanish rule, slavery was the energy base, and under the North American flag they enslaved us to fossils.”


Massol Deyá emphasized the failure of the privatization of the electrical system, evidenced by continuous blackouts that put the health and safety of people at risk and hinder the island’s economic development. In contrast, he pointed to Casa Pueblo’s achievements after Hurricane Maria, promoting solar energy in Adjuntas.


“At Casa Pueblo we promote the protection of nature and community-based energy to democratize and self-determine this region,” Massol Deyá said. “We have operated with solar independence since 1999 and after Hurricane Maria we have moved forward, building energy freedom for more than 200 residences.”


The Casa Pueblo director warned against the prolongation of the use of fossil fuel sources and stressed the need to avoid the use of agricultural land for solar installations.


“Puerto Rico has enough roof area on existing structures to install the entire solar infrastructure,” he stated.


The community leader also insisted that the U.S. government’s investment in solar installations must not perpetuate a dependent colonial model.


“Such that federal allocations are not to induce more debt and where we end up paying for the sun to companies in Texas or California,” he said.


The UN Decolonization Committee is made up of 29 countries. The annual hearing on Puerto Rico serves to denounce the territorial and colonial status of the commonwealth with respect to the United States.

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