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The Song Remains the Same: The United States' Fiduciary Duty to Puerto Rico as a Basis for Legal Responsibility

Lausell Recurt, Steven LU (2016) JAMM04 20161
Department of Law
Abstract
After more than a century of colonial subjugation by the United States, Puerto Rico’s stunted development model has finally collapsed. As a result, the island is currently facing one of the worst economic crises in its history. Despite the United States’ continued affirmation of its political dominance over Puerto Rico, it has largely placed the blame for the crisis on Puerto Ricans themselves, accusing the island of living beyond its means. This thesis looks to international human rights law in order to establish the United States’ rightful role in the crisis in Puerto Rico. As a result, it asks the following questions: What are the specific requirements of the obligation to decolonize under international law? What economic obligations... (More)
After more than a century of colonial subjugation by the United States, Puerto Rico’s stunted development model has finally collapsed. As a result, the island is currently facing one of the worst economic crises in its history. Despite the United States’ continued affirmation of its political dominance over Puerto Rico, it has largely placed the blame for the crisis on Puerto Ricans themselves, accusing the island of living beyond its means. This thesis looks to international human rights law in order to establish the United States’ rightful role in the crisis in Puerto Rico. As a result, it asks the following questions: What are the specific requirements of the obligation to decolonize under international law? What economic obligations does political decolonization impose upon colonial Powers? Has the United States exercised its sovereignty over Puerto Rico in accordance with its international obligations? This thesis identifies U.S. policy in Puerto Rico as the true cause of the current situation, with the purpose of facilitating the application of strategies that will lead Puerto Rico out of its economic crisis and place it firmly on a path toward decolonization and self-determination. Under international law, the United States has an ongoing fiduciary duty to Puerto Rico pending the latter’s full decolonization. This obligation requires that the United States act exclusively in the best interests of Puerto Rico and that it create the conditions on the island for self-government and independence. Contrary to its obligations, the United States has kept Puerto Rico in a position of colonial subordination and it has created conditions that have fostered economic dependence, all the while openly pursuing its own political and economic interests on the island. The findings of this thesis establish that the United States bears sovereign and causal responsibility for the crisis in Puerto Rico. As a result, the United States is liable under international law for the island’s current state and it has a positive duty to intervene in order to protect the well-being and promote the best interests of Puerto Rico and its inhabitants. (Less)
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author
Lausell Recurt, Steven LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAMM04 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sovereignty, fiduciary duty, decolonization, self-determination, sovereign responsibility, non-self-governing territory, free association, independence, statehood, colonialism, colony, Puerto Rico, Commonwealth, United States, human rights, international law
language
English
id
8878999
date added to LUP
2016-06-13 13:33:56
date last changed
2016-06-13 13:33:56
@misc{8878999,
  abstract     = {After more than a century of colonial subjugation by the United States, Puerto Rico’s stunted development model has finally collapsed. As a result, the island is currently facing one of the worst economic crises in its history. Despite the United States’ continued affirmation of its political dominance over Puerto Rico, it has largely placed the blame for the crisis on Puerto Ricans themselves, accusing the island of living beyond its means. This thesis looks to international human rights law in order to establish the United States’ rightful role in the crisis in Puerto Rico. As a result, it asks the following questions: What are the specific requirements of the obligation to decolonize under international law? What economic obligations does political decolonization impose upon colonial Powers? Has the United States exercised its sovereignty over Puerto Rico in accordance with its international obligations? This thesis identifies U.S. policy in Puerto Rico as the true cause of the current situation, with the purpose of facilitating the application of strategies that will lead Puerto Rico out of its economic crisis and place it firmly on a path toward decolonization and self-determination. Under international law, the United States has an ongoing fiduciary duty to Puerto Rico pending the latter’s full decolonization. This obligation requires that the United States act exclusively in the best interests of Puerto Rico and that it create the conditions on the island for self-government and independence. Contrary to its obligations, the United States has kept Puerto Rico in a position of colonial subordination and it has created conditions that have fostered economic dependence, all the while openly pursuing its own political and economic interests on the island. The findings of this thesis establish that the United States bears sovereign and causal responsibility for the crisis in Puerto Rico. As a result, the United States is liable under international law for the island’s current state and it has a positive duty to intervene in order to protect the well-being and promote the best interests of Puerto Rico and its inhabitants.},
  author       = {Lausell Recurt, Steven},
  keyword      = {sovereignty,fiduciary duty,decolonization,self-determination,sovereign responsibility,non-self-governing territory,free association,independence,statehood,colonialism,colony,Puerto Rico,Commonwealth,United States,human rights,international law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Song Remains the Same: The United States' Fiduciary Duty to Puerto Rico as a Basis for Legal Responsibility},
  year         = {2016},
}