[News] Explosive Political Situation in Puerto Rico

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 6 20:32:19 EDT 2010


Explosive Political Situation in Puerto Rico

Written by Roberto Ramos-Perea
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 15:27

http://alainet.org/active/39225

It is 5:00 of the evening of June 30, 2010, 
groups of students, teachers and citizens asked 
for entry to the House of the Laws and they were 
struck and tortured by the Police, there are 
numerous injured people, while the National Guard 
is mobilized towards Capitol Hill. Violent shocks 
are scattered over the whole zone of the 
Parliament and the repression continues.

________

A constitutional coup has just been established in Puerto Rico.

After a year in which the present time government 
under the New Progressive Party (Partido Nuevo 
Progresista, that attempts to join the Island to 
the United States through statehood) tried to and 
succeeded in taking over many institutions that 
form the basis of the democratic government of 
Puerto Rico, an atmosphere of hostility followed 
by many reckless actions that threaten public 
peace had climaxed in violent and aggressive 
actions of this government against the parties of 
the opposition, the organized student movement, 
the labor unions, the press, the environment, as 
against every area and institution of Puerto Rico’s civil society.

This constitutional coup springs from the 
Legislative branch of the government under the 
command of Senator Thomas Rivera Schatz, endorsed 
by the central government, under the dominance of 
the Secretary Governor, counselor Marcos 
Rodríguez Ema, with the obvious intent of having 
under their grasp and without opposition full 
control of every agency and organization that 
rule the judiciary, academic, economic and civil 
societies. In the face of this scenario, Governor 
Luis Fortuño operates without volition, has no 
opinion, appearance nor public responsibility.

With the complete control of the High Court of 
Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico Board 
of trustees, and the alleged control of the news 
media, among many others, the genuine 
participation of the People of Puerto Rico in all 
democratic processes protected by our Constitution is jeopardized.

The events started (through the rush approval of 
Law 7 by the Legislature) with more than 20,000 
public employee lay-offs, with the allegation 
that this would alleviate the gigantism of the 
government and would find the solution to the 
serious public deficit, that has never been 
properly evidenced. This decision has caused 
economical chaos, public services are worse than 
ever and it has generated despair and gloominess 
in every Puerto Rican family. In this same guise 
there exists a serious persecution against all 
artistic institutions of the country, strangling 
their budgets, trying with this action to avoid 
the propagation of art as dissidence. This, while 
the government favors contracts of obscene sums 
with hundreds of advisors, contractors and 
lobbyists associated with their own political party.

The attacks continued in the form of the 
appointment to the High Court of four Judges with 
a well known affiliation with, and militancy for 
the governing political party, achieving a 
majority of votes in favor of the present 
government on all decisions made in this Forum, 
on an individual basis. The government went on 
repressing and eliminating student participation 
on the procedures of the State University, 
suppressing tuition exemption rights for 
outstanding athletes and artists, among others; 
forcing the students from all eleven campuses of 
the University of Puerto Rico to declare a strike 
that lasted 60 days, generating ample support 
from the people of Puerto Rico and around the world.

The students on strike were successful in 
achieving their demands through negotiations that 
involved a First Instance Court and an appointed 
negotiator; however, Secretary of government 
Rodríguez Ema is trying to invalidate these 
accords, saying that they “are not worth the paper in which they were written”

This event preceded the Central government’s 
action of proposing a hasty law, that was signed 
with no revision within hours, adding four 
additional members to the Board of trustees of 
the University of Puerto Rico. These additions to 
the Board are unconditional members of the 
governing political party The students of the 
State University, who in the great majority 
depend on Federal grants, now face an annual 
recurring fee of $800.00, which they will not be 
able to pay and that they will not pay, forcing 
the students to return to their strike. With this 
strategy, the Central government risks the 
accreditation of the State University and as a 
consequence, the government would be able to privatize its assets.

Following this same direction, the government of 
Puerto Rico will attempt to sell and to divide 
for speculation a strip of land where the Karst 
formation stands, on the northwest of the Island. 
This area collects one third of our water 
supplies for the entire population; nonetheless, 
the government intends to put this area into 
private hands that would build a toll expressway 
over this zone that is rich ecologically and economically.

Passing up many other events, the budget of 
Puerto Rico was approved, together with countless 
laws which favor privatization, the dissolving of 
professional associations and the distribution of 
public funds into private hands, without the 
pertaining and compulsory hearings of public 
participation, reaching the extreme of turning 
off the microphones of the opposing political 
party members, in a despotic fashion.

The events climaxed last week when the FBI in 
Puerto Rico arrested Senator Héctor Martínez, 
NPP, on charges of bribe, the selling of 
influences and other charges. Martinez is 
Senator’s Rivera Schatz right hand in the Senate. 
A public squabble reached the news between the 
Senator and the FBI, with the Senator fending the 
alleged innocence of Senator Martínez, who has 
been directly associated with drug traffic and 
who was filmed while committing bribery.

Then, last in his many violent and reckless acts, 
the president of the Senate, Rivera Schatz, using 
force and a real padlock, censored the access of 
the cameras and the news media to the Senate 
sessions, depriving the People of Puerto Rico of 
direct information about the discussions and 
voting sessions that were taking place about this 
year’s budget and other matter). The events 
resulted in verbal and physical violence between 
senators, rising indignation among the people to 
a point of an almost unsustainable state of outrage and wrath.

Counselor Rivera Schatz has taken virtual control 
of the country with his tyrannical and fascist 
ways; and it cannot be discarded that from these 
same seats, this same week, acts of persecution 
and acts of violence will be started against 
other sectors of the People, all approved by the 
Secretary Governor of Puerto Rico.

It is 5:00 of the evening of June 30, 2010, 
groups of students, teachers and citizens asked 
for entry to the House of the Laws and they were 
struck and tortured by the Police, there are 
numerous injured people, while the National Guard 
is mobilized towards Capitol Hill. Violent shocks 
are scattered over the whole zone of the 
Parliament and the repression continues.

This factual deed of control of the political 
power from within the Puerto Rican Nation 
violates all elementary principles of democracy 
and of participation of the People in the 
government, for which we proclaim to the World 
the present situation of contained violence that 
exists in our People and that is about to explode 
against these two politicians that had taken by 
assault the power in our Country. Even though in 
Puerto Rico there are no conditions for an armed 
struggle of the People because of the obvious 
disparity of the opposing sides, a revolution of 
cultural and of student affirmation is starting 
to take the streets and to retrieve the spaces 
stolen away by the originators of this coup.

We exhort all communications media of the World 
to divulge and expose the current situation of 
the Puerto Rican Nation and we ask of you, therefore, your total solidarity.

- Composed by Roberto Ramos-Perea, Puertorrican 
playwrite. (With the active collaboration, 
comments and support of more than a hundred Puerto Rican citizens.)




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