[Pnews] Oscar López Rivera to Puerto Ricans: ‘Refuse to pay the debt!’
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 25 11:47:28 EST 2016
Oscar López Rivera to Puerto Ricans: ‘Refuse to pay the debt!’
/The following is a letter written by Puerto Rican political prisoner
Oscar López Rivera, who has been in a U.S. prison since 1981. It was
read by his daughter Clarisa on his birthday, Jan. 6, and published in
Spanish on Jan. 11. (Original: tinyurl.com/z3q9ox5)/
During the last visit with my beautiful daughter, she said that I was
becoming totally bald. But that’s a loss I can endure. She did not
mention the wrinkles that have accumulated, the slowness in my hands,
the loss of balance in my body that is becoming increasingly worse, the
lack of elasticity in my body, the cramps I feel throughout the day and
during every season of the year, the gastric reflux, the loss of teeth
and even the slowness in my thought processes — the list goes on. At my
age, the pack of worries grows constantly heavier, bigger and continues
to grow. And I can state without a trace of doubt that the calendar is a
*/SAGRADA JODIENDA/*/(HOLY F-CK)/.
But I can still get up before 4 a.m. and start my day with a good
exercise routine, thanking life for all the good things it has given me,
especially for all the good people who have become part of my life
because they love freedom and justice and want a better and fairer world
like I do. And 16 hours later I can lay my old body down to relax,
listen to some music and news, and again thank life for all that it has
In my pack of worries, there are two very big concerns that have been
added: the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and that my granddaughter Karina
has to incur a huge debt to gain entry into a dental school. I have to
admit that for the last one, I have no way of doing anything to help
her. Student debt in this country is more than $3 trillion and growing.
It is painful to see my granddaughter Karina adding her name to the list
of student debtors.
*The snares of student debt*
Today, students from working-class families have fewer and fewer
opportunities to enter graduate schools. And with an enormous debt, the
opportunities are fewer. And if you’re in the fields of medicine,
engineering and other well-paid professions, the chances are even lower.
It’s not because students aren’t smart enough or because they aren’t
academically prepared, but because of the cost and the system that’s
been created to entrap them in the snares of student loan debt.
How can a student of a working-class family come up with $68,000 a year
for four years just for education? By the time my dear granddaughter
graduates from dental school, she may have a debt of almost half a
million dollars. So she will begin her career in the red and stay in the
red for many years.
Who talks about that system? Who denies life to a student who has worked
hard to get into a dental school, only because she was not born into a
family with money and influence?
This is the age of debts. The system runs on debts. But nothing is said
to the public about debt entrapment being part of the system. The only
time we’ve heard about the debt trap is when a nation can’t afford to
pay up. Puerto Ricans know now what the debt trap does to the working
class. Puerto Rico has an unpayable debt, and the Governor has informed
them that it cannot be paid.
Decades of corrupt politicians piling on debt has impoverished Puerto
Rico and has forced many young people with good professions to migrate,
causing a massive brain drain. In addition, it makes Puerto Rico
privatize some of the best public corporations that provide good jobs
and help to boost the economy. The unpayable debt was created by the
vultures of Wall Street, the neoliberal Washington politicians, and the
corrupt politicians in Puerto Rico. They are the ones who should be
paying off the debt. I can see my beautiful granddaughter ten years from
now, still paying to the creators of the debt, her debt for wanting to
be a good dentist. And she is not the only young Puerto Rican going
through this same ordeal.
*Let those who made the deals pay the debt*
In order to deal with the debt, I will start with a suggestion about
what we must do and can do. My first suggestion is that all we Puerto
Ricans get organized and take just one position: Refuse the debt payment
and start a debt boycott. To begin with, we can start chanting: “That’s
a debt I will not pay, those who borrowed it must pay.” (“Esa deuda no
la pago yo, que la pague el que la incurrió.”) Let us call for a boycott
and start organizing. The debt crisis is a problem that affects all
Puerto Ricans, and each and every one of us must take a stand and refuse
to pay for it. In every city and in the Diaspora, every Puerto Rican
must say that we cannot pay the debt and therefore we refuse to pay it.
Every child, youth and adult, including the elderly, must be part of
this massive boycott in Puerto Rico. And every Puerto Rican should ask
for compensation for all the pain, exploitation, repression, persecution
and destruction we have experienced since 1898, after the United States
invaded and occupied and militarized Puerto Rico. We can accept no
austerity plan, not even one imposed on us.
We are poor, but we are hard workers and have every right to say no to
the impositions that Wall Street and Washington will try to put on us.
Every Puerto Rican who cares about the future of Puerto Rico and wants a
better and fairer world must say NO to the payment of the debt. And
every Puerto Rican who aspires to political office must agree to be part
of the boycott. And every pro-independence militant must do everything
he or she can possibly do to create unity among them in the struggle for
On another note, several compañeros and friends have asked me how I feel
about having the name of Ana Belén Montes linked with mine in the
campaign for my release. For me it would be a great honor. I think that
every Puerto Rican who loves justice and freedom should be proud of Ana
Belén. What she did was more than heroic. She did what any person would
have done who believes in peace, justice and freedom and the right of
every nation to govern itself in the best possible way and without
intervention or threat from anyone. She did what she did because she
knew that the U.S. government intended to destroy the Cuban government
and impose a system designed by Washington on the Cuban people with
another regime-change. The objectives of the U.S. government were
criminal, and if she had not acted as she did, she would have wound up
supporting those acts. Let’s all be proud of her, support her and demand
her release from prison.
This Jan. 6, I cannot be with you physically, but even from within these
walls I can help. Let’s make 2016 the year that we Puerto Ricans rise up
together in order to put an end to colonialism. We can do it. No matter
if the person has been a red PPD, a blue PNP, a green and white PIP or a
red Socialist, if we are an authentic Puerto Rican, we love freedom and
justice and we want to be treated with respect as human beings, we will
unite and stand up together.
Enjoy the moment and feel inspired by the beautiful example that
Compañero Juan Santiago left for us to emulate. Let’s dare to fight and
Hugs and much love to all.
In resistance and struggle,
Oscar López Rivera
/Letter read at the activity for his birthday on Jan. 6. Translation:
Workers World-Mundo Obrero staff./
1. /Ana Belén Montes is a Puerto Rican woman who worked in the U.S.
Defense Intelligence Agency, and is now isolated in a Texas prison
for defending the people of Cuba./
2. /PPD is the Democratic Popular Party, the current administration
which defends the colonial position of Puerto Rico as a “Free
3. /PNP is the New Progressive Party, pro statehood./
4. /PIP is the Puerto Rican Independence Party./
5. /Juan Santiago is a people’s lawyer who defended independence
activists and died in June 2012./
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews