We are reposting this appeal from No Borders News.
We are reposting this appeal from No Borders News.
The summer of 2019 will go down as a major moment in Puerto Rico’s history. Between July 10 and 25, street protests—unprecedented in their intensity, persistence, diversity, and size—led to an unprecedented result: The Island’s highest government official . . .
Latin America is experiencing an abrupt change generated by enormous confrontations between the dispossessed and the privileged. This confrontation includes both revolts by the people and reactions by the oppressors.
The October Revolts
The uprising in Chile is the most important event . . .
For 14 days this summer, Puerto Ricans engaged in nightly protests that resulted in the ousting of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. The protests—which amassed nearly one-third of the archipelago’s population—were sparked by a leaked chat in which the governor and members . . .
The discredit attained by the dominant parties, by the legislature, by the “politicians” and even “politics” itself, defined inaccurately, but viscerally despised by many people, recalls the concept of “organic crisis” advanced by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Authors such . . .
We express our solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico in their struggle against the corrupt government of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. This Friday marks seven days of massive protests demanding the resignation of the governor and his followers. In spite . . .
Police donning anti-riot gear—many with their names and badge numbers covered—used teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and batons to dislodge protesters from the streets surrounding the Puerto Rican governor’s mansion in Old San Juan on Wednesday evening. Earlier that day, tens . . .
In 1898 the U.S. military invaded and seized Puerto Rico and Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Unlike Cuba, Puerto Rico has not yet achieved independence and the United States continues to exert political, economic, judicial, and military control over the . . .
A few days ago Yale’s School of Management hosted a conference on Educational Leadership that featured as its principal speaker Julia Keleher, appointed under controversial circumstances to be the director of Education in Puerto Rico.
Keleher had recently resigned under the . . .
Isolating the situation of Puerto Rico is one of the mechanisms used to seek acceptance of the austerity policies that are now being imposed on the Island.(1) If the crisis is seen as the result of actions by Puerto Ricans or their government — if the responsibility lies, exclusively or fundamentally, in Puerto Rico — then it is logical that it bears the consequences of its own deeds or misdeeds, painful as they may be.
By now you have surely heard about the catastrophic impact of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, as well as the slow and still inadequate response by U.S. federal agencies, such as FEMA.
A month after María, dozens of communities are still inaccessible by car or truck. Close to 90 percent of all homes lack electricity. Half lack running water. Many of Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents have difficulties obtaining drinking water. The death toll continues to rise due to lack of medical attention or materials (oxygen, dialysis) or from poisoning caused by unsafe water.
(Normally my writing, especially when facing new situations,is the result of discussions with my comrades. But these days we are practically incommunicado. That’s why even more than in other cases, this article is entirely my responsibility. And, at the same time, I write with incomplete informatioin, the result of the same lack of communication, and therefore everything that I write is, even more than usual, subject to future correction. – RB)
Crises raise new, sharp problems that unveil and accentuate both the admirable and the negative aspects of the societies they affect. They also pose new tasks and offer new perspectives on already established plans. The case of Puerto Rico and the effect and response to the strike by Hurricane María is no exception.
“Puerto Rico will be in a death spiral!”
With this dramatic announcement, Governor Alejandro García Padilla transformed the island nation’s long-simmering debt overhang problem into an international spectacle. A financial mess that seemingly concerned only institutional investors, municipal bondholders, and some hedge fund managers exploded into a full-blown debt crisis with disquieting parallels to the situation in Greece.
The situation at the University of Puerto Rico is framed within a context of a 10-year economic depression and unsustainable debt crisis, which was meant to be remedied by the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight Management Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), signed by President Obama, and its federal Fiscal Control Board (Junta de Control Fiscal, the word Junta in Spanish is politically charged). Similar to what was presented at the conference this weekend regarding Greece, South Africa and Mexico, the public university became, throughout the second half of the twentieth century, a vehicle by which many people have escaped poverty.
Oscar López Rivera is the longest-held Puerto Rican political prisoner in U.S. history. He has now served 35 years in U.S. federal prisons, including 12 in solitary confinement. The movement calling for his release has intensified, broadened and strengthened in the last few years.
In 2006, the University of North Carolina Press published Puerto Rico in the American Century, a history of Puerto Rico since 1898, written by César J. Ayala and I.
For the many people who have engaged in the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence, July 25 has a special significance. On that date in 1898, U.S. troops invaded Puerto Rico, beginning a period of U.S. colonial domination on the island that continues to this day. The United States invaded Puerto Rico, along with the Philippines, Guam and Cuba, in the setting of the Spanish-American War. That war was the opening of what would be the menacing role and predatory nature of the U.S. capitalist class in the Caribbean, Latin America and the entire world.
After ten years of economic contraction, many of the citizens of Puerto Rico find themselves watching the secular decomposition of a reality that in its heyday was painted by many as one of relative socio-economic welfare.
Puerto Rico is undergoing a profound fiscal crisis. Our country is besieged by the big interests of Wall Street’s credit agencies and vulture funds, which as they’ve done in other parts of the world, such as Spain, Greece and Argentina, only seek an uncontrolled increase in their profits. These profits come at the cost of great sacrifices to working people, which include drastic cuts to social services that will have a special impact on education and health care.
In order to impose their inhumane demands, they use their powerful influence within government structures, in the courts and in the mass media to guarantee payment of the immoral and odious debt, with no concern for the deterioration of our quality of life and the elimination of hard-won labor rights. They establish, de facto, a dictatorship of oligarchic and monopoly capital over the whole of society, the working class majority stripped of the financial resources needed to insure a dignified subsistence.
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Nelson Denis describes the horrendous economic situation in Puerto Rico and compellingly shows the source of the problem to be the continuing colonial exploitation of the island by the U.S. government acting on behalf of key U.S.
Paul Krugman’s analysis of the Puerto Rican debt crisis has subtle problems, but with big policy implications. Overall, his piece hits key points that other economists continue to miss: 1) Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis is closely related to its economic depression, 2) the government patched up the problem with borrowing, instead of going to the root of it, 3) Puerto Rico’s low rate of labor force participation is not necessarily a result of welfare, 4) the situation is exacerbated by the Jones Act, 5) too much austerity can be self-defeating, and 6) it would be a terrible idea to give the hedge funds what they want (destroying the island’s education system in the name of fiscal responsibility). All of these points demonstrate Krugman understands the Puerto Rican case better than many Puerto Rican policy makers and economists. However, the subtle problems in his piece should be further discussed.
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