New Puerto Rico Debt Plan Is A False “Solution” Crafted To Benefit Capitalists

Since its announcement, the POA has been touted as putting an end to five years of brutal structural adjustment. For instance, Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the unelected Financial Oversight Board that has dictated Puerto Rico’s finances since 2016, celebrated the POA as a “new chapter in Puerto Rico’s history.” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi suggested that while the POA is “not perfect,” it ultimately protects Puerto Rico’s vulnerable public sector. In contrast, a multisectoral coalition of teachers, labor, pensioners, students and activists expressed immediate rejection of what they call the “plan del tumbe” (the shakedown plan). These groups have long been demanding a comprehensive debt audit, calling attention to the POA’s everyday implications, and resisting its confirmation by mobilizing online, in the streets, the legislature and the courts.

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University Of Puerto Rico Students Have Declared An Indefinite Strike

The first student general assembly 2021-2022 at the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) has announced an indefinite strike starting today, while other universities are on strike. The university students, who arrived on stage at the main campus for the UPR, made the decision in light of the academic, administrative, social and economic problems that the campus suffers from.

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Puerto Ricans Resist Austerity Measures And Corporate Corruption

A worsening economic crisis, compounded by brutal neoliberal policies, have ushered in a new wave of resistance in Puerto Rico. Nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line. More and more Puerto Ricans are leaving la patria, the homeland, in hopes of a better life in the United States. The archipelago has faced an onslaught of natural disasters, including the catastrophic Hurricane Maria in 2017 and a series of earthquakes throughout 2020.

On paper, Puerto Rico is a “commonwealth” of the United States, a term that implies a kind of shared prosperity between the two places. In practice, Puerto Rico is a nation struggling to breathe under centuries of colonialism. It’s economy is dictated by an unelected Fiscal Control Board composed of hedge fund managers and vulture capitalists, known as la junta, which saw its power enshrined into law with PROMESA in 2016.

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Thousands March In Puerto Rico, Outraged Over Power Outages

More than 4,000 people outraged over ongoing power outages in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico marched on October 15 to decry how the lack of electricity has affected their health, work and children’s schooling.

Many of them demanded the ouster of Luma, a private company that took over the island’s transmission and distribution of power on June 1. Some also are angry at Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, which owns and operates generation units that have been breaking down in recent weeks largely due to a lack of maintenance and repair.

“We’re tired of coming home and discovering that we have no lights,” said Mayra Rivera (55) adding she is especially worried about her parents, who are in their 90s, and the sweltering heat they face at home.

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Puerto Rican Workers: No Peace If Energy Is Privatized

Union organizations today warned Governor Pedro Pierluisi and the Financial Oversight and Management Board that they will paralyze the country if the LUMA Energy contract — that increases rates, allows the consortium to leave Puerto Rico if a hurricane strikes and displaces thousands of workers — is not canceled.

“We are warning the attorney for the Financial Oversight and Management Board, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, that there will be no peace in Puerto Rico if the contract is not repealed and they listen to the people who demand, not only a public and more efficient PREPA, but also one free of fossil fuels. Right now there is a favorable atmosphere for paralyzing the country, and if the governor continues to be deaf to the people, we will do so.

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Puerto Rican Unions To Hold Biggest National Strike Since 2019

Workers in Puerto Rico are planning a national strike and demonstrations today in response to the recent privatization of the island’s power system. These are the biggest strikes on the island since 2019 when workers went on a general strike against former governor Ricardo Rosselló.

Several unions in Puerto Rico made the call for a national strike yesterday during a press conference including the General Union of Workers (UGT), Solidarity Union Movement, Central Federation of Workers Local 481 / UFCW, Puerto Rican Association of University Professors, Puerto Rican Union of Workers, and the Frente Amplio de Camioneros, among others.

Under the call, “Fuera LUMA!” Puerto Ricans are demanding the cancellation of a contract with the private U.S. and Canadian company LUMA Energy.

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Puerto Rico Unions Close Ranks Against LUMA Energy

Union organizations today warned Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and the Financial Oversight and Management Board that they will paralyze the country if the LUMA Energy contract that increases rates, allows the consortium to leave Puerto Rico if a hurricane strikes, and displaces thousands of workers, is not canceled.

“We are warning the attorney for the Financial Oversight and Management Board, Pedro Pierluisi, that there will be no peace in Puerto Rico if the contract is not repealed and they listen to the people who demand, not only a public and more efficient Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), but also one free of fossil fuels.

“Right now there is a favorable atmosphere for paralyzing the country and if the governor continues to ignore the people, we will do so.

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Puerto Rico 2021: A Shift In Perspective, A New Opposition

One of the things often taken for granted by the independence and socialist movement is knowing when to claim a victory. As a consequence of suffering so many blows throughout its history, the movement has become reflexively cynical when having to assess some kind of partial victory or progress. Let’s recall, among other signature chapters, in 1976 the Puerto Rican Independence Party received 80,000 votes, which, when combined with those of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, equaled nearly 100,000 votes. Or the founding and progress of the Workers United Movement (MOU), which managed to bring together the country’s top unions and mobilize a sizable radical movement.

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Solidarity And The Absent State In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican artists, entertainers, and athletes have been conspicuous in calling for protests against the government, which the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP) firmly controls. Indeed, January 2020 was uncannily similar to last July, when El Residente, Bad Bunny, Ilde, Daddy Yankee, Ricky Martin, and other artists roused scores of thousands of their fans to rise in opposition to Governor Ricardo Rosselló. Seven months later, as the government failed to take any decisive action toward a relief effort, anger was building against Rosselló’s hapless successor. Even more damaging for the practice of democracy is people’s awareness that Puerto Rico is ruled by an entrenched and hard-hearted political class that holds them in contempt. After a seemingly endless swarm of earthquakes battered the southwest coast, the colonial state was once again absent. The people were, as always, presente, caring for one another when the authorities failed to do so.

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Philadelphia: Stop Denying Disaster Relief To Puerto Rico!

Demonstrators gathered in Philadelphia on Jan. 15 in front of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mid-Atlantic Region, with signs and Puerto Rican flags. Speaker after speaker criticized the Trump administration for refusing to allow $18 billion in post-hurricane aid to be sent to the U.S. island colony. Without citing a valid reason to deny the Congress-approved aid…

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Puerto Rico: Three Years For History

As 2020 begins, it is worth taking a look back and commenting on the events that have taken place in Puerto Rico over the last year and identifying their links and possible consequences. The exercise leads us, inevitably, to situate ourselves in 2016 in order to trace the process that describes this last episode of our history. That year several events of great significance took place. Of particular note were the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled on the delegitimization of the “commonwealth”. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress, almost simultaneously, approved the Promise Act imposing a Fiscal Control Board (FCB) on the Government of Puerto Rico. Against this backdrop, the 2016 general elections were held and later, in January 2017, the Ricardo Rosselló Nevárez administration began.

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2019 Latin America In Review: Year Of The Revolt of the Dispossessed

A year ago, John Bolton, Trump’s short-lived national security advisor, invoked the 1823 Monroe Doctrine making explicit what has long been painfully implicit: the dominions south of the Rio Grande are the empire’s “backyard.” Yet 2019 was a year best characterized as the revolt of the dispossessed for a better world against the barbarism of neoliberalism. As Rafael Correa points out, Latin America today is in dispute. What follows is a briefing on this crossroads.

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Protesters Call For Removal Of MoMA Trustee Linked To Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

The newly expanded Museum of Modern Art in New York has yet to officially reopen to the public—and already finds itself under siege. Dozens of protesters plan to crash its opening preview party on Friday 18 October, calling upon the museum to divest itself from private prisons by severing its ties with Bank of America and the investment management firm BlackRock, whose CEO Laurence Fink sits on the museum’s board. Fidelity Investments, which manages MoMA’s pension fund, is also a large owner of private prison stocks.

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