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Puerto Rico: Ready for the National Strike

Puerto Rico is getting ready for the national strike on Thursday, October 15. Since governor Luis Fortuño layed-off about 17,000 government employees the first week of October, there has been tremendous mobilization from different sectors of the civil society: workers and members of trade unions, women, environmentalists, students, and professors, among others. There have been multiple demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience to protest the economic policies that the government has assured are necessary due to the financial crisis. In total this year, the recently elected government has laid off around 25,000 public employees.

In the last months hostility has grown between the government and different civil society groups: eviction orders in socially and economically disadvantaged communities, police brutality, and the dismantlement of community initiatives such as the Fideicomiso del Caño Martín Peña. There have also been a string of comments from government officials considered offensive and insensitive, such as the now sadly famous “such is life”, and more recently, when the Governor's designated Chief off Staff Marcos Rodríguez Ema compared demonstrators to terrorists. This is the context of the national strike on Thursday. In response to this comment, Tito Otero has posted a video of a boy playing the violin in front of the Congress. We can hear the boy say: “I am not a terrorist. I believe in justice for my country.”

Bloggers and twitterers are getting ready for the strike which aims to paralyze the country for one day. In Cargas and descargas [ES] Edwin Vázquez has covened bloggers and citizens to use Twitter and Facebook to circulate information the day of the national strike. Already, the people at @caribnews are asking followers for hashtag suggestions, and the conversation has started under #twittericans.

12 comments

  • […] / Global Voices Tags: Colonialism, Imperialism, Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico General […]

  • Michael Sullivan

    People get laid off when companies, group, municipalities etc can’t afford to pay for them. Puerto Rico has a very high percentage of people working for the government as compared to other countries.

    Simply said, if you can’t afford to pay 17,000 employees how are you supposed to pay them???

    • Bruce C.

      That’s the bind the pols find themselves in: They either trigger a strike by laying people off, or they trigger a strike when people’s paychecks start bouncing due to NSF.

      It’s a good thing PR isn’t an independent country with it’s own currency, or they’d be trying to save their skins by printing money.

  • […] a good number of people in Puerto Rico will take to the streets to protest a series of policy decisions that have left thousands unemployed, displaced poor people […]

  • Raymond Duplease

    One comment about 17,000 Employees of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico being laid off was”if yopu can’t afford to pay 17,000 employees how are you supposed to pay them?” was either very cynical or very ill informed. Before the Governor of Puerto Rico laid off all those middle and low income workers, he should have cut his own salary and that of all those in the higher echelons of power in Puerto Rico in half, gave up his free housing in the Governors mansion and moved into a two bedroom apartment. Why is it always reasonable to make the average people suffer while the rich and powerful make not the least sacrifice themselves; especially when it is the rich and powerful who create the financial messes to begin with?

  • Hello,

    I would like to also urge everyone to use the hashtag #ParoPR so that we can aggregate everything onto the following blog:

    http://paropr.posterous.com

  • […] Beitrag erschien zuerst auf Global Voices. Die Übersetzung erfolgte durch hansknauf, Teil des “Project Lingua“. Die […]

  • […] with Many Names”, “Such is Life”, “The Battle over Public Lands,” and “Ready for the National Strike”. The people at the nonprofit Center for the New Economy have also been regularly posting in-depth […]

  • Estrella Rodriguez

    The Governor gave an interview not too long ago explaining what is really going on. He explained how he made cuts on cellphones and cars paid by the goverment etc. Ask yourself this question, Do rather have 17,000 people working that they don’t need or close the schools, close every goverment office, they wont even have police in the streets of PR because they wont be able to afford them!! It’s sad but it true this in not the first time this happends a long time ago and it was not pretty!! God may be with Puerto Rico!!

  • […] the national strike on October 15 2009 (please check Global Voices' coverage of the strike here, here, and here). Durante la marcha del pueblo en contra de los despidos de empleados públicos por […]

  • Gynnie DeJesus

    Oh.., for the strike, Puerto Rico is a “Nation” but for everyday, the pessimist refer it to a “Colony”, and that Puerto Ricans; the base of which is of the “Boricua” Caribbean characteristics; not the mix race and ethnicity people influenced by the American citizenship (given by congress; not birth right for a good minority claim to be “North Americans”; really? OK, for starters, Puerto Rico is not legally and according to the standards set by U.S. government and its national literature part of the United States. So, yes, we are getting ready for a “National” strike, but what “Puerto Rican” group is motivating the masses; is it the working class; that claim Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States; and look for statehood instead of respecting the uniqueness of the Puerto Rican identity; its shared culture (which differs from that of the United States) and share a language (many Puerto Ricans; young and old do not speak English and have desire to do so; what will become of this large sector should Puerto Rico someday become the 51st State of the United States? I mean, American society already classifies the Puerto Rican as a minority and with many negative statistical factors; negative against those for other “American” subgroups (in the States); while economist muster against the higher standard of the poor living in Puerto Rico then in the states; of which I’ve posted the article on my FB. So, hopefully, Puerto Ricans become critical thinkers, Congress under President Trump function to correct the propaganda that for decades it has allowed to must among all Americans, and pays the bill with an increase for the security and national interest exchange that Puerto Rico provides to the U.S. Federal Government and the people of all 50 states and of its interest foreign national interest; including Canada, England; Ireland (economical interest) and what have we in terms of the benefits that Puerto Rico provides. “Some of the people are fooled some of the times but not all of the people are fooled at all” -gadnynj

    • Gynnie DeJesus

      Excuse the typos and unconscious errors due to the express thought process and even more typist skills that often do not work together. For example “Then” in one sentence ought to “than”; etc. Just putting that self-awareness about “knowing self” so that the message does not get lost: American Federal Government needs to pay the price of having immense regional and global advantage due to its commonwealth status with Puerto Rico; and if Puerto Ricans live a higher standard for it; oh well…. suck it up.

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