Puerto Rico: Second Student Strike

Students of the University of Puerto Rico have started the second strike in less than a year, this time in protest against a special tuition fee to be charged in January. Follow the hashtag #huelgaUPR in Twitter, the student blog Desde Adentro [es], and the digital magazine 80 grados [es] for the latest updates, news and analysis on the strike.


  • Luis A. Melendez Albizu

    The students at the University of Puerto Rico initiated a second strike at the UPR, because they oppose a tuition fee that was imposed after the current right wing (Tea Party) Republican, PNP Pro-Statehood government of Governor Luis Fortuno took millions of funds away from the UPR’s budget in order to finance lucrative contracts that are granted to its political supporters. The most recent example was a 16 million contract granted to a PNP member who is a former wrestler who heads a security agency, and who literally contracted dozens of street hoodlums in order to beat the students and fabricate violent acts that could be imputed on the students.

    Puerto Ricans have come to loath Governor Fortuno. He is easily the most hated man in Puerto Rico, although he had managed to paint himself in the U.S. Press (by using millions in public relations campaigns) as a popular fiscal conservative. The students, and the great majority of the Puerto Rican people oppose the tuition increase, as well as the use of the limited funds for contracts and pay-offs.

    Yesterday (Monday December 20, 2010), the police entered the UPR and beat and arrested several striking students. They refused to allow the injured students to receive medical services, and denied the arrested students access to their attorneys. A similar situation happened early this year when the police beat a group of demonstrators outside the Legislature who were protesting the laws promoted by Governor Fortuno in order to fire thousands of public employees, again, in order to make funds available for lucrative contracts and payoff to political cronies.

    Puerto Rico is living a semi-totalitarian regime. There is no longer any judicial recourse available to these abuses, since Mr. Fortuno has packed all the courts, including the Supreme Court, with his own political cadres. Moreover, the opposing PDP party is leaderless, and has been silenced by a combination of payoffs and threats.

    Yet, none of these horrible and pressing news are reaching the mainland. All the news that reach the U.S. news organizations are the ones filtered and produced (and manipulated) by governor Fortuno’s public relations entities. We ask that major news organizations in the U.S. come to Puerto Rico, and speak directly to the people, and let everyone know what is really going on here.

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