Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle


By staff

Mercedes Martínez, President of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation

Mercedes Martinez was interviewed on Oct. 22 in San Juan, just over a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Martinez is president of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR). The FMPR is a leading force in the struggle to defend public education and workers’ rights in Puerto Rico against attacks and attempted privatization. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they initiated volunteer work brigades to address people's immediate dire needs, while also speaking out and mobilizing against the government's developing plan to use the hurricane as a pretext to close and privatize schools, like what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, when public schools were replaced by charter schools. Interview and translation to English by Brad Sigal. Fight Back: We're here in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let's start with who you are and what is the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation? Mercedes Martínez: I'm Mercedes Martínez Padilla, president of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation. The Federation is a union of Puerto Rican teachers, education workers, social workers, advisors, librarians. Educators who struggle to defend public and liberatory education in our country, in defense of the rights of Puerto Rican teachers above all, and for accessible and quality public education for our students.