Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

PuertoRico

By staff

Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez second from right.

Fight Back! interviewed Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez, the founder of the Young Lords. A Young Lords 50 Year Commemoration is taking place at DePaul University in Chicago, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez and freed political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera will be speaking together on the struggle of the Puerto Rican people. Also, there is a Young Lords 50 Year Memorial Tour to honor the church people, Young Lords, and Black Panthers who died in the struggle, starting at noon, Saturday, Sept. 22.

Read more...

By brad

Trump and Rosselló deflated official count to cover up scale of human disaster

Destruction caused by Hurricane Maria.

The impossibly low official death count of just 64 people killed from Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico last September has now been shown to be a politically manipulated fabrication. Fight Back! challenged this official count in an article last October, a month after the hurricane, as did many other media at the time. But in the absence of a thorough and scientifically-sound review of post-hurricane deaths in Puerto Rico there was no other count to rival the government’s lowball number.

Read more...

By brad

Police tear gas May Day protest in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico – On May 1, police in Puerto Rico responded to tens of thousands of people marching against austerity with serious repression including tear gas, pepper spray and arrests.

Read more...

By brad

Preparations underway for strike on May 1

Teachers rally in preparation for May 1 strike in Puerto Rico.

San Juan, Puerto Rico – On April 27, police pepper sprayed teachers in a protest led by the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR) outside the Department of Education. The teachers were protesting the government’s plan to close hundreds of public schools as part of a massive ‘education reform’ plan to privatize public education.

Read more...

By brad

Enter a descriptive sentence about the photo here.

The Puerto Rican Teachers Federation and allied teachers’ organizations in the Broad Front in Defense of Public Education (FADEP) have called a national teachers’ strike in Puerto Rico for March 19. The strike is in response to the Puerto Rican House of Representatives passing an education reform bill this week that would introduce charter schools and private school vouchers and that would close hundreds of public schools. The government is trying to opportunistically push through this sweeping attack while Puerto Rico is still recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Maria.

Read more...

By staff

Puerto Rican Teachers Federation Vice President Edwin Morales arrested at CD

San Juan, Puerto Rico – In an escalation in their fight to stop the government from closing or privatizing public schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation occupied Education Secretary Julia Keleher’s office Nov. 7 in an act of civil disobedience. 21 teachers were arrested standing up in defense of public education in Puerto Rico.

Read more...

By brad

_Pushing back against ‘disaster capitalism’ measures _

Protest demanding reopening of Escuela Bilingüe Padre Rufo in Santurce, PR

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR, for their initials in Spanish) has been warning for weeks that Department of Education Secretary Julia Keleher was going to use the crisis as an opportunity to try to close hundreds of Puerto Rico’s public schools. This is something that those in power have wanted to do for a long time but haven’t been able to due to resistance from teachers and communities defending their schools.

Read more...

By staff

As of Oct. 25, the Puerto Rican government’s official death count from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico still stands at 51. Many people have been puzzled by this impossibly low, reality-defying number since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico over a month ago, on Sept. 20. The official count of 51 deaths from Hurricane Maria is now starting to unravel.

Read more...

By staff

Interview with Eulalia “Laly” Centeno

Eulalia “Laly” Centeno

Eulalia “Laly” Centeno was interviewed Oct. 23 at the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation office in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Centeno is a teacher at the Salvador Brau Elementary School in Cayey and active with the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation. She talks about the danger of the government using the crisis of Hurricane Maria to impose massive school closings and privatize public education in Puerto Rico – as they’ve tried to do for years but have not been able to because of resistance from teachers and the community. She warns that the government is using the model that was used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, when public schools were closed en masse and changed to privatized charter schools. Interview and translation into English by Brad Sigal. Fight Back!: Can you tell us who you are and what’s happening with your school? Eulalia Centeno: I’m Eulalia Centeno Ramos, better known as Laly Centeno. I’m a teacher and affiliated with the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR). I’m an elementary school teacher at the school called Salvador Brau, which is a K-6 school. In this difficult moment that the country is living through, the school where I work is in the best possible condition because it has electricity, it has water, and it’s clean because the teachers and workers of the school did all the cleaning. We got everything ready. We organized the program to welcome back students and start the academic process. All areas are ready to start classes.

Read more...

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.

Read more...