Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

PuertoRico

By staff

Interview with Noelanie Fuentes, vice-president of the FMPR local in Rio Grande

This is an interview done on Oct. 22 with Noelanie Fuentes, vice president of the Rio Grande Local of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation and a social studies teacher at Liberata Iraldo Middle School. Her school is one of many across Puerto Rico that is still being used as a shelter for people whose homes were destroyed in the hurricane. Here she discusses the work teachers have been doing to support families living in their school, and her perspective on reopening schools while many in Puerto Rico are still living in shelters, including shelters at schools, or have no electricity or water. Interview and translation from Spanish by Brad Sigal. Fight Back!: Let's start with who you are and what you do here.

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By brad

San Juan, Puerto Rico – Despite strong criticisms from the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation, Puerto Rico's Education Secretary Julia Keleher is moving forward with plans to start to reopen public schools Oct. 24. More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, public schools have not yet repented since many are still damaged. Much of Puerto Rico is still without electricity and water. According to the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR), some schools being forced to open are not adequately prepared, while others that could be opened are not slated to open under Keleher’s plan.

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By brad

Brigade in Utuado, Puerto Rico helps repair damage following the hurricane.

Utuado, Puerto Rico — On Oct. 21, a large volunteer work brigade of over 50 people went to Utuado, 65 miles west of San Juan near the middle of the island. They did basic post-hurricane relief work that still hasn't been done by the U.S. government or any other official body a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

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By staff

Minnesota union leader  Brad Sigal in San Juan brings money and medicine.

San Juan, Puerto Rico — On Oct. 20, one month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the secretary of AFSCME Local 3800, Brad Sigal, was in San Juan to bring a donation of money and medicines to the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR, the union's initials in Spanish).

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By Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Freedom Road Socialist Organization condemns Trump’s criminal response towards a struggling Puerto Rico, which was ravaged over two weeks ago by Hurricane Maria. The electric grid is out. Drinkable water is in short supply. People are dying due to the administration’s depraved indifference.

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By Meredith Aby

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Minneapolis, MN – Puerto Ricans in Minnesota whose families are suffering on the island after Hurricane Maria organized rally on Oct. 4 to demand immediate and sufficient aid to relieve and rebuild Puerto Rico. The 50 person rally was part of a day of action in several cities across the country to highlight the plight of 3.4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico who have no electricity or drinking water, face shortages in fuel and food, and who are dealing with severely destroyed telecommunications.

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By staff

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New York, NY – Over 47 groups have signed on to the Oct. 7 day of action against U.S. imperialism. People will converge at on Saturday October 7, in New York City’s Herald Square, 34th Street, at 1 p.m.

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By Joe Iosbaker

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Chicago, IL – Rasmea Odeh embraces former political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera, at a rally in Chicago, on May 18. López Rivera spent 35 years in a U.S. prison. He was unjustly imprisoned for fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico, his homeland. Like him, Rasmea Odeh is up against repression – deportation by the U.S. government for her activism for a free Palestine.

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By Fight Back! Editors

No to Wall Street! Yes to independence!

On June 29, the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla, said that Puerto Rico’s debt was “not payable.” The government of Puerto Rico has a debt that is 70% of the islands Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is more than three and half times as great as the next most indebted states, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, whose debt-to-GDP ratios are less than 20%. In addition, Puerto Rico’s electric utility also has major debt problems.

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By brad

In a surprise to many observers, on August 19 Puerto Ricans resoundingly voted “no” on two proposed constitutional amendments that had been championed by conservative Governor Luis Fortuño of the New Progressive Party. Fortuño is also a member of the U.S. Republican Party leadership, and will be a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida next week. The “no” vote is a blow to his agenda.

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