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Latino Politics in the U.S.

Latino Politics in the U.S.
Kendall-Hunt, 2012 (2005)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Massive Strike at the University of Puerto Rico: The Invisible and Recurring Social Struggles in The Oldest Colony in the World

Massive Strike at the University of Puerto Rico: The Invisible and Recurring Social Struggles in The Oldest Colony in the World**

Students strike at the university of Puerto Rico and they reveal the fissures in the colonial economic system while connecting with student struggles of the past

Víctor M. Rodríguez Domínguez*

Then, all the men of the land surrounded him;
the sad corpse saw them, excited; stood up slowly,
embraced the first man; and walked...

César Vallejo (1937)

(After more than fifty-six days, students at the University of Puerto Rico system reached an agreement with the Board of Trustees (6/15/2010) on all their demands. Their demands included elimination of a rise in tuition in the form of a $1,200 fee, the elimination of a policy that would limit the students’ ability to receive lower tuition on the basis of merit and economic aid, a commitment by the university not to privatize any campus, no summary sanctions for students and a fair process to address violations of the university policy. The board also agreed that no student would be sanctioned for participating in constitutionally protected activities like the strike, protests, pickets. While the Board agreed there would be no fee this next semester it agreed that if there is a fee increase in the Spring semester it would be no greater than the average increase in the Pell grant many students receive. However, although student leaders signed this agreement they also included language that said they did not agree with any fee increase. This ambiguity leaves a space open for student action next semester. Student assemblies will be celebrated in all the universities of the system to ratify the agreement in the next few days. During the summer 2010 the students ratified the agreement but as predicted, the administration, now with Chancellor Ana Guadalupe as the official chancellor of the UPR-Rio Piedras, a research institution with 18,000 students, has imposed a $800 fee for Spring 2011. Last October 19, students occupied a number of the colleges 10/25/2010) Another version was published in Dissident Voices, the radical newsletter at:

For more than fifty-seven days, students at the University of Puerto Rico system, have peacefully occupied ten of the 11 universities in support of a series of measures that could challenge efforts to further privatize this public university. Student struggles in Puerto Rico historically have repercussions in the broader society and are woven with the major economic, political and social issues in this United States’ colonial possession. While some social analysts saw this millennial generation as somewhat less militant and political, these events have surpassed any previous social struggles in creativity, strategy and in its use of participatory democratic processes since the founding of the university 107 years ago. Given Puerto Rico’s peculiar colonial status, in a world where colonies are almost extinct, every social struggle becomes, an anti-colonial process. But in this case, this process also becomes a struggle against the neo-liberal policies which have again resurfaced in the policies of the current colonial government to address the extreme economic precariousness of the United States’ colonial project in Puerto Rico. This student struggle exists within the historical context of an anti-colonial struggle in Puerto Rico. When people thought social movements were dead, they somehow stood up and walked.

Origins of the Oldest Colony

Since the Spanish-American War of 1898, Puerto Rico has performed a hidden but strategic role in United States’ foreign policy. One of the outcomes of the war is that for the first time in U.S. history, lands that were conquered or annexed did not become a territory that would be incorporated as a state as was suggested by the 1787 Northwest Ordinance. Instead, the United States Supreme Court in the early twentieth century, in a series of decisions called the “Insular Cases” “carved” a special legal space which formally transformed Puerto Rico into a colony and the United States into an empire. This contradictory legal space also gave the U.S. total control of Puerto Rico’s economic, political and social dynamics. In this new political status, the “unincorporated territory” of the United States, Puerto Rico became a testing ground, a laboratory for medical, military and social and economic policies that were later implemented as part of U.S. foreign policy around the world.

The first two years of U.S. control over the island (1898-1900), a military government implemented economic policies which coupled with the natural devastation caused by tropical hurricane San Ciriaco in 1900, led to the collapse of what had been the most dynamic sector of Puerto Rico’s economy, the coffee industry. This industry had well-developed markets in Europe and Cuba, whose populations preferred the high quality coffee produced in Puerto Rico’s highlands. EEconomic policies of the military government, like the devaluation of the peso and the limiting of credit, led to the collapse of some agricultural sectors while the incorporation of Puerto Rico into the United States’ tariff structure closed access to European and Cuban markets. In turn, the United States market was already controlled by Brazilian coffee. The devastating effects of the hurricane contributed to the island’s social, economic and political crisis. The next decades saw the invasion of United States investors who bought out land to produce sugar which received protection under the new tariffs. These investors and some of the members of the national sugar elite were able to coalesce in a powerful economic class that in the following decades transformed Puerto Rico into a large sugar plantation.

Meanwhile, thousands of displaced peasants became entrants into the global labor market when labor brokers from the Hawaii sugar industry began to recruit thousands of Puerto Rican peasants. One of the strategies of Hawaii’s sugar elite was to create an ethnically divided labor force to avoid the consolidation of unions in the sugar fields. Unwillingly, the displaced Puerto Rican peasants, most of whom had no experience in sugar cane agriculture, became pawns in the sugar elite’s drive to control labor.

In the following decades, population planning policies (some led by U.S. groups connected to Eugenics ideology), assembly plant industrial development policies (maquiladora model), militarization of the island, the testing of napalm and Agent Orange in various parts of the island, the use of depleted uranium shells in the island of Vieques all were facilitated because of Puerto Rico’s inability to protect itself. These policies and practices were later promoted in other countries around the world. Colonial governors were appointed by the president of the United States until 1947. Puerto Rico’s only voice in congress, was and still is a sole “resident commissioner” who only has voice but is not a voting member of congress which has always had complete control over policies to shape the island’s political, social and economic dynamics.

In addition, congress and its colonial representatives implemented a cultural policy of assimilation, which given the island’s colonial nature, had an imperialistic effect while also furthered a Puerto Rican national identity and culture of resistance. In 1903, the University of Puerto Rico was founded as a school to prepare teachers for the public educational system. The use of English as the medium of instruction was imposed throughout the developing educational system being developed by colonial authorities. The university’s role would be to create the cadres for the process of assimilation that was promoted among the island’s one million inhabitants. Instead, Puerto Rico’s national identity, which under Spain was created in tension with Spain, now began to be centered on the Spanish language and Puerto Rican culture. Ironically, United States policies contributed to the development of a more clearly defined Puerto Rican national identity, this time vis a vis the United States. This tension with the United States at times led to a nationalism that romanticized the Spanish past, at the same time, with all its contradictions became the core of a culture of resistance against U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico.

During the 1930s and until the 1950s, the pro-independence movement was the second largest political force in the island. But its influence was also strong within the dominant political party, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), who later on went to win the elections in the late 1940s and later created, in 1952 the “Estado Libre Asociado” (Commonwealth). This is the present political system that defines the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Not much of the colonial relationship was changed by the new political facade, and Congress still holds control over all aspects of the island. But the dominant party, many of whom were former pro-independence politicians, used the symbols of Puerto Rican nationalism to get the consensus of the Puerto Rican population for their political project. A constitution was drafted, which included very progressive principles including a section 20 with many of the human rights established in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The flag of the new political entity, became the nationalist flag, the Commonwealth’s national hymn had also been the nationalist hymn and the rhetoric used by the Popular Democratic leaders continued to, in contradictory ways, echo the nationalist discourse. Despite the evident colonial character of the new political structure—congress forced Puerto Rico to eliminate section 20—the Popular Democratic Party leaders and the United States diplomats were also able to convince the United Nations that Puerto Rico had exercised self-determination.

Because of student and faculty struggles, Spanish was reintroduced as the medium of instruction in the public educational system in the 1940s and the University of Puerto Rico, instead of becoming the uncontested site for the assimilation of the emerging professional class became the battle ground for a national culture of resistance. In 1948, pro-independence students led a strike at the University of Puerto Rico which led to the closure of the university and to the expulsion of many of the student leaders. Many of these leaders would finish their higher education elsewhere and later become political leaders in island pro-independence politics. With this strike, the University of Puerto Rico became, not only an ideological battleground between hegemonic forces and anti-colonial forces, it also became a launching ground for national resistance to imperial policies. The colonial government efforts, under the control of the Popular Democratic Party, to steer the university after the defeated student strike toward the formation of a technocratic apolitical professional class for the emerging program of industrialization partially failed. While the pro-independence forces lost its influence on the electoral arena, they maintained their influence in the island’s social struggles and the university. The anti-imperialist struggles in the Third World and the Cuban revolution (1959) became catalysts for another stage of anti-imperialist struggles.

Student Struggles at the University of Puerto Rico

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War and the presence of the Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) at the University of Puerto became the issues that sparked social movements, not only on the campuses but also throughout the island. The University of Puerto Rico, especially the main campus in Rio Piedras, was the site of much conflict including violent confrontations between anti-colonial and pro-establishment forces. Political repression, emigration and economic transformation led to the decline of the electoral strength of pro-independence forces. The university then became a major site of struggle for those who contested colonial policies in Puerto Rico. In some way, struggles at the university of Puerto Rico served as the spark for Puerto Rican national struggles.

While in the United States “draft-dodging” was the principal means of challenging the Vietnam era draft, in Puerto Rico resistance to induction became the main tactic. In fact, the refusal of thousands of Puerto Rican youth to be drafted, especially of university youth, led to the collapse of the Selective Service System in Puerto Rico. While some early resisters were arrested and a few served time in prison, the majority did not. The massive nature of the protest made the incarceration of thousands a political impossibility for United States’ colonial authorities.

Also, the University of Puerto Rico, following the Latin American autonomous university model which began as a result of student struggles at the University of Cordoba, Argentina, has a veneer of autonomy. In 1966, the University Reform law created a space for an autonomous university and limited co-government of the university. The university would later receive a fixed percent (9.6 per cent) of public funds in order to prevent it from falling prey to the vagaries of island politics. This precarious autonomy did not have its full intended effect, since the dominant parties gave their supporters positions in the university administration as part of the political spoils, however, its ideological effect on students and faculty was quite distinct. Students, particularly, took seriously the autonomy of the university and defended it through their struggles. In the Fall of 1967, after a protracted struggle for the elimination of the ROTC from the University of Puerto Rico campus, Puerto Rico’s police intervened in a struggle between pro-statehood students and pro-independence students. The pro-independence students, who stayed within the confines of the university, tried to impede the entrance of the police into the campus as a way of protecting the autonomy of the university. In the battle between police and students, Adrian Rodriguez Fernandez, a taxi driver who was looking for his daughter, a student at the university, was killed by the police.

The conflicts at the university intensified and in 1970s, a university student, Antonia Martinez Lagares, was killed while standing on a balcony in the Santa Rita neighborhood where many students lived. She had been denouncing the police as murderers because of their attacks of students protesters in the street facing her apartment. One of the officers proceeded to kill her. Today, the transmission booth of the University of Puerto Rico striking students low watt radio station, “Radio Huelga” is named Antonia Martinez Lagares in her honor. Also, in many of the demonstrations her name is raised in banners.

The continued intensification of the conflict at the university continued and on March 11, 1971, as students attacked the ROTC building, Chancellor Pedro Rivera called for the riot squad to enter the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. The entrance of the riot squad so incensed the students, that at the end of the day, one ROTC cadet Jacinto Gutierrez had died, a police officer and the commander of the riot squad Juan B. Mercado had been killed by snipers.

In recent years, another large student strike occurred in 1981-82, this process precedes the current strike in terms of the issues and the new characteristics of the social movement. Issues related to the national question were not as salient as in previous decades. The main issues were of an economic nature. The raising of tuition fees would make the university less accessible to many Puerto Rican students. The role of Christian groups and the visible role of women as leaders was also a characteristic of that process. The student leaders were also broader in ideological terms although the role of pro-independence and socialist activists was crucial. The repression of the student strikers by the police was intense and was followed by the summary suspension of a significant number of the student leaders. These measures left this process of struggle as an unfinished social conflict. Despite the massive nature of the student movement, the strong external support and the broad basis of the student leadership the process ended in a short-term defeat of the movement. But as a response to the lessons of the 1981-82 period the university adopted a formal policy of “no confrontation” that has affirmed autonomy and freedom of expression as basic rights and which have helped the university avoid the extreme levels of violence experienced during the previous era.

Today: The Political, Economic and Educational Crisis Converge

Today, partially hidden from the mainstream United States media, a protracted (57 days June 16), and creative process of social struggle to preserve higher education began on April 13, in San Juan Puerto Rico. Echoing in diverse ways the 1968 San Francisco State strike and the National Autonomous University of Mexico strike in 1999, this is a clear and eloquent counter attack on neo-liberal thinking about the role of the public university in a capitalist society. But also, this social struggle has revealed, again, the precarious nature of the colonial model in Puerto Rico and the impeding need for its transcendence.

The University of Puerto Rico system, with its 65,000 students and more than 5,000 faculty members is the largest public system in higher education in this island. More than 33 per cent of Puerto Rico’s 25 years and older population has some post-secondary and/or university education. This is higher than more developed nations like Finland and New Zealand. Puerto Rico, with a population close to four million has developed a philosophy about the need to have an accessible system of public higher education. Ironically, this is also a contradictory outcome of some of the early colonial reformers who were members of the Popular Democratic Party. They developed policies, some reflected in the islands’ constitution that in some respects are more advanced than in the United States. Education, at least from k-12, is established as a right in the constitution. Access to higher education, while not specifically enshrined in the constitution is also considered a right and not a privilege by most Puerto Ricans. The state support and relatively low tuition attests to that philosophy.

This has enabled Puerto Rico to have a higher bachelor degree rate than three states, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia, despite having a lower high school degree completion rate than any state. At the same time, according to a study by Cruz Rivera (2008) the University of Puerto Rico produces more than 95 per cent of the research carried out in Puerto Rico and produces 10,000 new professionals every year. Just one of its universities, the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez produces 606 engineers every year which is more than Texas A & M, Florida International University of Texas, Austin and California State University, Pomona combined. With limited resources its six year persistence and graduation rates are higher than the University of Wisconsin, Texas A & M, University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. It also has increased the percentage of its faculty with doctorates from 66.5 per cent in the 1999-00 academic year to 79.4 per cent in 2007 (Cruz, 2008).

Unfortunately, part of its success has to do with the changing demographics of its students, from 1998 until 2007, the percentage of students entering the University of Puerto Rico from the public school system has decreased from 50 per cent to 41 per cent. While still 57 per cent of the students still qualify for federal aid, increasingly, the new entrants are from middle and upper-middle class families, while ironically, private universities are the ones who increasingly are providing a university education to lower income families (Oficina de Planificación Académica, 2008). The persistence and graduation rates of these private institutions are dramatically lower than those for the University of Puerto Rico system.

Its tuition, comparatively speaking, is lower than most universities in the United States and the colonial state support is also comparatively higher than for public institutions in the U.S. For example, while only six per cent of the budget of the University of Puerto Rico depends on tuition, at similar public universities in the United States, 31 per cent of their operating budgets are derived from tuition. On the other hand, state appropriations provide 65 per cent of the operating budget for the university of Puerto Rico while for public universities in the United States the corresponding share is 41 per cent. But gradually, after the defeat of the student strike in 1981-82, the share of the operating budget derived from tuition has gradually increased. According to the office of the vice president of academic affairs report, from 1981-2001, the state appropriations were reduced from 45.6 per cent to 35.6 per cent while the share of income from tuition increased from 12.9 per cent to 18.1 per cent.

In a nation with a median family income of $20,425, a third of the United States median family income ($58,526), every tuition increase excludes working and middle class students to the most important social mobility tool the state provides, a university education. The poverty rate in Puerto Rico in 2008 was 45.4 per cent which is three times as high as the rate of the United States overall. Any state policy that limits access to students from lower socioeconomic levels will increase the social and economic inequality in a country that already is extremely unequal.

In 2008, the new colonial government elected was the New Progressive Party, a political party that is neither new nor progressive and which represents the most conservative strata of the island social and economic elite. This party supports statehood for Puerto Rico and through a platform which promised to solve the economic crisis that has been revealing itself in the colonial model since at least the 1970s, was able to get massive support. The previous Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila, was indicted on more than 20 counts of fraud by the Federal Court in Puerto Rico during the electoral year. Some have argued that it was punishment for the timid efforts of its government in investigating the FBI assassination of a prominent leader of the Ejercito Popular Boricua-Macheteros, a guerrilla organization that had remained relatively dormant during the previous 15 years. Filiberto Ojeda Rios, was shot by an FBI Hostage Rescue Team sniper. He bled to death because the FBI did not allow medical teams to provide medical assistance. Surprisingly, while most Puerto Ricans do not support independence there was a strong national response to the assassination and his funeral was attended by thousands of mourners. The electoral weakness of the Popular Democratic Party led it to take timid steps to keep the support of those pro-independence voters who in order to stop the electoral advance of the proponents of statehood were voting for the colonial party. Ironically, Acevedo Vila lost the election and Luis Fortuño won the elections in a landslide. Surprisingly, soon after Governor Fortuño took office in 2009 all the federal charges against former Governor Acevedo Vila were dropped.

The new governor was active in Republican Party politics in the United States. Contrary to most of the other recent New Progressive Party governors, like former governors Pedro Rosselló and Carlos Romero Barceló, who were members of the Liberal wing of the Democrat Party, Governor Fortuño is closely linked to the island’s social and economic elite and to the conservative wing of the Republican Party in the United States. While there is no Republican Party in Puerto Rico, there is a political structure that participates in the primaries and sends delegates to represent Puerto Rico’s “Republicans” in the Republican National convention.

The Collapsing Colonial Economy

Puerto Rico has been in a recession for more than four years. The Gross National Product has declined by more than 10 per cent (Lara, 2009). Governor Fortuño surprised many when in response to the grave economic recession and the large budget deficit ($3 billion, 30 per cent of the island’s budget) facing the island he gathered a group of the financial elite to develop a plan to address the economy. Partially in response to the plan, legislation was approved (Law 7, March 2009) which allows the state to eliminate more than 20,000 public sector jobs, privatize public sectors of the state, through a gimmick called “Public-Private Alliances.” Law 7 also allows the state to bypass collective bargaining agreements, create the private public partnerships and enable the state to institute cuts in government operational costs of more than $2 billion. These “partnerships” would allow the private sector to take over the most profitable segments of the public sector and run them as profit-making enterprises.

Every previous efforts to privatize public sectors of the state since 1989 have ended up in disaster. The Telephone company of Puerto Rico, one of the most profitable and modern public enterprises in the island was privatized by the administration of Governor Pedro Rosselló in 1998, this led to a general strike that was unable to stop the process. The phone service today is worse than it was before and the stream of income that was used to finance education was lost and the income from the sale was used to poorly finance a very expensive health care system that has dragged down the economy of the island. The Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AAA), a public agency with manages water and sewers, also experienced privatization as have many formerly public services. Scandalous frauds and inefficiencies have marked all these privatization efforts.

Puerto Rico today has one of the highest private and public debts in the world. In the last 12 years the public debt has rise from $19.500 billion to $47,700 billion which creates a very high burden because of the cost of loans to finance this debt. Also, at a time when the island’s infrastructure is in need to a major investment. The social fabric of the island is also a disrepair, the murder rate is one of the highest in the world, domestic violence has increased and the drug trafficking related violence forces working and middle folks to live inside of home with gates and security. Contradictorily, United States corporations operating in the island, from pharmaceuticals to enterprises making medical instruments have benefitted from Puerto Rico’s highly skilled labor force transferred $33,330 billions in profit to their main headquarters in the United States and only paid $27.4 millions in taxes. The island has one of the lowest corporate taxes in the world. Yet, its economy is, relatively speaking, in worst shape than it was in the 1970s.

It is in this context that the administration of the University of Puerto Rico decides to place the burden of a $280 million deficit on the backs of the students by proposing a tuition increase. In his message to the nation April 26, in the midst of the student strike, Governor Fortuño called the students “privileged” because 81 per cent of the costs of the system of higher education are paid by the state. He failed to mention that the university, for every 100 jobs creates 57 jobs in the Puerto Rican economy, which means it has a positive economic impact higher than construction, agriculture and hotels. He also failed to mention that the University of Puerto Rico increased its external funds (grants and investigation) from $106 million to $187 million during the 2001-2008 period a 11 per cent increase.

This deficit is in part due to the effect of Law 7 and the elimination of funding streams that previously had gone to the university and the fact that close to $300 million in debts owed to the system have not been collected. But also in part ot the collapse of the colonial model and its reliance on external investment and low taxes. In Puerto Rico the tax burden has fallen on idnividuals, with 60 per cent of the tax burder borne by individuals and only 40 per cent by corporations. This contrasts with nations like Singapur, who despite a dependence on external investment, have a tax system where corporations pay three times what they pay in Puerto Rico (PIP, 2005).

The students, who already had already been participating in the social movement against the neo-liberal cuts and the firing of thousands of public workers joined the labor movement in a national general strike on October 15, 2009. The university of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras was closed on that day of protest. Given the political and social context it is not surprising that the students decided in one of the largest student assemblies ever gathered at the UPR to strike. Initially for 48 hours and later, if no response was received from the administration, an indefinite strike would begin. The administration, did not take the students seriously and the students began an indefinite strike. Through a careful process of organizing the strike spread through the 11 campus system and a national negotiating committee was selected to represent all the universities in the system. The only campus that did not close was the Medical School although they held a number of limited strikes. The role of medical students in teaching hospitals and clinics led many to limit their role in the strike.

Contrary to the 1960s and building on the strategies used by UPR strikers in the 1981-82 process, a policy of “no confrontation” was strictly adhered to, forms of participatory democracy were utilized. The students created social networks in Facebook, Twitter, My Space and also created a low watt radio station (Radio Huelga) which transmits across the world on US STREAM. This station rapidly became the best source of music and news developing in the course of the strike. The role of culture as a way of promoting the strike and enabling the spirit of struggle to be maintained was also strategic. Performance art, guerrilla theater, musical concerts, and a broad array of international and national support reached levels never experienced in previous struggles. For the first time LGBT organizations were visible participants in the strike and the clear and visible role of women leadership was clear and important. Parents of the students organized, the Bar Association, labor unions, religious organizations organized events supporting the students. The faculty union and the clerical workers union decided to not cross student picket lines. The faculty of all the 11 universities gathered in the campus of the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey and voted to strike if violence was used against the students. While violence was used at various time against the strikers it was not as systematic as it was in previous decades.

In recent days, Governor Fortuño ordered police forces out of the university confines (intense use of the police at the university gates led to increase in crime rates), the governing party, New Progressive Party Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. publicly disagreed with university authorities and called for negotiations and no sanctions for the students.

The negotiations between students and the university are advanced, a mediator agreeable to both parties was named and it is expected that one of the longest strikes that has challenged neo-liberalism in Puerto Rico will soon end with a student victory. Neo-liberalism experienced a defeat, but the struggle is not over. Contrary to ivory tower social analysts who had argued that the national identity of Puerto Ricans had diminished in its strategic role in Puerto Rico or that students should be pragmatic and bend to the necessity of the present times, students during a symbolic graduation sand the national anthem, with the revolutionary lyrics of Puerto Rican poetess Lola Rodriguez de Tió. This strike showed that what seemed dead was just resting and dreaming that another nation was possible in a new day .

*Dr. Rodriguez is a professor in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He received a bachelor in arts in history at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, and his master and doctorate in Comparative Culture (Sociology) was received at the University of California, Irvine. He is a national speaker and activist on Puerto Rican and Latino issues, was student and labor activist at the University of Puerto Rico, and as an anti racist trainer organizer has worked with social service agencies, police departments, universities and religious organizations across the United States. His research focus is race and Latino identity and its impact on political behavior and education. He is also an activist in the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. his most recent book on racialization is Latino Politics in the U.S.: Race, Ethnicity Class and Gender in the Mexican American and Puerto Rican Experience. Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt Press, 2005 was the recipient of an honorable mention in the Gustavus Myer Center Outstanding Books Awards process in 2005.

**Oldest Colony refers to the title of a book by Jose Trias Monge "The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World." Monge was one of the architects of the present colonial status of Puerto Rico called "Estado Libre Asociado."

References Cited

Jose L. Cruz Rivera. “Acarreo, Retencion y Graduacion” Taller de Gerencia Academica, RUM, 19 de mayo, 2008. Vice-Presidente Asociado de Asuntos Estudiantes, Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Gladys Escalona de Mota. “Política institucional de no confrontación del recinto de rio
Piedras de la Universidad de Puerto Rico” Circular Num. 42, Año 2004-2005 issued on February 9, 2010.

Juan Lara. “Is there life after ARRA? Is the life during?” Advantage Business Consulting. February 19, 2009.

Oficina de Estudiantes, Vicepresidencia de Asuntos Académicos. “Sobre el Presupuesto de la Universidad de Puerto Rico” Universidad de Puerto Rico 14 de abril de 2005.

Oficina de Planificacion Academica. “Perfil Institutional 2007-08" Universidad de Puerto Rico Recinto de Rio Piedras.

Puerto Rican Independence Party. “Propuesta para hacer justicia a los asalariados y a la clase media y para sacar a puerto rico de la crisis fiscal” Agosto 31, 2005.

“Sobre el presupuesto de la Universidad de Puerto Rico” Universidad Hoy

“Universidad de Puerto Rico Informe Anual, 2009-09" Universidad Hoy

“Universidad de Puerto Rico Cifras y Datos” Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Alejandro Torres Rivera. “Las propuestas del CAREF: antecedentes, desarrollos y retos” 2009.

Universidad de Puerto Rico. “Tabla comparativa de los ingresos base del presupuesto operacional - fondo general Años fiscales 1996-97 al 2009-2010" Universidad Hoy

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Median Household Income for States: 2008 and 2009 American Community Survey” September, 2009.


  1. US confesses to be a criminal
    Those who really want to decolonize Puerto Rico should not reinvent the wheel. It is important that we use a decolonization method that the United States (US) government has the least control over, since it was the one who invaded Puerto Rico to make us its colony.
    We should therefore protest peacefully and permanently for Puerto Rico decolonization, based on the 1960 United Nations (UN) resolution 1514 (XV). The UN has thus far issued 34 resolutions asking the US government to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. The US government’s position has been that Puerto Rico is a domestic matter that is out of the jurisdiction of international law. This is obviously a lie. This is why the UN holds an annual hearing about Puerto Rico decolonization.
    Resolution 1514 (XV) says that colonialism is a crime against humanity, because it is a threat to world peace. This international law gives everyone under colonialism the right to use any means necessary to decolonize one’s homeland. Therefore, President Obama’s own White House declaration that Puerto Rico is its colony, in essence is a confession that the United States government is a criminal. To make matters worse, it is an outlaw government run by a Nobel peace prize laureate. It should therefore be the US government behind bars, instead of our Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.
    We have 4 peaceful marches and protests lined up for this year. Please join us!
    1. To the Town Square with Oscar our National Hero. Oscar has been in jail for 34 years for his struggle to decolonize his homeland. Beginning on January 29th, 2016, we will congregate every 29th of the month in each of Puerto Rico’s 78 town squares, and in the diaspora to protest for his release. When Oscar is finally released, we will wait at our town squares to welcome him back home!

    2. The 3rd Oscar – Mandela March in Puerto Rico 2016. On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, we will have this year’s march on the very day that we celebrate the abolition of slavery. We will march at 6 PM from the Capitol Building to the US Courthouse in Old San Juan.

    3. The 3rd Independence March in Puerto Rico 2016. We will have this year’s march as usual just before the Puerto Rico UN Hearing. The date will be set as soon as we know the UN’s date for it. We will march over the Dos Hermanos Bridge into the Condado tourist area.

    4. The 3rd Oscar – Mandela March in New York City. We will march again from Hunter College to the United Nations on the very day of its annual Puerto Rico decolonization hearing. This hearing is usually on the Monday after Fathers’ Day.
    These protests are absolutely necessary, because those who confess they are criminals don’t believe in JUSTICE FOR ALL!