Thursday, February 17, 2011

Democracy in Egypt- Repression in Puerto Rico

Luisa (a pseudonym) has been receiving Rosenberg Fund for
 (RFC, support since she was 15 years
old. She's now a student at the University of Puerto Rico
(UPR), the largest university in the Caribbean and the
premier Spanish-speaking institution of higher learning
under the control of the United States. Recently she's been
in touch with our staff and a Board Member because the
computer we purchased for her when she entered college three
years ago required repair. When our Board Member called her
last week to get details, he heard screaming in the
background when Luisa answered. Luisa said she couldn't talk
because she was running from pepper spray and police with
night sticks. (She got away....)

Since December hundreds of UPR students have been passively
occupying their campus to protest massive tuition increases
that have made it impossible for almost one third of the
undergraduates (5000 out of 16,000) to re-enroll in classes
this semester. The students have not been destructive, even
organizing brigades to keep the campus clean. But the
government decided to attack them. The parent of another RFC
beneficiary wrote on January 27th: "Levels of violence used
against Puerto Rican non-violent striking students have
risen exponentially. I strongly urge you to open the photos
and videos (available at of
yesterday's actions, brought to you by the incredible press
people of Puerto Rico, who were also subject to direct
police threats ... [and] were physically attacked, just as
the students were."

Police attacks on the students and journalists echo those
that took place in Cairo, except none of the national
television networks in the United States chose to broadcast
the photos and videos of Puerto Rico that were readily
available to them. Repression in Cairo was headline news,
but similar attacks on non-violent students in our Puerto
Rican colony
 were swept under the rug. Videos from UPR show
police firing rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray, as
well as applying pressure point holds to the non-resisting
students' necks to cause intense pain. Women's groups joined
the protests after videos were released of police groping a
female student's breasts.

Meanwhile, the conservative Republican Governor Luis Fortu単o
of Puerto Rico was on a Heritage Foundation-sponsored trip
to California. He became a most-favored Latino leader in the
Republican Party after he laid off 20,000 public sector
 and began systematically dismantling UPR, which
just happens to be a center of liberal and left-wing

The student strike continued into this month despite the
police violence. On February 7th police armed to the teeth
with shotguns, rifles, and submachine guns were forced to
retreat when the students were reinforced by union members.
To protect the students, the workers formed a human chain
that even the masked SWAT team could not break.

Our federal government's and national media's willful
blindness to what is happening within what is technically
United States territory, while focusing its attention on
Egypt, is monumental hypocrisy. These students are
struggling to save their university. They are risking their
bodies, and even their lives, so they can attend school! It
is past time for all progressives to speak up in support of
these courageous young people.

[Robert Meeropol is the younger son of Ethel and Julius
Rosenberg. In 1953, when he was six years old, the United
States Government executed his parents for "conspiring to
steal the secret of the atomic bomb." Since 1990 he has
served as the Executive Director of the Rosenberg Fund for
Children (, a non-profit, public foundation that
provides for the educational and emotional needs of both
targeted activist youth and children in this country whose
parents have been harassed, injured, jailed, lost jobs or
died in the course of their progressive activities.]


José M. López Sierra said...

Why does Puerto Rico have a higher voter turnout than USA?

Puerto Ricans have a voter turnout of about 80%. The United States (US) citizens have a voter turnout of about 50%. What accounts for this 30 % disparity? Could it be that Puerto Rican believe in democracy more than US mainland citizens?

Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States since 1898. Since that time, Puerto Ricans who have wanted to decolonize their country have been either assassinated or imprisoned. Many Puerto Ricans are terrified of independence for Puerto Rico as a result of 116 years of repression.

Since colonialism is always for exploitation, there are no opportunities in Puerto Rico for Puerto Ricans. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans out, than in Puerto Rico. Therefore, Puerto Ricans are desperate to find a political solution to our eternal colonialism!

Most Puerto Ricans believe that decolonization can be achieved through the electoral process. But the electoral process is ultimately under the control of the government of the United States. Since the US government has ignored 33 United Nations resolutions asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico, and it has maintained incarcerated Puerto Rico political prisoner Oscar López Rivera for 33 years despite worldwide support to free him, there should be no doubt that the US government will never allow decolonization via the electoral process. If it were possible to do it that way, we would not have it!

The better way to decolonize is for that 80% of the Puerto Rico voter turnout to instead protest in the streets to demand our inalienable right to self-determination and independence, and insist that the UN do the decolonization in conformity to international law. After all, colonialism is within the jurisdiction of international law and never under national law. That is why it is a crime against humanity to have a colony under international law, but not so under US law.

José M López Sierra

José M. López Sierra said...

Should criminals be in charge of correcting the wrong they inflicted?

Puerto Ricans vote in elections every 4 years at an 80% level of participation. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States (US) government for the past 116 years. If the US government has the final say in what happens in Puerto Rico, what is the purpose of these elections? The purpose is to fool the world that Puerto Rico is a democracy.

The United Nations (UN) declared colonialism a crime against humanity in 1960. The UN has asked the US government 33 times to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately. The US government has refused. It says that Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States is none of the UN’s business. The US says that it is a domestic affair.

To appear that the US government wants to decolonize Puerto Rico, it promotes the use of plebiscites to determine what Puerto Ricans want. Doesn’t that sounds innocent and democratic? So what’s the problem?

To begin with, the international community already rendered its verdict and determined that colonialism is illegal. So to have a political status option in a plebiscite that favors maintaining Puerto Rico a colony of the United States is not permitted. To have a political status option of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States is also not permitted under international law. The problem goes back to the beginning of this article. In order to have free elections, the country must be free. So before these elections and plebiscite could be valid, Puerto Rico would have to first be an independent nation.

What people must realize is that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US because the US government wants it that way. That is why it has used terrorism to keep it that way. That is why it refuses to release the Puerto Rican political prisoner of 33 years Oscar López Rivera. That is also why it is ridiculous to believe that decolonization is a US internal matter in which the UN has no jurisdiction over. If we allow the US government to decolonize Puerto Rico, she will remain a colony of the United States forever!

José M López Sierra

José M. López Sierra said...

The Second Oscar – Mandela March in New York City 2015

We will be having our 2nd Oscar – Mandela Protest March on Monday, June 22, 2015. We will start marching peacefully at 9 AM from Hunter College on East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue, to East 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue. We will then go East (turning left) to end up at the Ralph Bunche Park on First Avenue (across from the United Nations).

We will be at the park until 5 PM. We will be giving out flyers and talking to people about who Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is. We will also be educating the public about Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the government of the United States (US).

Most people don’t know that every year, usually on the Monday after Fathers’ Day, the United Nations holds its hearing about the decolonization of Puerto Rico. The petitioners will usually join our protest after this meeting.

The UN determined in 1960 that colonialism is a crime against humanity. Since then, the UN has issued 33 resolutions asking for the US government to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. The US government has ignored these resolutions. What kind of democracy is that?

The US government tries to keep these hearings a secret. What we are trying to do is to get them out of the closet. The UN is in its 3rd decade trying to make the world colony-free. Please help us!

Most people also don’t know that the United States government takes out 14 times more money than what it invests in Puerto Rico. But, that is what colonies are for!

This savage exploitation impedes Puerto Rico’s ability to provide opportunities for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans living away from Puerto Rico than in their homeland.

Oscar López Rivera has been incarcerated for 34 years for his struggle to decolonize Puerto Rico. Since colonialism is an international crime, international law gives Oscar the right to use whatever means necessary to decolonize his homeland. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years for doing the same thing as Oscar. This is why we say, Oscar López Rivera is our Nelson Mandela!

United Partners for Puerto Rico Decolonization invites the public to be part of the tsunami of people that will be necessary to make the US government comply with the UN resolutions. These annual protests in Puerto Rico and at the UN are absolutely necessary, because, those who maintain colonies, don’t believe in justice for all!

José M López Sierra