Puerto Rico’s May 1st Strike/ Declaration by ARTistasXlaUPR

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In Puerto Rico, many sectors are joining an island-wide strike convened for May 1, 2017, to demonstrate their rejection of the fiscal and labor policies of the administration of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and the fiscal control board. This National Strike has been promoted by Puerto Rico’s main unions, numerous multisector organizations, students of the endangered University of Puerto Rico (UPR) system, and artists across the island. Artists have united in a group called ARTistasXlaUPR [Art/Artists for the UPR] who stand in support of the university students. One of the main fears, shared by many, is that the draconian cuts to the UPR’s budget is meant to dismantle the university system as a whole—a process, which in my opinion, seemed to begin with the Luis Fortuño administration (from 2009 to 2013).  Here is a letter of declaration by ARTistasXlaUPR:

Declaration

Faced by the outrage caused by the siege of the Puerto Rico Board of Supervision and Financial Administration and the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PRomesa), especially of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and its eleven campuses, members of ARTistasXlaUPR hereby officially endorse the university students’ walkout opposing cuts to the UPR budget.

We, the members of ARTistasXlaUPR, categorically reject the imposition of cuts to the UPR by the Board of Supervision and Financial Administration of Puerto Rico and the colonial government of Puerto Rico, which complies with its mandates. Such draconian cuts do not promote a better economy of the allocated resources, but rather serve as a financial blow meant to dismantle the University of Puerto Rico.

The destruction of the university budget, which the Board—supported by the PRomesa Bill—intends to impose on the UPR, promises the reversion of 140 years of affordable higher education to broad socioeconomic sectors of Puerto Rico, thus intellectually and economically destroying these sectors, which, among other effects, will deepen the existing economic depression. On the other hand, the Board and the government of Puerto Rico are disregarding the payment owed to the University of Puerto Rico for services already provided by the schools of the UPR to the government of Puerto Rico.

We will also denounce and fight the negative narrative that undermines the institution of the UPR and especially its students during this political, social, and economic juncture that Puerto Rico is facing.

Therefore, like the students and broad sectors of the population, we demand that the debt be audited and that the Board of Supervision and Financial Administration and the colonial government desist from the proposed cuts to the UPR for being an act of violence against the heritage of our country.

For the record, we sign this declaration today, April 17, 2017, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Margarita Fernández

María D Zamparelli

María Antonia Ordóñez

Emilia Quiñones

Edwin Velázquez

Marie Court

Nick Quijano

Marilú Carrasquillo

Ivette Romero-Cesareo

[. . .]

[. . . More than 100 people have signed the petition so far. Photo above: “San Juan” by Ivette Romero.]

Also see a letter from the Diaspora: “Open Letter in Solidarity with the University of Puerto Rico”  http://www.80grados.net/open-letter-in-solidarity-with-the-university-of-puerto-rico/; many thanks to Mariantonia Ordóñez for bringing this item to our attention.

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