Students, parents and teachers protest May 3 against the closing of the Clemente Ramírez de Arellano school in Manatí, Puerto Rico. Many of the signs say, “Enough already.”
The closing, one of nearly 300 planned by the island’s colonial government, is part of deepening anti-working-class measures being carried out to free up funds to maximize payment to wealthy bondholders on the government’s $74 billion debt.
On May 22 Puerto Rico’s legislature approved slashing the government budget 22 percent. The Financial Oversight and Management Board imposed by the U.S. government — known in Puerto Rico as the junta— is demanding deeper cuts to social services, pensions and labor rights.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of workers and farmers still have no electricity or reliable drinking water or are living in storm-damaged homes, eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Protests against the school closings, cuts to the University of Puerto Rico, the slow pace of restoring electricity and other attacks on workers and their unions are frequent in towns large and small.
Help fund ‘Militant’ reporting trip to Puerto Rico!
The Militant is sending editor John Studer and correspondent Martín Koppel on a fact-finding and solidarity trip to the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico May 25-28. A few weeks later Studer will speak for the Socialist Workers Party at the June 18 annual meeting of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, explaining why the fight for revolutionary change and independence for Puerto Rico is in the interest of working people there, in the U.S. and around the world.
Studer and Koppel will meet with unionists and with students at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. They will visit some of the smaller towns outside San Juan that are still without electricity and talk with working people there who have been part of the recent protests.
Help make this trip possible! Send contributions, payable to the Militant, to 306 W. 37th St, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018.