FBI harassment of participants in the Juan Rius Rivera Brigade from Puerto Rico and other opponents of the U.S. economic war on Cuba is a serious threat to rights working people need in both Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Labor unions, Black rights organizations and all who support free speech and constitutional freedoms should unconditionally speak out against the FBI operation.
At first FBI agents tried to play the good cop. “Let’s just go have some coffee and talk.” When that didn’t work, they claimed they were investigating “criminal activity” or Cuban security “infiltration” of the brigade.
But brigade members refused to talk to the political police. For good reason. The FBI has a long history, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, trying to disrupt any group that stands in the way of the capitalist rulers and their drive to deepen their exploitation of working people. It has spied on and wiretapped union and working-class militants. It’s given the green light to counterrevolutionary groups to assassinate supporters of the Cuban Revolution and Puerto Rican independence. FBI agents or informers have placed bombs and then blamed their dirty work on others. It’s gotten people fired from their jobs and evicted from their apartments.
“Everything we do is public,” said Milagros Rivera, president of the Cuba Solidarity Committee of Puerto Rico. “The FBI is an instrument to perpetuate colonialism in our country. They are trying to intimidate and frighten us and to criminalize our solidarity with Cuba.”
The committee will not be cowed. It’s organizing a protest at the Federal Building in San Juan. It’s already planning next year’s brigade to Cuba to join celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, led by Fidel Castro, and to protest the 125th anniversary of Washington’s seizure of Puerto Rico. That assault marked the birth of U.S. imperialism and the subjugation of Puerto Rico as a U.S. colony.
Within weeks of each other the FBI raided the homes and offices of members of the African People’s Socialist Party in Florida and Missouri; Sen. Marco Rubio called for an FBI probe of Bridges of Love, a U.S. group opposed to the embargo of Cuba; and FBI agents began harassing the Cuba solidarity committee partisans in Puerto Rico. They also raided former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida. If the political police of the capitalist government can violate the constitutional protections of one of their own, think what they will do against the working class.
As struggles by workers and farmers pick up amid the deepening of the worldwide capitalist economic and social crisis, we will confront increasing attempts by the capitalist rulers to use their political police, courts and prisons to stifle our rights, deal blows to our organizations and attempt to frame those who lead working-class resistance as criminals.
That’s why it’s important today to speak out against FBI harassment in Puerto Rico, as well as to defend constitutional protections against government interference whenever, wherever and against whoever they target.