News and Analysis: Puerto Rico
On June 30, riot police in Puerto Rico attacked scores of protesters who were bringing a message to the Puerto Rican legislature as it deliberated on a new budget. Students, teachers and public employees were demonstrating to demand an end to cutbacks and layoffs carried out by the colonial pro-statehood government of Governor Luis Fortuño.
The long tradition of struggle in Puerto Rico was further enriched this year with a successful student strike across the island's public university system. The strike against tuition hikes began on April 21 and was scheduled to last 48 hours, but endured for 60 days before the government finally conceded to the students' demands.
Residents of Vieques, Puerto Rico, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking justice and restitution for severe illness resulting from nearly 60 years of bomb and missile testing. About three-quarters of the island's 10,000 residents are part of the lawsuit.
On Oct.15, after weeks of planning and preparations, Puerto Rico's working-class movement staged a demonstration of 200,000 people. The action was called for under the banner of a national work stoppage, or "paro nacional.
Jobless claims in Puerto Rico reached 19,000 in July, raising the unemployment rate to 16.5 percent. Out of nearly 4 million residents, 219,000 are collecting unemployment. During this crisis, Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuno plans to cut an additional 30,000 public sector jobs.
The author was a member of the Young Lords Party. Forty years ago, news headlines focused on a group of Puerto Rican youth in New York City who used daring and unusual forms of protest against racist oppression.
The historical struggle of the African American people was the inevitable consequence of the introduction of slavery by capitalists in the Western Hemisphere. The collective experience of the African American people over the course of many generations ran parallel to the development of U.