Students march to stop public education funding cuts in Puerto Rico
LOUIS, MO – Today I marched with students from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) to a place where the federal fiscal control board signed off on plans to cut funding for public education, and close campuses and schools across the island.
Once the march reached the convention hall two rows of police formed behind a metal blockade barring the students from having a seat at the table and a say in what was about to happen to their future.
The imagery brought to fruition what it means to live under America’s last colony. American citizens in Puerto Rico don’t get to vote for their president, do not have a voting member to represent them in Congress. In America’s last colony, an unelected seven-member panel called the Federal Fiscal Control Board has the final say over what decisions are made in reference to “managing” the unpayable predatory debt.
A Puerto Rican woman explained how the plans by the fiscal control board and current governor will make Puerto Rico uninhabitable for many Puerto Ricans, displacing them and making the island a paradise for the wealthy to flood in from the States. “The purpose of both, the government of Puerto Rico and the U.S., is to kick us out of our country,” she said. She shared that her retirement from UPR as a professor is $410 a month, and that today’s deal will cut down her retirement even more. “Tell your friends and family that a great resistance is growing, the independence movement is not dead,” she said.
Alex Cohen is from Earth Defense Coalition and lives in Missouri.