Solidarity Network: “ALL OUT FOR CALIFORNIA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE 2013”

California prisoners started a hunger strike and work actions today for basic human rights.
Support their demands – join us for a demonstration at Corcoran Saturday – July 13th!
Check out this new video!

Edited by Lucas Guilkey & Nicole Deane
Music: Fatgums ‘Kill the Vultures” & The Coup ‘My Favorite Mutiny’
 Published on Jul 8, 2013

JULY 13TH RALLY AT CORCORAN

SIGN THE PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE and become part of the EMERGENCY RESPONSE NETWORK

SIGN THE PETITION TO GOVERNOR BROWN

MORE INFORMATION: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com

In 2011, over 12,000 prisoners and their family and community members participated in statewide hunger strikes protesting the inhumane conditions in California’s Security Housing Units (SHU or solitary confinement). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation promised meaningful reform as a result of those protests, but nothing meaningful has reached the people living in these cages. Prisoners have announced another hunger strike will begin July 8th because of CDCR’s failure to fulfill that promise. Continue reading

San Francisco, October 16: “Free Oscar López Rivera, Puerto Rican Political Prisoner”

West Coast Speaking Tour

CARLOS ALBERTO TORRES (for 30 years a Puerto Rican Political Prisoner)

calling for the freedom of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera

Culture/Music:  Rico Pabon & Las Bomberas de la Bahia- Afro Puerto Rican Bomba
WHEN:  Sunday, October 16, 2011, 4 PM
WHERE:  Mission Cultural Center (MCC)
                   2868 Mission Street, San Francisco (at 25th Street/24th St BART)
$10-50 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
In 1980 and 1981 15 Puerto Ricans were arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy -fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico.  In 1999, after many years of struggle both here and in Puerto Rico,  President Clinton commuted the sentences of most of those who remained incarcerated.  In 2010 Carlos Alberto Torres was granted parole after serving 30 years.  Oscar Lopez-Rivera remains in prison having been recently denied parole.  It is time for him to come home and be with his family and community!
for more information or to endorse:  freeprpp2011@gmail.com
SPONSORS:  Bay Area Boricuas & National Boricua Human Rights Network Continue reading

Police in Puerto Rico Accused of Abuses

[Excerpt from Repeating Islands blog at http://repeatingislands.com/2011/09/08/police-in-puerto-rico-accused-of-abuses/]

Puerto Rico police have a history of abuse, politically repressive violence, and impunity

Charlie Savage and Lizette Alvarez (The New York Times) reported today (September 8, 2011) on the United States Justice Department’s denunciation of the Puerto Rico Police Department, underlining “a ‘profound’ and ‘longstanding’ pattern of civil rights violations and other illegal practices.” Here are excerpts here with a link to the full article below:

In a 116-page report that officials intend to make public Thursday, the civil rights division of the Justice Department accused the Puerto Rico Police Department of systematically “using force, including deadly force, when no force or lesser force was called for,” unnecessarily injuring hundreds of people and killing “numerous others.” The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, says the 17,000-officer force routinely conducts illegal searches and seizures without warrants. It accuses the force of a pattern of attacking nonviolent protesters and journalists in a manner “designed to suppress the exercise of protected First Amendment rights.” Continue reading

Puerto Rico: 15,000 March to End Police Occupation of University of Puerto Rico

Maritza Stanchich, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico

February 14, 2011
Student protests at University of Puerto Rico have broadly mobilized the public against the police occupation of the campus with about 15,000 marching along the main thoroughfares around the urban campus Saturday shouting “¡Fuera Policía, Fuera!” (Get Out Police, Get Out!), in response to police brutality during last week’s volatile start of the semester.

A campus melee Wednesday of apparently indiscriminate police brutality led to more than 25 student arrests, including some who were not protesting, and with serious injuries reported. The day culminated with leaders of the professors organization APPU (Asociación Puertorriqueña de Profesores Universitarios) calling a 24-hour work stoppage, which was then supported by the staff union HEEND (Hermandad de Empleados Exentos No Docentes), to the chants of a crowd of about 1,000 students occupying the iconic clock tower housing Chancellor Ana R. Guadalupe’s office. All the students arrested that day were later released without charges. Thursday afternoon, the Hermandad extended the walkout another 24 hours, leaving the campus desolate for a second consecutive day on Friday. Continue reading

Puerto Rico: Violence Against Student Strike Escalates With Police Brutality and Rubber Bullets

Maritza Stanchich, Ph.D.,Associate Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico

Huffington Post, February 2, 2011

More than 150 students practicing civil disobedience have been arrested in Puerto Rico and riot police on Thursday escalated violent repression of a university strike with brutal arrests and rubber bullets during a sit-in demonstration at the Capitol. As President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for governmental prudence during a historic revolt in Egypt, the most basic free speech rights are under attack with apparent impunity in this U.S. territory of about four million U.S. citizens still grappling with a century-old colonial relationship with the United States.

Meanwhile, the Reaganite Republican and pro Statehood Governor, Luis Fortuño, was again traveling on Friday, with a trip to California sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, though he denied attending a controversial event nearby with the billionaire Koch brothers behind the Tea Party movement. Fortuño’s bold austerity measures and ruthlessness have made him a Republican Party darling, as strategists scramble for Latino leaders they can promote while rejecting immigration reform and with Tea Party followers spewing hate speech against Latino immigrants. Continue reading

Puerto Rico: University student protest wins broad support

December 23, 2010: Students and supporters in Puerto Rico demonstrated against police presence in the UPR and against the $ 800 fee the UPR administration wants to impose on the students. In the evening a concert took place in support of students from the UPR.

UPR supporters swell the ranks of fee protest

December 24, 2010
by Juan A. Hernandez
University of Puerto Rico students  once again received the support of thousands of people in their struggle to avert the imposition next semester of the $800 Special Fiscal Stabilization Fee.

A crowd of several thousand people demonstrated Thursday along with UPR students in a picket line that extended from the main gate of the Río Piedras campus to the intersection of Ponce de León and Gándara avenues.

“We are here with our sons and daughters to defend their education and our university,” said an unidentified woman marching among the students. “We are not troublemakers; we are parents.”

During a press conference Wednesday, labor and community leaders had called for the demonstration in support of the student struggle against the $800 special fee and the presence of police detachments on campus. Community leaders from Villa Sin Miedo (San Juan), Villas del Sol (Toa Baja), Sonadora (Aguas Buenas) and others came to express their support. At the same time, labor leaders from General Workers Union, the Puerto Rico Workers Syndicate, the Puerto Rico Workers Federation, the Electric and Irrigation Industry Workers Union, known as UTIER, and the Puerto Rico Teachers Association and Federation, among many others, also turned out to express their support. Continue reading

Puerto Rico: Police suppressing dissent at University of Puerto Rico

William Ramirez Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union Puerto Rico National Chapter   12-10-10

SUMMARY OF CURRENT STATE OF 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS IN PUERTO RICO
AND ROLE SECURITY FORCES PLAY IN SUPPRESSING SPEECH

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño, has taken down University of Puerto Rico gates and has ordered armed police officers onto the UPR’s Rio Piedras campus (main campus) to assure that from now on there will no longer be any “leftist political activism” on campus and to stop any attempts to call for a student walk out. UPR students called a two day walk out, which ended Wednesday, December 8, 2010, to protest an arbitrary hike in student fees and other related administrative matters. The walk out was a continuation of an earlier UPR general strike. Last week, Marcos Rodriguez Ema, Secretary of the Governorship (Governors Mansion), in a live television interview said he would forcefully remove anyone who dared protest at UPR; that he would “kick their asses (los sacaría a patadas)” off campus.

Just days before, Puerto Rico’s police commissioner announced that he will be dismantling the controversial riot squad of the Tactical Police Unit, in response to US DOJ concerns that may be leading to a patterns and practice case by the United States. The ACLU has been filing complaints with the US DOJ for the past three years and has met with the DOJ in Puerto Rico and DC regarding the ongoing police violence and profiling.

This past Tuesday, December 7, 2010, the first day of the two day walk out, University officials brought on to campus a private security force “Capital Security” comprised of unlicensed and untrained young men recruited off the streets to control student protestors. Immediately, a violent situation emerged; many of these so called “security employees” came in with 2×4’s, wielding open knives and blackjacks, acting more like a goon squad. When interviewed by the press, some “security guards” admitted that they have no experience or training, that their only experience was kicking ass “free of charge” in the streets of their communities and that “here I will get paid for it”. This private security force was to replace the controversial tactical police unit, but has proven to be just as violent. http://www.elnuevodia.com/videos– megustadarcantazos-191847.html Continue reading

Puerto Rico: Students clash with police and security guards over proposed tuition hike

A student, wearing a mask, sits on a barricade during a protest at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico, early Tuesday Dec. 7, 2010. Students raised barricades around the university for a two-day blockade, and clashed with police and security guards in protests of a proposed $800 annual fee. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

December 7, 2010

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: Dozens of students at the University of Puerto Rico have clashed with police and security guards during protests over a proposed $800 annual fee.

The students raised barricades around the school early Tuesday for what they say is a two-day blockade.

One female student was charged with assaulting a police officer and several others broke car windows with sticks and pipes.

Earlier this year, students launched a two-month strike to protest budget cuts and changes to the academic program.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

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‘Machetero’, a film about the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico from US imperialism

[For the new generation of activists, the inspiration, experiences and lessons of the Puerto Rican liberation struggle  and other empire-shaking movements of the 20th Century are the raw material from which strategies of new revolutionary movements will be forged.  This new film begins to ask a critical question for revolutionaries:  Is there a difference between violence and revolutionary violence, and if so, what is it?  There is a distance between that question and the answer, which may only be answered in the struggle of new generations. This film will kindle that discussion and ferment.–Frontlines ed.]

Machetero studies aspects of the Puerto Rican independence movement, with attention to the more radical-minded fighters for freedom. It offers meditation and debate on violence as a means to achieve results in the struggle for dignity. Machetero is artist, writer, producer, and director Vagabond Beaumont’s first feature film. This controversial film has “engendered political discussion and debate within (and outside of) the Puerto Rican Diaspora and has been called one of the most important and insightful underground political films ever made.” In 2008 it was a finalist for Best Film at the Hollywood Black Film Festival and, in the same year, it won the prize for Best First Film at the International Film Festival South Africa. The film has won six awards around the world.

MACHETERO — Synopsis

In the tradition of Gillo Pontecorvo’s Battle Of Algiers, Melvin Van Peebles Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song and Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat By The Door, Vagabond’s MACHETERO is a meditation on violence as a means toward liberation. Post 9/11 definitions, ideas and notions of terrorism are challenged in this highly controversial and experimental film. Machetero is an allegorical narrative that follows French journalist Jean Dumont, played by Isaach de Bankolé (The Keeper, Ghost Dog, Manderlay, Casino Royale, The Limits Of Control), to a New York prison where he interviews Pedro Taino, a so-called “Puerto Rican Terrorist” played by Not4Prophet (lead singer of the Puerto Punk band RICANSTRUCTION).

Pedro is a self-described Machetero fighting to free Puerto Rico from the yoke of United States colonialism. He is obsessed with freedom, freedom for his country, his people and for himself. Jean questions Pedro about his decision to use violence as a means to achieve that freedom. Jean utilizes a global perspective in questioning Pedro, referencing examples of achieving his goals through more peaceful means.  However Jean soon finds that Pedro is well versed in liberation struggles from around the world and their debate over the use of violence as a catalyst for change escalates.

Continue reading

Details on CIA assassins against the 1970s Puerto Rican Independence Movement revealed

Juan Mari Bras, PR Independence fighter and CIA's target

CIA released its Miami hounds on Juan Mari Bras in Puerto Rico

September 28, 2010

Jean-Guy Allard

UNITED STATES intelligence, in its drive to fight the legitimate independence aspirations of the Puerto Rican people, did not hesitate to use its gang of killers in Miami and selected as its prime target Juan Mari Bras and his family.

Declassified documents from the FBI —as part of public hearings taking place before the House Select Committee on Assassinations— demonstrated how Cuban-American hired killers who were preparing to attack Cuba, acted with impunity in close alliance with the Puerto Rican rightwing in order to neutralize the rising tide of the independence movement which had been growing since the middle of the 60s, and took part in several terrorist attempts against the Puerto Rican independence movement.

The group which came together around Juan Mari Bras, the Pro-Independence Movement (Movimiento Pro-Independencia, 1958-1971) and later the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño /PSP), from 1971) constituted a “danger” for U.S. colonial domination. Continue reading

Lolita Lebron, Lifelong Freedom Fighter for Puerto Rican Liberation

Lolita Lebron (1919-2010)

Lolita Lebron, an enduring inspiration for the struggle against colonialism and imperialism, passed away August 1, 2010, at the age of 90.  Lolita Lebron was a Puerto Rican nationalist who led an attack on the U.S. house of representatives on March 1, 1954 with three men: Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irving Flores Rodriguez. More than 240 House members were debating an immigration bill when bullets started whizzing overhead, slamming into marble columns, splintering wood. Everywhere, House members were sliding under desks and running for exits.

Witnesses said they could hear Lolita’s voice above the commotion, and it was a shrill, chilling sound. “Viva Puerto Rico Libre!” Long live free Puerto Rico, she yelled as she and her compatriots unfurled a Puerto Rican flag and blasted away with Lugers and an automatic pistol.

Police found a handwritten note in her purse, alongside some lipstick and Bromo-Seltzer tablets: “Before God and the world, my blood claims for the independence of Puerto Rico. My life I give for the freedom of my country. This is a cry for victory in our struggle for independence . . . The United States of America are betraying the sacred principles of mankind in their continuous subjugation of my country . . . I take responsible for all.”

All the attackers were given minimum sentences of 70 years in prison and after spending 25 years in prison, they were pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Lolita was born in Lares in 1920, a town best known for a revolt, Grito de Lares, waged by Puerto Ricans against Spanish occupation in 1868. Continue reading

Puerto Rico: The Invisible and Recurring Social Struggles in the Oldest Colony in the World

Puerto Rico, a Spanish colony from 1493-1898, has been a colony of the US ever since

by Victor M. Rodriguez Domínguez / June 21st, 2010

Then, all the men of the land surrounded him;
the sad corpse saw them, excited; stood up slowly,
embraced the first man; and walked…

– César Vallejo (1937)

For more than fifty-six days, students at the University of Puerto Rico system, have peacefully occupied ten of the 11 universities in support of a series of measures that could challenge efforts to privatize this public university. Student struggles in Puerto Rico historically have repercussions in the broader society and are woven with the major economic, political and social issues in this United States’ colonial possession. While some social analysts saw this millennial generation as somewhat less militant and political, these events have surpassed any previous social struggles in creativity, strategy and in its use of participatory democratic processes since the founding of the university 107 years ago. Given Puerto Rico’s peculiar colonial status, in a world where colonies are almost extinct, every social struggle becomes, an anti-colonial process. But in this case, this process also becomes a struggle against the neo-liberal policies which have again resurfaced in the policies of the current colonial government to address the extreme economic precariousness of the United States’ colonial project in Puerto Rico. This student struggle exists within the historical context of an anti-colonial struggle in Puerto Rico. When people thought social movements were dead, they somehow stood up and walked. Continue reading

Students’ Victory in University of Puerto Rico Confict

June 17, 2010

After more than four hours of discussion, student leaders from the National Bargaining Committee and the University of Puerto Rico administration signed and certified the final agreement which could soon bring an end to  the 55-day strike at the UPR. The NBC leadership achieved the four fundamental claims the students had continuously insisted on.  The students at all 11 campuses must still ratify the agreements.  The issue of penalties for the striking had been the stalemate that impeded the agreement.

Wednesday, after a heated debate among  members of the Board of Trustees, a consensus on language was finally reached.

INS learned that the intervention of trustee and UPR ex President Norman Maldonado, was key in convincing Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees Ygrí Rivera, to drop her consistent hard line regarding the application of penalties to the strikers. Maldonado had not previously intervened because he was off the island. Continue reading

Showdown Looming in Puerto Rico Student Strike

There is no victory without a fight and we don't fight unless we have to

New York Daily News,  June 9th 2010

Juan Gonzalez

A showdown is looming in the student strike that has paralyzed all 11 campuses of the University of Puerto Rico for more than six weeks.

Late Tuesday, protest leaders rejected a 4 p.m. deadline from university President José Ramón de la Torre to cease their campus occupations and end the strike, which has kept 65,000 students out of classes since April 21. De la Torre and Puerto Rico’s Gov. Luis Fortuño warned the rebellious students they will seek court orders to have them arrested and removed.

The strike, one of the longest and biggest in modern U.S. history, has garnered considerable support from both the university’s faculty and the Puerto Rican public. Yet the mainland press ignores it. Many island residents admire the way the students have resisted massive government cutbacks to one of their most revered institutions.

This Great Recession, after all, has been a far bigger disaster for Puerto Rico than for rest of the nation.  Even before the Wall Street financial collapse, 45% of the island’s population was living below the poverty level. Since then, tourism and manufacturing, Puerto Rico’s main sources of income, have been devastated, and so have government revenues. More than 20,000 public employees have been laid off the past year by Fortuño as he sought to close a huge deficit. The unemployment rate jumped to 17.2% in April, while the pension system for public employees is nearly bankrupt. Continue reading