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Puerto Rico

Solidarity from Puerto Rico to San Francisco

Tuesday 3 May 2016, by Rafael Bernabe

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

It is with great pleasure that I send this message of solidarity on behalf of the Working People’s Party of Puerto Rico (Partido del Pueblo Trabajador-PPT), to all those congregated and marching in support of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10 at the ports of San Francisco, California.

Although we are separated by thousands of miles, land and sea, our struggles are the same. We applaud your courageous efforts in closing the ports of your city, calling attention to the situation of workers in San Francisco and all over the United States. Your call is our call: for $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to racist policing, the expansion of voters rights and quality education for all, as a human right.

Since 2010, the PPT has established itself as an electoral party of social movements, dedicated to defending the rights and interests of Puerto Rico’s working class, the decolonisation of our island-nation, and the fight against neoliberal austerity. This year, our battle is two-fold. First, our electoral campaign is dedicated to challenging the two-party system that for nearly 50 years has kept our people chained to economic dependency, under schemes of unsustainable development and corrupt politics. Secondly, we reject the prescriptions that the Republican- controlled Congress has been preparing in order to solve the infamous debt crisis which beleaguers Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), currently in draft, proposes that a Washington-appointed governing board (Junta) take control over all the island’s public financial and fiscal affairs, in order to pay for an unsustainable and unjust debt that has not even been audited. It proposes that minimum wage should be reduced to below the federal standard, to $4.25 per hour for people under 25 years of age; deregulation of environmental standards; privatization of public lands and beaches and our Electric Power Authority. With not a single elected official having word on the proposed board, we denounce the plan as anti-democratic and catastrophic for the people of Puerto Rico.

Today, in San Juan, we join all of our country’s trade unions, together with social movements, poor communities and environmental organizations marching in front of Puerto Rico’s Capitol building to protest PROMESA and all austerity policies.

We salute also the people of Puerto Rico who are found among your ranks, and all those who were forced to leave their country in search of better job opportunities. We hope that in the labour movement of the United States, their call for social justice is heard.

Finally, we appeal to the working people of the United States to join us in demanding that President Barack Obama release our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who has served 34 years behind bars without ever being properly accused and tried, and whose only crime was to support the independence of his country. [1]

To this end, we wish you a very happy yet combatant International Workers’ Day with hopes that the future will see the strengthening of ties and solidarity among our labour organizations.

Un abrazo solidario,

Rafael Bernabe

Gubernatorial Candidate for the Working People’s Party, 2016

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Source abrepaso.