Hey, we know that the current protests and stirkes by University of Puerto Rico students and their allies against the Puerto Rican government’s austerity measures imposed by a fiscal control board might not be as “sexy” as Venezuela and Trump and Ivanka and United Airlines and everything else for the U.S. media, but something is happening in Puerto Rico and it needs more attention.
We can let our U.S. media colleagues that just as recent as this Tuesday afternoon, protesters demonstrated against the visit of Senate president Thomas Rivera Schatz, who was meeting at the Sila María Calderón Foundation, just a few blocks away from the main UPR-Río Piedras campus.
In fact, we can even share the almost three-hour Facebook Live video from the amazing team at Diálogo PR, which has been covering the student movement consistently and digitally for a while now:
At some point in that video (around the two-hour mark), you can see the tension between police an protesters, as Rivera Schatz drives away. And, if you actually took the time to read the entire Diálogo PR story (it’s in Spanish), you would see that what started as a peaceful protest turned violent. There’s even a photo of an unidentified officer pointing pepper spray at someone:
You can also check out videos on Twitter:
— Karlo (@josekarloo) April 25, 2017
— Esteban Dido (@FabricandoVida) April 25, 2017
And if you really want to find out more, follow @PulsoEST, which has been tweeting about what the students want to do, why they are striking, why they are following an Occupy strategy and why they feel that current austerity measures to UPR and other services in Puerto Rico are unjust and colonial.
The information is all there. It’s been there for a while now. It could be a story that U.S. media should be paying attention to. Imagine if this were happening at any university on the mainland. The cable networks would be reporting live with minute-by-minute updates.
The question is: why aren’t they? Part of the answer is that it’s pretty clear to us that this type of narrative doesn’t match with what Americans have been force-fed for the past year: Puerto Rico has a debt crisis. Wall Street people need to get paid. Let’s work in a bipartisan manner to establish a fiscal control board to put these Puerto Ricans in line. In the meantime, let’s downplay this story here on the mainland and also not encourage the Puerto Rican press to cover this story more courageously. Let’s make sure that Puerto Ricans on the island also discredit the student movement, saying that it is insignificant. Neocolonial resignation is in high form these days, but the students don’t care.
In the meantime, for those who don’t need the U.S media to be informed, keep following this story via social media and start speaking out.