Here we go. Let the Puerto Rican politics begin.
In one corner, you have the University of Puerto Rico students who are striking to protest a $800 raise in their annual tuition, US Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, and several sympathizers who in general are more pro-commonwealth and anti-statehood.
In the other corner you have the Frente Pro Universidad Abierta (FUA, or Open University Coalition), controversial Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño, and several sympathizers who in general are pushing Puerto Rico to become the 51st state.
Blue vs. red? Democrats vs. Republicans? Nationalists vs. Conservatives? Liberals vs. Tea Party? Yes, it’s all there in Puerto Rico, and it has been a longtime national pastime.
Today, a letter sent from one member of FUA to Congressman Gutiérrez highlights some of the issues coming from the students who do not support the strike, which had grown violent last week before police left the campus. We came across this letter from the Periódico La Razón, a blog hosted by the Puerto Ricans’ Statehood Students Association.
February 21, 2011
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
The Honorable Luis V. Gutierrez
2266 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-1304
I am extremely concerned regarding your recent remarks on the situation occurring in the University of Puerto Rico. As a student of the Mayagüez Campus, I have been doing everything possible to fight against my university being closed, vandalized and disaccredited by radical leftist groups.
I am currently one of the spokesmen for “Frente Pro Universidad Abierta” (FUA), a group that has been leading a campaign to keep all the campuses open and violence-free. As leaders of the opposition to the strike, we have been threatened, insulted and even physically harmed by those “students” that are part of the strike.
The student assemblies have become circuses that by no means function in a democratic way. Our civil liberties and rights have been infringed by those that you so passionately defended during your remarks. The police and authorities have done everything possible to defend our right to study and protect us from those that intend to harm us just because we have a different opinion or point of view.
Those students that you defended are responsible for millions of dollars of wasted federal aid funds, destroying public property, fellow students getting injured, forcefully getting people out of classrooms using smoke bombs, among many other harmful situations. The Río Piedras Campus has become a battlefield for those students that think of themselves as guerrilla soldiers.
With all due respect, you have defended those that are destroying my university, my alma mater, for misplaced political reasons. I sincerely recommend further review of the situation since you have placed the title of victims on those that are the oppressors, the striking students. Nobody knows what is really going on in the University of Puerto Rico unless you live it and experience it. We, the students, have had our fair share of violence towards us, but not from the government or the administration, but from our peers that supposedly are there to “defend our rights”.
I honestly hope that this situation is rectified in Congress as soon as possible. I am an American citizen too and, once again, my civil rights have been infringed by those that you so passionately defended.
Thank you for your time,
Eduardo A. Náter Ramos
Transportation Engineering Graduate Student, University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus
cc: The Honorable John A. Boehner
1011 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3508
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0508
We applaud Mr. Náter Ramos for writing to an elected official and using his right to contact Gutiérrez. However, we do have a few questions about this letter that would love to have Mr. Náter Ramos respond. If he reads this blog, he can leave a comment and we can ask him these questions:
- Mr. Náter Ramos, are you a student at the Río Piedras Central Campus, which is in the heart of metropolitan San Juan, or do you attend the Mayagüez campus, which is on the west side of the island, which is about 160 km from the Río Piedras campus?
- What leftist groups are you referring to? Is there an organized leftist group that is directing these strikes?
- So the Puerto Rican government and police force has not harmed UPR students, but UPR students are harming each other?
- If the striking students are the oppressors, how do you explain the incidents of police violence that have been committed on these oppressors?
Thanks. Hope you can answers these questions for my readers.