Upon discovering a chat forum in which government officials mocked the victims of Hurricane Maria and employed sexist and homophobic language, the people of Borikén took to the streets to demand the removal of Governor Rosselló. Massive demonstrations coalesced in an attempt to burn the governor’s mansion, La Fortaleza.
On Monday, July 15, the State responded with thugs in riot gear launching tear gas into the crowd that had amassed at the governor’s mansion. While two of his underlings, Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin and Chief Financial Officer Christian Sobrino, have resigned since the forum was discovered, Rosselló refuses to leave office for now, his only concession is that he will not run for a second term.
This is but the latest in a stream of offenses that the people of Puerto Rico have been expected to forgive. The people of Borikén have had to endure Rosselló’s callous approach to the recovery effort after two devastating back-to-back hurricanes– first Hurricane Irma, then Hurricane Maria about two weeks later– ravaged the island in 2017. Rosselló undertook austerity measures that deprived communities of millions of dollars and wreaked havoc on education, housing, agriculture, and other programs and services. Delving back further into history, we see the islands consistently plundered by colonial powers from Spain to the United States, creating long lasting effects from the economic stranglehold to environmental devastation, as in the US Navy’s occupation of Vieques.
Yet despite the ravages of colonial and State power, the people of Borikén have long supported vital resistance and a fight for self-governance. From the first revolts by the Taíno in the 1500’s to the Bolivarian uprisings in the 1800’s to the armed groups of the 1960’s and 70’s, revolutionaries in Puerto Rico have fought tirelessly to kick out colonial powers. The series of direct actions taking place today mark a new chapter in this struggle.
RAM stands in solidarity with revolutionaries who stand ready to fight back and the people of Borikén as they rise up against their oppressors and against the colonial exploitation by the US. We recognize their efforts as bold examples of what it will take, in the long run, to see an abolitionist society realized: a diversity of tactics, an abundance of stamina, and an unshakeable will.