While the world celebrates the democratic revolution in Egypt, major violations of basic human rights are occurring in Puerto Rico.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union in Puerto Rico, since Governor Luis Fortuño came into power two year ago, free speech has been under assault.
The following events have taken place recently. Thousands of public workers have been laid off and had union contracts terminated, leading to thousands of people peacefully protesting over the past year. One event turned out over 100,000 peaceful protestors and while in New York City hundreds marched on May Day, in Puerto Rico’s May Day turned out an estimated 30,000 citizens.
At a protest at the steps of the Capitol Building over the closing of access to legislative sessions, access that is constitutionally mandated, protestors were beaten mercilessly, pepper sprayed and shot at by Puerto Rico Police. The same has happened at other locations.
Since taking the oath of office, the current administration which owns all three branches of government, has set to quash Freedom of Expression. In Puerto Rico, Expression has been in the form of protests against government policies, such as the firing of approximately 26,000 workers in total; privatizing government, closing off access to public information and legislative sessions, attempting to close down the University FM radio station during periods of civil unrest and going after the Puerto Rico Bar Association, which has a mandatory integrated Bar and is Puerto Rico’s oldest institution. The 171 year old Puerto Rico Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico) has historically been a known focal point for liberal dissent against government policies.
Gov. Fortuño, who is considered a ‘rising star’ in the Republican Party, has publicly committed to not allowing what he calls “extreme left” protests and expression. On February 11,
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