Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The un-STATE-ly Behavior of the P.R. Government continues....

Back in April of this year, students at the University of Puerto Rico went on strike. The strike was over proposals by the University to cut back on its deficit by eliminating vital programs, limiting scholarships and increasing tuition fees. The universities history is one not without its political struggles, such as in a 1970 protest in which students were beat down by SWAT teams. The present has proven to be entirely different in that the protesting students have displayed a discipline, unyielding and mature approach to the issues.

Unlike the students, the Universities administration and the current Government administration have shown a somewhat rancid demeanor. A rally on May 20 at the San Juan mall, Plaza de las Americas, ended with injuries, arrests and pepper spray. Another at a Sheraton Hotel, where the Governor, Luis Fortuño, was attending a conference, ended with the same results.  Many contested the strike as more of an unnecessary stoppage by the students but what it really reflected was the social crisis facing the island. A high unemployment rate, a financial crisis and you add in increases to tuition and decreases to services and an education becomes an even more unattainable goal.  Throughout it all, the Governor seems out of touch, sending in the police force is like the easiest of responses.

Let's fast forward to the now and we have, yet, another student strike. With tuition hikes still looming, as Ed Morales reported, a private contracted security firms operatives were threatening students. This smelled of an administration which was hoping for a confrontation which never occurred but rather turned on them. And so, after a more than 30 year absence (a non-confrontational policy) from the Universities campuses, the Puerto Rico police force has entered onto campus grounds. Based on protesting student demeanor, this is an unnecessary move, one that equates to want of provocation by both University and Government administrations. It is they, whom clearly overreact.  The un-State-ly behavior of the current fascist-leaning Government continues as the student struggle continues.

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