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Mothers, Students And Teachers Protested — And Were Attacked By Police — At Puerto Rico’s May Day March

Thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets on Tuesday to protest pension cuts, school closures, university tuition hikes and slow hurricane recovery efforts in a march that ended in mayhem as police officers fired tear gas and pepper spray into the crowds.

As the Caribbean island attempts to rebuild eight months after Hurricane Maria, which left thousands of people homeless, jobless and hopeless, leading to a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans into the continental U.S., the protesters fear that emerging austerity measures could create more uncertainty for millions who are already struggling.

The measures, approved by an unelected federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances — known on the island as la junta — include a 10 percent cut to a public pension system, the doubling of tuition at its largest public university and the closure of 283 schools.

Among this week’s demonstrators were countless women, many of them students, mothers and teachers, desperate to be heard, seen and validated in their fight for their island’s stability and self-determination.

Here, some of the Puerto Rican women fighting on the front lines.

1. “No le temo a la represión del estado. Le temo a los que no estan aqui!”

#ParoPR | #paronacional | #defendpr ______ ?: @fistuptv

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2. “Las miradas de la lucha”

3. “Patria somos todos!”

Esto no tiene que ver con partidos… Tiene que ver con tus amigos y familiares que se han visto obligados a huir de la isla porque ya no encuentran cómo sobrevivir aquí. Tiene que ver con los profesionales que se ven forzados a huir porque no encuentran un trabajo decente aquí. Con los niños que pierden sus amigos y tienen que cambiar drásticamente de ambiente porque aquí ya no encuentran una educación pública de calidad para ellos. Con las familias que 7 meses después del huracán todavía no tienen los servicios básicos. Tiene que ver con la contaminación de nuestros alimentos y de nuestras tierras. Tiene que ver con que no nos escuchan y no les importamos. Hoy, 1 de mayo déjales saber que esto tiene que ver con todos. ??✊??? Si sentiste dolor por la patria cuando la viste caer el 20 de septiembre, hoy es el día en que la puedes ayudar a levantar. ¡Patria somos todos! #1demayo #paronacional #puertorico ? por @celeymiranda

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4. “Hasta cuándo, Borikén?”

Paro Nacional, Puerto Rico. #1demayo #paronacional #puertorico

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5. “Protestamos”

6. “Lucha”

7. “Paro Nacional”

Paro Nacional #1rodemayo

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8. “Por ti, por mi y por todxs”

Por ti, por mi y por todxs … #M1 #ParoNacional #PuertoRico

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9. “Se Vende: Mi Universidad, Mi Futuro y Mi Patria”

#ParoNacional

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10. “Hace falta una revolución”

11. “Los que cometen vandalismo día a día visten traje y gobiernan el país.”

12. ¡Basta Ya!

13. “Don’t let the message of this peaceful protest shift.”

14. Nuestros brazos son astas que sostienen la lucha.

#ParoNacional qué mucho me dueles, Puerto Rico.

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15. “Marchamos por nuestro futuro y nuestro presente.”

Marchamos por nuestro futuro y nuestro presente. #ParoNacional

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16. Police tear-gassing protestors

17. “Un pueblo educado es una amenaza a un gobierno corrupto.”

18. “Lucha Sí”

19. “Aquí se respira lucha y resistencia.”

#ParoPR | #paronacional | #defendpr ______ ?: @fistuptv

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20. “Si no hay justicia para el pueblo, que no haya paz para el gobierno.”

#ParoNacional ??✊?

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Read: From Fed Up Teens To Mourning Mothers To Angry Celebs, This Is How Nicaraguan Women Are Fighting Back Against Political Violence

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Running For Governor Of Puerto Rico In 2020

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Running For Governor Of Puerto Rico In 2020

Last week, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, announced that she is running for governor in the 2020 elections.

Cruz, who gained national attention after criticizing President Donald Trump’s slow and shoddy response to Hurricane Maria, announced her run at the Caguas Botanical Garden on Friday.

“I’ve been thinking for a long time, what’s the best way I can serve Puerto Rico … I’m going to do so by becoming the next governor,” she said.

Cruz, who was sporting a t-shirt that read “¡Sin Miedo!” — which is Spanish for “without fear” — began her address by discussing her great-grandfather, who worked as an agricultural laborer, and how the legacy of slavery still impacts Puerto Rico today.

“We have to break away from the chains that tie us down in order to have a promising future and break our cycle of poverty,” Cruz, speaking on Emancipation Day, a Puerto Rican holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery on the island on March 22, 1873, said.

In Puerto Rico, the political party system is linked to the island’s political status. Those who support statehood, like sitting Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, are part of the New Progressive Party, more commonly known by the Spanish acronym PNP. People who want Puerto Rico to remain a US territory side with the Popular Democratic Party, or PPD, the party that Cruz is running in. Finally, those who want the island’s independence from the US often support the Puerto Rican Independence Party, or PIP.

After the Category 4 hurricane ravaged the island on September 20, 2017, Cruz, not Gov. Rosselló, became the face of the island, wading through flood water to help those devastated by the storm and publicly feuding with the president. When announcing her candidacy, she reminded the crowd that Gov. Rosselló’s administration “was unable to count deaths after Hurricane Maria” and “stood by Trump when he threw paper towels at people [in Puerto Rico].”

Cruz also took the opportunity to voice her position on other pressing matters on the island, like repealing the Jones Act, which prevents foreign ships from embarking on the island and thus raises the cost of imported goods, eliminating the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board and calling for an audit of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion public debt.

“The reality is that we still live in an island that fights for food, liberty and land,” she said, referring to the PPD’s Spanish slogan “Pan, libertad y tierra.” “We’re building a new movement within the Popular Democratic Party.”

Last month, Cruz also announced that she would co-chair Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the 2020 presidential race, saying the candidate could create “a new path toward the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico,” including establishing a “new relationship” with the United States.

Read: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Believes Bernie Sanders Could Create A “New Relationship” Between Puerto Rico And The US

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Believes Bernie Sanders Could Create A “New Relationship” Between Puerto Rico And The US

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Believes Bernie Sanders Could Create A “New Relationship” Between Puerto Rico And The US

Bernie Sanders is running for president in 2020, and he just tapped San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to co-chair his campaign.

The Puerto Rican leader, a vocal opponent of President Trump, told NBC News that she’s supporting the Vermont senator, who announced his second bid for head of state on Tuesday, because of their history of working together “for a path for Puerto Rico.”

“A lot of the things he’s been fighting for all his life I’ve been fighting for all my life, things like let’s not put wealth before health,” she said, noting additional shared efforts like education, the rights of people in the LGBTQ community, collective bargaining and more.

In 2018, Sanders co-sponsored, alongside fellow presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a bill to slash Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt. He also introduced a $146 billion recovery plan for the island, though the bill never made it out of committee.

Still, Cruz believes he is the candidate that would create “a new path toward the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico,” including establishing a “new relationship” with the United States.

“In our darkest hour, he was there for us, not because it was politically convenient but because it was the right thing to do,” she said.

The mayor, who reached national fame for criticizing Trump’s slow, shoddy and insulting response to Puerto Rico’s recovery, said this election is “personal.”

“The president came and threw paper towels at us,” Cruz said. “He continues to disregard the pain of people from Puerto Rico.”

She continued: “Right now the United States has a president in the White House who is not up to the job. He does not represent values of integrity and unity, values of inclusion.”

While US citizens, Puerto Ricans living on the island are unable to vote in the general election, though they can vote in primaries.

Cruz is one of four co-chairs to Sanders’ campaign. The others include Sen. Nina Turner (D-Ohio), US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen.

Read: Puerto Rico’s Real-Life Wonder Woman Just Announced She’s Interested In Running For Governor And We Can’t Wait To See What’s Next

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