The Students are releasing the University of Puerto Rico from a choke hold.
Why are the University of Puerto Rico Students on Strike?
One question I have been asked a lot this week from folks in and outside of Puerto Rico is "Why are the University of Puerto Rico Students on Strike?".
The short answer to that question is breaking it down to the three core demands that students are requesting:
1. End to the Budget Cuts
2. No Tuition Increase
3. An Independent Audit of Puerto Rico's Debt.
A discovery visit to understand better the University of Puerto Rico Strike
I wanted to make sure I visited the University and asked as many questions as possible. I wanted to get answers from those who are taking action to defend the University of Puerto Rico.
I would say that my first visit during the strike was more of a discovery visit. It helped me get a better grasp of what actions students are taking.
Let's Give the Students the Credit they Deserve
I arrived to find the best representation of what a democracy should look like. Groups were meeting to coordinate the logistics and the daily events.
I had a chance to find individuals of all ages and backgrounds in solidarity with the students.
The campus was cleaner than I have seen it before and morale was high.
I found familiar faces that have been fighting, for our human rights in many other efforts.
There were activists who are part of protecting Isla Verde's Coast and Contamination from Coal Ashes. Many of the thousands who last year marched against the air fumigation with Naled. So many others who were part of El Campamento en Contra de la Junta.
By walking around the campus, it made me realize how familiar these environments are to me. I felt calm. During the past few years I have been part of many manifestations and all of them ran in a very peaceful way.
The seasoned student leaders know how to get their message across "sans" violence. They are experts at protesting without having to resort to violence.
Protests do Attract those Who Crave Attention
Protests are a place where everyone wants to break through the noise and get their message heard and seen.
When you have large crowds, it can attract people who want the spotlight. Individuals who are detractors to the efforts. These opponents come with their hidden political agendas.
The Modern Public Relations Martyr
Some of these folks claim to act like martyrs and victims when they are not.
The selfish reasons of the detractors why they go out of their way to provoke.
The Nutty and Nameless Professor
Sadly one of the biggest highlights for the masses was a professor who shall remain nameless in my post. In a past protest, this individual assaulted a student as he broke the picket lines and put a student in a choke hold.
Since I practiced Judo and received military unarmed combat training, I understand the dangers of using a choke hold. It makes it hard for me to understand why a professor would grab a student when there was not threat to him. We all know the outcome of when an NYPD cop murdered a man named Eric Garner by using a chokehold.
The Nameless Professor arrived at the University with the intentions of provoking students.
He dressed in the same jersey he wore when he assaulted a student.
He made his rounds trying to push his propaganda towards folks who were not interested.
Most of the videos from the press show a fellow professor Antonio Carmona Baez confronting the agitator. Because those present know how violent the agitator could be, he decided to take him outside of the perimeter to make sure he left safely.
In one video there is an individual who spits on the professor and the professor does not even react.
The student groups repudiated the act of that one person who made a poor choice. This was more of an insult than presenting any actual injury to anyone.
The professor who will remain nameless in my this blog post created a situation where he put everyone at a peaceful protest at risk. Many decided to ignore the violent professor's background. The same way they ignore the actions of a man who physically, verbally, and sexually abuses women decides he will continue being the mayor of a principal city in Puerto Rico.
Let's put the spotlight on those who deserve it.
The lazy press decided to ignore the actions of Antonio Carmona Baez, a professor that on many occasions asked the nameless teacher to leave the place. In videos, you can see how Antonio Carmona asked time and time again to stop provoking the students and others in the manifestation.
Antonio Carmona even makes an invitation to have the nameless professor join the students in the University of Puerto Rico Strike.
Antonio debated with the Professor and with respect countered every weak point the teacher brought up. The video makes the nameless teacher even contradict himself on a few occasions.
Profesor agitador, Conlan.
Posted by Alvin R Couto de Jesus on Wednesday, March 29, 2017
In summary, the unnamed professor was not there for the well-being of the community. He was there because he wanted to do some research for his clients.
While many of us dedicate part of our lives to activism, this professor is worried about working a bit harder to serve his customers.
The part that 's hard for him to see is that the actions of La Junta de Control Fiscal will affect a lifetime and multiple generations. His inconvenience is one that is temporary. What is being done to the UPR will last for generations.
We support the students who defend the UPR. If these measures are put into place, everyone will be impacted long term.
The University of Puerto Rico Can't Breathe
In the future, I ask anyone that is around when the nameless professor at future manifestations, don't give him your attention. Much less have him seem like he is physically threatened by those who get tired of his abuse and antics.
Remind him and others that one of the reasons for the strike is because the University is being suffocated.
The same way he put a student in a choke hold, the Junta de Control Fiscal is trying to squeeze the last breath out of the University. Yesterday I saw that many would not allow that to happen.
I suggest a simple response with a phrase used in many civil rights protests associated with Eric Gardner's unfortunate death. One phrase that also shows the severity of his past actions.
"I can't Breathe, I can't Breathe, I can't Breathe."
He can't take the oxygen out of the many efforts with his violent acts and public relations stunts.
To those donating and making sacrifices to keep the UPR alive, I have to chant a big thank you and the following phrase:
"Lucha Si Entrega No"