Today is International Workers’ Day, aka May Day: A historic day of strikes and protests for better conditions, fair wages and other issues pertaining to the working class, including immigrants and undocumented workers, all around the world.
In Puerto Rico, May 1 is typically a big deal; protests often center around San Juan’s financial district. Police response has often been brutal, with authorities employing rubber bullets, tear gas, batons and other means of excessive force against protestors en masse.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still rampant, May 1 activities are somewhat muffled for safety reasons. But activists are taking to the internet—and also employing other means, like protest caravans—to make their voices heard.
Conditions on the island in terms of Covid-19 rates are hard to quantify, as many residents aren’t trusting of the health departments reported numbers, and there is little record of how many tests have been actualized. Resistance groups are calling for widespread testing and financial help (federal stimulus money has yet to be delivered, and unemployment claims and payments have been slow to process), among other issues.
Already an economically blighted population in part due to a decades-long recession and government debt, plus recent major natural disasters and inefficient recovery assistance on local and federal levels, the Puerto Rican people need help now more than ever.
Three Puerto Rican artists well known for their activism have signaled support today via Twitter.
See what Bad Bunny, iLe and Residente—all three major players in last summer’s #RickyRenuncia movement—have to say about what’s happening on the island.
— (@sanbenito) May 1, 2020
Last night’s finale to Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez’s public address was… offensive. Even if it was an expression of relief after finishing the speech, many see this conduct as disturbing, as if the government is laughing in the face of its suffering people.
QUE MANADA DE PAYASOS
— (@sanbenito) May 1, 2020
En Puerto Rico arrestaron a Giovanni Roberto de Comedores Sociales por manifestarse por la inacción del gobierno para alimentar al pueblo. En Puerto Rico hay gente con hambre.
— iLe (@ilevitable) April 30, 2020
Giovanni Roberto is a recognized activist in Puerto Rico, leading up a nonprofit that feeds the hungry. He spoke on behalf of Comedores Sociales in an April 28 feature from El Nuevo Dia. The most recent estimate of Puerto Rico’s poverty rate is 43.1 percent.
Governor Vazquez and her administration denied the opening of public school cafeterias until a few days ago when, after much public protest, she authorized the Department of Education to open a select few.
1 De Mayo:
“Si no hay justicia para el pueblo, que no haya paz para el gobierno” E.Z (Encuentrame en la foto)
Agosto 28, 2009 pic.twitter.com/zzs5eYvRi5
— Rafa Pabön (@RafaPabonMusic) May 1, 2020
“On one side you have a corrupt government. On the other, a social leader who works to feed hungry people. Who do you think the Puerto Rican police arrest? Yes, the one who’s doing the right thing.”
Por un lado tienes a un gobierno corrupto. Por el otro, a un líder social que trabaja alimentando a las personas que no tienen que comer. ¿A quién ustedes creen que arresta la policía de Puerto Rico? Si, al que hace las cosas bien.
— Residente (@Residente) May 1, 2020
Let’s not return to normal, better we start over
No volvamos a la normalidad , mejor comencemos de nuevo..
— Residente (@Residente) April 30, 2020
Check this story for more on today’s protests in Puerto Rico.