The following letter was sent to us by a friend of the LRP-COFI in Puerto Rico. We reprint it here, with permission, for the interest of our readers. For background on recent Puerto Rican politics, please see U.S. Military Out Of Vieques! in Proletarian Revolution No. 60 (Winter 2000), and Puerto Rico: For Mass Action Against U.S. Imperialism in Proletarian Revolution No. 61 (Summer 2000).
These nationalists are finally starting to see that their alliance with the Sila’s PPD is a big mistake! I think what finally opened some people’s minds was Sila’s unwavering support of Jorge Collazo as Drug Czar. Jorge Collazo was a key player in the Cointelpro carpetas/subversivo program and the Cerro Maravilla slayings – linked with the FBI dirty tricks/dirty war against independentistas. This harsh controversy played on the media for over a month, it was certainly a political mind opener. Now Sila goes to the imperialist homeland and behold after a few days – returns with a new program that effectively downplays her former promises of legislative battle against the Navy in Vieques. Her watered down stance certainly takes away the veil of militancy that had covered her actions for the past two years.
It’s certainly refreshing to hear that some nationalists are considering expanding their anti-Navy slogan to all the military in PR. I wonder where they got that idea? What’s not refreshing is that they still insist on the civil disobedience strategy and don’t mention the about-face the Catholic Church is slowly taking by dispatching the most vocal and militant Monsignor Corrada to TYLER, TEXAS and its defense of Jorge Collazo after contacting the Bush White House.
The Sila-independentista electoral alliance has been severely shaken by these events with the more conservative independentistas calling for an extension of the alliance while the more leftist are certainly calling for mass demos and a return to the former campaign of trespassing on Navy occupied land and the arrests. However they have avoided calling for a proletarian general strike which comes as no surprise to us. The union bureacracy is certainly quiet licking its wounds from several corruption scandals like the theft of $24 million from the Teachers Union health plan – teachers are unable to use their health plan but must continue to pay in to it an average of $200 a month (10% of their pay checks).
All this is happening against a backdrop of plant closings as the 936 tax shelter is winding down. Last week, the Star Kist Cannery announced the closing of their plant in Mayaguez – 1,200 workers stand to loose their jobs with an additional 800 from support plants. These closings are announced almost daily. The union bureaucracy is quiet about this also. As unemployment is rising, the government announces a $700 million operational deficit, municipal workers are getting their workdays slashed by 1 or 2 hours from already short days.
Plant closings have become a hotter political issue than Vieques. The mood seems to be that the battle over Vieques will be long and uphill as Sila and the Church cover their tails. The nationalists are quiet and Berrios and the PIP are silent on the issue – well the elections are over – and they delivered the independentista vote – now they will quietly collect the yearly $3 million that the bourgeois colonial government pays them for their loyal oppposition (electoral fund).
19 March 2001