Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party’

Puerto Rico Strikes

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

By Yolanda Rivera
From the October 30, 2009 issue | Posted in International | Email this article

A STRIKING ISLAND: More than 200,000 Puerto Ricans joined a general strike Oct. 15.

puertorico.jpg

PHOTO: SEIU INTERNATIONAL, FLICKR.COM

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—In 1934, the year of the largest sugarcane workers’ strike in Puerto Rican history, Antonio S. Pedreira, a wealthy writer and educator, described Puerto Ricans as lazy and irresponsible: “To be lazy, in our country, is self-repression, lack of mental activity and freewill […] We are squatting before our future.”
Seventy-five years later, the attitudes of Puerto Rico’s ruling elite appear unchanged. Faced with widespread opposition to plans by Gov. Luis Fortuño to fire tens of thousands of public-sector workers and privatize government services, members of the governor’s staff have called workingclass Puerto Ricans “ticks” “garrapata” and terrorists and told them to accept privatization and layoffs because “such is life.”

Fortuño, leader of the Partido Nuevo Progresista (the equivalent of the Republican Party), was inaugurated Jan. 2, 2009. In his first 10 months in office he has fired more than 23,000 public-sector workers despite promising during his campaign that he would not make layoffs. His announcement on Sept. 25 that he was firing nearly 17,000 workers spurred labor, student, religious and community groups to organize a general strike on Oct. 15.

Fortuño’s administration reacted by stoking tensions. Top law-enforcement officials including the justice secretary and police superintendent threatened to charge strikers with terrorism if they disrupted traffic at the island’s ports. Independent observers such as the American Civil Liberties Union described the government threats as “dangerous” and “sowing fear.”

The week before the general strike, 10 campuses of the University of Puerto Rico closed their doors to prevent student protesters from using the facilities to mobilize. During democratic assemblies that gathered record numbers, students had already closed the main university campus in solidarity with fired government workers, including teachers, janitors and other service employees.

Despite the official intimidation, the demonstration and walkout went ahead Oct. 15, drawing an estimated 200,000 people and shutting down most businesses, schools and government activities on the island.

During the protest, numerous workers said the massive layoffs were part an effort to “sell the island,” — to destroying public services in order to justify privatization and provide subsidies to companies owned by associates of the governor.

One marcher carried a sign calling the governor “Fortocho,” a mix of Pinocchio and Fortuño. Another had a picture of the governor as a chicken with the question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” referring to an unemployed worker who threw an egg at the governor during a press conference a few weeks earlier. Others chanted: “So, where’s Fortuño? Fortuño is not here. He’s selling what is left of this country.”

Many people showed their dissatisfaction by scrawling anti-privatization messages on buildings. Others wore masks of the governor’s face while they brandished fistfuls of money. After the march, students blocked the country’s largest highway and kept it closed until the police and some conservative leaders pressured them to abandon their efforts.

With a population of 3.5 million, Puerto Rico has been a U.S. colony since 1898. About 48 percent of the population lives under the poverty level and government layoffs, which represent about 12 percent of the public sector workforce, are projected to push the unemployment rate to 17 percent.

The firings were made possible by Law 7, which passed in March. It allows Fortuño to unilaterally dismiss public-sector workers, overriding labor laws that previously prohibited such actions. Union contracts are no protection either, as Law 7 effectively voids any job protections they may contain. What’s more, Law 7 clears the way for firing more public-sector workers by allowing for “Public-Private Alliances” — a euphemism for handing over government functions to private corporations.

While the governor and pundits claim the mass layoffs are necessary because the government is “too big” and is facing a $3.2 billion budget deficit, Puerto Rico is slated to receive more than $5.7 billion in funds from the U.S. stimulus package passed earlier this year. Fortuño also claims that private companies provide better services and that public-sector workers earn too much. Previous governors used the same justification for prior rounds of privatization that ended in disaster.

Pedro Roselló, governor from 1992 to 2000, privatized health services and sold hospitals. While insurance companies fattened their profits by delaying payments and services, enabling them to earn interest on public funds, the population has seen co-pays increase and intolerable delays in basic and urgent care, as in the case of cancer patients. Moreover, government officials under Roselló reportedly stole money from an organization that provided services for AIDS patients. In 1998, Roselló also sold Telefónica de Puerto Rico, a public telephone company, an action that triggered an enormous two-day general strike.

The following governor, Sila Calderón, the first female governor in the island (2000 to 2004), outsourced billing services in the Public Water Authority to ONDEO, a French company, which failed to meet the terms of its contracts but was paid $540 million. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, the governor from 2004 to 2008, privatized testing services in the Department of Education and signed numerous contracts for millions of dollars with charter school organizations while denying salary increases to public school teachers. The independent teachers union, Federación de Maestros, staged a successful strike and won salary increases.

Puerto Rican workers have also seen massive layoffs in the private sector as the economy has been in recession for more than four years now. The governor claims privatizing public services will create 200,000 new jobs by 2013. The government’s development plans include promoting medical tourism; privatizing much of the public energy authority; displacing poor communities to build expensive apartments and shopping malls; and a luxury resort, casino and marina on a former U.S. naval base. Few believe Fortuño’s promises, however, given the mass layoffs he claimed would never happen.

Laid-off workers have few options. Even if they manage to land a job, an abysmal rate of private-sector unionism, less than 3 percent, means few protections. Private companies will not recognize decades of service in the public sector, offer health insurance or match government salaries.

Meanwhile, despite promises of state support, fired workers wait in unemployment lines so long that people arrive the day before their appointment at the Labor Department to claim benefits; their only alternative is accepting a government offer of $2,000 to leave the island.

While a large number of Puerto Rican workers and students are resolved to fight the government’s policies, the movement is divided. The ruling elite are banking on this. Following the general strike, Fortuño’s Chief of Staff, Rodríguez-Ema, said, “I know we will prevail since the movement is divided.”

The most conservative unions and political organizations are allies of the former ruling party (Partido Popular Democrático, the equivalent of the Democrats). The conservative unions, some of which seem most concerned with not losing union dues, are affiliated with large U.S. unions, such as the SEIU. These unions are mostly organized under Law 45, instituted in 1998, which allowed for unionizing public-sector workers while taking away their right to strike. Many of these workers had previously been in more militant labor “associations.”

Conservative and moderate groups are interested in getting concessions from the government even if this means reducing working hours for all public-service workers or eliminating the government’s contribution to the workers’ health insurance. During the 1998 strike against the sale of the public telephone company, leaders in some of these unions and organizations demobilized a mass-based movement that put up to 500,000 people in the streets. They negotiated a truce with the government, and the telephone company was finally sold.

While the Oct. 15 mobilization marked a big step forward, halting and reversing privatization will require a still higher level of struggle. Independent unions, such as the university non-teaching employees union, called for a workers’ party during the march. The Federación de Maestros, the teachers’ union that held a strike under the former administration; the union of electric company workers; and political organizations such as la Organización Socialista Internacional and the Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores called for organizing from below. These unions and political groups, together with other community organizations and university professors (Asociación Puertorriqueña de Profesores Universitarios), have supported calling a general strike in the future.

Yolanda Rivera is a member of the Organización Socialista Internacional. Lee Sustar contributed to this report.

The Black Agenda Report article opposing Sotomayor

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Sonia Maria Sotomayor — She’s No Clarence Thomas, But No Thurgood Marshall Either

By Bruce A. Dixon
Created 06/03/2009 – 10:36
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

sotomayor_biden_obama.jpg

What is and what should be the story around the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the high court? Is the main story a celebration of how humble origins and hard work won out? Should we spend all our time and energy refuting the racism of Republican talking heads, and none examining her record, and how she arrived at the door of the Supreme Court? Is this a good time to explore what a just and democratic society must demand from its courts — more nonwhite faces in high places? More rights for corporations? Or more justice for people? And if this isn’t a good time, is that time ever coming?

Sonia Sotomayor: She’s No Clarence Thomas, But No Thurgood Marshall Either
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
The bubble of false reality corporate media blow around the nomination of Sonia Maria Sotomayor begins with the racist rants of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and a host of Republican senators and talking heads. It encompasses a torrent of righteous air and ink denouncing the racists, along with an inspiring story of humble origins, hard work and determination to succeed. It feeds the ongoing narrative of America’s ultimate triumph over old fashioned racism by allowing highly qualified and carefully vetted minorities to join its ruling elite. And it includes the view of places like Business Week, which designate the nominee “centrist” and a “moderate, [1]” a view that corporate media revealingly agree is nonpolitical,” which means that the prerogatives of America’s business elite are not now and never will be up for discussion.
Absent from the conversation around the Sotomayor nomination are all but the most cursory review of her legal career before being appointed a federal judge by George Bush — a mere twelve years of legal experience, five as a prosecutor for the D.A.’s office in Manhattan, and another seven as partner at the international law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. Summaries [2] of her decisions are hard to find. Although much is made of the fact that she will be only the fifth judge not a white man to sit on the high court, few detailed comparisons are made between her legal career and those of Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. Finally there are no attempts to discuss the unique, and not always positive role that the US Supreme Court plays or ought to play in the life of the country.
All these concerns are outside the bubble, not only for corporate media, but for the blogs and commentators who allow corporate media to draw the limits of their universe.
Sotomayor’s first job out of law school was as a prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.’s office. Her time as a prosecutor roughly coincides with the end of the first decade of New York’s infamous Rockerfeller drug laws [3], a time when our nation’s historically discriminatory law enforcement apparatus began locking up larger percentages of black and Latinos than anywhere else on the planet. From there she moved on to a spot as associate, then partner at the international law firm of Pavia & Harcourt [4], and international law firm offering “…a full range of legal services to companies, individuals, and Italian and French governmental organizations and agencies… who do business in the United States as well as American clients who do business in the U.S. and abroad.”
Among Pavia & Harcourt’s areas of special focus are the enforcement of intellectual property laws, and obtaining writs of confiscation and seizure of goods believed to be in violation of such laws. In this selection from Ed Shanahan’s IP Law & Business he assembles quotes from the Wall Street Journal, the National Journal and the New York Times that paint a picture of Sotomayor’s passionate involvement on behalf of her corporate clients:
“…as the Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog further explains in this colorful post [5]
, the “peak” of her career at the firm “came in representing Fendi in trademark actions against makers and sellers of counterfeit handbags and other items, according to George Pavia, the firm’s managing partner.”
“Sotomayor, the WSJ reports, didn’t just fight for her clients in court.
“Firm founder George Pavia told the paper that when the firm would get a tip about suspect cargo, investigators “would trace where the shipment had gone—for example, to a warehouse or a store. Then, working with police, the firm would seek a warrant to view and attach the items. Often, the lawyers learned through experience, such visits would prompt angry responses from the merchants involved. But Sotomayor, who became a high-profile defender of the brand, seemed to enjoy going along. ‘On several occasions,’ Pavia said, ‘she went in wearing a Kevlar vest and seized the goods.’
“(In this profile [6]
of Sotomayor, The New York Times adds to the judge’s legend: “One incident that figures largely in firm lore was a seizure in Chinatown, where the counterfeiters ran away, and Ms. Sotomayor got on a motorcycle and gave chase.”)
“The Journal also reports that Sotomayor played an integral role in what might be termed an IP publicity stunt aimed at calling attention to the then-growing problem of high-fashion knockoffs:
“With Sotomayor in charge, the firm decided in 1986 to stage a bonfire —to be known as the ‘Fendi Burn’—in the parking lot of the Tavern on the Green restaurant. There was a catch, however: the New York Fire Department refused to permit it.
“So the firm decided on the next best thing, crushing the items in garbage trucks, in an event that came to be known as the ‘Fendi Crush.’
“‘In the presence of the press…we threw masses and masses of handbags, shoes, and other items into these garbage trucks,’ Pavia said. ‘It was the pinnacle of our achievement, and Sonia was the principal doer.’”
No place on earth has more lawyers than the U.S., and in the late 80s, early 90s, New York City had more lawyers than anywhere in the country. This is how a young former prosecutor gets noticed and considered for the federal bench. Maybe Democratic senators and the White House of George H.W. Bush took note of her on their own. Maybe lobbyists and campaign contributors affiliated with her clients recommended her as someone who would look out for their interests. Take your pick. Either way, Bush put her on the federal bench in 1992.
For the twelve years she was a prosecutor and in private practice, right up until her appointment to the U.S. District Court, Sotomayor spent evenings, weekends and personal time, as an active board member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Committee. During those years PRLDEF publicly opposed police brutality, the death penalty, felony disenfranchisement, and discrimination in housing and employment. It filed lawsuits to protect the voting rights of minorities in New York and the human rights of migrant workers. PRLDEF even sued an official of the Reagan administration for defamation over his public statement that most Puerto Ricans were on food stamps. No reports we have seen say that she personally filed those suits or that she ever appeared in court on behalf of litigants in discrimination and other lawsuits. As a board member she was reportedly involved in the planning and overall supervision of these activities.
After his graduation from Yale Law School in 1974, Clarence Thomas attached himself directly to the Republican party as a black man squarely against equal rights under the law. He became assistant attorney general in Missouri in 1974, chief counsel for Senator Sam Brownback in 1978, and in 1982, chairman of the Office of Economic Opportunity under Ronald Reagan, where he publicly defied the Congress by sitting on thousands of age and race discrimination complaints till the statute of limitations ran out on them. After only fourteen years as an attorney, Thomas had earned his appointment to the federal bench in 1989, and shortly after that to the Supreme Court.
The only other nonwhite person to serve on the US Supreme Court in two centuries has been Thurgood Marshall. Marshall’ graduated Howard University law school in 1933, where he was mentored by Charles Hamilton Houston [7]. Houston was the architect of a decades-long crusade to use the courts to overthrow America’s Jim Crow segregation laws. After less than a year of private practice, Marshall joined Houston at the NAACP, where he spent the next quarter century crisscrossing the country, sometimes at the risk of his own life [8], defending African Americans in court who were falsely accused of murder and rape. Marshall took their cases, along with those of black people who directly challenged Jim Crow laws all the way to the Supreme Court where he won a phenomenal 29 out of 32 cases, including the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that separate school systems for blacks and whites were unconstitutional.
After 28 years of legal practice, far longer than either Thomas or Sotomayor, Marshall was named to the US Court of Appeals in 1961, US Solicitor General in 1965, and in 1967 was nominated to the Supreme Court by Lyndon Baines Johnson. Before donning the black robe Marshall had already fundamentally changed the American legal landscape. He had directly represented the poor and disenfranchised in the courts of dozens of states, raised money and public support for their legal defense. By the 1950s, Marshall was known around the country as “Mr. Civil Rights.” He is said to have taken a dim view of civil disobedience and many of the tactics of the Freedom Movement in the 1950s and 60s, but generally refrained from publicly voicing those sentiments, and defended some of them in court.
The comparative pre-judicial careers of these three seem to indicate that the speedy road to the federal bench is to be a useful right wing political operative like Thomas or a zealous advocate of multinational business, like Sotomayor. Defending the poor and changing history seems to be a longer and much less certain way to get a federal judgeship.
Sonia Sotomayor is no Clarence Thomas, to be sure. The PRLDEF did great work during the years she served on its board, but she can hardly claim sole credit for it. In any case, PRLDEF wasn’t her full time job, and certainly not what got her on the federal bench. She is no Thurgood Marshall either, not by a long shot. There are still lawyers who devote most of their practice to defending the poor and disenfranchised, and an even larger number who file suits against giant corporations on behalf of ordinary people. No matter their legal brilliance, those attorneys rarely get judicial appointments. Why? No Supreme Court Justice since Marshall has represented a defendant in a criminal case, let alone a death penalty case. Why? No Supreme Court Justices sued wealthy and powerful corporations on behalf of ordinary working and poor people either. Why?
Why should representing poor people as defendants in a court of law, or suing wealthy corporations on behalf of the ordinary people whose rights these powerful and immortal institutions trample upon every day rule a judgeship out of any lawyer’s future? Was that the founding fathers’ intent? More importantly, should it be ours?
A frank discussion of what a democratic society should expect from its court system is also long overdue. For the last generation, the courts have squatted squarely on the necks of working class Americans, relentlessly affirming the unearned privileges of a wealthy corporate elite over the rest of us, often in ways no governor, president or legislature would dare attempt. To name just a few instances, the courts have ruled that equal funding of public schools between wealthy and poor neighborhoods cannot be accomplished, even when state constitutions require it. Judges have affirmed that the First Amendment gives corporations the right to lie to and deceive the public for commercial gain, that patent laws allow US corporations to claim exclusive rights to crops grown by farmers for dozens of centuries in various parts of the world. The Supreme Court recently ruled that money, in the form of campaign contributions, is free speech, setting major roadblocks in the path of campaign finance reform.
We need to take note of the historic significance of the first Latina to be nominated to the Supreme Court. Like the embrace of a black president by most of the nation’s ruling elite, it does signify a departure from a kind of old fashioned nineteenth and twentieth century racism, at least insofar as the admittance of carefully vetted and well-qualified minorities to that elite goes. But the advancement of a few is not necessarily the advancement of democracy, or of the many.
The easy out for progressives around the Sotomayor nomination is to waste all their time and oxygen debating Republicans, ridiculing and refuting their racism. While this is important, it mustn’t be allowed to take all the air from the room. If we really want more than a change in the color of the faces at the top of American society, we’ll have to spend a lot more energy evaluating their corporate connections of our judges on every level, and determining who they and our courts really serve.

TORTURE OF MACHETERO — ORDERED TO BE EXTRADITED

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Avelino was ordered extradited to Connecticut today to stand trial for the legendary Wells Fargo heist of 1983, an act that the Macheteros took credit for. FBI Criminal & Division Head Luis Fraticelli says that the FBI’s arrests against the organizations’ leaders will continue, so let us be prepared to continue supporting our freedom fighters, who are fighting for the freedom of a colony, even as the White House admits & officially adopts the position that Puerto Rico is a colony…JO

Ordenan extradicion de Gonzalez Claudio
Prensa Asociada
11 Feb 2008

Pese a que el presunto machetero Avelino González Claudio pidió que se le juzgue en Puerto Rico y se describió como un “prisionero político”, el magistrado federal Marcos López ordenó hoy, lunes, su extradición a Hartford, Connecticut, en un procedimiento judicial generalmente automático.

La defensa de González Claudio también denunció ante el togado que su cliente está recibiendo “trato inhumano” en la cárcel federal porque se le mantiene en una celda en la que se le selló la única ventana con una plancha de metal para impedirle ver la luz del día.

La portavoz del Centro Metropolitano de Detenciones en Guaynabo, Migdalia Torres, aseguró en una carta remitida a Prensa Asociada que, en el penal, se están reparando algunas de las celdas y que esos trabajos pueden requerir que se tapen sus ventanas temporalmente.

Y negó que González Claudio reciba un trato especial o diferente al de los demás reclusos.

“El tratamiento al reo González Claudio no es diferente al que recibe cualquier otro recluso en espera de juicio y con las mismas necesidades de seguridad”, aseguró Torres en la misiva.

El acusado fue arrestado la semana pasada por supuestamente participar en el robo de 7 millones de dólares de un camión blindado de la compañía de transporte de valores Wells Fargo en Hartford, Connecticut, el 12 de septiembre de 1983.

González Claudio aceptó el lunes que responde a ese nombre, aunque a través de su representación legal dejó establecido que no reconoce la autoridad de la corte estadounidense en la Isla para extraditarlo.

“Avelino González Claudio no niega su identidad. Este ciudadano puertorriqueño frente a usted es Avelino González Claudio”, dijo el licenciado Juan Ramón Acevedo Cruz, principal abogado de defensa del supuesto miembro del Ejército Popular Boricua-Los Macheteros, al magistrado López.

“En cuanto al asunto de la extradición, nosotros vigorosamente objetamos cualquier intento del gobierno de Estados Unidos de remover a González Claudio de su isla de Puerto Rico”, agregó el letrado en la vista de identificación del acusado.

El fiscal federal José Ruiz indicó a la AP que la extradición podría tardar más de 20 días y que generalmente si en Puerto Rico no se impone una fianza en la jurisdicción donde será trasladado permanecería encarcelado.

“Si se impone fianza aquí, allá generalmente lo honran”, indicó Ruiz. Según Acevedo, como “prisionero político”, González Claudio reclama su potestad, al amparo del derecho internacional, de permanecer en su tierra natal.

El abogado reclamó, además, que el gobierno estadounidense cumpla con la Resolución 1514 de la Asamblea General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), que declara el colonialismo como “la negación de un derecho humano fundamental”.

“Desde 1972, el Comité Especial de Descolonización de las Naciones Unidas ha reconocido el derecho inalienable de los puertorriqueños a la autodeterminación y la independencia de acuerdo con la Resolución 1514″, agregó el abogado citando la resolución.

La defensa también solicitó una vista de fianza, que fue señalada por el magistrado para el 21 de febrero a la 1:30 de la tarde.

La fiscalía federal, representada por Ruiz y Carlos Cardona, no objetó que se le garantice la vista de fianza al sospechoso.

Pidió con éxito que González Claudio permanezca encarcelado en la institución federal de Guaynabo por considerarlo un “riesgo de fuga” y “un peligro para la comunidad” porque usó nombres falsos por 22 años y por la naturaleza de los delitos que se le imputan.

Sobre la denuncia de trato inhumano, el magistrado dijo que eso no sería jurisdicción de la corte.

Ante los reclamos del abogado para poder ver a González Claudio en un cuarto de visitas de la cárcel y no en un salón de conferencias donde no tiene privacidad, y para que se le quiten las esposas y pueda firmar documentos, el magistrado le respondió que hiciera los arreglos pertinentes con el Negociado federal de Prisiones.

Le indicó que si la situación persiste entonces el tribunal podría intervenir.

Mientras la vista se llevaba a cabo, frente al edificio federal en Hato Rey hubo una protesta de organizaciones independentistas.

“Esta corte representa los intereses del imperio y van a seguir fielmente la orden de Washington, pero vamos a dar todas la batallas legales para que se quede aquí”, expresó Osvaldo González Claudio, hermano del acusado.

Agregó que abriga la esperanza de que su pariente sea juzgado “por sus pares” y no en Connecticut.

Subject: TORTURE/TORTURA OF/DE MACHETERO
To: panamaglobaljustice@lists.riseup.net

Coordinated protests were held today in New York and San Juan to protest the Gestapo FBI’s kidnapping of this freedom fighter…

Torture of Machetero denounced
MINH alleges that the “different treatment” González Claudio is receiving is intended to “soften” him.

By The Associated Press
February 11, 2008 El Nuevo Día

SAN JUAN – The co-chair of the National Hostos Independence Movement, (MINH), Héctor Pesquera, denounced today the fact that federal prisoner Avelino González Claudio, linked to the clandestine group The Macheteros, is supposedly being tortured in the federal detention center in Guaynabo where he has been confined since he was arrested on Wednesday [sic].

“We have information that they have already started to torture him, covering up the windows so he cannot know whether it’s day or night,” said Pesquera in a radio interview (WSKN).

Pesquera, a doctor by profession, said that the supposed “different treatment” González Claudio is receiving in the jail is meant to “soften him, preparing to break his will.”

Asking about the matter, governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá said that any allegation of mistreatment must be “immediately” taken to the highest levels of federal jurisdiction by González Claudio’s attorneys.

However, he said that in Puerto Rico, “let’s not fool ourselves. Here, historically, federal and state authorities… the way they treated independentists was very different from the way they treated other citizens.”

Immediately, Migdalia Torres, public information officer at the federal jail in Guaynabo, said she had no information about Pesquera’s allegations, but promised to investigate and get back to the Associated Press.

“I’ve just arrived; I don’t have any information,” said Torres.

Pesquera pointed out that González Claudio, while clandestine for 22 years, was a teacher of computer science for the musician and comedian Silverio Pérez and a president of the Supreme Court who could not be identified.

“We know that Avelino González Claudio, during the life he lived under another name, was a very productive person for the Country,” said Pesquera.

As for the judicial process which is to continue this afternoon, Pesquera said that González Claudio will not recognize the jurisdiction of the federal court to extradite him.

“He is going to ask that he be judged here, in Puerto Rico,” said Pesquera.

“That he be judged in his own land… anything else would be kidnap,” he added.

González Claudio has an identification hearing today before being extradited to Hartford, Connecticut, where he will face charges of bank robbery, among others, related to the robbery of $7 million of a Wells Fargo deposit in that city in September of 1982 [sic].

The clandestine organization The Macheteros claimed responsibility for this robbery.

On August 30, 1985, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), arrested 11 of 17 people related the clandestine organization which claimed responsibility for the deaths of two sailors from the Sabana Seca Navy Base and for the death of a police officer, in addition to the destruction of nine Puerto Rico National Guard airplanes.

Translation of letter from Avelino Gonzalez Claudio’s Defense Committee

We extend to you our cordial greetings from Mayaguez: As we have already denounced, Comrade Avelino Gonzalez Claudio was arrested by the F.B.I. today, and will be confronting charges which will be leveled against him outside of Puerto Rico.

Avelino was one of the comrades that the F.B.I. had been unable to capture during its repressive onslaught against our movement in 1985. That period saw the imprisonment of comrades like Papo Segarra Palmer, who spent 19 years of his life in U.S. prisons.

We should not lose sight of the fact that the colonial police of Puerto Rico took part in the surveilance that was maintained against Avelino Gonzalez, and his eventual arrest. This is after all an election year, and our colonial governor is susceptible to the pressures of the F.B.I. and a Republican Party in the U.S. which despairs over the failures of its undemocratic efforts against “terrorism,” the very thing that they’re guilty of inflicting on the world.

Avelino Gonzalez Claudio is a militant who has pursued the decolonization of Puerto Rico. He is not unlike those who continued the struggle of Filiberto Ojeda, those who confronted the
U.S. navy in Vieques, or those of us who today resist the abuses of the F.B.I. in our country.

The comrades of the Frente Socialista, (Socialist Front,) the Committee for Human Rights and La Nueva Escuela, (The New School,) call for a demonstration in support of Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, on Monday February 11 2008 at 3:00PM. At that time, a hearing will be taking place at the colonial “federal” court in San Juan to discuss the extradition of the comrade to the United States. We must demand that the comrade remain in Puerto Rico.

Denuncian tortura a machetero
MINH alega que el “trato distinto” que recibe González Claudio tiene el propósito de “ablandarlo”.

Por The Associated Press
11 febrero 2008 El Nuevo Día

SAN JUAN – El copresidente del Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH), Héctor Pesquera, denunció hoy que el preso federal Avelino González Claudio, vinculado con el grupo clandestino los Macheteros, supuestamente está siendo torturado en el centro de detención federal en Guaynabo donde está confinado desde que fue arrestado el miércoles.

“Tenemos información de que ya comenzaron a torturarlo tapiándole las ventanas para que no sepa cuándo es de día o cuándo es de noche”, dijo Pesquera en entrevista radial (WSKN).

Pesquera, médico de profesión, dijo que el supuesto “trato distinto” que recibe González Claudio en la cárcel tendría el propósito de “ablandarlo, irle quebrando la voluntad”.

Cuestionado sobre el asunto, el gobernador Aníbal Acevedo Vilá dijo que cualquier alegación de maltrato debe ser elevada a los más altos niveles de la jurisdicción federal por los abogados de González Claudio “inmediatamente”.

No obstante, dijo que en Puerto Rico “nadie puede tapar el cielo con la mano, aquà históricamente las autoridades federales y estatales… la forma en que trataban a los independentistas era muy diferente a la que trataban a otros ciudadanos”.

De inmediato, Migdalia Torres, oficial de información pública de la cárcel federal en Guaynabo dijo que no tenía información sobre las alegaciones de Pesquera, pero prometió indagar y comunicarse nuevamente con Prensa Asociada.

“Acabo de llegar, no tengo información”, dijo Torres.

Pesquera, por su parte, destacó que González Claudio, mientras estuvo clandestino durante 22 años, fue maestro de ciencias de computadoras del músico y comediante Silverio Pérez y de un presidente del Tribunal Supremo a quien no pudo identificar.

“Sabemos que Avelino González Claudio, durante su vida bajo otro nombre, fue una persona muy productiva para el País”, dijo Pesquera.

Sobre el proceso judicial que continúa esta tarde, Pesquera dijo que González Claudio no reconocerá la jurisdicción del tribunal federal para extraditarlo.

“Va a solicitar que se le juzgue aquí, en Puerto Rico”, dijo Pesquera.

“Que se le juzgue en su tierra, cualquier otra cosa sería secuestro”, agregó.

González Claudio tiene hoy una vista de identificación antes de ser extraditado a Hartford, Connecticut en donde enfrenta cargos de robo a banco, entre otros relacionados con el robo de $7 millones de un depósito de la Wells Fargo en esa ciudad en septiembre de 1982.

Por ese robo se responsabilizó la organización clandestina los Macheteros.

El 30 de agosto de 1985 el Negociado Federal de Investigaciones (FBI, por sus siglas en inglés) arrestó a 11 de 17 personas relacionadas con la organización clandestina que se responsabiliza por las muertes de dos marinos de la Base Naval de Sabana Seca y la de un policía, además de la destrucción de nueve aviones de la Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico.


Pesquera denuncia tortura a Machetero

Lunes, 11 de febrero de 2008

El copresidente del Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH) Héctor Pesquera denunció hoy que el preso federal Avelino González Claudio, vinculado con el grupo clandestino los Macheteros, supuestamente esta siendo torturado en el centro de detención federal en Guaynabo donde está confinado desde que fue arrestado miércoles.

“Tenemos información de que ya comenzaron a torturarlo tapiándole las ventanas para que no sepa cuando es de día o cuando es de noche”, dijo Pesquera en entrevista radial (WSKN).

Pesquera, médico de profesión, dijo que el supuesto “trato distinto” que recibe González Claudio en la cárcel tendría el propósito de “ablandarlo, irle quebrando la voluntad”.

Cuestionado sobre el asunto, el gobernador Aníbal Acevedo Vilá dijo que cualquier alegación de maltrato debe ser elevada a los más altos niveles de la jurisdicción federal por los abogados de González Claudio “inmediatamente”.

No obstante, dijo que en Puerto Rico “nadie puede tapar el cielo con la mano, aquí históricamente las autoridades federales y estatales… la forma en que trataban a los independentistas era muy diferente a la que trataban a otros ciudadanos”.

De inmediato, Migdalia Torres, oficial de información pública de la cárcel federal en Guaynabo dijo que no tenía información sobre las alegaciones de Pesquera pero prometió indagar y comunicarse nuevamente con prensa Asociada.

“Acabo de llegar, no tengo información”, dijo Torres.

Pesquera por su parte destacó que González Claudio mientras estuvo clandestino durante 22 años, fue maestro de ciencias de computadoras del músico y comediante Silverio Pérez y de un presidente del Tribunal Supremo a quien no pudo identificar.

“Sabemos que Avelino González Claudio, durante su vida bajo otro nombre, fue una persona muy productiva para el país”, dijo Pesquera.

Sobre el proceso judicial que continúa en la tarde del lunes, Pesquera dijo que González Claudio no reconocerá la jurisdicción del tribunal federal para extraditarlo.

“Va a solicitar que se le juzgue aquí en Puerto Rico”, dijo Pesquera.

“Que se le juzgue en su tierra, cualquier otra cosa sería secuestro.

González Claudio enfrenta el lunes una vista de identificación antes de ser extraditado a Hartford Connecticut en donde enfrenta cargos d robo a banco entre otros relacionados con el robo de siete millones de dólares de un depósito de la Wells Fargo en esa ciudad en septiembre de 1982.

Por ese robo se responsabilizó la organización clandestina los Macheteros.

El 30 de agosto de 1985 el Negociado federal de Investigaciones (FBI en inglés) arresto a 11 de 17 personas relacionadas con la organización clandestina que se responsabiliza por las muertes de dos marinos de la Base Naval de sabana seca y la de un policía, además de la destrucción de nueve aviones de la Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico.

Vicente “Panama” Alba
panamaalba2@yahoo.com
(917) 626-5847

“if you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are comrade of mine.”

“Let’s be realistic, let’s do the impossible”
Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Is the Republican Party sensitive to Latino issues?

Thursday, August 3rd, 2000

Republican Party