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"Todos Somos Pueblo" announces start of campaign to take out LUMA and recover the PREPA


Out with LUMA! Let’s get the PREPA back for the people.

 

In the modern world, electricity is a human right. Adequate satisfaction of the essential needs of the population requires comprehensive and reliable electrical service. Without access to electricity, a decent life is not possible.


The National Collective Todos Somos Pueblo (We are all People) announces to the island the beginning of a campaign to remove the privatizing LUMA and recover the PREPA for the people. The new PREPA must be governed by a democratically elected board in which workers and consumers are adequately represented. It is necessary to remove both the LUMA thieves and the corrupt politicians who have done so much harm to the electricity industry and the people.


Electricity service, including generation, transmission and distribution should not be in the hands of companies whose objective and raison d'être is private profit, displacing the public interest as a priority. PREPA must be owned by the people so that it is managed efficiently and provide the necessary services to the entire population at the lowest cost, while protecting the environment and the nature of which we are part.


The potential of the public enterprise was demonstrated by the electrification of Puerto Rico completed by the late 1960s. This was a monumental work built by thousands of workers that included the creation, in 1941, of the Autoridad de Fuentes Fluviales, public corporation that replaced the private companies that existed until that time.


However, public ownership without real and effective control of the people is no guarantee of good administration. Officials and political parties colluded with private businessmen to enrich themselves at the expense of service. The presence of unscrupulous contractors, subcontractors, fuel companies and purchasing officers undermined PREPA's financial and operational health.


The mismanagement of PREPA, largely the result of political and corporate corruption aimed precisely at privatising the public enterprise, has been used to promote the policy of privatisation, which started years ago with subcontracting measures and has culminated in the contract with LUMA. That is, since they used the PREPA to enrich themselves, they now want to dismantle it to continue enriching themselves from the need of the people.  


As has been denounced from the beginning, the contract with LUMA is an unconscionable contract in which Puerto Rico pays more than $100 million annually to a company that invests nothing in our electrical system. LUMA has neither the staff nor the knowledge to operate our electrical system. Upon his arrival he displaced workers with greater knowledge of the system and commitment to the people of which they are and feel part. Workers willing today to assist in the recovery of the system, necessary help that LUMA in its arrogance not only refuses to accept, but threatens to penalize and persecute the mayors who rely on them to rescue their people from need and suffering.


Due to the inefficiency of LUMA, PREPA’s operational expenses have increased, and since taking control of the electrical system we have witnessed its deterioration that has been aggravated by the chaotic situation that emerged after Hurricane Fiona (category 1) and denounced by many people, mayors and communities.


After the entry of LUMA, massive blackouts, erratic voltage fluctuations, more than ten fires in substations, lack of vegetation removal affecting the service and unpayable bills have become the order of the day. Add to this the fact that thousands of families as well as small businesses have been affected by service interruptions and additional spending on power generators and fuel. Power generators accidents, which have already claimed lives, are multiplying. Each of these elements is a problem that together demonstrate that LUMA, after more than a year of operation and an additional year of preparation, is not and will not be able to properly manage the system.


Faced with this reality, Todos Somos Pueblo is committed to redoubling the fight for the termination of the contract with LUMA, by the quickest and least onerous means for our people. With that goal in mind, Todos Somos Pueblo will be conducting activities across the country and in the United States. These activities began last Friday, October 7 with pickets in San Juan and New York demanding the cancellation of the LUMA contract.


The activities will culminate in a large rally to demand the cancellation of the LUMA contract on Sunday, November 27. That day we will insist on the demand that the governor doesn't renew the so-called "supplemental agreement" under which LUMA is operating and which expires on November 30.


On the way to the march-rally of November 27, we will be convening together with other sectors of the people to activities such as: pickets, ecumenical events, concerts, orientation talks and caravans in different regions on dates and places that will be announced.


We call on all our people to unite and prepare for the great mobilization of November 27 under the slogan: Out LUMA! Let’s get the PREPA back to the people.  


 

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