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Closing message in the march/rally against LUMA. Sunday, November 27, 2022, Resistencia/Fortaleza Street, San Juan, Puerto Rico 🇵🇷


By Rafael Ortiz S. "Father Pedro", diocesan priest

It is my duty to give the closing message of this event. This is how it shows in the program prepared for todays event by our National Collective "Todos Somos Pueblo". However, those who know me well, know that the "rules and I" don’t get along very well. So my friends will not be surprised if I make a small change. I don’t bring today a closing message, but a welcome one. ¡Welcome to the people because today is not the time of harvest, today we welcome a new time of sowing in the heart of the homeland!


Let all the people know! With this demonstration we opened a "planting period" for the rescue of Puerto Rico, rescuing our Electric Power Authority. This is not the end of the fight against LUMA and the dictatorial Oversight Board , which, we reiterate, are the ones who have to leave. As the popular song says: "¡Que se vayan ellos!" But I repeat, today we are not done with the fight. What we are doing is, placing our trust in God and in our people, celebrating that here today begins a new chapter of the heroic struggle to save our people. ¡LONG LIVE PUERTO RICO FREE ! Long live Puerto Rico fighting for its dignity! Precious homeland, "no importa que el tirano te trate con dura maldad, Borinquen, preciosa te dicen las hijas, te dicen los hijos de la libertad" (it doesn't matter if the tyrant treats with hard evilness, 'precious Borinquen' is how you're called by the daughters and the sons of freedom).


The heartless abuse of LUMA trying to evict us from our human right to public energy is just a crude manifestation of many other attempts, already underway, to break social cohesion in Puerto Rico. It is not just the neoliberal privatization of the resources we all produce, it is not just the handing over of agencies, corporations and services to private capital. No, if it was just that, it would be bad enough. This is about something else.


To begin with, the privatization of Electric Power has failed. What they want to keep is a contract that takes this town down the road of bitterness. On the one hand, the blackouts are now more constant, electricity is more expensive, the reconstruction of the electrical system is still hidden and it is common to see that many people mortgage their property to install private solutions on their roofs (solar panels) to a collective problem. That deepens the divisions. Those who have the means to pay, if not to borrow, put alternate energy systems on their roofs that they'll have to pay for many years, for a utility service that was meant to be accessible to every citizen. Those who don’t have the means, are left with no alternate option. We will live in the dark with every blackout created by LUMA and the complicit government.


But what has failed is not just LUMA’s nonsense. What has failed is the entire strategic project of neoliberal privatization, with its many manifestations that we already know in the privatization of hospitals, schools, public services and even roads. We have witnnessed the privatization agenda for decades and, instead of having achieved the restoration of the energy power system in those years, what we have is the shattering of the infrastructure before our eyes. I don’t know how they still have the face (government and allies) to dare to plan more privatizations, given that today we live in a Puerto Rico much more deteriorated than we had in the past.


However, with all the negatives of that picture, there are worst things. The most terrible thing has a name and a last name. It has the first names and surnames (on the part of the perpetrators) many dictators and (on the part of the victims) the lives of so many human beings who are poorer every day. The impoverishment of the Puerto Rican people already has risen to emergency levels. Let them take note, let them know in the capital of the empire, that their little more than a century of colonial rule has produced in the long run a people that is becoming more and more impoverished. Today Puerto Rico faces that freedom is not a claim worthy only of intellectual elites. Freedom today is a claim for the survival of the Puerto Rican homeland. That’s why we are here... we will always be.


In front of so many tricky statistics from the official media, with which they try to brainwash us, we will have to disseminate the true statistics, those of the reality of our children without the guarantee that they will have access to the right to education, as the reality of our young people who no longer have a secure public university, that of our old and sick without the guarantee of dignified medical services, of our workers without job security and our retirees without a retirement income they worked for through years to protect themselves in old age.


Today Puerto Rico is many times as poor as when this 21st century began and that same poverty of many translates into "corrupt looting" by rich and high-level public officials, sharing with private contractors and fraudulent practices the resources that should be to alleviate the pain of the people.


Now, the fight against LUMA and the rescue and covnersion of PREPA into a new social project is our inmediate priority, but it is, I repeat, the top of a much bigger volcano that threatens the lives of our people.


That is why in this struggle all those who want to defend the people of Puerto Rico must have a space. Here "TODOS SOMOS PUEBLO" (We are all people).


Let everyone know! Today, here in the Resistance Corner, facing "La Fortaleza" (Governor's Executive Residence), we welcome this new planting process. Let us sow seeds of goodness and social justice to have a beautiful harvest of freedom. I invite you to do so with our trust in Almighty God, as the preamble to the constitution says. May we one day be grateful that this generation has fulfilled its task of sowing a future worthy of our gratitude. Therefore, for everyone, as a priest, I invoke the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


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