On February 15, U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain allowed Puerto Rico bankruptcy cases and debt restructuring to go forward, despite recognizing the unconstitutional appointment of the Oversight Board that filed those cases.
Enraged at the decision, a young Puerto Rican music teacher, Elimar Chardón Sierra, called the judge to express the pain she felt — the cry of the colonized Puerto Rican people facing new austerity hardships while the wealthy and developers flourish through the terms of the court-imposed bankruptcy.
A week later the FBI interviewed Chardón Sierra at her school and arrested her, charging her with the federal offense of “Making Harassing Telephone Calls in Interstate Communication,” threatening a potential two-year prison term.
Expressing the wish the judge would experience the same pain that she and so many of the Puerto Rican people are enduring as a result of the court decision, Chardón Sierra called the judge outside of working hours. She thought she would be investigated for her expressions, because t freedom of expression for the colonies doesn’t exist.
The call was made outside of work hours; however, the teacher’s job is threatened, despite her impeccable work record.
Puerto Rican women are the faces of the criminalization of opposition to U.S. colonial rule. U.S. courts sentenced Nina Droz Franco — falsely accused of conspiracy to burn a concrete Banco Popular building during the May Day 2017 march — to three years in U.S. federal prison in June 2018.
A press conference to show support for Chardón Sierra will be held on Wednesday, March 6, at 10:30 am in the Bar Association conference room in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Support will be expressed from Amnesty International’s Puerto Rico Section; ACLU Puerto Rico; the Caribbean Human Rights Institute; Kilómetro 0; Citizens Front for Debt Audit; and the Bar Association.
Send your support by signing the online petition to the Puerto Rican Dept. of Education: http://chng.it/fLpDc9tW