Overthrow of Colonial Institutions: An interview with Jonathan Soto

Maybe this week’s title should have been: “Overthrow of the Empire” because I love Star Wars.

Today I share an interview I had this summer with Jonathan Soto on Institutions and Working class movements and speaking on an overthrow of the Colonial Consultancy class in Puerto Rico. This interview happened shortly after Pierluisi attempted to take on the title of Governor.

We spoke about laws that create inequality to benefit global corporate entities, and that oppress people of color and marginalized communities. Just look at the fact that Six out of 10 kids are living under the poverty level in Puerto Rico. However, there is more awareness around corporate schemes and the people are realizing that the power can be taken back as Jonathan says because “They have money but we have People”

For me it was really refreshing to discuss the shift that we are seeing from campaigns to communities. While we didn’t know at that time Wanda would take the “throne” so to speak… it is important to look back and to keep in mind going forward because there is still a lot of corruption in Puerto Rican politics.

And especially the conversations that have been had since on the island among the Asambleas de Pueblo / the Town Halls that are brainstorming and organizing around local issues that affect communities.

“People aren’t awarded their contracts based on performance, it’s based on relationships and that’s why we see so much misuse of funding and inefficiencies” – Soto

This particular quote from the interview is incredibly relevant right now because the Ministry of the interior in Puerto Rico, Zoe Laboy, has had to come out to defend the awarding of $125,000 in contracts to her own son. In a poor attempt to persuade us that nepotism isn’t happening, she is convincing no one of the influence her position would have in these decisions. 

A recent article covers comments from Trump’s chief of states, Mick Mulvany that they are withholding Aid money from Puerto Rico because it is a corrupt place, and compare it to a foriegn country – the Ukraine. But the difference there is that Puerto Ricans went through a natural Disaster, have had to fight in US wars, have been forced to be a territory, without representation, without ability to really govern themselves outside of a puppet government and really Trump and his buddies should be holding up a mirror with an Impeachment inquiry that doesn’t appear to be going away. 

One interesting note too – that when I recorded this interview I mentioned that this is something that’s happening all over the world – people are waking up to corruption and the way the elite take advantage of those with less. Now we are seeing how the protests in Chile especially are creating the kind of pressure that forces our political leadership to step to the plate and answer for their abuse of the working class.

Still a lot of work to do but our eyes and hearts remain focused on Chile and our communities in Puerto Rico. May the Working Class movement continue and may we all learn the power of rising up together in protest against people that don’t represent our interests.

My favorite quote from Jonathan’s interview was this one:

“Political Parties just distract from who’s really in power… and who is really in power is Wall Street.”

I’ll leave you with one of Jonathan’s recent skits in front of the home of a Hedge Fund manager John Paulson who supports Trump and who holds  $120 million in Puerto Rico bonds. 

And don’t miss the discussion at the very end about the Pinata!! Thanks Jonathan for the convo and the laughs! Godspeed.

The Bus initiative Jonathan discussed is on instagram @ProjectRefugePR

You can reach Jonathan at @JWillSoto

Recent news articles about Puerto Rico 




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