This year’s convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico will include politically-engaged outings that will take place before, during and after the main convention events. Prepared by Puerto Rican activists, the trips are meant to present a valuable opportunity for furthering solidarity work and for participants to experience the rich political and artistic resistance on the island. Transportation will not be provided; however, several people can share a large taxi to travel to each of these locations within San Juan. Fares run approximately $10 to $20. Tours are staggered to allow for participation in multiple outings.
Early registration is encouraged, but can also be done on-site at the convention. For more information, or to register now, please contact Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan at Lyciaora@gmail.com.
Several tours during the convention will afford deeper engagement with Puerto Rican politics and culture. To read more on Puerto Rico, click here.
Sunday, October 27
Old San Juan: A walking tour with an emphasis on the cultural, political, and social development of one of the oldest cities in the Americas and its history of colonial intervention and control by the United States and its predecessors. Click here for more information on Old San Juan.
(Tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. Approx. 2-3 hours.)
Comunidades del Caño Martín Peña: A tour of the 27,000-resident community in the heart of metropolitan San Juan, a poor and working class community which has been organizing for over a decade to fight environmental contamination and develop infrastructure while combating gentrification pressures. The community has developed a collective land trust model for land ownership. Read more about el Caño in English or Spanish.
(Tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. Approx. 2-3 hours.)
View street art and musuems: A walking tour of Santurce, an urban sector of San Juan characterized by economic neglect, with emphasis on the “Santurce es Ley” campaign, which has promoted impressive works of street art by community members. Afterward, a visit to one or two of the area’s world-class art museums, with discussions of the role of cultural expression in the anti-colonial struggle. Elizam Escobar - art professor, renowned painter, and former political prisoner - will guide the museum tour, which includes a visit to his retrospective exhibit. To see some of the artwork associated with the Santurce es Ley campaign, click here.
(Tentatively scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Approx. 2 hours.)
- Vieques: A visit to the municipality of Vieques, an off-shore island in Puerto Rico which until 2003 was the object of constant bombing by the United States Navy. After a decades-long struggle the Navy eventually left. But the struggle continues to this day, to demand clean-up by the United States and to deal with the ongoing environmental destruction and health consequence resulting from over 60 years of bombing.
The Struggle between Vieques and the U.S. Navy – and Local Businesses in Solidarity; By Jan Susler, Co-chair: Puerto Rico Subcommittee
- Loiza: A trip to the Afro-Caribbean municipality of Loiza, where activist will meet with representatives of the Villa Cañona community, which has long struggled against police repression and for environmental justice and cultural affirmation. On the way, those who choose this add-on will be able to meet with the group “Coalición Playas Pa’l Pueblo,” which has been camped out at a local beach near tourist hotels for seven years, as part of a struggle to block development which would prevent Puerto Ricans from having access to the beach and would cause further damage to the delicate eco-system of the area.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs4trwwtwtA and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg18I6yGOCA
- Casa Pueblo (Adjuntas): A visit to the extraordinary community organization, Casa Pueblo, located in the mountain town of Adjuntas. For more than 30 years, Casa Pueblo has played a leading role in struggles to protect the environment and to promote cultural and human rights, including the 1970's struggle against mining interest, the decades-long Vieques fight, and the more recent successful efforts to block the building of a gas pipeline (dubbed the “Tubo de la Muerte” or "Pipe of Death") which would have transected the entire island of Puerto Rico. http://www.casapueblo.org
More information on these trips and the trips occurring before and after the convention will be available in the next issue of Guild Notes. To plan your stay, check out this map of things to do in San Juan.
In addition to the excursions, there will be plenty of intellectual engagement with Puerto Rican scholars and activists who are involved with important political work on the island, many of whom have close ties to NLG members. Earlier this month, NLG member and convention organizer Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan attended a civil disobedience action in front of the federal prison in Guaynabo, PR demanding the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera.
See the NLG co-sponsored statement by the American Association of Jurists on Oscar Lopez Rivera.
As you can tell by now, this convention will be exciting, intellectually stimulating, and engaged with the most cutting edge activism in Puerto Rico and beyond. We hope you will join us!
* BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM now using the discount code "ACRE" to get the $129 rate while it lasts.
You can also help spread the word through the convention's Facebook event page.