Members of various Chicago Latinx community groups protested an Institute of Politics event that brought in Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, to speak on campus Wednesday evening.
The Chicago Boricua Resistance (CBR), the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Latino Caucus, and allied groups marched and held signs outside the Quad Club, where Jaresko was speaking.
The groups were there to condemn Jaresko, who has been privatizing Puerto Rico’s public education and utilities, said Rebecca Martinez, a member of the CTU Latino Caucus. She said that the privatization has allowed charter schools to open in Puerto Rico, causing 350 public schools to close. Additionally, due to rising costs of utilities, she said that “there has been an exodus of Puerto Rican people, close to half a million.”
Several protesters went inside the club. One of them, CBR member Cruz Bonlarron Martínez, said that once inside, they interrupted Jaresko with statistics about the privatization measures, then moved to the front of the room, where they held a banner stating “La Crisis Es Colonia” (“The Crisis is Colonization”) in front of Jaresko.
According to Martínez, event organizers warned the protesters inside to leave or else they would call the police. The protestors stayed inside until two University of Chicago Police Department officers arrived to see them out. The protesters continued marching outside until Jaresko’s event ended.