Judge Juan R. Torruella is Puerto Rican. He is also the longest-standing federal judge in Puerto Rican history.
Judge Torruella has served on the federal bench for 42 years, from 1974 through 2016. He is still a high-ranking federal judge.
For 32 years (1984 through today) he has served on the US First Circuit Court of Appeals. Seven of those years (1994 through 2001) he was the Chief Justice of the First Circuit.
Torruella is also a leading interpreter of what is known as “the Insular Cases” (Balzac v. Porto Rico; De Lima v. Bidwell; Goetze v. US; Dooley v. US; Armstrong v. US; Downes v. Bidwell; Huus v. New York and Porto Rico Steamship Co.) and he wrote what many legal scholars consider the definitive analysis of those cases:
In 2013, Judge Torruella called for a general strike against US chain stores, by the consumers of Puerto Rico.
Over the past three years, his feelings have deepened.
Five days ago – on September 10, 2016 – Judge Torruella delivered a thundering speech to the Colegio de Abogados (the Bar Association of Puerto Rico) in Río Grande, PR.
JUDGE TORRUELLA’S SPEECH
Here is a video of the complete speech.
This is what Judge Torruella, of the US Circuit Court of Appeals (1st Circuit) had to say about the current relationship between Puerto Rico and the US.
The time code for each statement is also provided:
“The PROMESA bill makes our own elections superfluous, here in Puerto Rico.” (11:20 – 11:27)
“The principal purpose of PROMESA is to establish a collection agency for bondholders.” (11:54 – 12:03)
“We have a castrated government.” (12:20 – 12:24)
“The imposition of a Financial Control Board is the most demeaning, un-democratic, and colonial act in our entire history with the United States.” (13:00 – 13:45)
“We have fewer rights today, than we had under Spain in 1898.” (15:50 – 16:10)
“Puerto Rico is in a political apartheid.” (25:10 – 25:30)
“From 1920 until today, the Jones Act has cost Puerto Ricans $75.8 billion…which is more than the current debt.” (33:45 – 34:10)
“Thanks to the Jones Act, Puerto Rico subsidizes 27.7% of the US Merchant Marine.” (34:20 – 34:45)
“Puerto Rico is the fourth-largest market in the world for US products. Puerto Ricans buy more US goods per capita, than any other country on earth.” (34:40 – 34:45)
“We must unite and be prepared to take action. We must not be docile, or accept whatever is imposed upon us. (this was followed by a 45-second standing ovation) (47:15 – 48:30)
“We must defend our civil rights, and undertake civil resistance.” (49:00 – 49:15)
“This civil resistance is in the great tradition of Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King.” (49:15 – 49:45)
“We must organize a movement of civil resistance.” (standing ovation of 30 seconds) (50:00 – 50:40)
“The most effective way to get their attention is through their pockets…and so we should organize an economic boycott.” (51:15 – 51:30)
“President Obama, I respectfully request that you free Oscar López Rivera.” (45-second standing ovation) (54:15 – 55:00)
ATTENTION MUST BE PAID
As Arthur Miller once wrote in Death of a Salesman, “attention must be paid to such a man.”
All of the above statements were made during an hour-long speech…which was researched, written, and delivered by Judge Torruella himself.
The statements are not slogans from an excited college student. They are not threats from a left-wing radical, a “suspected terrorist,” or a person under FBI surveillance.
They are the words of federal Judge Juan Torruella, the second-highest ranking Puerto Rican jurist in the US.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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