From coast to coast, along with everywhere else the American flag flies, May Day is typically an occasion for protest marches by leftists and assorted malcontents. That was certainly the case this year in the U.S. Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico, where protesters (accompanied by unrepentant convicted domestic terrorist Oscar López Rivera) were the focus of attention by both Univision and Telemundo.
In both its early and late-evening national newscasts, Univision spent all four minutes of coverage on reports that neglected to include the perspective of a single person opposed to the May Day mayhem.
Characteristic of the coverage at Univision, reporter Veronique Abreu caught up with a Che Guevara fan among the marchers, along with another deluded marcher who had the audacity to claim that the several thousand protesters represented the entire 3.4 million population of Puerto Rico.
VERONIQUE ABREU, REPORTER, UNIVISION: And despite this chaos, some assert that the national strike achieved the goal.
ANGELITA FIGUEROA, RETIRED TEACHER: We achieved our goal, which is precisely to demonstrate to the government that we are not willing to pay a debt that is not ours, plus we want to defend our country's public schools.
KATHERINE MÁRQUEZ, ´NO TO THE REFORM´ MOVEMENT: Today’s march showed that beyond the hashtag Puerto Rico rises up, Puerto Rico really took to the streets to fight.
In welcome contrast, at least Telemundo devoted 25 seconds of its 2:13 report to the perspective of Puerto Rico Police Commissioner Henry Escalera, as well as Governor Ricardo “Ricky” Rosselló, who pointed out that “It is unfortunate that we have to see again, today, how a minuscule group incited violence.”
Officials from the island’s Public Safety Department informed that 13 people had been arrested and that 15 police officers had been injured by the protesters, who threw projectiles such as bricks, bottles and rocks at them. In a separate interview with Caribbean Business, Police Commissioner Escalera said that “The right to freedom of expression was being guaranteed until they started committing crimes, and we will not allow it.”
Whether it was their goal or not, the protesters were successful, however, in doing additional economic damage to the island. The Caribbean’s largest shopping mall, Plaza Las Américas in San Juan, as a precaution opted to close for the day to prevent demonstrators from marauding through the mall as they did during last year´s march, during which a number of properties were also significantly damaged in the vicinity of the mall.
Because of the threat of the May Day mayhem, thousands of employees at Plaza’s more than 300 stores, movie theaters and restaurants, along with scores of professionals who have offices in the complex, were prevented from working that day, as were many other businesses in the area who shuttered their windows as if a hurricane were approaching.