Puerto Ricans have suffered over the past several years from deep debt, a faltering economy and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Struggling to hold on, the final straw came when hundreds of chats between the Governor and other officials were published showing their blatant disregard for the living and the thousands who died after Maria. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have mobilized to demand the Governor’s resignation. We speak with Natasha Bannan, a lawyer who lives in Puerto Rico and is active in the protests about the corruption and subversion of democracy behind this mass uprising, what the people want and how activists can support Puerto Ricans.
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Natasha Bannan‘s work focuses on the economic exploitation and discrimination against low-wage Latina/o immigrant workers, as well as legal support in the face of the economic and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. She works on both domestic litigation and international advocacy before human rights mechanisms concerning issues including: state-sanctioned violence and failure to protect; self-determination and decolonization processes; gender justice; and immigrants’ rights.
Prior to joining LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Natasha worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights and clerked for the Hon. Ronald L. Ellis in the Southern District of New York. Natasha graduated from CUNY School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of CUNY Law Review and was a fellow at the Center for Latino/a Rights and Equality.
Natasha is president of the National Lawyers Guild, the nation’s largest and oldest progressive bar association, and co-chairs its subcommittee on Puerto Rico. She is a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights and MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization. She is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on Puerto Rico and Inter-American Affairs Committee. Natasha is an adjunct faculty member at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Natasha has written several articles, including Puerto Rico’s Odious Debt: The Economic Crisis of Colonialism, 19 CUNY L. Rev. 287 (2016), and has been featured in numerous news outlets.