[News] Puerto Rico - interview with the leadership of Los Macheteros

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 18 10:50:21 EST 2009




December 16, 2009

Ten months have passed since the administration 
of Luis Fortuño and the PNP [New Progressive 
Party, pro-statehood] came to power.  What 
analysis have the Macheteros made of the situation of the country today?

The loss of gubernatorial candidate Anibal 
Acevedo Vila, of the PPD [Popular Democratic 
Party, pro-Commonwealth] at the hands of the 
candidate of the PNP Luis Fortuño does not 
radically change the neoliberal policies of 
either party.  Both speak of peace, justice, and 
social freedom.  Both used demagoguery to come to 
power.  Both awoke enormous feelings of hope in 
the masses, when the reality is that it does not 
matter which party wins the elections, both 
parties respond to the interests of the US 
bourgeoisie and the local bourgeoisie, within 
whom are banks, developers, contractors, etc.

Notwithstanding, because Luis Fortuño is a 
fervent servant of Republican capitalist 
neo-liberal policies, he has put in motion a 
strategy geared to shrink the government, 
privatize everything that interests lenders and 
capitalists, eliminate everything that keeps 
alive the Puerto Rican nation and its culture, 
and, above all, present the capitalists, 
investors, truly the powerful, as those who are 
necessary to save Puerto Rico from the 
catastrophe it is experiencing, which all 
previous governments are responsible for, including Mr. Luis Fortuño.

Our organization, the Ejercito Popular Boricua – 
Macheteros, understands that since the swearing 
in of the current governor the situation has been 
disastrous, constantly moving towards a 
privileged class to the detriment of the 
people.  His performance and that of the 
Legislature and the legislation it approves, has 
only responded to the Republican vision of those 
capitalists that promoted Luis Fortuño as 
candidate for governor when faced with a 
discredited candidate from the Partido Popular.

What evaluation has been made concerning the main 
actions taken by Fortuño, his government, the 
Legislature, and approved legislation?

This colonial legislature is, probable to some 
degree, worse than its predecessors.  It has not 
demonstrated the capacity to legislate with 
creativity and sensitivity.  The only thing it 
has in mind is a desire to promote ideology, 
political and economic, and for this they do not 
hesitate to sink the people into a situation of 
poverty.  By the same token, we have seen how any 
opposition – including opposition party 
legislators, persons, or institutions - is 
humiliated, devalued, and crushed.  The only 
thing we can add here is that the lack of a 
strong and rational opposition makes legislators 
from the PPD accomplices of the violations on the part of the majority party.

The work of Mr. Luis Fortuño, his legislature, 
the varying pieces of legislation approved 
without considering the opinions of the union 
sector, environmentalists, communities, young 
people, of political movements and the people in 
general, the designation of the ‘ex FBI employee’ 
and murderer-yet-to-be-sentenced [as police 
chief], Jose Figueroa Sancha, who main goal is 
confrontation, has moved different segments of 
Puerto Rican society to protest, conduct strikes, 
takeovers, pickets, marches, natural reactions 
when faced with the injustice and repression which face them as the people.

What opinion does the organization have 
concerning the reaction of popular movements – 
workers, communities, environmentalists, civil 
society – to these neoliberal policies?  How do 
you evaluate the participation of the 
independence movement in these situations?

Independence-supporting organizations have failed 
during this entire situation, because as it 
stands today we don’t feel that it has developed 
an offensive plan when faced with the current 
administration and much less does it have a 
united vision concerning its potential 
contributions during this historic time.  This is 
the perfect time, as a united front, to send a 
clear and precise message to the people 
indicating that the situation wont be resolved by 
replacing Luis Fortuño with [PNP pro-statehood 
Senate Speaker] Thomas Rivera Schatz o any other 
PNP figure, nor would it be resolved by replacing 
them with a candidate from the 
[pro-commonwealth/colony] PPD during the next 
election.  Elections in Puerto Rico have always 
been manipulated and thus the elected do not 
represent the people; they represent the 
interests of the colonial power and the interests 
of the bankers and business.  It is why elections 
do not resolve the great economic and social 
problems of our nation.  We have only seen much 
of the same during these months of the Fortuño 
administration: the rich have benefited while 
there is oppression and suffering for the people.

The Independence movement has the obligation to 
stand in the front lines of each protest and 
demonstration and not allow ourselves to choose 
to support one group over another.  Political 
cannibalism within the independence movement 
should be eradicated once and for all.  We, the 
clandestine organizations, are evaluating the 
current situation and we are implementing unitary 
policies in order to support the people during the current situation.

There is talk of a General Strike and we ask 
ourselves if as of today a tactical and strategic 
plan has been prepared to delineate all that has 
to be resolved before such a General Strike is 
called.  This consists of everything from the 
formation of a single chain of command that is 
charged with substituting leadership in the case 
of arrests or assassinations which counts with 
the participation of all affected groups, (this 
chain of command should take all security 
precautions to prevent infiltration by 
informants), the coordination of communication 
that covers the entire island, the creation of 
special groups, the clear and precise definition 
of negotiable demands which do not favor one 
group over another, being clear that such a 
General Strike cannot be conducted by one 
singular group like the unions sector, and that 
demands include: rejection of privatization, 
returning to work all unionized and non-unionized 
workers including those of the private sector, 
and the firing of the Police Superintendent, the murderer Jose Figueroa Sancha.

What would you say is the current state of the 
struggle for Puerto Rico’s Independence, given 
the processes shaping a progressive Latin American today?

Some independence supporters, evaluating the 
current state of the struggle for independence, 
come to the conclusion that we are much closer 
now than before. They argue that as independence 
supporters we have more access to the media than 
before, that the victory in Vieques was a 
manifestation of support for independence, that 
there is a segment in the PPD that allegedly 
supports sovereignty (sovereignty without 
independence??), and that we have achieved a 
progression with sectors with the PPD in that 
these sectors take part in certain 
initiatives.  Is it possible in a colony to 
achieve advances between colonialists and the 
colonized?  How is it possible to talk about 
conversations and successes with those who have 
sustained and sustain the colony, when even amongst ourselves there is discord?

How is it possible that after the assassination 
of the Secretary General of the Ejercito Popular 
Boricua Macheteros, Comandante Filiberto Ojeda 
Rios, reference is made about the call for unity 
that he made practically before his 
assassination, and today, each organization does 
its own thing without coming to unifying 
agreements geared toward conducting joint actions 
towards the achievement of a truly free and sovereign Republic?

We cannot solely depend on the international 
support of those countries who show us 
solidarity, like Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, or 
much less think that the process taking place in 
Latin America will be inclusive if we do not 
demonstrate to these Latin American compañeros to 
what point we are willing to go in order to achieve independence.

How is the organization?  What role does it plan 
on playing in the strengthening of the 
independence movement and overall struggle?

Our organization has not changed its 
military-political vision of struggle, which was 
established by the compañero Comandante Filiberto 
Ojeda Rios and the leadership at that time.  Our 
organization and its members have always had an 
elevated ideological conviction which is 
accompanied by a spirit of valor and sacrifice, 
as was demonstrated by our Secretary General 
Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios in the most 
glorious moment of his life, in sacrificing it 
for the homeland, for his people, in confronting 
the invading enemy, the assassins for 
hire.  Within guerilla movements there is the 
expectation that each guerrilla fighter dominate 
his weapon.  Filiberto learned a long time ago 
how to dominate his.  We expect all of us to do the same.

We will continue to participate in all those 
trenches of struggle, physically and with our 
actions of armed propaganda, above all, within 
those that place us on the road to class 
struggle.  We have always and will continue to 
avoid falling into the vicious cycle of reformist 
struggle that is individualistic and without 
ideology.  We do not support the electoral 
process, plebiscite, or a constituent assembly 
that is not for the purpose of redacting a new 
Constitution for the Republic of Puerto Rico.  It 
has not been one but various organizations that 
have been converted to focusing on elections and 
have not achieved absolutely anything, except 
conform itself to what is dictated by the 
empire.  Some have survived only months after an 
election and like cannibals have eaten each other 
alive like animals.  During election time, the 
system, from its capitalist throne, laughs and 
makes fun, seeing how the left divides itself 
into those who participate and those who don’t 
participate in the farcical electoral process.

We plead for a peace, a convergence, and truce 
within the independence movement: a democratic 
and concrete peace, differentiated from an 
abstract general peace; conversations within the 
framework of participatory democracy with the 
goal of achieving the free, sovereign, and 
democratic Republic.  The unity of the Left has 
to be the principle nucleus of this convergence 
of forces that needs the participation, support, 
and direction of all of the strands within the 
progressive left.  This should not be so 
difficult to achieve since we already have two 
examples of unity and participatory democracy: 
the unity in action between the Partido 
Revolucionario de los Trabajadores 
Puertorriqueños (Puerto Rican Revolutionary 
Workers Party; PRTP) and our organization, the 
Ejercito Popular Boricua (Boricua Popular Army; 
EPB) and the unity that is witnessed during the 
activities organized the 23rd of every month that 
are hosted by the Coordinadora Nacional de la 
Vigilias por la Dignidad Filiberto Ojeda Rios 
(National Coordinator of the Vigils for the 
Dignity of Filiberto Ojeda Rios), which are 
organized by and attended by numerous sectors of 
the independence movement and the public at 
large.  We have attended many and have witnessed 
the environment of camaraderie between sectors 
that is hopeful.  We take advantage of this 
medium to appreciate the work of the Coordinadora 
de la Vigilias.  Pa’lante, as the Comandante said.

What do you think about the election of Barack 
Obama as President of the United States?

The election of Barack Obama as President of the 
United States was not a surprise.  The 
military-industrial complex that really runs that 
country needed a charismatic and 
apparently-liberal figure to replace Bush, who 
had upset the people and left the economy in 
ruins and risked the entire political-military 
imperialist system.  This manipulation has been 
witnessed markedly during the second half of the 
20th century:  first a heavy-handed hawkish 
Republican and then a Democrat that is not less 
hawkish but who implements social policy that is 
less antagonistic and speaks a language that is 
more conciliatory.  As an example, suffice it 
remember that Clinton was successor to Bush 
father.  That he is black does not mean that his 
ideas are very different from those of his white 
predecessors.  The only way to reach the 
Presidency of the United States is to be in 
communion with the group think of big business, 
the military, and to be willing to implement the 
interventionist and capitalist policies of the empire.

What kind of relationship do you consider will be 
established between the Obama administration and 
the progressive and revolutionary governments of 
Latin America?  How would you characterize the 
perspectives calling for reestablishing relations between Cuba and the US?

We should take into account that the nature of 
the US as a nation was founded during the 20th 
Century as that of a powerful empire.  This 
empire has sacked the entire world and has 
manipulated, with its military might and 
propaganda, all of Latin America to the point 
that many of these countries surrendered their 
sovereignty and permitted the US government to 
exploit their natural resources with little 
benefit to their own people.  Like with all 
empires, changing in this regard will be very difficult.

We do not see a radical change in the politics of 
Obama toward Latin America.  On the contrary, 
judging from the situation in Honduras, the 
threats against the Bolivarian government of 
Venezuela, and the bases in Colombia, the 
interventionist policy and the support for coup 
détat have continued and will continue.

With regards to Cuba, we do not see any movement 
that would indicate the removal of the blockade, 
which is what most of Latin American governments have requested.

In our opinión, Obama will continue to speak in a 
more concilatory tone, but there will be few 
changes in the foreign policy of the 
empire.  This is as such because it is known that 
foreign and domestic foreign policy is dictated 
by powerful military and business interests, who 
are who actually govern and determine his 
remaining in the Presidency.  As Comandante Fidel 
Castro has stated, ‘it is more of the same’.

Long Live our Secretary General, Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios!

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