[Ppnews] Thursday 10/13 - Commemorate the life of Filiberto Ojeda Rios!
Political Prisoner News
PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 10 15:55:04 EDT 2005
Commemorate the life of Filiberto Ojeda Rios
Thursday, October 13th, 7-9 pm
Women's Building, 3543 18th St., Audre Lorde Room
Join us on Thursday, October 13th to commemorate the life of Filiberto
Ojeda Rios, the courageous leader of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement
who was assassinated by the FBI on Friday, September 23rd, 2005. Filiberto
was a founder of the clandestine group, Los Macheteros and was living in
clandestinity at the time of his criminal murder (see story below for more
Bring your grief, your rage, your memories, poetry, pictures, art, music
and food to share. There will be videos from Puerto Rico and t-shirts!
7-9 pm at the Women's Building, 3543 18th St., Audre Lorde Room.
Ojedas assassination gives fresh impetus to the independence struggle
BY ROSE ANA DUEÑASSpecial for Granma International
CAPITALISM creates its own gravediggers, as Karl Marx and Frederich Engels
explained in the Communist Manifesto. And the U.S. government, in its
latest attack on the Puerto Rican peoples struggle to free themselves from
U.S. colonial rule, has not only revealed how alive that struggle is, it
has given it new impetus.
After the FBI assassinated long-time independence fighter Filiberto Ojeda
Ríos on September 23, rage exploded among Puerto Ricans and others
everywhere, whether or not they identify themselves as independentistas
(pro-independence). Some 300 agents surrounded the 72-year-olds home in
Hormigueros, Puerto Rico supposedly to arrest him for the 1983 robbery of
an armored car , refused his offer to turn himself in to a well-known
journalist, shot him and left him to bleed to death.
Thousands demonstrated against this murder, both on the island and in the
United States itself, where more than 1 million Puerto Ricans live.
Thousands of people attended Ojedas wake and funeral, and students and
others took down the U.S. flag from various points around the island in
"Filiberto was a fighter for Puerto Rico in every way, completely committed
to the struggle for independence by any means necessary, and they wanted to
eliminate that symbol," said Rafael Cancel Miranda, a Puerto Rican
nationalist leader who spent almost 27 years in Yankee jails for fighting
for independence, and who spoke in an interview with Granma International.
"They think that by doing so, they can kill the struggle for independence¼
they are trying to terrorize the people, to make them afraid."
In 1898, the United States invaded and seized Puerto Rico, a strategically
valuable colony or "commonwealth," as it is euphemistically referred to.
Just like the Spanish colonialists before it, U.S. imperialism extracted
most of the islands wealth, and used its people as a cheap source of
labor, treating them in a racist, degrading manner. For many years, Puerto
Ricans were forced to speak English and salute the U.S. flag, and the
distorted one-crop sugar economy obligated many to immigrate to Florida,
New York and elsewhere to survive. Puerto Rican women were forcibly
sterilized and Puerto Rican men were used as cannon fodder in U.S. wars.
The island was turned into the biggest U.S. military base in the
hemisphere, a launching pad for U.S. military aggression in the region and
beyond, and after World War II, the smaller island of Vieques, part of
Puerto Rico, became the northern powers most important land/sea training
grounds. Live bombs and chemical weapons were tested there, despite untold
damage to inhabitants health like an extremely high cancer rate and the
"U.S. imperialism controls our country socially, politically, and
economically. We are a militarily occupied country - we're saturated by
U.S. military bases. (¼ ) They control the mass media. They control our
schools. They indoctrinate us from the time we're children. They tell you
who to hate and who not to hate. They can even indoctrinate you to hate
yourself," Cancel Miranda noted in a 1998 interview with The Militant
But the Puerto Rican people have always struggled and resisted. Ojeda was
executed by the FBI on September 23, the anniversary of Grito de Lares, the
revolutionary 1868 uprising against the Spanish celebrated by Puerto Rican
patriots every year.
From the start, the Puerto Rican independence struggle was linked with
Cubas, as Cuban national hero José Martí stated in 1892: "The Cuban
Revolutionary Party is constituted in order to gain ¼ the total
independence of Cuba and to encourage and assist that of Puerto Rico."
"Because of its culture, its history, its traditions, and especially
because of the express will of its people, Puerto Rico is a Latin American
and Caribbean country, with its own national identity, which the Puerto
Rican people have known how to maintain despite the colonizing process they
have been subjected to," noted Rafael Dausá, Cuban Deputy Permanent
Representative to the United Nations in 1998, speaking before the UN
Special Committee on Decolonization.
Every year, Cuba speaks in favor of Puerto Ricos decolonization, and for
six consecutive years, the committee has approved a resolution to that
effect, which is always ignored by the U.S. government, just as it ignored
UN resolutions against South African apartheid, Israels oppression of the
Palestinian people, and its own 44-year-old blockade against Cuba.
Instead, the U.S. government and its servile colonial administrators have
always repressed the independence struggle. The FBI framed up and jailed
Nationalist Party founder Albizu Campos in the 1930s, Rafael Cancel Miranda
and his comrades in the 1950s, and the Hartford 15 which Ojeda was
accused of being part of in the 1980s, among others. Puerto Rican
political prisoners have always been given the worst treatment, just like
that given to the five Cuban revolutionaries being held in U.S. prisons today.
Three Puerto Rican freedom fighters Oscar López Rivera, Carlos Alberto
Torres, and Haydée Beltrán are still in U.S. dungeons after 25 years. Two
more José Pérez González and José Velez Acosta have been held since
2003 for their protests against U.S. military control over Vieques.
In the 60s and 70s, the FBI and CIA spied on tens of thousands of Puerto
Ricans, putting them on "subversive" lists, and disrupting their
organizations through the infamous Cointelpro operation. Federal cops were
complicit in the 1978 police executions of two young independentistas at
Cerro Maravilla. Just last year the FBI raided the headquarters of the
water workers union in San Juan in the midst of a hard-fought strike.
Despite the repression, a mass campaign to free the Puerto Rican political
prisoners won a victory in 1999 when President William Clinton released 11
of the 17 held at the time, and the mass struggle to get the U.S. Navy out
of Vieques finally won in 2003. During these years, the Puerto Rican people
have expressed over and over that they are a nation:
In 1996, 100,000 people demonstrated in La Nación en Marcha (The Nation
Marching) to protest against Puerto Rico becoming a U.S. state and against
colonial Governor Pedro Rosellós statement that "Puerto Rico is not and
has never been a nation." In 1997 and 1998, hundreds of thousands of
Puerto Ricans took to the streets against the privatization of the
telephone company in what became a general strike, chanting "Puerto Rico is
not for sale!" In 2000, more than 85,000 marched to oppose the U.S. Navy
in Vieques, and that same year, some 40,000 turned out for the Grito de
Lares commemoration. In 2003, thousands celebrated in the streets when
the U.S. Navy officially ended its presence in Vieques.
Cancel Miranda explained that the U.S. government tried to hurt the Puerto
Rican independence struggle by killing Ojeda, who shot back in self-defense
as FBI cops fired more than 100 rounds.
"They thought they could strike fear into the Puerto Rican people. But they
have not been able to do so for more than 100 years. They have massacred us
¼ they have persecuted us, they have jailed us not by ones and twos, but
by thousands and they have not been able to defeat us. We have not been
able to remove them from our national territory, but neither have they been
able to defeat us, and Filiberto has given us a living example of that," he
"They think that by eliminating him, they are eliminating the struggle, the
cause he defended, but against that, against ideas, there is no possible
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews