On Sunday August 23rd at the First Spanish Methodist Church, Lexington Ave and 111 Street, Manhattan (El Barrio) there was a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Young Lords. According to the front page story of El Diario, the church was absolutely packed with an enthusiastic public which included Congressmembers Nydia Velazquez and Jose Serrano and Assemblyman Jose Rivera. At that gathering was read the attached message sent by Ricardo Alarcón.
Brothers and sisters,
Hermanas y hermanos
I wish I could be there physically commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Young Lords. Being that impossible allow me to convey to all of you my thoughts which is the only way for me to be there joining you in this celebration with my heart and soul.
With the birth of the Young Lords the Sixties, that beautiful revolt of a new generation seeking a heaven of love, peace and solidarity on Earth, enter the Latino community in the United States. They were really young, some in their teens, but they showed the way to many others with passionate love for their homeland and their community, with their generous dedication to the struggle that took the lives of some who will live forever in our gratitude.
They are part of my personal history and I always owe a lot to the Lords. In those days I also was a young, the youngest Ambassador to the United Nations. Representing Cuba, almost completely isolated in those days, was a real challenge to me, my wife, my daughter and mother-in-law. We faced a lot of hostility, we felt harassed and discriminated in our daily lives in Manhattan. They – you know who they are – forced us to feel as Puerto Ricans. And we are thankful for that. We are proud to be boricuas from New York.
Defending the Cuban Revolution was not easy there in those days. As it was not easy to demand the independence of Puerto Rico and the liberation of Oscar Collazo, Lolita Lebrón, Andrés Figueroa Cordero, Irving Flores and Rafael Cancel Miranda, the five Puerto Rican nationalist heroes whose freedom we were able to win with our sustained efforts.
May I call upon you to rise in solidarity demanding the release of Oscar López Rivera, Carlos Alberto Torres and Avelino González Claudio, Puerto Rican patriots, who deserve to be free as Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando González Llort and René González Sehwerert, the Five Cubans being unjustly punished there for fighting US sponsored terrorism against Cuba. Let’s build a strong and powerful movement for the freedom of the Cuban Five and the Puerto Rican patriots with the vigor and the passion that the Young Lords taught us.
Latin America and the Caribbean have entered a new epoch in their history in which Cuba is not alone any more. This is the result of many sacrifices of our peoples who fought generation after generation for freedom, independence and justice.
That epoch should bring for Puerto Rico the realization of its sacred right to self-determination and independence.
We will be always united. It was José Marti who anticipated the common destiny of the Antilles “the sister islands that will succumb together or together will be saved”.
Long live the Young Lords.
¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!
Hasta la Victoria Siempre.