Lolita, may your rest in Peace!
One of the tweets I read yesterday saddened me greatly. One of Puerto Rico’s greatest patriots and Nationalist Leaders Lolita Lebron had passed away at 11:05 am on Sunday August 1, 2010. She was born Dolores Lebron Sotomayor in 1920 at Lares, Puerto Rico. She was a loyal and active defender of the Puerto Rico Independence movement. She joined the Puerto Rico nationalist Party at an early age which at that time was presided by Pedro Albizu Campos.
In 1954 a group of Puerto Rico Nationalists attacked the U.S. House of Representatives. Lolita Lebron led the attacked with the help of Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores, and Andrés Figueroa Cordero. The date that was chosen was to repudiate the fact that the first of march of 1917 was when the U.S. in need of troops for the First World War handed the U.S. Citizenship to people on the island with the purpose of recruiting soldiers for the front. This was the first time in History that the U.S. House of Representatives was attacked. (these first two paragraphs are almost a direct translation from the blog “Encuentro… Al Sur”)
If you see the following video you could see how Lolita when asked about her actions pretty much states that she did not come to Kill she came to ask for the independence of Puerto Rico. When you see how calm and direct her answers where to the press you can understand that their was a purpose to her actions.
It is curious how some people have tarnished her image and those same people look up to the forefather’s of the U.S. and admires how the U.S. reached its independence.
Do these people think that there where no casualties to reach the objective?
I don’t condone violence but at the time when Lolita decided to take these actions many violent things happened that triggered these actions. On the other side these actions continued for decades.
When I was 10 years old I remember my dad rented a movie randomly, which turned out to be a movie related to something my Dad had lived very closely. “A Show Of Force” was a movie created based on true facts of how the Puerto Rico and US Government murdered two individuals at el Cerro Maravilla on July 25th, 1978 by the Puerto Rico Police. After watching that movie my curiosity increased in learning about the actions against Puerto Rico’s independent and socialist movements.
During the 70’s while my dad was in college he was part of Puerto Rico’s Socialist movement. He had the opportunity to work along many others who shared the same interests, values and love for Puerto Rico as well as known Poet Juan Antonio Corretjer.His stories are endless on his many experiences working to what in that time he believed was the best for Puerto Rico.
Out of all the stories the one’s that really affected my father (and till this day bothers me) where the many times police and federal agents harassed him. My dad and his Pro-Independent Movement peers where harassed and persecuted by local and federal agents. These agents (secret police) then created logs and archives (which locally where referred to as “Carpetas”) and a profile regarding there movement and activities related or not to their political ideals. This created extreme hardship for themselves and the people around them.
My dad decided to leave Puerto Rico and retired himself from being an activist given the many bad experiences he suffered. I remember that in the early 90’s (just when my dad decided to return to Puerto Rico) the government offered to hand over those archives. My dad decided they could destroy them and he wanted no part in it. It is not until a couple of weeks that I really understood why he did not go retrieve them (after all they where a part of history).
Weeks ago a protest was held against the violence that erupted agains the people protesting (which I wrote about in an earlier blog post “Sad Day for Our Island – Puerto Rico”). During this new pacific protest an undercover police officer is recording the non-violent protest.
We do not know the reasons why this under cover cop was filming the protest but given my dad’s experiences and my experiences while I was part of the military I can have a good idea. If you watch the video you can see how the undercover police officer is caught in the act but completely denies the situation.