When will Puerto Rico celebrate It’s “Quatorze Juillet”?

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

Today the French celebrate “le Quatorze Juillet” a date that has a lot of significance for me. Today the French celebrate their independence. Living on an island that is the only colony left in the world I have to say that I wish we had the privilege of every other country of being independent. I have been able to trace one of my ancestors Epifanio Presas who came from France back in the late 1800’s. He was trying to get Puerto Rico’s Independence from Spain. More than a century after, we are still not independent.

Every “14 de julliet” my ancestor Epifanio comes to mind because he was from France and at one point he was held as political prisoner in one of our castles.

My great-great-great-grandfather was held as political prisoner in El Morro Fort. He was part of a group of merchants who where tired of the way the Spanish where taxed and took advantage of them. Part of the Boicotizadora Movement, a word derived from boycott, was one of the most successful pacifical movements on the Island to this date.

On the 6th of November of 1887 Governor Romualdo Palacio of Spanish Rule, ordered the transfer of 16 political prisoners from the Ponce Barracks to El Morro Castle. Those 16 prisoners where Ramon Baldorioty de Castro, Ramon Marin Sola, Francisco Cepeda Taborcias, Antonio Molina Vergara, Salvador Carbonell Toro, Tomas Vazquez Rivera, Manual Antonio Zavala Rodriguez, Santiago R. Palmer, Pedro Maria Descartes, Jose Vicente Gonzalez, Andres Santos Negroni, Rudolfo Figueroa Gonzalez, Bruno Negron, Ulises Dalmau Proventud, Cristino Aponte and  Epifanio Presas.


Epifanio was held in El Morro and once Romualdo Palacios was taken out of power by the Spanish crown, he was released on December 24, 1887. Epifanio fought for the rights of other Puerto Ricans in a pacific way. He stood his ground and over the years a few family members have identified some of his traits as ones that are similar to what they see in me.

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

I have stories that were passed on to me by one of the best historians in Puerto Rico, Mr Otto Sievens. I will share more in a future post regarding how Epifanio stood his ground even in the worst of scenarios.

For those of you that visit the El Morro Fort, part of the U.S. National Park system, you can go visit a plaque left in memory of those 16 political prisoners and see Epifanio’s name engraved in it. He also has a street named after him in Guayanilla. It is curious that I am tied to Guayanilla in many ways even as far back the 1800’s.


Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

Closer View of Plaque – Epifanio Presas

For my french friends like @thebrandbulilder and @karimacatherine celebrating France’s independence, enjoy good vibes from a descendant of a frenchman. Hopefully one day my small country will have the privilege of celebrating the same.

In honor of Monsieur Epifanio Presas  “Joyeux Quatorze Juillet”


  1. Prometeo on July 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I wish that we could be celebrating our independence too. That´ll happen the day Puerto Ricans begin to love this island. 

    • Raul Colon on July 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      I guess you are right that will happen when everyone starts loving others instead of themselves only. 

  2. Juvenciogonzalez on July 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Raul: a long, long way for the Puertorican “Quatorze Juillet”, but then…todo camino comienza con el primer paso!!! Lets keep the hope and continue building!

    • Raul Colon on July 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm


      Gracias por el apoyo. Creo que si seguimos compartiendo ideas quizás la gente abra los ojos y se daran cuenta que la Independencia es una opción viable. 

  3. Anonymous on July 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Arial}
    p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Arial; min-height: 15.0px}

    I can surely relate to this post from various perspectives. We’re going to have to work a lot, and like your great grandparent, be prepared to live through the consequences of our actions.

    That and I also have french blood in me.

  4. Samantha on August 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Hi my name is Samantha! I have just returned from my visit to Puerto Rico and was trying to search for any information about this plaque. My Great Great Grandfather, Bruno Negron, is listed on there and I have not been able to find any information. If you know of any maybe websites or books where I could find information that would be amazing! If not, thats okay as well 🙂 thank you for posting this anyway! 

    • Raul Colon on August 9, 2012 at 10:17 am


      I will take a look at the books I have given to other people on the subject. I can also ask a few historians that I know. It would have been a pleasure to connect with you. Next time you visit feel free to contact me. 

      Do you have any stories you have heard about Bruno Negron! 

      Great to meet another family member of those that did some great actions for Puerto Rico during that time that should be repeated again now. 

      On another post in this blog another family member of someone else on the plaque commented will also look for that post! 

    • Sarah Heath on September 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Hello Samantha! I was just looking for information on Bruno Negron when I came across your comment in google. My husband, dad, and I came back from my first trip to Puerto Rico in June. Bruno Negron is my dad’s grandfather (my great-grandfather), so it was a huge honor to be able to stand with my dad and take pictures infront of the plaque with his name. I think it’s neat that we share the same family line! I haven’t been able to find much information either. In fact this is the best article I’ve read on this plaque and the history behind the names. Good luck with your search, and perhaps we will talk with each other soon!

  5. Michelle Z on July 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Raul, I hope that you still get updates from this since this article is 3 years old. I was in El Morro this year and found this plaque with the name of a man who most of family believe to be a relative Dr. Manuel A Zavala. If you know resources I can look at further for more information I would be so appreciative. I don’t know much about my family history and to know that I could be related to someone so important would be amazing thank you!

    • Raul Colon on August 2, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Michelle Z,

      There is Elsa Tio who is someone who is an expert in the subject of what happened to my ancestor and the other brave men with the name on the plaque.

  6. Crystal on February 24, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Hey!!! He is my great grandad too!!!! Please contact me at cmcruz1215@gmail.com