Saturday, February 11, 2006

FBI Puerto Rico Raids: Colonial Repression A Threat to All

Feds Invade Homes of Independentista and Trade-Unionists, Steal Documents, Brutally Assault Journalists

FEBRUARY 13 - On Friday morning, February 10, a task force of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launched an operation invading homes and offices in six different places in Puerto Rico. With a helicopter of the Department of Homeland Security hovering overhead, federal police in military uniforms, some wearing ski masks to hide their faces, brandished high-powered weapons as they yanked people out of their homes so that swarms of FBI agents could rifle through their files and cart off computers. This is a continuation of the assassination last September of Puerto Rican independence fighter Filiberto Ojeda Rios, leader of the Ejercito Popular Boricua (Los Macheteros), by an FBI death squad. Targeted this time around were several independentistas who have been active in protesting that act of colonial state terror.

FBI official pepper-sprays journalists during raid in San Juan, February 10. (AP)

Among them are well-known trade-union activists including the sociology professor Liliana Laboy and Norberto Cintron Fiallo, who organized Ojeda Rios' funeral.

Last Friday's raids were a naked act of state repression by the imperialists who for more than a century have subjugated the Caribbean island nation of Puerto Rico, which for many years was the largest remaining colony in the world. Today, the U.S. rulers are carrying out a brutal colonial occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as well. Their drive to terrorize the world (and the U.S. population) into submission in the name of a "war on terror" not only affects independentista militants but the workers movement as a whole and the rights and liberties of all. As journalists were covering the raids in the capital, San Juan, an FBI official verbally abused them and sprayed pepper gas directly in the face of several photographers and TV cameramen. As the feds departed, youths yelling "abusers" pounded and kicked the vehicles and threw rocks at the retreating convoy.

When the FBI murdered Ojeda Rios in cold blood, unleashing a hail of gunfire and then leaving him for almost 24 hours to bleed to death, the Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International denounced this act of state terrorism and called on the workers movement and all defenders of democratic rights to protest the crime. We noted that this was also a deliberate imperialist provocation, carried out on the anniversary of the 1868 Grito de Lares, when Puerto Ricans first took up arms fighting for independence from Spain. Ojeda Rios was assassinated by the same imperialist butchers whose military guard dogs and CIA hit men torture and murder prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, at the Guantanamo naval base stolen from Cuba, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The government in Washington who dispatched these professional assassins to Puerto Rico is the same one that abandoned more than 100,000 poor, black and working-class residents of New Orleans to die in the floods following Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. rulers are the real terrorists.

The recent FBI raids are a particular threat to the workers movement. They give a taste of what this government has in store for trade-unionists in Puerto Rico and around the U.S. Already in August 2004, a squad of federal cops raided the headquarters of the Independent Authentic Union (VIA), accusing it of planning protests at the San Juan Airport, which under the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act would be labeled a "terrorist" act. The UIA was protesting attempts by the Puerto Rican government's Water and Sewer Authority (AAA) to dismantle the union health¬care fund. When the union went on strike over this attack, the feds struck again, on October 22. This time the FBI claimed it was investigating union "corruption," and accused the VIA of planning "sabotage" of the island's water supply. Federal agents cordoned off the union hall for 15 hours, held union officials hostage and confiscated boxes of documents.

The FBI has for decades engaged in frame-ups, sabotage and disruption of the Puerto Rican union movement. They are stepping up their repression today as labor struggles intensify, including by the powerful and militant electrical workers (UTIER) and teachers unions. The recent raids were described by the daily Primera Hora (11 February) as a "Preventive Strike." We call on the entire workers movement to join in protesting this assault on fundamental rights.

The government assault was directed against Puerto Rican nationalists, who have been the target of FBI/police provocation, including the infamous Cerro Maravilla murders and the carpetas (police dossiers) which were kept on no less than 100,000 Puerto Ricans. We demand that all U.S. military, intelligence and other agencies get out of Puerto Rico, including the FBI, CIA, DEA and the rest of the colonial repressors. We call as well for all Puerto Rican independence fighters to be released from prison. The Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International stand for unconditional and immediate independence for Puerto Rico. But while many independentistas seek to build a Puerto Rican state like the various other bourgeois mini-states in the Caribbean, as proletarian internationalists we fight for a voluntary socialist federation of the Caribbean, in conjunction with the struggle for workers revolution in the imperialist citadel.

Statement of the Internationalist Group


Renegade Eye said...

I found this blog surfing.

Thank you for that powerful post. The US government has always been at war with the forces of Puerto Rican independence, and even more the forces of socialism.

José M. López Sierra said...


We need to work together to decolonize Puerto Rico and free Oscar López Rivera. Join 2 peaceful protests until it is accomplished!

Un abrazo,

José M. López Sierra said...

Dear Partner,

After the approval of the 33rd United Nations’ resolution by consensus on June 23, 2014 asking the United States (US) to immediately decolonize of Puerto Rico, we should work together to force the United States government to comply with it.

The facts that the United States government has maintained Puerto Rico as its colony for 116 years, has had Oscar López Rivera in prison for 33 years for fighting for Puerto Rico decolonization, and has ignored 33 UN resolutions to decolonize Puerto Rico, confirm that the US government has no intentions of ever decolonizing Puerto Rico. Therefore, we need to form a tsunami of people to force the US to comply with the 33 resolutions.

We should peacefully protest at least 3 times a year until we achieve our goal. The first one will be a march up to the US Courthouse in Puerto Rico on the Abolition of Slavery Day on March 22. The second will be another march in Puerto Rico on a day before the UN’s Puerto Rico decolonization hearing. The third one will be a protest in New York City on the same day the UN holds its Puerto Rico decolonization hearing.

These 3 protests are indispensable, because those who have colonies don’t believe in justice for all.

José M López Sierra
Comité Timón del Pueblo
United Partners for the Decolonization of Puerto Rico

José M. López Sierra said...

¿Por qué Puerto Rico sale a votar más que Estados Unidos?

Los puertorriqueños votan a un 80%. Los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos votan a un 50%. Por qué esta diferencia de 30%. ¿Serán que los puertorriqueños somos más creyente de la democracia que los mismo ciudadanos estadounidense?

Puerto Rico es una colonia de los Estados Unidos desde el 1898. Desde entonces, los puertorriqueños que han querido descolonizar a Puerto Rico lo han asesinado o encarcelado. Muchos puertorriqueños le tienen terror hablar de la independencia para Puerto Rico debido a esta represión de 116 años.

Como el colonialismo es siempre para explotación, no hay oportunidades en Puerto Rico para los puertorriqueños. Por eso es que tenemos ahora más puertorriqueños afuera que adentro de Puerto Rico. ¡Los puertorriqueños están desesperados para encontrar una solución política para nuestro colonialismo eterno!

La mayoría de los puertorriqueños creen que podemos descolonizarnos a través del proceso electoral. Pero el proceso electoral está en última instancia bajo el control del gobierno de Estado Unidos. Como el gobierno de Estados Unidos ha ignorado 33 resoluciones de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU) pidiéndole que inmediatamente descolonice a Puerto Rico, y ha mantenido a nuestro preso político Oscar López Rivera encarcelado por 33 años a pesar de un reclamo mundial para su excarcelación, no debe haber duda alguna de EEUU nunca permitirá nuestra descolonización por vía electoral. ¡Si se pudiera, no lo tendríamos!

La mejor forma para descolonizarnos seria que los 80% de los electores puertorriqueños salgan mejor a la calle para demandar nuestro derecho inalienable a la autodeterminación e independencia, e insistir que la descolonización la maneje la ONU. Después de todo, la descolonización está bajo la jurisdicción de la ley internacional, y nunca bajo la ley nacional. Por eso es que el colonialismo es crimen en contra de la humanidad bajo la ley internacional, pero no bajo la Constitución de Estados Unidos.

José M López Sierra