By Dr. Frank J. Collazo
August 20, 2010
The purpose of this discussion is to present the historical facts of the Nationalist Party. Its aim and concept was “hatred vs. friendship and harmony with the United States of America.” The same individuals who launched a terrorist campaign against the great USA were the ones participating and reaping the benefits of the Commonwealth Arrangement sponsored by the USA at a cost of $ 21 billion dollars/year.
The only way to prevent this bloodshed is to keep the sixteen renegades in prison for life. They are terrorists and fanatics focused on independence for Puerto Rico at any cost. These Nationalists do not understand that a plebiscite is the appropriate tool to obtain independence in a democracy. In December 1998, a referendum or plebiscite regarding the political future of PR, 2.5% of the population chose independence. Still the 3-5% of the population want to impose their will on the 95 % of the population. The 3-5% has captured the herald of the press.
This chronology outlines the origin of the Nationalist Party whose intentions were legal and pro-American. In 1924 the charter of the party changed under Dr. Albizu Campos. The evidence is unambiguous. The slavery issue has been a source of irritation with the Puerto Ricans during WWI and WWII, because some Puerto Ricans who appeared to have African descent were not assigned to Caucasian units, but to black military units. This report is based on facts as listed in the bibliography.
The following is a chronology of the Nationalist Party activities for the period 1873 to 1999. 1873: Slavery practices in the colony of Puerto Rico were abolished by Spain. 1898: Puerto Rico was liberated by the US of America Armed Forces during the Spanish American War.
1919: José Coll y Cuchi: A member of the Union Party of Puerto Rico who felt that the Union Party was not doing enough for the cause of Puerto Rican independence. He and some followers left it to form the Nationalist Association of Puerto Rico in San Juan. Under Coll y Cuchi’s presidency, the Party was able to convince the Puerto Rican Legislative Assembly to approve an Act that would permit the transfer of the mortal remains of Puerto Rican patriot Ramón Demetrio Butanes from Paris, France, to Puerto Rico.
1920: The Legislative Assembly appointed Alfonso Astra Cherries (the best criminalist lawyer in Puerto Rico), as its emissary since he had French heritage and spoke the language fluently. Betanses remains arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on August 5, 1920, and a funeral caravan organized by the Nationalist Association transferred the remains from San Juan to the town of "Cabo Rojo" where his ashes were interred by his monument. At that time there were two other pro-independence organizations in the Island: the Nationalist Youth and the Independence Association. The nationalist Party was organized to pursue independence from the United States in a friendly manner. Hatred was not part of the campaign.
1922: The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party was founded. Its main objective was to work for Puerto Rican Independence. These three political organizations joined forces and formed the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and Coll y Cuchi was elected president and José S. Algeria (father of Ricardo Algeria) vice-president.
1924: Dr. Pedro Ablaze Campos joined the party and was named vice-president. By 1930, disagreements between Coll y Cuchi and Albizu Campos as to how the party should be run, led the former and his followers to abandon the party and return to the Union Party. Under Albizu's leadership during the years of the Great Depression, the party became the largest independence movement in Puerto Rico. However after disappointing electoral results and strong repression by the territorial police authorities, by mid 1930s Albizu opted against electoral participation and advocated violent revolution.
1930: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campo assumed the position of President of the Party advocating overthrowing the US government because of his discrimination experience when he was serving in the US Army as a second lieutenant in charge of colored troops driving trucks. He thought that a "magna cum laude" upon graduation from Harvard could be utilized in the Army doing constructive and challenging things not doing mundane things in a supporting role. Under Albizu's leadership during the years of the Great Depression, the party became the largest independence movement in Puerto Rico. However after disappointing electoral results and strong repression by the territorial police authorities, by mid 1930s Albizu opted against electoral participation and advocated violent revolution.
1932: The Nationalist partisans marched into the Capitol building in San Juan to protest a legislative proposal to establish the current Puerto Rican flag as the official flag of the government. Nationalists preferred the emblem used during the Grito de Lares. During a melee in the building, one partisan fell from a second floor interior balcony to his death. The protest was condemned by the legislators, Rafael Martínez Nadal and Santiago Iglesias, while the spirit of local empowerment found some support in unlikely places such as the future leader of the statehood party Manuel García Méndez.
1935: A confrontation with police at University of Puerto Rico campus in Río Piedras, killed 4 Nationalist partisans and one policeman. This and other events led the party to announce on December 12, 1935, a boycott of all elections held while Puerto Rico remained part of the United States. The event is known as the Río Piedras massacre.
1936: The insular police chief, E. Francis Riggs was murdered in San Juan as he exited the Cathedral on Cristo Street. The perpetrators, two Nationalists named Hiram Rosado and Elías Beauchamp, were arrested, transported to police headquarters, and executed within hours without trial. No policeman was ever tried or indicted for their deaths. This action was in response to a massacre where four nationalists were killed by the police in October 1935. Dr. Campos organized the Nationalist Party advocating overthrowing the US Government and expressing independence at any cost.
1937: A peaceful march organized in the southern city of Ponce by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party turned into a bloody event when the Insular Police ("a force somewhat resembling the National Guard of the typical U.S. state" and which answered to the U.S.-appointed governor Blanton Winship) opened fire upon what a U.S. Congressman and others reported were unarmed and defenseless cadets and bystanders alike killing 19 and badly wounding over 200 more, many in the back while running away.
An ACLU report declared it a massacre, and it has since been known as the Ponce massacre. The march had been organized to commemorate the ending of slavery in Puerto Rico by the governing Spanish National Assembly in 1873 and to protest the incarceration by the U.S. government of nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos. Soon thereafter, the leadership of the Nationalist party, including Pedro Albizu Campos, was arrested. After a second trial, they were incarcerated for conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.
A government investigation into the incident drew few conclusions. A second, independent investigation ordered by the US Commission for Civil Rights (May 5, 1937) led by Arthur Garfield Hays (a member of the ACLU) with Fulgencio Pinero, Emilio Belaval, Jose Davila Rice, Antonio Ayuyo Valdivieso, Manuel Diaz Garcia, and Franscisco M. Zeno, concluded that the events on March 21 constituted a massacre. The report harshly criticized the repressive tactics and massive civil rights violations by the administration of Governor Blanton Winship.
1938: The municipality of Ponce organized celebrations to celebrate the American landing in 1898. This included a military parade and speeches by Governor Blanton Winship, Senate president Rafael Martínez Nadal, and others. When Winship rose to speak, shots were fired, slaying Police Colonel Luis Irizarry who was seated beside the governor. Despite total repudiation of involvement or support of the incident by Nationalist interim president M. Medina Ramírez, numerous nationalists were arrested and convicted of participating in the shooting. Soon afterward, two Nationalist partisans attempted to assassinate Robert Cooper, judge of the Federal Court in Puerto Rico.
1948: The U.S.-appointed governor of Puerto Rico, Jesús T. Piñero, under pressure from the United States signed the infamous "Ley de la Mordaza" (Gag Law) or Law 53 as it was officially known, passed by the Puerto Rican legislature which made it illegal to display the Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic song, talk of independence, or to fight for the liberation of the Island. It resembled the anti-communist Smith Law passed in the United States.
1950: With Albizu now free, and the new autonomist Commonwealth status soon to be enacted, a Nationalist uprising occurred. It involved a dozen or so skirmishes throughout the Island. The first battle of the nationalist uprisings occurred during the early hours of the day of October 29, in the barrio Macaná of town of Peñuelas. The police surrounded the house of the mother of Melitón Muñiz, the president of the Peñuelas Nationalist Party, under the pretext that he was storing weapons for the Nationalist Revolt. Without warning, the police fired upon the nationalists and a firefight between both factions ensued, which resulted on the death of two nationalists and the wounding of six police officers. Two members of the Nationalist Party tried to shoot their way into the Blair house where President S Truman was lodging. Jayuya Uprising: It was led by Nationalist leader Blanca Canales, a police station and post-office were burned. The town was held by the nationalists for three days. Utuado Uprising: It culminated in the Utuado Massacre by the local police.
There was an attempt by a handful of nationalists to enter the Governor's mansion, La Fortaleza, in what is known as the Nationalist attack of San Juan, intending to attack then-governor Luis Muñoz Marín. The five-hour shootout resulted in the death of four Nationalists: Domingo Hiraldo Resto, Carlos Hiraldo Resto, Manuel Torres Medina and Raimundo Díaz Pacheco and three guards at the compound were seriously wounded. Various other shootouts took place throughout the island including Mayagüez, Naranjito, Arecibo, San Juan (The San Juan Uprising), Jayuya (known as the Jayuya Uprising) and Utuado. The next day, there was an unsuccessful attempt by Griselio Torresola and Óscar Collazo to assassinate U.S. President Harry S. Truman, then residing at the Blair House in Washington, D.C.
1954: Lolita Lebrón, together with fellow Nationalists Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores and Andrés Figueroa Cordero, attacked the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. The group opened fire with automatic pistols. Some 30 shots were fired (mostly by Cancel, according to his account), wounding five lawmakers. One Congressman, Alvin Bentley from Michigan, was seriously wounded. Upon being arrested, Lebrón yelled "I did not come to kill anyone, I came to die for Puerto Rico!”
1956: Police officers killed Elias and Hiram Rosado while they were being interrogated. 1965: After Albizu's death, the party split, and some factions opted to join with socialist movements. The New York Junta (board) is an autonomous organ of the party that recognizes and is recognized by the National Junta in Puerto Rico. The vast majority of followers of independence movements in Puerto Rico belong to either the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) or the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP). 1974: Five bombings in downtown New York City (NYC) had damage assessed at one million dollars excluding compensation of the victims. The NYC police was called to an upper east side building to collect a dead body. The building was booby trapped, and a police officer was injured and lost one eye.
1974 to 1987: Scope of terrorism: Bombed public and commercial buildings mainly in Chicago and NYC areas. Robbers held up banks. Stolen dynamite from a mining company in Colorado weapons taken from a National Guard Armory in Wisconsin.
1975: This group exploded into the public view by attacking an icon of American History. The “Fraunces Tavern” in NYC was bombed by the Nationalists, where Gen George Washington bid farewell to his troops in 1783. Four were killed, 54 wounded, and 300, 000 dollars in damages. 1977: The Merchandise Mart was bombed with estimated damages of $1.3 million dollars. 1977: Mobil Oil Company employment office was bombed by the Nationalists. One person was killed and several injured -- no estimated damages assessed.
1979: Two Chicago military recruiting offices and armory were bombed by the nationalists. Nationalist Morales was captured after bombs exploded in his apartment during assembly. Morales escaped from the hospital and fled to Mexico. He killed a police officer in Mexico and was jailed until 1988. Then, he went to Cuba, where he remains. He sought a pardon form President Clinton. Jimmy Carter granted clemency to the four terrorists involved.
1980: The members of the Nationalist Party seized the Carter-Mondale campaign office in Chicago and the George Bush Campaign office in Chicago destroying property and spray painting separatist slogans on walls. Eleven members were captured in Evanston Hill, Illinois, as they prepared for an armored car heist.
1981: Oscar Lopez Rivera, sentenced to 55 years for weapons violation, was intent to destroy government property, and seditious conspiracy. In 1998, he was given an additional sentence for attempting to escape. The Nationalist terrorists were sentenced as follows: Escobar, 60 years; Ricardo Jimenez, 90 years; and Adolfo Matos, 70 years; Alicia Rodriguez, 55 years; Ida Luz Rodriguez, 75 years; and Carmen Valentine, 70 years, all for seditious conspiracy and firearms violation.
1982: Four bombs were detonated in NYC outside police and federal buildings. Three officers were maimed at the blast. 1983: The FBI filmed the nationalists making bombs. Casualties from this even left four persons dead and 54 wounded. It was the deadliest of more than 130 attacks linked to the nationalist group. Four Nationalist members were arrested in Chicago. There were no more bombings after their arrest. 1974-1987: Most of the Nationalist members who committed terrorism were placed in jail (a good place for them).
1985: Luis Ramirez, Alicia Rodriguez, and Carlos Torres told the Chicago Tribune, “I have nothing to be sorry for and have no intention of renouncing the armed revolution.” After another Nationalist member was granted clemency, Ricardo Jimenez told the Judge: "We are going to fight; revolutionary justice will take care of you and everybody else.” Other Nationalists were sentenced for seditious conspiracy to include bombing of military installations: Edwin Cortes 35 years; and Alejandra Torres, 35 years. Juan Segarra Palmer was sentenced to 55 years and 500,000 dollars fine for seditious conspiracy, bank robbery, and interstate transportation of stolen money with the connection of the 1983 armed car robbery. He is still serving a prison term in a medium security prison in Coleman, Florida. Alberto Rodriguez was found guilty of seditious conspiracy including the planning of bombing military centers in Chicago, and Chicago Transit Authority.
1989: The following individuals were sentenced for their role in the 1983 Armored Car Heist Robbery of 7.1 million dollars: Roberto Maldonado Rivera and Norman Ramirez were sentenced to five years; they were released in 1994. The clemency of 100,000 was forgiven for Roberto and 50,000 for Ramirez. Nationalist Party terrorists were offered clemency by President Clinton. Hillary Clinton was running for the US Senate in NY where there are 4 million Puerto Ricans. Carlos Alberto Torres was born in 1951, and sentenced in June to 70 years for seditious conspiracy. He has been on the FBI most terrorists top ten list. Maria Haydee Torres, born in 1955, sentenced to life in prison and convicted of murder in connection with the bombing of Mobil Oil Building in NYC about 3 August 1977 which killed one and injured several individuals.
1998: The referendum or the plebiscite, regarding the political future of PR; 2.5% chose independence. 1999: President Clinton offered clemency to 16 of the terrorists in jail. The decision touched off congressional hearings and sparked a new fight over “Executive Privilege and became an issue in the Senate race in NY state. Four million votes were at risk.
Send and writhen by Dr. Frank J. Collazo
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Nationalist Puerto Rican Party