Groups and individuals from diverse sectors of the Puerto Rican pro-independence movement and the Boricua Community in general, are urgently meeting in Puerto Rico and throughout the Diaspora to organize against the latest offensive by the U.S. Department of Justice, after being informed that several young Boricua pro-independence activists from New York City have been subpoenaed to appear before a Federal Grand jury investigating the Puerto Rican Independence Movement in general, and in particular, the Ejercito Popular Boricua (EPB: Popular Boricua Army), the Macheteros.
Tania Frontera, Christopher Torres and Julio Pabon Jr. are scheduled to appear before a Federal Grand Jury on January 11, 2008. Hector Rivera, co-founder of the cultural institution The Welfare Poets, is also expected to be served with a subpoena to appear on that day. In the past, due to the fact that some pro-independence activists have traditionally refused to receive the subpoenas from the Grand Jury or to respond to its questions, many have ended up behind bars.
Both the FBI and U.S. Dept. of Justice have made it clear that there is an ongoing investigation focused on the Ejercito Popular Boricua (EPB)-Macheteros. Special Agent Luis Fraticelli, who heads the FBI in San Juan, has said that the agency intends to capture Comandante Guasabara of the EPB, who is believed to have succeeded Filiberto Ojeda Ríos in the leadership of the clandestine revolutionary organization. Ojeda Ríos was assassinated by federal agents on September 23, 2005.
Initial rumors the subpoenas had been issued and served began circulating at almost the same time as the new progress report of the White House committee reviewing the colonial conditions of Puerto Rico was made public. The subpoenas, all served in New York City, means the activists are to appear before the Federal Grand Jury on January 11.
Although many are shocked about the specific individuals targeted, this latest offensive by the U.S. federal government has not come as a total surprise to the Pro-Independence Movement, which has been organizing in preparation for an expected new wave of political repression and possibly arrests.