Protests against the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for subpoenas granted to activists in a grand jury trial investigating the Boricua Popular Army–Macheteros will be held in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and California, as well as Puerto Rico.
The protests will be held January 10 in Puerto Rico, and the following day simultaneous protests will be held across the United States. The protests are promoting non-collaboration with the grand jury.
The announcement was made yesterday in a joint press conference held by several Puerto Rican independence organizations and Mrs. Elma Beatriz Rosado Barbosa—the widow of the slain commander of the Macheteros Filiberto Ojeda. She called the army “a legitimate organization,” while suggesting the FBI “should start thinking about leaving Puerto Rico.”
Rosado Barbosa said she was aware of the FBI’s so-called “2004-09 Strategic Plan,” and added, “the strategic plan is determining all the actions” the U.S. agency is taking against the Boricua independistas.
It was precisely the notion that the FBI uses the Macheteros to attack the entire independence movement that motivated a united response from organizations that normally keep each other at arm’s length. Most of the leaders present addressed this point, but avoided answering questions about the Macheteros, except Rosado Barbosa and the nationalist hero Rafael Cancel Miranda. Miranda suggested whoever admits the existence of the Machetero organization would have to explain how they know the organization exists.
“The Macheteros exists. The whole world knows that,” Rosado Barbosa responded. She survived the attack on Hormigueros in which a group led by the FBI wounded Ojeda Ríos, leaving him to bleed to death.
Representing Boricua communities in the United States was Vicente Alba from New York, who informed the press about the protests planned for January 11, when the three Puerto Ricans are supposed to appear before a grand jury. Protests won’t just be held in the Federal Plaza in Candem Brooklyn, but also in Chicago, Cleveland, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Alba also explained that recent revelations surrounding the death of Ojeda Ríos raises serious questions about the actions of the FBI and said the Bureau is avoiding the issue by going on the offensive against Puerto Rican independistas.
The General Secretary of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, Juan Dalmau, also touched on that point, affirming the Special Agent in charge in San Juan, Luis Fraticelli, was directly responsible for the attack on Ojeda Ríos and called the agent a “criminal.”
Michael González Crus, of La Nueva Escuala, said the investigation “could have something to do” with the Macheteros, but that its real motivation is a general attack because “the independence movement is still a force that challenges the colony.”
Also participating in the press conference were the National Hostosiano Independence Movement, the Socialist Front, the Socialist Movement of Workers, the Caribbean and Latin American Solidarity Coordinator and other organizations.
Jesús Dávila is correspondent in Puerto Rico for El Diario/La Prensa, where this article was first published. Translated from the Spanish by NACLA.