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PACT OF ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE STUDENT NON-VIOLENT COORDI.
NATING COMMITTEE AND THE PRO-INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT OF PUERTO RICO
At 2:15 P.M., January 25, 1967, a group of approximately 250 demonstrators began a 10-mile march from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras to Ft. Brooke in San Juan proper.
The demonstrators were members of the three leading pro-Communist organizations of Puerto Rico, namely, the Pro-Independence Movement (M.P.I.), the Federation of University Students for Independence (F.U.P.I.), and the High School Federation of Students for Independence (F.E.P.I.).
In addition to banners proclaiming their affiliation to the Communist regime of Cuba (black and red flags of the 26th of July Movement), the demonstrators also carried a large streamer at the head of the column with the slogan "We support Black Power in the U.S.”
Among the leaders of the protest march were Stokely Carmichael, national chairman of S.N.C.C., and Ivanhoe Donaldson, chairman of the New York Chapter of S.N.C.C. Also present were Juan Mari Bras, M.P.I. leader, and F.U.O.I. leaders, Norman Pietri Castellón and Lorenzo Piñero, Jr.
The alleged object of the march was to protest the drafting of Puerto Ricans into the U.S. Armed Forces and to denounce U.S. involvement in the "dirty war” in Viet Nam.
As the march progressed along Ponce de Leon Avenue, it became increasingly evident that the demonstrators were determined to create disorder by their provocative attitude.
As they approached the Inter-American University in Hato Rey, they shouted a new version of the Cuban Communist slogan “Cuba Sí, Yanqui No!" In order to adapt it to Puerto Rico, they substituted the word "Jíbaro" (a nickname for the Puerto Rican peasant) for Cuba.
Carmichael's influence on the marchers was evidenced by the chant of 'L.B.J. ha, ha, ha! Ho Chi Minh was his dada," which was repeated by the demonstrators.
The first confrontation took place in the vicinity of the InterAmerican University when a group of students at that institution, incensed by the offensive slogans, attacked the marchers with eggs, oranges, and beer cans. The police, escorting the marchers, avoided further violence by interposing themselves between the two groups.
When the marchers reached the intersection of Baldorioty Avenue, they were confronted by a large group of students from the Central High School. This time the incident almost degenerated into a riot when the demonstrators used the staffs of the flags they were carrying as lances to attack the counter-demonstrators. Several stones were, thrown and three persons were injured, two of them being members of F.U.P.I. One of these latter, Lorenzo, Piñero, and F.U.P.I. leader,
chose to continue the march despite the fact that he was bleeding from a head injury. His martyr's attitude apparently responded to a plan because later on the leadership of the march made it a point to stress the fact that violence would be met with violence.
The marchers reached their destination four hours after they began and were again met by a group of hostile youths, who had followed them, harassing the marchers.
Stokely Carmichael addressed the demonstrators, through an interpreter, as “brothers and sisters." This was the beginning of a long invective against the United States, which ranged from "Black Power" to Viet Nam.
Carmichael, after saluting the assembly in the name of S.N.C.C., stated that "there is a close relationship between our struggle for black power and your struggle for independence. Our people are colony inside the United States, just as you Puerto Ricans are a colony outside Continental America. Brothers, we see our struggle related to the struggle for national liberation of the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, especially the struggle against North American oppression."
“The North-Afro-Americans support the just struggle of the Puerto Ricans for their independence. They want to rule and control their own lives and the riches of their country, today controlled by a foreign nation, the United Srates and its pro-Yankee lackeys."
With reference to Viet Nam, Carmichael stated that "we support the just struggle which Viet Nam is waging against Yankee imperialism” and added, "the Army of the United States is taking advantage of the Afro-American people by using them to fight against our own brothers. We are told to go fight in Viet Nam for a so-called democracy, but we know the hypocrisy of that statement. We have experienced with our bodies and our own blood what this so-called U.S. democracy means."
In closing, he stated that "no aggressions or provocations could stop the struggle of the Afro-American and Puerto Rican people."
Juan Mari Bras, for his part, stated that the Independence Movement is in a state of preparedness and soon will invade San Juan and added that "Yankee imperialism could not detain the spontaneous independence movement of Puerto Rico."
Marí Bras revealed that he had directed the M.P.I. members of the “Vito Marcantonio” Mission in New York to support in every possible way the Negro movement in the United States and had told Carmichael so.
At about 7:45 P.M., a heavy shower ended the demonstration which had been observed by an estimated 3,000 onlookers who took every opportunity to express their hostility towards the demonstrators.
On January 26, 1967, just prior to his departure for New York, Stokely Carmichael signed a protocol of agreement between S.N.C.C. and M.P.I., in which it was established that “the struggle for political and economic control, better housing, education, and a higher standard of living, waged by the people of Puerto Rico and the Negroes in the urban ghettoes of the United States can be implemented on a common basis and by concerted actions."
"It is equally considered that the opposition to the draft and U.S. aggression in Viet Nam can be strengthened by concerted actions between the two organizations."
"The S.N.C.C. offers its support to M.P.I. in its struggle to win consideration of the "colonial status” of Puerto Rico by the United Nations in the immediate future."
It is most significant to note that the presence of Carmichael in Puerto Rico and the events which followed are very closely related to a meeting which took place the day prior to Carmichael's arrival in San Juan.
January 23, 1967, was the day on which the leadership of the militant pro-Communist organizations in Puerto Rico held a strategy meeting at the M.P.I. headquarters in San Juan.
The purpose of the meeting was the implementation of directives from the Secretariat of the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (O.S.P.A.A.L.A.), commonly known as the Tri-Continental Conference.
(Puerto Rico is a member of the permanent Secretariat and has a "mission” in Havana. The mission is located at 3404 Avenida 39 in the Miramar section of Havana. "Chief of Mission” is Narciso Rabéll Martinez, former secretary of the International Union of Students based in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Among those attending the meeting were Juan Mari Bras, Norman Pietri Castellón, and Ana Livia Cordero. Both Pietri and Ana Livia Cordero were members of the Puerto Rican delegation to the Tri-Continental Conference which took place in Havana from the 3rd to the 16th of January, 1966. Norman Pietri Castellon was the president of the Puerto Rican delegation.
On January 10, 1966, in his address to the Conference, Norman Pietri specifically referred to the military bases on the island and emphasized the imperative need to win national independence in order to promote conditions conducive to the total eradication of Yankee military installations in Puerto Rico . . .
In the same address he stated that “the Puerto Rican Pro-Independence Movement resolutely supports the Vietnamese people in their struggle against Yankee aggression."
Following this statement, on January 19, 1966, Norman Pietri signed a joint Puerto Rican-Viet Cong declaration pledging support and solidarity. The following day, Radio Hanoi echoed Norman Pietri's statements and pledged its support of the “national liberation movement of Puerto Rico."
In subsequent statements, speeches, and interviews, Pietri not only denounced the United States as an aggressor, but he actually advocated armed insurrection against the Government of the United States.
The significance of Pietri's statements regarding the "national liberation movement” in Puerto Rico comes sharply into focus, especially when considered in the light of the following statement made by Juan Marí Bras at the closing of the strategy meeting held on January 23, 1967:
“Just as imperialism uses Puerto Rico as a bridgehead for its penetration into Latin America so will the Patriotic Vanguard of Puerto Rico (M.P.I.) offer itself as a bridge over which world revolution can penetrate into the United States.''
Juan Mari Bras thus dissipated any doubts as to the future role of M.P.I. Not only would the movement organize and lead active subversion against the United States, but would act as the link between
Havana and the "Black Power” advocates. This would involve not only Puerto Rico, but the U.S. mainland as well.
No sooner had the pact between S.N.C.C. and M.P.I. been signed than Juan Mari Bras set out for New York to gather support for his Movement's campaign to include the case of Puerto Rico in the agenda of the next meeting of the U. N. Committee on De-Colonization.
Marí Bras arrived in New York with Stokely Carmichael on the evening of January 26, 1967. The following afternoon he called on delegates and members of the Committee to inform them about what he terms the “pseudo-plebiscite” which will determine Puerto Rico's status next July.
After the meeting Juan Mari Bras stated that he was in the process of mobilizing a large force, both in Puerto Rico and in the United States, for the purpose of pressing Puerto Rico's case in the U. N.
He added that he would take advantage of his brief stay in New York to hold strategy meetings with local M.P.I. leaders and with those of other allied organizations. “Among these,” he stated, “is the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, led by Stokely Carmichael, who has offered his utmost cooperation in the campaign.”
CUBA-FOMENTED SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES IN PUERTO
On the afternoon of May 4, 1967, climaxing a long and concerted campaign, a group of an estimated 250 activists of the Communist Federation of University Students for Independence disrupted and forced the cancellation of a ceremony in observance of Air Force Day at the University of Puerto Rico.
The Communist activists had gathered outside the University theatre to picket a briefing by ROTC officers to the 1,000 cadets presently enrolled in the program.
This briefing was to precede a parade in honor of the Mayor of San Juan, Dona Felisa Rincon De Gautier.
While the briefing was in progress, a brief confrontation between the Communist activists and a group of 50 students from the Association of Students for Statehood, took place outside the theatre. Despite their numbers, the Communists were easily routed by their opponents.
Immediately after the briefing, the cadets proceeded to the University Athletic Fiti! to participate in the scheduled parade while the invited guests and reviewing officers took their places on a reviewing stand.
No sooner had the parade begun than 250 FUPI activists invaded the parade grounds after forcing open the gates of the field and began pushing the officers and guests off the reviewing stand.
Part of the same group, evidently in a well rehearsed maneuver, interposed itself in the line of march of the band, resulting in the disruption of the formation. The Communist activists actually manhandled the members of the band to the extent that several of them lost their instruments and articles of their uniforms. One musician was observed having his shoe forcefully removed during the scuffle.
As a result of this disgraceful episode, the officer in charge cancelled the parade and ordered the cadets, numbering approximately 100 at that moment, to march to the ROTC building.
Again the demonstrators attempted to interrupt this march but were ignored by the cadets. The activists then began throwing dirt on the uniforms of the officers, and spat on several of the instructors.
The main target of this last attack was ROTC instructor, Captain Robert W. Hunter from Massachusetts, who desipte the dirt and spittle covering his uniform, managed to maintain the dignity befitting his rank and uniform.
Reports from reliable sources within the student body disclosed that the incident involving Capt. Hunter was part of a prearranged plan. The FUPI activists intended to single out one U.S. officer and taunt him to the point of violent reaction. The ensuing altercation would have been used to bring discredit to the Air Force and the United States.
Almost simultaneously a U.S. flag was trampled on and then set afire by the FUPI agitators.