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Puerto Rican Political Prisoners Released

By Maria Camargo

A photo of Ricardo Jimenez addressing the rally.

Chicago, IL – Ricardo Jimenez was the first newly freed Independista to speak to the 300 strong rally, welcoming home the patriots who were jailed for fighting against the U.S. colonization of Puerto Rico. Jimenez told the cheering crowd “the struggle for independence continues!”

The five and a half hour rally, organized mostly by word of mouth, was impressive, with more and more people showing up throughout the evening to participate in this historic and joyous moment in the Puerto Rican community.

Three other freed Independistas spoke to the rally; Alejandrina Torres, Alberto Rodriguez, and Luis Rosa.

Due to the repressive conditions of release imposed by President Clinton, the Independistas are not allowed to appear together, nor are they allowed to communicate with each other.

Two political prisoners, Antonio Camacho-Negron and Oscar Lopez-Rivera, refused the offer of clemency from President Clinton because of the harsh conditions tied to the release.

The Independistas were never given a fair trial to begin with. Under international law, they, as prisoners of war, should have been tried in a Geneva Court. Even today, the mainstream media never mentions that Puerto Rico, after more than a hundred years, remains a colony of the U.S.

Nine of the eleven freed Independistas lived in Chicago before being captured. Only two, Alejandrina Torres and Alberto Rodriguez plan on remaining in Chicago, the rest will live in Puerto Rico.

Luis Rosa, who was 19 years old when imprisoned, said that he would not be able to lead a normal life if he stayed in Chicago. Mayor Daley has stated his opposition to the Independistas' freedom and threatened to use the FBI to keep surveillance on them.

These activists have suffered tremendously inside and outside prison at the hands of the American government. Yet their faith is firm in one day seeing justice for their people and the end of colonialism – ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!

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