Puerto Rico: march against FBI terror

Several thousand Puerto Ricans marched down Roosevelt Avenue in San Juan on Feb. 26 to protest raids on the homes of independence activists by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Feb. 10 and the shooting death of fugitive Popular Boricua Army (EPB)-Macheteros leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios during an FBI raid on Sept. 23. The theme of the march, organized by the Hostos National Independence Movement (MINH) and supported by a wide range of political tendencies, was: “Puerto Rico respects itself! FBI out!” Organizers estimated that 8,000 people participated; police Col. Leovigildo Vazquez declined to give a number.

Participants included New York State Assembly member Jose Rivera; Ojeda Rios’ widow, Elma Beatriz Rosado Barbosa; and three of the targets of the raids, Vilma Velez, Liliana Laboy and Norberto Cintron Fiallo. Speakers stressed the success of activists in getting the US Navy to close its testing site on the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques in May 2003. “If we threw the Navy out of Vieques,” Rosado said, “we can throw out the FBI.” A man was said to have been attacked by some marchers who considered him an agent; no other disturbances were reported. (Primer Hora, Guaynabo, PR, Feb. 27; El Diario-La Prensa, NY, Feb. 27)

The Association of Journalists, the Overseas Press Club and the Center for Freedom of the Press are suing the FBI for attacking reporters in Rio Piedras as they tried to cover the Feb. 10 raids. Justice Secretary Rorberto Jose Sanchez Ramos has issued a subpoena ordering the FBI to release the names of the agents involved in the attack. The US filed a motion to block the subpoena. On Mar. 2 US federal judge Jose Fuste put the US motion aside, although he indicated he might rule in favor of the FBI later. (ED-LP, March 3)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 5

See our last post on Puerto Rico.