[indymediapr] The Latin America Solidarity Coalition demands: · Stop using the Grand Jury

Raulmax en aol.com Raulmax en aol.com
Mie Ene 9 14:32:25 PST 2008

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition demands:

·    Stop  using the Grand Jury process to harass and intimidate the Puerto 
Rican  people!
·    Stop the FBI harassment of Puerto Rican independence  activists!
·    End the US occupation of Boricua (Puerto  Rico)!

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition condemns the FBI harassment  of Puerto 
Rican independence
activists.  This reached tragic proportions  when agents assassinated 
Filiberto Ojeda Ríos,
Commander in Chief of the  Ejército Popular Boricua, on September 23rd, 2005. 
 Ojeda was 72  years
old and had suffered a non-life threatening wound.  However, he  was left to 
bleed to death slowly
by the FBI, which denied him medical  assistance.  The significance of this 
date was intentional: 
the 137th  anniversary of the “Grito de Lares” and the beginning of the 
organized Puerto  Rican
independence movement.  Since then, there have been continuing  escalations 
by the FBI against
advocates of independence.

The subpoena  to appear before a Grand Jury of three Puerto Rican community 
members in New  York is
an example of this.  These three are Tania Frontera, Christopher  Torres and 
Julio Pabon, Jr. The
FBI had previously visited each of these  persons, and others, in their 
homes, asking questions
about independence  activists the FBI wanted to brand as “terrorists”.  The 
FBI is trying  to
infiltrate and shut down the Ejército Popular Boricua, also known as the  
Macheteros, an
organization, which has participated in an armed struggle for  liberation.  
However, the Macheteros
haven't participated in armed  actions for 15 years, pursuing alternative 
ways to combat
US aggression and  imperialism.  Nevertheless, the response of the FBI and 
other armed agents  of
the occupying government has been to increase its use of violence and  

Some of those visited were not even involved in the  independence movement, 
but were only friends
or relatives of people who  were.  They were shown pictures of activists and 
asked to identify  the
people in the pictures and provide other information about them. These  FBI 
visits and the
subsequent serving of these subpoenas are designed to put  those who refuse 
to cooperate with this
“fishing expedition” in jail, and to  intimidate the Puerto Rican community 
as a whole.

Frontera, Torres, and  Pabon are scheduled to appear before the Grand Jury on 
Friday, Jan.  11th,
2008.  This date, too, is significant and, as such, constitutes an  insult to 
the Puerto Rican
people.  January 11, 1839 was the birthday of  the great educator, 
philosopher, and independence
activist, Eugenio María de  Hostos.

The US occupation of Puerto Rico has been going on for 109  years.  That 
occupation has produced
unacceptable conditions in Puerto  Rico.  The “citizenship” the US 
government grants to Puerto
Ricans is a  second-class citizenship comparable to Apartheid in South 
Africa.  Puerto  Ricans have
no representation in Congress and no vote for the  President.  The per capita 
income is about half
that of the poorest  state; almost half of Puerto Ricans, and a majority of 
its children, live  in
poverty; a third of its population is unemployed.

Meanwhile, US  corporations, especially an influx of pharmaceutical 
companies, have been able  to
set up headquarters in Puerto Rico to avoid paying taxes, while paying  lower 
wages to workers than
they would pay in the United States.   Because of high unemployment and low 
wages, Puerto Rico
provides a cheap  labor force not only in Puerto Rico, but also in the US.  
There is a new  trend
emerging in some US industries of replacing undocumented workers with  
workers flown in from Puerto

This is what the US occupation of  Puerto Rico has lead to:  poverty for the 
Puerto Rican people,
profits  for big corporations, and repression of Puerto Rico’s patriots.  
Just as we  must end the
US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the US funded Israeli  occupation 
of Palestine, we must
end the even older US occupation of Puerto  Rico.  LASC joins with supporters 
of liberation around
the world to  offer our solidarity with those working for the liberation of 
Borinquen (Puerto  Rico)
and with all Puerto Ricans being repressed as a result of the colonial  
occupation of their nation.

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition is a  coalition of US grassroots 
organizations that support
the right to  self-determination for all peoples and oppose US military, 
political and  economic
intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Our web page  is 

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