Puerto Rican Independence Activist Shot by FBI
Longtime Puerto Rican nationalist leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios has been killed by the FBI. The shooting occurred Friday after FBI agents surrounded a house where he was staying. According to an autopsy, Rios bled to death after being hit with a single bullet. Officials didn’t enter his home until Saturday, many hours after he was shot.
The FBI claimed the 72-year-old Ojeda Rios fired first but independence activists accused the FBI of assassinating him. For the past four decades Ojeda Rios had been a leading figure in the fight for Puerto Rican independence and against U.S. colonial rule.
The US seized Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Puerto Ricans are US citizens but cannot vote in US presidential elections and do not pay US income tax.
The FBI considered Ojeda Rios a wanted fugitive because of his ties to a $7 million bank robbery in 1983 in Connecticut, which funded his political operations. He had been living underground for 15 years in rural Puerto Rico, living as a rose gardener.
On Friday night, as word or the murder spread, 500 supporters of independence protested the shooting by blocking one of the main roads in San Juan.
Read a transcript between Democracy Now and Juan-Manuel Garcia-Passalacqua, Puerto Rican political analyst and radio host. Or the BBC's take.