Thursday, March 30, 2006

Puerto Rico Sues FBI over Killing

UPDATE: Miami Herald handles the protests decently, quoting Puerto Rico Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá: ''People are very offended with what the FBI did... We have to recognize they have No. 1, made mistakes in those cases, and No. 2, they have not been open and communicative with the people of Puerto Rico to understand what happened'' in both incidents.

We reported on this cold blooded murder when it happened last September. The article on the resulting unprecedented lawsuit below is condenscend from an original WSW article:

The government of Puerto Rico went to federal court last week, accusing the FBI of obstructing justice by stonewalling a local investigation of the FBI’s killing of a leading figure in the island’s independence movement during a raid last September.

The unprecedented court action reflects growing anger within the Puerto Rican population as a whole over the strong-arm tactics exercised by Washington, employing the methods of the “war on terror” against its nationalist opponents on the island.

The case stems from the September 23, 2005 raid carried out by the FBI against the home of Filiberto Ojeda Rios, founder of the militant independence Macheteros group in the southwestern municipality of Hormigueros.

At least 100 agents backed by helicopters and military sharpshooters surrounded the home where Ojeda, 72, and his wife were living. Ojeda, convicted in absentia of having participated in the planning of a $7.3 million armored car robbery in Connecticut in 1983, was a well-known political figure who regularly addressed pro-independence meetings and rallies by means of recorded messages.

After wounding him in a shootout, the FBI cordoned off the area surrounding the house, refusing to allow in emergency medical personnel, attorneys and even the Puerto Rican police. He was left to slowly bleed to death on the floor of his home over the course of many hours. (The FBI also reportedly used pepper spray to disperse angry crowds).

Relatedly, the Washington Post also reported on Tuesday's briefing for House Democrats where PR's Attorney General criticized the FBI. "Only through open and frank communication between Commonwealth and federal authorities can we hope to best service our common interest in the protection of our citizens."

The FBI has refused to disclose the identities of the agents who took part in the raids or to provide more than a minimal amount of information, Sanchez Ramos said.

Also the BBC ran an interesting piece last week on the increasing debate on the island for independence. It emphasized that Cuba's baseball games in Puerto Rico are partly responsible for the upsurge in nationalist spirit. Castro has long urged independence from the US for its sister island. It also noted the irony of the US fighting for democracy in Iraq when people on its own Commonwealth have no say in voting for US leaders - despite having shed blood in every war America has ever fought.

"Every Latino admires Fidel Castro because he has had the bravery or madness to face an empire that can wipe him out in 20 seconds and he has done that for 40 years and he's still around," he says. "So he has a deep admiration in the psyches of Puerto Ricans because all of us would like to have a little of Fidel Castro.


Blogger jsb said...

And nothing in your post about Puerto Rican nationalists killing in cold blood?

Most Puerto Ricans do not want independence and these violent fringe elements should be gunned down for the crimes they've committed against innocent human beings.

12:22 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Sorry if I did not balance my article on the FBI purposefully killing someone in Puerto Rico last year with the bombings that took place by Macheteros 30 years ago.

Puerto Ricans want independence but they don;t want to lose the financial benefits of being a stepchild of the US.

Then you support extra-legal FBI murders by calling for the murder of "fringe elements" who committ crimes against innocents. Do you feel the same way about our CIA terrorists? I assume you also support the stonewalling of investigation from the Puerto Ricans? I wish our policy makers were as honest as you. We would have an independent Puerto Rico.

Would you support Puerto Rico as our 51st State? The spin in DC is that 51 is just not a good round number but the Puerto Rican people should know most Americans don't want them (i'd support the results of any vote).

12:42 AM  

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