The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 8           February 27, 2006  
 
 
Protesters denounce FBI raids in Puerto Rico
(front page)
 
BY RON RICHARDS  
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Hundreds protested outside the U.S. federal building here February 10 against Washington’s latest assault on the pro-independence movement in this U.S. colony in the Caribbean. Heavily armed FBI agents staged six raids that day on homes and offices on the island, seizing documents, files, and computers. No arrests were made. The FBI claimed that the raids were conducted to prevent a “domestic terrorist attack” allegedly planned by independence supporters.

“We are here showing our opposition to the FBI’s attitude, to this persecution of our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters,” Alberto Jesús told the media at the demonstration outside the federal building in San Juan. “We have here a foreign country that puts the label of terrorist on us.”

More than 50 protesters joined a similar action in New York City February 13.

On September 23 Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, a leader of the pro-independence group Los Macheteros (cane cutters), was killed by FBI cops who raided his home in Hormigueros. Ojeda was one of the 15 Puerto Rican pro-independence fighters framed up in the 1980s on charges of conspiracy to rob a Wells Fargo armored car depot in Hartford, Connecticut.

In Trujillo Alto outside San Juan, the FBI raided the home of Norberto Cintrón, head of the pro-independence Latin American and Caribbean Coordinating Group of Puerto Rico. Cintrón spent 15 months in jail in the 1980s for refusing to testify before a U.S. grand jury. He organized the funeral for Ojeda Ríos, which became a mass demonstration against U.S. colonial domination of Puerto Rico.

In San Juan, the FBI searched the apartment of independence activist Lilliana Laboy. She and her attorneys were denied the right to be present at the time of the search. The FBI assaulted and pepper sprayed protesters and journalists who gathered outside the apartment.

In the town of MayagŁez, some 50 federal agents raided the offices of the Ecumenical Committee for Community Economic Development, and the homes of its director, José Morales, its president, William Mohler, and the Cabán family, who are active in the group.

“We have to do it like we did in Vieques,” Mohler told the Puerto Rican daily El Vocero. “We must protest and repudiate things like this until those people respect us as a people.”

Arrin Hawkins, reporting from New York, contributed to this article.  
 
 
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