Pedro Albizu Campos and the War Against All Puerto Ricans

This April 21st marks the 55th anniversary of the death of Pedro Albizu Campos, the most prominent historic figure in the Puerto Rico independence movement. I learned inspiring and infuriating facts about the life of Albizu Campos and the National Puerto Rican Independence Party in Nelson Denis’s crucial chronicle, War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony. Everyone of Puerto Rican descent and anyone interested in knowing more about the tragic history of Puerto Rico should read this intensely researched, incredibly well-written book published in 2015.

The publication of this must-read saga predates Hurricane Maria, last year’s political uprising that resulted in the ousting of Puerto Rico’s governor, and the current coronavirus crisis. The tragic incidents, senseless massacres, and vital information detailed in this book now, more than ever, need to be fully understood and digested by the masses to help ensure a just and fair political destiny for the people of Puerto Rico.

Many Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Ricans may not know that Puerto Rico was an independent nation for only a short eight days before being invaded in 1898 by the United States. Some may not know that the people of Puerto Rico became U.S. citizens in 1917 just in time to participate and die in World War I. Most people are unfamiliar with the 1935 massacre in Rio Piedras or the 1937 massacre in Ponce where innocent people were killed because they supported independence for Puerto Rico.

Pedro Albizu Campos became president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party in 1930 initiating the organization of agricultural workers and small farmers in their fight for fair wages. Towards this aim, in 1934 Albizu Campos helped orchestrate an island-wide strike against the U.S. owned and operated sugar refineries resulting in a victory. This furthered the objective of Puerto Rican nationalists against the U.S. control of the island. In retaliation, the U.S then labeled Albizu Campos as a “threat to national security.”

These are just a few momentous historical facts highlighted in War Against All Puerto Ricans. Others include the facts that it was once illegal for Puerto Rican people to possess a Puerto Rican Flag; that Albizu Campos, the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard University, was arrested, charged with sedition, and tortured by the FBI; and that in 1950 Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to assassinate Luis Munoz Marin, the governor of Puerto Rico, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

This year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade will most likely not occur because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the United States eventually returns to some sense of new normalcy and we begin to examine critical issues that were brought to the forefront of American consciousness, let’s hope that the people of Puerto Rico are finally treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. To reach this goal, all Americans must be keenly aware of the social and political sacrifices the people of Puerto Rico have had and continue to endure.

Author Nelson Denis clearly notes the horrific, complicated and controversial struggle for Puerto Rican independence in his documentary work. Denis believes the ultimate decision of the Caribbean territory’s political status should be determined by the people of Puerto Rico.

“The current status of commonwealth is just morally, politically, and especially economically untenable. It’s a business model that is clearly failing and it needs to be mercifully put to rest,” Denis said in an interview with Mother Jones. “That leaves us with two remaining options. There has to be a decision, either to get married or get divorced. But no more keeping Puerto Rico as its little mistress in the Caribbean. That doesn’t work anymore.”

Democracy NOW
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About Phil Velez

writer, blogger, & communication professional
This entry was posted in books, politics, puerto rico and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Pedro Albizu Campos and the War Against All Puerto Ricans

  1. Alfredo Millan says:

    Very informative, thank you! Proud of you and your accomplishments!

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