How Luis Muñoz Marín, and his secret opium addiction, enslaved Puerto Rico

Book - 12-10

               Justice is incidental to law and order.

                                    – FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover


Starting in the mid-1930s, and continuing for over half a century, the FBI developed a secret information program in Puerto Rico – it was called carpetas. These were secret police files, containing intimate personal information. The files were built by a network of police officers, confidential informants, FBI agents – and the amount of information they contained was staggering.

Over 100,000 Puerto Ricans had carpetas opened on them. Of these, 74,412 were under “political” police surveillance. An additional 60,776 carpetas were opened on vehicles, boats, and organizations. Carpetas were even opened on geographic areas: entire neighborhoods had carpetas filed on them by the FBI. Eventually, the carpetas became a part of the larger COINTELPRO program developed jointly by the FBI and CIA, to monitor and suppress political dissent against the U.S.

Over time, the carpetas eventually totaled 1.8 million pages. The average carpeta contained roughly 20 pages but others were more extensive. The file on Albizu Campos filled two boxes with 4,700 pages.

The information in carpetas included school transcripts; employment history; religious practice; political affiliations; club memberships; bank accounts; property holdings; taxes paid; family and marital records; travel history; auto registration and license plates; meetings attended; publications written or received. They also included personal information: friends, business partners, sexual partners, mistresses, gigolos, debtors and creditors, personal letters (intercepted at the post office), recorded phone calls, photos, wedding lists, laundry tickets and “miscellaneous items.”

The carpetas were used to imprison people, ruin their careers, fire them from their jobs, terminate their education, and permanently discredit them – even if they weren’t members of the Nationalist Party.

One stunning carpeta is the file on Luis Muñoz Marín, the first “democratically elected” governor of Puerto Rico.  His file included this:

FBI Document

According to this document, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín was a narcotics addict, and the U.S. government knew it as of April 1943. Since this information was never released by the FBI, it appears that the U.S. government withheld this information from the general public, so that it could have some “very dirty laundry” on Luis Muñoz Marín.

Gov. Muñoz Marín (seated), after a rough night

In this manner, the U.S. acquired enormous control over Luis Muñoz Marín when he became the “democratically elected” governor of Puerto Rico in 1948. They could expose him as a narcotics addict at any time…so they had the “democratically elected governor” on a very short leash, indeed.

This is a prime example of how the carpetas program was used to control the politics and society of Puerto Rico: through fear, intimidation and outright blackmail. The program was so pervasive, that the following cartoon ran in a Puerto Rican newspaper:

cartoon - Carpeta
Yo se precisamente como cortar tu pelo...
lo veo aquí en tu carpeta.

In the cartoon, a barber tells his client, “I know precisely how to cut your hair…I see it right here in your carpeta.”

A government fund was established in 1999 to assist some of the victims of carpetas. Later in 2000, FBI Director Louis J. Freeh admitted in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing that: “(T)he FBI did operate a program that did tremendous destruction to many people, to the country and certainly to the FBI.” Freeh then vowed to “redress some of the egregious illegal action, maybe criminal action that occurred in the past.”  Unfortunately by that time, the damage was already done – and the degree of harm caused by these carpetas, had become incalculable. This damage extended beyond any individual or group, and even beyond the issue of independence.

As befits a sun-kissed island with wonderfully fertile soil, Puerto Ricans were an open, gregarious, cheerful people – but sixty years of carpetas, police informants, and neighbors spying upon each other, had affected the national character of Puerto Rico. It had burned fear, secrecy, lying, betrayal and mistrust into its collective experience.

The carpetas drove a permanent wound into the psyche of Puerto Rico. It is a wound that may never fully heal.

For a more complete understanding of how 100,000 Puerto Ricans were followed by FBI agents, please read…

War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s ColonyBuy it now

14 Comments on “How Luis Muñoz Marín, and his secret opium addiction, enslaved Puerto Rico

  1. LMM was a troubled child from the start. His father Don Luis seemed to be his hero but lost him at an early too. From the minute he was born it seemed like he was born into a world that moved extremely fast. With Don Luis traveling back and forth so much combined with his parent’s divorce; he started getting curious. That curiosity led to his addiction of opium. I do not agree with a lot of the decisions he made but I cannot discredit him for attempting to try and run an Island. No one is perfect and LMM has made some contributions to PR. I blame the US because the carpetas on him should have not have allowed him to be the first elected Governor of PR. But imagine the team him and Albizu Campos would of made.


  2. Before Nelson wrote his book. Yvonne Garcia de Pasalacqua wrote two books in the same vein. One was called: El Vengador del Silencio. Albizu was being irradiated withe microwaves while he was in prison in La Princensa. Besides having his PhD. in Law from Harvard. He had a degree in chemical engineering from the University of New Hampshire. O fcourse, LMM and the US government created the myth that Albizu was a fanatic and a lunatic. Nothing new under the sun.


  3. Up to this day the FBI keeps my under surveillance. They have have followed me though out Europe Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. I guess they have nothing better to do. It is a make work program for white middle class folks. Welfare for the one percent. They have offered me work. When I nailed a Cuban terrorist from Union City who was trying to set me up in a Cerro Maravilla type of plot in 1978. That SOB wan never prosecuted for impersonating a Secret Service agent. I was never called to testify. PBS did a very good documentary on how right wing Cuban exiles from Union city plotted to murder former Chilean Ambassador Letelier and his secretary.
    The relationship between the FBI and the Cuban Mafia in Puerto Rico goes back quite a while. In 1956 the Cubans broke into the armory in Camp Tortuguero in Vega Baja and stole all the weapons. This was done to establish control of the drug trade in Puerto Rico. Something that goes on until this day. Mayer Lansky, head of the Miami Mafia was made General Manager for General Motors Corporation!. Read the book: La Mafia en PR, el Lado Oscuro del Desarrollo, by Professor Lopez Rojas, University of Puerto Ricoi. Nowadays the drug spots are inside the public schools of Puerto Rico! We have come a long way Matilda. Our invaders really know how to protect us.


  4. When I was a child.The National Guard came to arrest my father. The soldier pointed a sub machine gun at my face and told my father: “Either you come with me know, or he goes.” This hijo de la gran puta was going to blow my head off if my father did not obey his order. My father had not committed any crime. My father was lucky. The man in charged of the operation was his cousin. He mad sure that he wouls personally supervised his cousins arrest. This saved my and my father’s life. Thank you Colonel Manuel Casanova Navas. May God bless your soul. As for the war criminal who wanted to murder me, I am sure God has taken care of this piece of human trash.


  5. When I was a young man living in Puerto Rico for about 4 years from 63 to 67. I always heard about what a great Governor Munoz Marin was. We never heard about His flaws but it’s good to know he had some maybe many. No one
    on this Earth is a Saint.

    This book is good history about Puerto Rico. I admire what Mr. Denis has done. It’s a real eye opener and I believe both sides of the coin needed to be heard. Un aplauzo for Mr. Nelson A. Denis.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was a victim of all the scams that Luis Munhoz Marin, our greatest Gunga Din, made possible. My anger, a constant shadow since I noticed it in the 60’s when I was 15, has dissipated a little, knowing for certain that all my parents taught me, along with church, school, relatives, politicians, radio, tv, newspapers was a fraud, for which some accomplices and the uninitiated will have to pay for the rest of their lives. 100 billion dollars…and a culture that is merely salt and water, unable to solve, to create, to plan one way to get out of the self designed spider web.


  7. There’s so much more to it that just …. “that we are like we are right now!”


  8. No, you are mistaken … I’m sorry Gabriela if you think this way. I never idolized him!! I never liked him. I just grew up with him & didn’t know any better. I was a child when all this was happening!! I agree with you … he did sell PR out!! However, I didn’t know about the opium addiction and how the USA/FBI held that over him for more than 25 years to control the Island’s politics through him. He was a puppet … and a loser since his childhood.
    I’m getting my “education” now through this book. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. It’s appreciated! Peace ….


  9. them man?! he sold us out since the beggining! he 1rst appeared as nationalist, PRO independence of PR then he quickly became a puppet and a clown… it is because of people like you who viewed him as such that we are like we are right now!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Our history will probably be measured by before and after WAAPR. Thanks for the guts, discipline, academic research, no one will be able to refute, parts or the whole. Good luck in your projects.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was a total eye-opener to me. As I was growing up, he was “the man”, the 1st elected governor to the Island …. I had no clue about this one. Thanks for educating me. Abrazos!!! 🙂


  12. This is a beautifully written book, with lots of information not known to a lot of us Puerto Ricans.
    It’s well written too because it’s a fact based book on real and true happenings of the times.
    I’m very proud to know Nelson A. Denis

    Liked by 1 person

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