A gentleman I’ve never met has called me a liar.
According to this man, named Luis Ferrao, my book War Against All Puerto Ricans contains at least 29 lies “and more will come.”
I was curious about these 29 lies, but even more curious about Ferrao. Who was this man who never met me, who never called or contacted me, before deciding to call me a liar?
My initial research revealed a mercenary academic. Ferrao declared Pedro Albizu Campos to be a “fascist” in his Ph.D. thesis, then quickly re-packaged it as a book.
The book went nowhere but Ferrao went to Paris – on a government-sponsored fellowship – and his academic appointments followed.
Ferrao founded his career by defecating on the grave of Don Pedro. Now he seeks a mid-career boost, by attempting the same with War Against All Puerto Ricans. He calls me a liar 29 times and follows it with his own resume – a curriculum vitae from here to the airport.
I cannot help Ferrao with his career insecurity. But I can disabuse him of his own lies. Let us now begin.
There was no “War Against All Puerto Ricans”
Ferrao claims there is “no sourcing” for the statement “War against all Puerto Ricans” by Police Chief Riggs…then conveniently omits multiple references which I provide in footnote #87 on p. 288 of my book, which specifically relate to Riggs’ declaration of “War to the death against all Puerto Ricans.”
If Ferrao is implicitly questioning the FACT that this war exists, then he can explain to us how the Ponce Massacre, the Rio Piedras Massacre, the Utuado Massacre, the arrest of 3,000 Puerto Ricans in November 1950, the bombing of Utuado and Jayuya, the infamy of Dr. Cornelius Rhoads, the Jones Act, the overpricing of US consumer goods, the denial of Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, the theft of Puerto Rican land, the de-valuation of Puerto Rican currency, the passage of Law 53 and Law 13, the maintenance of over 100,000 carpetas, the prison torture of Albizu Campos, the murder of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, and the 34-year imprisonment of Oscar Lopez Rivera…are the actions of a friendly nation.
Luis Muñoz-Marin was not a model student
I was being kind, when I wrote that Luis Muñoz-Marín flunked every class except modern literature. Since Muñoz-Marín had to repeat the entire tenth grade, that means he flunked every class. (See: Carmen Bernier-Grand, Poet and Politician of Puerto Rico: Don Luis Muñoz-Marín, p. 19; A. W. Maldonado, Luis Muñoz-Marín: Puerto Rico’s Democratic Revolution, p. 32).
Don Pedro was a model student
Sources clearly state, and show, that Albizu Campos completed grade school in 4 1/2 years and high school in 2 years. (See: footnote #5, p. 303).
Don Pedro was also the captain of a legendary high school debating team, and the recipient of scholarships to the University of Vermont, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School. In addition to graduating from Harvard with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Don Pedro found the time to learn six languages.
Ferrao forgets a footnote…then “forgets” five more
Ferrao contends I rely “exclusively” on one FBI report and dubious Cuban socialists for my sourcing…and conveniently omits a page-long footnote (#49 on pp.296-297) which cites three books (including LMM’s own memoir), multiple FBI Files, newspaper accounts, and a speech by Albizu Campos which you can hear on YouTube today.
He states that I claimed to “interview the Cubans into the 1980s and 1990s,” which is simply untrue, and never stated by me.
He offers no sources to specifically refute the four books (with page citations) in footnotes #33, #36, #37, #38, #41 on pp.295-296. Again, he pretends that those footnotes do not exist.
Puerto Rico bombed itself
Ferrao claims that “no US Air Force planes were used during the October 1950 revolt. Governor Muñoz (sic) relied exclusively on Air National Guard planes.”
Aside from Ferrao’s tragic admission that Luis Muñoz-Marín bombed his own people, this statement is a model of obfuscation.
The P-47 fighter planes that bombed Utuado and Jayuya were built in the US, hangared in US airfields, maintained with US equipment, flown by US-trained pilots who dropped US-made bombs, and all of it – the planes, the airfield, the pilots, the bombs – were financed by the US.
Yet Ferrao would have us believe that a decal saying “Air National Guard” means that Puerto Rico bombed itself.
According to Ferrao, the Caribbean Sea abuts the town of Guayama, but the Atlantic Ocean does not. Therefore one of my “29 lies” is to place the Atlantic Ocean anywhere near Guayama.
But the Caribbean Sea is a part of the Atlantic Ocean, just like San Juan is a part of Puerto Rico. If there is any lingering confusion on this point, please see the following:
Conclusive historical evidence…from YouTube
Ferrao espouses an adherence to the strictest international standards of historical proof. After all, he has a Ph.D. from Mexico and a Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA) de la Universidad de Paris 1-Sorbonne. Then he uses a YouTube clip to “prove” that Public Law 53 did not prohibit the ownership of a Puerto Rican flag.
But people were arrested all over the island for having flags in their homes. The Insular Police regularly engaged in Law 53 “flag busts.” Here are two of them:
Public Law 53 was signed into law by Gov. Jesus Piñero on June 10, 1948. It criminalized any speech against the U.S. government or in favor of Puerto Rican independence; or to print, publish, sell or exhibit any material intended to impair the insular government; or to organize any society, group or assembly of people with a similar intent. As you can see from the photos above, ownership of a Puerto Rican flag was deemed a “violation” of Law 53. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying this law could be sentenced to ten years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or both.
A YouTube clip from 1952, showing a public display of the flag to the accompaniment of La Borinqueña, does not vitiate the existence of Public Law 53, nor its application at the whim of Gov. Muñoz-Marín.
Ferrao needn’t be overly alarmed at the duplicity of Muñoz-Marin; political hypocrisy is a universal given. New York had a mayor who filed no income taxes from 1969 through 1972; a governor who snorted cocaine; and a congressman who, while serving as chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, had three illegal and undisclosed apartments in New York, and an undisclosed luxury villa in the Dominican Republic.
Prof. David M. Helfeld is the longest-serving dean of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and is currently a Professor Emeritus. The following monograph by Dean Helfeld, written while he was Dean of the UPR School of Law, is very explicit on the repressive usage of Law 53 from 1948 through 1957: Discrimination for political beliefs and associations, 25 Revista del Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico, 5 (1964).
“Peasants” and “illiterate sugar field workers” were “unaffected” by the 40% currency de-valuation in 1900
Ferrao does not dispute the 40% devaluation of Puerto Rico’s monetary currency in 1900. But, in his own words, the “peasants” and “illiterate sugar field laborers” were not affected by this de-valuation, since they were broke to begin with.
On what planet does Ferrao live?
Perhaps someone should explain to him that, when a Puerto Rican farmer loses their farm, everyone on that farm is suddenly unemployed, and their children suddenly go hungry.
When these farms were re-configured into sugar cane centrales, the wages were abominable. In the words of Samuel Gompers, president of the AFL-CIO, “the wages of the farm workers are now less than half of what they were, under the Spanish.”
We will choose our own heroes, thank you
Juan Antonio Corretjer stated that General Valero de Bernabé “tiene el honor de ser el padre de la lucha por la independencia de Puerto Rico.” (Jose Enríque Ayoroa Santaliz, Contracanto al Olvido: Patriotas, pp. 575-74).
“El Plan Para la Independencia de Puerto Rico del General Antonio Valero de Bernabé” appears in the Revista del Instituto de la Cultura Puertorriqueña (No. 18, January-March 1963).
Puerto Rico has honored the memory of General Valero de Bernabé by naming a school and an avenue after him. There is also a statue of Valero de Bernabé in the city of Fajardo, his native city.
Valero de Bernabé’s birthday is honored every year, with massive visits to his grave. Here is one on October 26, 1950:
Valero de Bernabé was a member of the honor guard at the burial of Simón Bolivar, and a lifelong crusader for independence from Spain: for Puerto Rico, and for the rest of Latin America.
Ferrao attempts to dismiss all this, and to call me a liar, with the snide comment that “Valero could not possibly have been a nineteenth-century hero of Puerto Rican independence for there was no such independence.”
I respectfully disagree.
Getting the dates straight
The Cadets of the Republic, the youth branch of the Nationalist Party, were officially created in a public assembly in the Victoria Theater in Humacao, on December 17, 1932. By that time, the Cadets had already marched in a few towns, prior to the December 17 meeting.
In an excess of historical “gotcha,” Ferrao asserts the earlier marches as proof that the cadets were not “created” on December 17, the date of their official recognition in Humacao.
Ferrao then counts this as one of my “29 lies.” I respectfully disagree.
Getting the dates straight again
Ferrao claims that in 1935, when Ramón Pagan was assassinated in the Rio Piedras Massacre, “Aguedo Ramos Medina was the treasurer” of the Nationalist Party. Yet Ferrao knows this is only half-true.
Medina was the treasurer in early 1935. But Medina was also an FBI informant, and was caught in an assassination plot against Albizu Campos. By August ‘35, Ramón Pagan had replaced Medina as Nationalist Party Treasurer (See: Marisa Rosado, Pedro Albizu Campos: Las Llamas de la Aurora, p. 218).
On October 6, 1935, he was unanimously expelled from the Nationalist Party (See: Rosado, p. 223). On October 22, two days before the Rio Piedras Massacre, Medina published an editorial in El Mundo titled “Por que Albizu Campos me expulsó de la tesoría del Partido Nacionalista”.
A steady drumbeat of “gotcha”
And so it goes…
Ferrao seeks any arguable discrepancy, and magnifies it into a Major Historical Issue. Don Pedro graduated from high school “in three years, not two.” Don Pedro was “not the first Puerto Rican to attend Harvard and Harvard Law School.” Carpetbaggers were “willing to invest” in the future of Puerto Rico. Ponce de Leon shot “less than 6,000” Tainos. Muñoz-Marín did “publish” his father’s memoirs…in Spain! The police did not “raid” a student rally in Rio Piedras; they merely “surrounded” it with machine guns, then murdered four Puerto Ricans in broad daylight. The FBI was “created” in 1935, but before that it had a different acronym (BOI). Don Pedro’s father “was not Basque,” only his grandfather was.
All of these are arguable and petty. But this never deters an aging academic – with too many overdue bills, and too much free time on their hands – from seizing a personal opportunity.
“J’accuse!” yells Ferrao, all the way from Paris. “J’accuse!” he yelps, even in his sleep. There is an odd grandeur to his manic attack: enough sophistry for two history professors, enough pettiness and pedantry for an entire department. By the end, I am left with this image from Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift:
A terrible thing arrives in Puerto Rico. It upsets all the major politicians, and many of their hired historians.
The politicians and their historians convene a committee, to plan a defense against this terrible thing.
After much debate, they arrive at a plan: “Tie up that terrible thing!”
Unfortunately for Ferrao, and his committee of hired historians, that “terrible thing” is not me.
It is the people of Puerto Rico.
And they are waking up.
My fondest wish is that the committee of hired historians, of which Ferrao is a leading member, will be the ones who pay Puerto Rico’s debt of $73 billion.
They’ve been eating in very fine restaurants, for a very long time.
Some of those restaurants are in Paris.
It is time for them, to pay the bill.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
Si prefiere ver la página web en español por favor visite: http://www.guerracontratodoslospuertorriquenos.com
Category: BookTags: 29 Lies, Author, Book, Ferrao, Luis A. Ferrao, Luis Ferrao, Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Public Debt, War Against All Puerto Ricans
Thank you for this! I’m a 2nd Generation Puerto Rican from the diaspora, an herbalist, Doula & Homeschool mom. My family is from Vieques and my kids express interest in learning more about their ancestors so I incorporated your book in my High Schoolers History Curriculum and they are loving it. My nephew is reading with us as well. Of course many parts sadden and anger us, but like I tell them- “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off!”
This “argument” by this Ferrao character was brought to my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your rebuttal, as he clearly ignored your eloquent footnotes. Thank you for writing this book on behalf of all of us Puerto Ricans. It saddens and angers me that history is repeating itself due to the ignorance of our ppl simply not being informed of our true history.
Un magnífico libro, puede tener algunos errores pero por favor no somos perfectos. Estos errores no cambian la historia. Se pudo utilizar la Fuerza Aérea Nacional de Puerto Rico pero no me digan que los Estadounidenses no tenían conocimiento previó, en Puerto Rico ni PNP ni PPD mueven un dedo sin permiso de USA.
Vivir en la isla del encanto bajo la opresión Norteamérica mejor los criticamos desde su propia patio. Cuando tengamos la libertad eso es otro cantar lo demás son meras especulaciones. Somos puertorriqueños no cubanos ni venezolanos y menos Sur americanos.
Buen libro que te brinda la oportunidad de corroborar toda la información. Gracias y felicitaciones al Sr. Denis.
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“Los perros ladran y la caravana pasa”
Sancho: “los perros ladran, señal de que avanzamos”.
El Paso de este Huracán María justo en estos momentos precarios y de desastre financiero para Puerto Rico es el momento perfecto que EEUU hubiese mejor podido estar esperando para en igual o parecidos momentos en los cuales pasó el Huracán Siriaco por Puerto Rico y inmediatamente pasaron el Hollander act ; ahora se van a aprovechar del momento de desastre por el Huracán Maria por el cual está atravesando Puerto Rico y comprar los y ofrecerles un par de centavos por qué les vendan y cedan toda su poca libertad que les queda e incondicionalmente. Y así negociarán la deuda que P.R. tiene con Wall Street . Al costo más caro y la mejor “Deal”para EEUU. Ahora está madura (“ripe”) esta fruta para cosecharla .
Instinctively knew the author, Denis, would prevail but did exactly what his detractor Ferrao suggested and read what he had written straight through feeling I owed him the benefit of the doubt at the very least. RESULT: Sr. Denis vindicated. As with everything in life, pursuit of truth is a labor-intensive, time-consuming process. The truth rings clear and crisply and registers with a firm and final report like that of a multi-ton door on a bank vault. Even scripture observes, truth stamped [in]to The ground shall rise again. In hurricane Maria’s aftermath everything Oscar Lopez Rivera warned us about will shortly come to fruition: Puerto Rico will be ripe for the pickings…
Even though I have been a critic of Mr. Denis, His book is mostly factual and much of what he writes IS DOCUMENTED in the Puerto Rican Press. As I did mention in my very first comment on his book there are some minor errors or assumptions that are stretching the TRUTH. And again he repeats one of them here. That one is that the US AIR FORCE bomb Puerto Rico. In reality, THOSE planes were from the “Puerto Rican Air National Guard” and the pilots were ALL Puerto Ricans. The bombing was carried out BY ORDER of Don Luis Muñoz Marín. And there is NO NEED to “finally admit” anything Nelson, THIS IS HISTORY and no one, not even you can change, History that has been documented. You and many others on both side of the issue try to change or misuse history to make your point. Like this, there are a couple of other mistakes in the book but minor ones that if you know history you will catch them right away. The Bombing was ORDER and MADE by Puerto Rican by planes of the PUERTO RICAN AIR NATIONAL GUARD.
I know that you want Puerto Rico to become Independent but in reality, you like many others that are Puerto Ricans that CALL themself Puerto Ricans are pure hypocrites on this regard. You want Puerto Rico to become a Republic but all you do is talk and write, nothing more. Why don’t you move your family to Puerto Rico and do it from there? But no you do it from the safe far away land that gives you and protects your rights to say what you say. Move to Puerto Rico, fight for your ideals there and STAY THERE if you are successful. But no, you will not move from New York because you know you will be leaving your liberties and rights behind to do so.
Independence is a noble cause, BUT NOT FOR PUERTO RICO. If PR becomes Independent, in 5 to 10 years MAX, will be just like anothe Cuba, Venezuela, or any other Latin American Republic without the LIBERTIES we enjoy today.
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As a Native Hawaiian, I tend to thoroughly believe the Nelson A. Denis account of Puerto Rican history. That the U.S. does whatever it needs to do to achieve its objectives should be no surprise to anyone. From Hawaii to Puerto Rico, and Diego Garcia the U.S. has left a legacy of cultural destruction and genocide. After all, America itself was founded by destroying and displacing the Native populations. More U.S. Fun with Islands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjNfXK6QpqY
Truth always wins in the end. ” Stop feed ing off” our boy…which he couldn’t hold your jock Councilor…if he was a true historian and not paper mache…he would investigate .his French connect and view with warm heart in the Greatest Liberator (other the El Christo) .The Little Corporal..who with the Irish cause was parallel to what needs to be done in PR. As always Nelson…you win this argument and the urchin could certainly use a Brooklyn ass whooping…Cool Hand Luke…stop feeding off our guy…you Mr.F need a bit more integrity and a LOT MORE compassion. I guess crumbs beat a blank…if you can’t create your own cake. The truth and NOTHING but…weak shit..like old Pathmark No Frills….stong Rebuttal Nel…expecting nothing but…Silver Screen NEXT. count on it
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Very well done Mr. Denis. For the enemy to place an intellectual hit on you in an effort to discredit you was to be expected. It’s a good sign. It means that they’ve taken notice of the stimulus your work has produced. They want us ignorant and lost in the worst way. I say you keep on keeping on!!! Momentum is building and when the young catch on. Look out. Malcolm X said “If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.” 🇵🇷💪🏽
Ellos por 117 anos nos espetaron a la brava su idioma y las mentirosas y exageradas diz que virtudes de Washington, Lincoln, y otros y a la vez nos ocultaron la historia de nuestra lucha,,, Ahora cuando Denis hace un enjundioso estudio de estos capitulos obligados de nuestra historia, entonces surgen las voces del amo a malograr y escamotear el credito de estudiosos como Nelson Denis. Pero sabemos que es la voz y el libreto del amo. El Imperialismo de EEUU en su mas reciente y grotesca manifestacion. Pero tranquilo Denis! Los conocemos.
Muy buena respuesta a las mentiras de un seudo academico. La actual situacion de Puerto Rico es una de limpieza etnica de parte del Sr. Henry John Paulson. Esto constituye un crimen de lesa humanidad. No hay que ser abogado para llevar ante la justicia a ese tipo de criminal. Que espera el pueblo de PR para hacer justicia?
Ratificamos nuestra convicción de que el pueblo de Puerto Rico merece ser libre e independiente, luego de más de una centuria sometido a la dominación colonial.
28 de Setiembre 2015
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Great response Nelson. A book like yours in English was long overdue. It is a shame that so many Puerto Ricans have so little knowledge about our history and that is why history repeats itself over and over again. Un fuerte abrazo.
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I think this Court Jester deserves to go to Disney on a government sponsored fellowship. Then he should be appointed as an” honorary” Musketeer.
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Luis Ferrao es un académico, como diria mi abuelo, si es Ferrao tiene el culo cagao!
To Nelson A. Denis– I think a coalition must be built to help Puerto Rico get on the right track to statehood. This subject must be studied in a scholarly and objective way so that it will benefit both the people of Puerto Rico and the US. I do not know where to start. But I am willing to give of my time as a volunteer. Would you contact me? You have my email address. Thank you.
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100% de acuerdo con Nelson Denis. Los Yankis tuvieron y tienen una guerra encontra del pueblo Puertoriqueño. En ocasiones lo hacen directamente y en ocasiones utilisan a los pitiyankis con complejos de inferioridad hacer la guerra sucia por ellos. Los enemigos de nuestra patria no son solo los intereses Yankis de poder que nos ofusca. Tambien son los nativos que con sus pensamientos retrogados admiran y le lamen las botas a sus amos. Estos no cesan en conspirar encontra de todo lo que sea Puertoriqueño.
Reblogged this on Vehemencia & Praxis.
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Very well stated. I commend you. Nelson …I’m sure you were the one who wrote this post. Stand up to this “gnat”, stand up proud. The truth is on your side … I had never read a book which has so much research and information so well documented. This is envy as it’s best ….
Dr. Rex…envy at its VERY best!
Thank you so much for your support, going on 6 months now!
I’ll be in Puerto Rico in late November. Perhaps we will meet then. Otra vez y siempre…gracias por tu solidaridad, entusiasmo y buena fe!
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Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
.. and the envy starts to show! Can’t keep it hidden, can you Mr. Ferrao?
“Ferrao founded his career by defecating on the grave of Don Pedro. Now he seeks a mid-career boost, by attempting the same with War Against All Puerto Ricans. He calls me a liar 29 times and follows it with his own resume – a curriculum vitae from here to the airport.”