One of the best ways to hide something, is to hide it in plain sight, and call it something else. The “Puerto Rico Tourism Company” is a perfect example.
It used to be La Princesa prison. Here is a photo of the spruced-up prison:
They gave it a fresh paint job, planted a few trees and bushes…and now instead of swallowing prisoners, it welcomes tourists to Puerto Rico.
Very few of these tourists have any idea of the atrocities that were committed inside this “tourism” building. Here is one of the old prison cells in La Princesa…
There was a cell full of thousands of bedbugs, called the caja de chinches.
A “difficult” prisoner would be locked inside it for a few days…until he passed out from loss of blood and was no longer “difficult.”
There were also solitary confinement cells called calabozos.
This is where most of the Nationalist prisoners were locked up, especially before their trials – so that no communication could flow in or out of the prison.
The Nationalist leader, Pedro Albizu Campos, was locked in solitary for many years.
During this time he was tortured with T.B.I. – Total Body Irradiation – which burned his entire body, and left him looking like he’d been flipped over on a barbecue grill.
However, this despicable history is not on display.
The Holocaust Museum
The United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. has an annual operating budget of over 70 million dollars. It has a staff of about 400 employees, 125 contractors, and 650 volunteers. It also has additional offices in New York, Boston, Boca Raton, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
But what happened to Puerto Ricans – in the prisons, the sugarcane fields, on the operating tables of Dr. Cornelius Rhodes, the millions of women who were sterilized, the millions of children who grew up undernourished, the millions of Puerto Ricans forced to leave their homeland and work in U.S. sweatshops for sub-human wages – none of this is memorialized by the United States.
There is no “Holocaust Museum” for Puerto Ricans, although they certainly deserve one. There is only a Ponce Massacre “museum” which is closed to the general public, and requires a special appointment to get in – though most people don’t know whom or what number to call, since the information is not publicized.
For the moment, the only “memorials” of La Princesa are the photos and selfies taken by foreign tourists, as they pose in front of the building, with its nice new paint job.
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
Dr rhodes. Was a monster and america stuck up for him and makes him look real good…
Puerto Rico has been a helper of our American Congress economic interest, as they have facilitated growth for American business, using exploitative measures and practices. The continue to enact social welfare policies that benefit those in power and not it’s American citizens: Puerto Ricans. So many referendums passed by the Puerto Rican people for statehood and Congress DOES NADA, NOTHING! Why? Why? Congress, Do your job! What are you afraid of that 3.5 million Puerto Rican votes can shift power? Latinos, lets make some noise and get these Congressmen and women to DO THEIR JOB! All they know how to do is line their pockets. Look at the The most recent scandal, post Hurricane Maria in 2017, was the electric company, Whitefish Energy getting a $300m federal contract to restore the broken electric grid in Puerto Rico. This scandal is but a mere example of what goes on the island. Despierta Boricua!
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Uh, I read the word genocide here several times. Yes, Tainos and other indigenous peoples were victims of genocide, did we forget?? Let us go back into history, oh yes an entire group of people are now extinct because of Spain. So I am not comparing to anyone else’s holocaust, because it is our holocaust! All that we have left of our indigenous ancestors are a few sparse words throughout the Caribbean Spanish language, an artifact here and there and oh, some of us look Taino. Please stop downplaying what happened to our ancestors, no one is screaming about Cancer at a AIDS rally!!!
Norma Melendez, did I read correctly, you are a lawyer? You think it is a deservice to compare what happened to Puerto Ricans to the Holocaust. You dare call yourself a lawyer. This country threw out its own constitution to deal with Puerto Rico. It attempted genocide! Look up the word genocide, lawyer. The only difference is that Puerto Rico did not have 6,000,000 people.
I hope to “God”, your not Puerto Rican. Germans were tried in courts for trying to eliminate a “people”, not for the number of people they tried to eliminate.
It is well known that lawyers loyalty is to the “bar”, their clients are a distant second.
Please, look up the word genocide. I would love to hear from you.
I born in puerto rico was left deaf as a result of given the malaria medicine.and many more children went tru the same.as a result of Cornelius Rhoads experiments on the people I was 5 yrs old then and being deaf has not been easy then again My father was a follower ofAlbizu Campos and with 4 children and a wife left his homeland for New York in order to not starve us and not go to jail..as I remember well the local police came looking for him every single day..he hid in the woods abd after all if this our family was left with only the women.children and lots of going to.bed with chocolate and crackers.. Yet I have read about Don Albizu but was not aware of the magnitude of what was done to him…I need to ask why has this not being told and taken up to the international court? And why is it that there us a silence of sorts concerning the experiments.the tortures the diminution of ourselves and the exodus of our fathers and then US and is still going on.WHY????
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Albizu es como decia Juan Maldonado Denis la verdadera conciencia de Puerto Rico
My great grandmother was the lady who made the flag for “El Grito De Lares”….Mariana….I forgot her last name. It hurts to know the suffering they went through. Specially Albizu Campos.
Nelson, The treatment toward the PR nationalists was horrendous and despicable as you amply documented in your book. Specifically, the TBI unleashed upon Albizu and other prisoners was atrocious and a violation of the law. But it is a disservice to compare it to the Holocaust. As horrible as it was for hundreds of Puerto Ricans who were intimated into submission by the use of oppressive and illegal means, that dark period of American colonialism does not rise to the level of the genocide committed by the Nazis. I think that there should be a campaign begun to pressure the US Congress to recognize its crimes against the Nationalists, to pay reparations to the descendants of Don Pedro Albizu Campos, and to restore his law license posthumously. To get there, we should not liken that horrid history with the Holocaust, as the Holocaust is a chapter in the history of humanity like no other.
Norma Melendez, Esq.
Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
“La Princesa” prison … “What happened to Puerto Ricans – in the prisons, the sugarcane fields, on the operating tables of Dr. Cornelius Rhodes, the millions of women who were sterilized, the millions of children who grew up undernourished, the millions of Puerto Ricans forced to leave their homeland and work in U.S. sweatshops for sub-human wages – none of this is memorialized by the United States.”
Out of sight, out of mind …. “It’s only Chinatown” …..
In La Princesa Jail atrocities were committed by the Spanish Guardia Civil during the “Compontes” era, during the Pedro Albizu Campos Nationalist uprising, and later suffering by prisoners of in-humane conditions for which it was closed by the Federal District Court. The Puerto Rico Government should be ashamed of trying to erase the “Sinister History” of La Princesa. I consider ignoring the atrocities committed in La Princesa is another Crime against our Abolitionist and Nationalist patriots who gave their freedom and lives to fight for the Independence of Puerto Rico.
SHH!! don’t let no one know,evil oppressed Puerto Rico.
My grandfather don’t die at Ponce Massacre because die anteriorly to it due to natural cause,he was a Nationalist that used to march with Dr.Pedro Álbizu Campos with their characteristic uniform in black and red with a tie and with their fists up over their heads.Dr.Pedro Álbizu Campos was imprisoned at La Princesa,a prison that dated from Spanish domination time.
It’s disgusting that we don’t understand our painful history, my father was in the ponce massacre and held as a prisoner in the princess as well before being taken to prison in altanta