Thousands of individuals and organizations swept through San Juan on Saturday, June 18, to demand the immediate de-colonization of Puerto Rico.
The massive crowd convened near the Governor’s mansion, directly in front of the historic La Princesa prison, where Don Pedro Albizu Campos was jailed and tortured for his independence beliefs.
La Princesa is now the Puerto Rico Bureau of Tourism building.
A typical US news report of this overwhelming June 18 event undercounted the crowd, alleging that “hundreds” rather than thousands participated.
It also referred to the marchers and organizers as “bankrupt Puerto Ricans,” and claimed that the island “enjoys independence in most issues, but still answers to Washington on matters of foreign relations.”
Perhaps this reporter was not familiar with the Jones Act, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the US Bankruptcy Code, the PROMESA bill, the Financial Control Board, the plenary jurisdiction of US Congress, the insular cases, the Supremacy and Territorial clauses of the US Constitution, or the recent US Supreme Court decisions which applied those two clauses, in declaring that Puerto Rico is a “territorial possession” of the US with no inherent sovereignty in any area (the Sanchez Valle and Franklin Templeton decisions).
INSPIRATION AND COURAGE FROM DON HERIBERTO
The marchers and this writer take great pride, in reporting that a noble man named Heriberto Marín Torres took part in the demonstration.
Don Heriberto played a central role in the Nationalist Revolution of 1950.
He fought bravely in Jayuya on October 30, 1950.
He helped Blanca Canales to raise the Puerto Rican flag and declare the Republic of Puerto Rico.
He went to jail for many years, together with Don Pedro Albizu Campos, for believing in the independence of Puerto Rico.
He wrote Eran Ellos, a brilliant account of his prison experience. Page for page, Eran Ellos is more honest and complete than anything written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
When asked about the demonstration, Don Heriberto did not mince words. Summoning a lifetime of experience, he said:
“We are here today to protest against everything the empire is doing to us…but above all, we are demanding independence for Puerto Rico.”