“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
– Gautama Buddha
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”
– Elvis Presley
The following videos contain film footage, newsreels, photos, and radio coverage of the War Against All Puerto Ricans.
The Ponce Massacre left 19 Puerto Ricans dead, dozens more maimed for life, and over two hundred gravely wounded. It happened on Palm Sunday in 1937, on the orders of U.S. Army General Blanton Winship, who had been appointed as the governor of Puerto Rico.
The footage in these two videos is painful to watch. It is not suitable for viewing by children.
Revolution of 1950
The following video is narrated in Spanish, but the images are precise and specific. They document the violent events that occurred in eight towns in Puerto Rico, during the revolution of October 1950.
The footage from Utuado is particularly graphic: showing the bodies of Puerto Ricans that were lined up in the street, then executed with machine guns by the U.S. National Guard. The bodies were left to rot in the street, as an “example” to the rest of the townspeople in Utuado.
Gunfight at Salón Boricua
This audio, also in Spanish, is part of the live radio broadcast of the gunfight at the Salón Boricua barber shop. Incredibly one barber, all by himself, battled forty U.S. National Guard troops and insular policemen. The National Guard used rifles, carbines, machine guns and tear gas. The barber, Vidal Santiago Díaz, had a few handheld weapons and some Molotov cocktails.
The gunfight lasted three hours. The barber fought so savagely, that everyone assumed that at least twenty Nationalists were firing from inside the barber shop. But it was only Vidal.
Every radio station in Puerto Rico sent a news crew to cover the event live, as a breaking story. It was the first island-wide news broadcast in the history of Puerto Rico…but no one in the U.S. mainland ever heard it.
Truman Assassination Attempt
This video presents the dramatic attempt by two Puerto Rican Nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, to assassinate the president of the United States.
The attempted assassination of Pres. Harry Truman occurred during the revolution of 1950.
Notice how the Nationalists are branded as “fanatics.” Also notice the ominous film score, resembling the music of many “B” monster movies of the era. This music changes abruptly at 1:09, when the “hero” emerges triumphant.
Albizu Campos Prison Torture
Gov. Luis Muñoz Marín appears on Washington Merry-Go-Round to declare Albizu Campos insane, because he was wrapping wet towels around his head while in prison. Over the years, and through recently de-classified FBI documents, it became clear that Albizu Campos was in fact being subjected to TBI (Total Body Irradiation) at La Princesa penitentiary.
La Princesa was 200 feet from the governor’s mansion. In fact, the two buildings were contiguous, right next to each other, on the same avenue in Old San Juan.
During this video, notice in particular the governor’s discussion from 7:20 to 8:45. He clearly wanted the world to know, that Albizu Campos was “insane.”
Che Guevara speaks to the United Nations about Pedro Albizu Campos and Puerto Rico
On December 11, 1964, Che Guevara addressed the 19th General Assembly of the United Nations, where he spoke passionately about Albizu Campos and Puerto Rico. In this video, his speech is accompanied by powerful historical photographs of Albizu, the Ponce Massacre, the Cadets of the Republic, and the revolution of 1950.
This Spanish-language documentary examines the secret FBI dossiers called carpetas. Over 100,000 carpeta files were opened on unsuspecting Puerto Ricans. Many of these carpetas were used to discredit people, ruin their careers, and even imprison them.
For many years, the FBI refused to admit the existence of these carpetas. Then in the year 2000, it started to release 1.8 million pages of these secret files, that had been kept on Puerto Ricans.
Visual overview of the island and its people
Given its title (Puerto Rico, USA) and distributor (Young America Films) the following industrial film is clearly slanted toward a pro-US viewpoint. It portrays Gov. Luis Muñoz Marín as a patriot, and the Nationalists as “a small minority of fanatics and malcontents.”
The timing of Puerto Rico, USA is also significant: it was shot and edited in 1955, within months of the Lolita Lebrón attack on the U.S. House of Representatives, in which four Nationalists shot several congressmen. Immediately thereafter, Puerto Rico, USA was widely shown on television, in movie theatres and drive-ins throughout the United Sates.
Despite its obvious propaganda intent, the film does contain splendid period footage. The clothing, vehicles, landscape, architecture and public spaces are captured in a detailed time capsule, showing life on the island circa 1950-55.
Jack Delano photographs of Puerto Rico
For over fifty years, from 1941 until the late 1990s, photographer Jack Delano took over ten thousand photographs of Puerto Rican people, places and landscapes. Delano lived in Puerto Rico for almost six decades. He traveled throughout the island photographing schools, religious festivals, fairs, hospitals and railroads.
In a two-month period alone (December 1941- January 1942), while WWII raged in Europe, Delano shot several thousand photographs of Puerto Rico, 1,524 of which can be seen at the Library of Congress: Jack Delano Photos
Another photographer, Edwin Rosskam, left 242 images of Puerto Rico in the Library of Congress: Edwin Rosskam Photos
The following videos convey the life of Puerto Rico, during the mid-20th century, as seen by photographer Jack Delano:
For a discussion of these videos, and for additional video and media links, please read…