Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lolita Lebron presente! Que viva Puerto Rico libre!

Lolita Lebron, one of the great revolutionaries of our time, died today. She was 90. A long life of struggle, never bending on principle even at great personal sacrifice.

The principle: independence for Puerto Rico, which has been a U.S. colony since 1898. In 1954, when the independence struggle was at a high point, Lolita Lebron led a group of Puerto Rican independentistas in an armed attack on the political headquarters of the occupying power: the U.S. Congress. She served 25 years in U.S. prisons. During all that time, she rebuffed repeated efforts by the colonizers to get her to apologize. All she had to do was sign a statement, she was told, and she'd be released. She refused, as did her comrades Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores and Andres Figueroa Cordero. Ultimately, in the face of their steadfastness, they were let out, and all resumed the fight for the liberation of their country.

I heard Rafael Cancel Miranda speak several times in the 80s. Sadly, I never did get to see Lolita Lebron. Now she's gone but her life story will shine on as an example for all freedom fighters.