Thursday, March 30, 2006

Puerto Rico reacts to FBI

After I recently blogged about the systematic disenfranchisement of Puerto Ricans both in Puerto Rico and in the mainland U.S., another aspect of the general story of the utter lack of Puerto Rican sovereignty presented itself through the killing of a Puerto Rico independence activist.
Filiberto Ojeda Rios, the 72-year-old founder of Puerto Rico's radical Boricua Popular Army, also known as the Macheteros or machete-wielders, was fatally wounded in a shootout with FBI agents in western Puerto Rico in September.

He had been a fugitive from justice for 15 years and was found shot in the neck and shoulder with a single bullet, the FBI said at the time. Local authorities quickly questioned whether his life could have been spared if he had been given speedy medical attention.

Puerto Rico responded by suing several U.S. law enforcement officials - amongst them, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and FBI Director Robert Mueller - for "allegedly failing to cooperate with a probe into the killing" and operating within a "mantra of absolute immunity."

On a further note:
In a separate lawsuit filed on Thursday, [head of Puerto Rico's Justice Department Roberto] Sanchez Ramos accused Gonzales, Mueller and [head of San Juan's division of the FBI Luis] Fraticelli of refusing to hand over information about the FBI's alleged use of pepper spray on journalists during the raids.

[Puerto Rico sues U.S. over killing of militant, Reuters, 24 March 2006]

This, along with the allegation that the FBI agents involved deliberately "let him bleed to death", has rightfully sparked protests on the island.


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