The essay below was written by Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios on a past plebiscite on the status of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a colony of the US and has been since 1898 and there have been several plebiscites that tried to untangle the colonial political reality of the island nation. On November 6th, while Americans were voting in a Presidential election, Puerto Ricans were voting on a plebiscite that once again dealt with the status issue of Puerto Rico. For more information on that check out my essay The Disenchanted Island.
Comandante Filiberto was the founder and leader of the EPB – (Ejercito Popular Boricua – the Popular Puerto Rican Army), a clandestine organization whose goal was to achieve Puerto Rican independence by any means necessary. US law enforcement agencies have classified the EPB also know more affectionately by Puerto Ricans as Los Macheteros, as a terrorist organization. In 1990 Comandante Filiberto was arrested, on bail and awaiting trial for his involvement in the Macheteros Wells Fargo Armored Truck Robbery. On September 23rd of 1990 he cut off the electronic shackle on his ankle and went underground. He lived in Puerto Rico clandestinely for 15 years but gave television, radio and newspapers interviews, wrote articles and essays and sent audio messages out on the colonization of Puerto Rico throughout that whole time. On September 23rd of 2005, 15 years to the day he went underground and a day that Puerto Ricans celebrate the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico, the FBI surrounded his home, shot him in a shootout and left him to bleed to death for over 24 hours.
THE ELECTORAL PROCESS OF COLONIAL DEMOCRACY
by Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios
Already the teams and fanatics are preparing for the next four years of national sport spectacle that is nothing short of the great human tragedy known as “the electoral process of colonial democracy”. It is a process that has its roots in deception, lies, manipulations, politicking, in illusions and disillusions. In short, it serves to promote and benefit ignorance and the alienation that is well programmed into the unconsciousness or in the opportunism that is found in a good amount of our people.
We have seen, above all things, division: between social castes and sectors that drive our people towards their cravings to provide a (paid) service to the slave masters of the metropolitan government. Those who promote and know how to benefit from so much ideological misfortune, their colors are blue and red, although their projects have nothing to do with the fidelity that is supposedly represented by the color blue. Such fidelity is not offered to the people. Instead it is demanded from them for the benefit of their privileged caste. Neither is red represented well since it has nothing to do with sacrifice nor with the blood shed by martyrs who believe in our nation, in our liberty and in true justice. It instead represents the opportunism of those who appropriate our human condition, intending to reduce us to the level of tamed slaves for the glorification of degenerated values and demoralization.
It has been said repeatedly, that we Macheteros do not believe in the electoral process. This is false. Expressions of such nature serve to confuse our people and to present the Macheteros as an anti-democratic organization, as one of arbitrary tendencies and perhaps autocratic ones as well. This is what could be inferred but it is a great falsehood. We believe in a true electoral process that would be regulated by strict standards of a democratic character. To that end, we would be fully involved in the electoral process when it would be carried out within a nation that is free and sovereign, but never while we continue to exist as a colony. Moreover, we do not believe in the interpretation of the word “democracy” that has been imposed on us, which goes against the very essence and truth contained within it. What has come to be understood as “democracy” is nothing other than the legalization of the powerful economic sectors’ appropriation of all that can supply major riches and possibilities for the control of humanity via robbery, pillage and the invasion of territories. For this, they have necessitated a system that would allow them to legalize their crimes and plunder in the entire world and one that would have, in a most convincing manner, the appearance of having the support of all the population. This is their so-called “democracy”. History is packed with examples of this indisputable truth. It is a system in which the rulers of gigantic economic monopolies, particularly the rulers of prime resources of strategic importance, seek to legitimize their criminal intentions by legalizing those very crimes. The methodology: the invention of a very poor excuse for “democracy”, planned, created and directed by them. This is the same thing that we in Puerto Rico have called “colony by consent”, legitimized by the colonial electoral process under the guise of a “democratic system”.
Secondly, we must admit that it has been very painful for us to see the sad role played by the comrades of the Puerto Rican Independence Party in this electoral process, to see youth who have filled their spirits with hope, holding down the front of their national committee and be victims of the heat of certain members of the New Progressive Party. Independently of the results, independent of the fact that we have never been nor will we ever be in favor of the electoral process in the colony, the final results have not failed to certainly cause us pain and uneasiness. In the end, we feel obligated to condemn all types of insults, mockeries, offensive words, as well as any exploitive tendencies lashed out at the political bullring by those who desire the worst for the PIP (Pro Independence Party) without at least calmly evaluating the state of the situation in general, and, above all, without “acknowledging the dust in own eyes”. We equally criticize the negative expressions and decisions made by some leaders of said organization to interpret the reasons of the electoral misfortunes.
The present moment is for profound reflection oriented towards the harmonizing of all independentistas. It’s not for the immediate opportunist impulse to fish in rough waters. The real conjuncture, if we know how to act correctly and collectively, could very well offer a new possibility for a sane and proper regrouping. It is not with offenses, nor with offensives to “substitute the traditional electoral party”, that we will succeed in becoming a true liberationist movement for our nation. It is not by lunging forward like vultures to feed on the spoils of what some claim to be a total misfortune. Instead it is with true reflection, with respect, with profound and serious analysis, and most of all, with the elimination of this tragic arrogance that has so destroyed us Puerto Ricans and that has to be overcome by true maturity and brotherhood.