“I didn’t come to kill, I came to die.”
– Lolita Lebrón
On March 1st of 1954 four Puerto Rican Nationalists, Andrés Figueroa, Irving Flores, Raphael Cancel Miranda and Lolita Lebrón went into the US House of Congress while it was in session with guns and fired on the session to bring international attention to the fact that Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. The attack was led by the woman of the group Lolita Lebrón. The idea for such an assault came from Pedro Albizu Campos the leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party who was in prison for his role in an assassination attempt on President Harry Truman in 1950. Albizu wrote to Lolita from prison and asked her to help organize the attack.
She met Andrés, Irving and Raphael at Grand Central Station where they took a train to Washington DC. They walked calmly into the Ladies Gallery, a viewing area above the congress and Lolita yelled out “¡Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!” and then the group unleashed a hail of gunfire on the congress. Five congressmen were wounded in the attack. The group was caught arrested, tried and imprisoned to long terms. After a long international campaign for their freedom, they were released by Jimmy Carter in 1979. Until then Lolita was the longest held female political prisoner in the world, serving 25 years.
Her commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico never wavered. Not while she was in prison and not when she was released. She worked tirelessly towards doing whatever she could toward that end. When the FBI assassinated Puerto Rican independence leader Comandante Filiberto Oeda Rios on September 23rd of 2005, it was her voice that was among the loudest in protest. On August 1 of 2010 she passed away a free woman fighting for a land that was not yet and is not yet free…
News reel footage from the March 1st 1954 attack on the House Of Congress
Lolita on the assassination of Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios
You can get a T-shirt of Lolita from RICANSTRUCTED a design company that i founded in support of the Puerto Rican independence struggle.