Tag Archives: Los Macheteros

COMANDANTE FILIBERTO


COMANDANTE FILIBERTO
CLANDESTINA CLANDESTINE

In honor of El Grito De lares an interview by Puerto Rican journalist Daisy Sanchez circa 1990 with the FBI’s #1 most wanted man at the time, Puerto Rican revolutionary Comandante Filiberto Ojdea Rios is live and available for rental on Vimeo On Demand. Watch it on your TV, Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Phone.

The island nation of Puerto Rico has been a colony for over 500 years. It went from being a colony of Spain for 400 years to being a colony of the US in 1898. The US is still to this day a colonial power in Puerto Rico. Throughout that time there has been a long and rich history of resistance to colonialism in Puerto Rico. Filiberto Ojeda Rios figures prominently as one of the great leaders for independence in Puerto Rico.

Comandante Filiberto who was the father of the underground armed resistance movement in Puerto Rico and in the United States. In 1967 he founded MIRA, Movimento Independetista Revolucionario Armado (Armed Revolutionary Independence Movement). Shortly after that he had a hand in forming the FALN, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nationalista (Armed Forces for National Liberation) in the United States. He also founded the EPB, Ejercito Popular Boricua (Popular Puerto Rican Army) affectionately known as Los Macheteros. All of these groups used clandestine guerilla warfare tactics against the United States in an effort to free Puerto Rico from colonial rule and all of the groups were considered terrorist organizations by the United States.

On September 23, 1990 while awaiting trial for a 1983 Wells Fargo depot robbery Filiberto cut off his electronic shackle and went underground in Puerto Rico. September 23rd is a date significant importance in Puerto Rico. In 1868 there was a violent rebellion against Spanish colonial rule in a mountain town called Lares and though the attempt at liberation did not succeed it brought about an end to slavery in Puerto Rico. Filiberto taking his electronic shackle off on that particular day in 1990 was more than a coincidence.

On September 23rd, 2005 Filiberto was assassinated by the FBI after they attempted to arrest him by surrounding his house in Puerto Rico. He was shot and wounded but left to bleed to death for over 24 hours. His assassination on that particular day was an attempt to kill the spirit of the independence movement.

This television interview was conducted while Filiberto was living clandestinely. From the information that we have gathered the interview took place sometime around 1990, a few months after Filiberto went underground and was the most watched television program in the history of Puerto Rico. At the time of this interview Filiberto was #1 on the top ten list of the FBI’s most wanted. His most wanted status remained until September 11, 2001. The interview was conducted with Daisy Sanchez, a courageous journalist who endured her own trials and tribulations when she refused to give up her sources on how she got the interview with Filiberto,  to the FBI.

COMANDANTE FILIBERTO
CLANDESTINA CLANDESTINE
You can rent and watch the interview on Vimeo On Demand for $2.50 and you have 48 hours to watch it. That’s plenty of time to watch it, digest it, watch it again, think on it and even get a third screening in. Watch it on your TV, Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Phone.

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/comandantefiliberto

COMANDANTE FILIBERTO by vagabond ©
COMANDANTE FILIBERTO by vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sw

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The Way Of Machetero


Kelvin Fernandez as the Young Rebel by vagabond ©
Kelvin Fernandez as the Young Rebel by vagabond ©

“It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.” – from the Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659 – 1719)

“if you die fighting then that is the legacy you left to your people the prize you granted them the present you gave them the time you bought them but it is all for others and nothing for yourself…” – from The Anti-manifesto: A Mini Manual For The Modern Day Machetero

The intersection between Comandante Filiberto & my film MACHETERO…

The word Machetero has several meanings. In Spanish the word is used to describe someone who cut sugar cane with a machete and those who wield a machete are called macheteros. In Puerto Rico the word has an added cultural meaning that is attached to anti-imperialist resistance movements. Puerto Rico has been a colony for over 500 years. In 1493 Columbus claimed Puerto Rico for Spain and the Spanish colonized Puerto Rico for the next 400 years. Throughout that time there were resistance groups that banded together to resist imperialism on the island. The first among these groups were the Cimarones or Maroons, groups of Taino’s (the indigenous population of the island) and escaped African slaves that created communities of resistance across the island. As time went on much of the indigenous population was decimated by foreign disease and war.

Sugar became the main export of the island and so the workers who worked the sugar cane fields were among the most exploited class of people on the island. Out of this exploitation a resistance movement grew from the sugar cane workers. They fought against Spanish colonial rule and affectionately were know across the island as Los Macheteros and by 1897, Puerto Rico was on the road to negotiating it’s autonomy from Spain.

On July 25th of 1898 the US invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War and Los Macheteros were dispatched throughout the island to lead militia forces against the US invasion in 1898. The last battle that Los Macheteros fought against the US forces in the Spanish-American War was on December 9th of 1898. It had the American forces retreating in the central mountain town of Aibonito, (where my mother’s family is from) in the Battle Of Asomante. However the next day the Spanish conceded to the US and signed the Treaty Of Paris and in the process gave  Puerto Rico (along with Guam and the Philippines) to the United States as reparations for the war. Puerto Rico was handed from one imperialist power to another without any regard for what the Puerto Rican people may have thought and the island has been under the colonial rule of the United States since then.

In the late 1960‘s an underground army known as the EPB (Ejercito Popular Boricua – Popular Puerto Rican Army) was formed and took the United States to task on it’s imperial designs in Puerto Rico. (Boricua is the name of the people from the island Boriquen which is what the island was called by the Taino’s before Spain renamed it Puerto Rico). The EPB was founded by Filiberto Ojeda Rios and were labeled a terrorist group by the United States for the military operations that they performed in clandestinity against US imperialism. Comandante Filiberto was the number one most wanted man by the FBI for 10 years and on the top ten list for 15 years. Filiberto led the EPB, Los Macheteros until 2005 when he was assassinated by the FBI in his home in Puerto Rico.

Two weeks before his death we were in Puerto Rico shooting scenes for my film MACHETERO which is not a documentary but a fictional narrative film about the idea of being a Machetero or being Machetero and we were listening to Comandante Filiberto doing a radio interview while he was still in clandestinity. Comandante Filiberto used to do interviews and commentary in all forms of media while he was in clandestinity. It was a way for him to prove to the Puerto Rican people that US government was not as all powerful as they would have people believe. After all Comandante Filiberto was one man on an island that is 100 miles long by 35 miles wide and with hundreds of Police, FBI and CIA agents they were unable to find him for 15 years.

The EPB, Los Macheteros had a saying “Todo Boricua Machetero” – “All Boricuas/Puerto Ricans are Machetero” you’ll notice that the word Machetero is not plural and that’s because for the EPB, Machetero was a way of living, a way of being, a warrior culture, like Bushido which is the way of the Samurai. If Machetero was a Way, then it was something that could be claimed by anyone who was willing to live by the tenets and mores of that Way. The saying “Todo Boricua Machetero” was a way for the EPB, Los Macheteros, to have an open door to being or becoming Machetero.

Rastafari or Rasta is also a Way and i bring that up because Bob Marley was a Rasta. There where two instances that Bob Marley was asked in interviews how long he had been a Rasta. Bob answered the question in two different ways that may seem on the surface like two different answers. In one interview he answered… “I been a Rasta ever since…” and that was all he said. In another interview when the question was posed he said “It not how long you been a Rasta but how long it take you grow to Rasta…” These were masterful answers and again on the surface they seem contradictory but in all Ways you are identifying with the thing you are struggling to become. So if you’re a Christian you identify with being a Christian while you are trying to be more Christ like, being a Christian is a Way, like Rastafari is a Way, like  Bushido is a Way and like Machetero is a Way.

The saying “Todo Boricua Machetero” was a door that the EPB, Los Macheteros left open and that door allowed me to allow Pedro Taino, the main character in the film, (played by Not4Prophet) to identify with being Machetero, to be in accord with that Way of being. As i said earlier, MACHETERO is not a documentary about the EPB or Los Macheteros but it is about their Way. It is a film about their warrior culture and because it is a Way it gave me the license to use MACHETERO as a title for the film. My only challenge in taking that on as a title was that i needed to have the film be Machetero. The film had to follow the Way of the Machetero in order to live up to it’s title.  And so i shot as much of the film as i could without permission, and utilized guerrilla tactics in making it and turned the obstacles that were put in front of me as i made and after i made it into opportunities. i tried to be Machetero with my filmmaking. i did the best that i could…

After i finished the film i showed it to Dylcia Pagan (who is also in the film) and according to Dylcia Pagan who served 20 years in US prisons for wanting to free Puerto Rico and who followed the Way of Machetero and led the life of a Machetera, i did a pretty good job. It’s all the endorsement i needed… But still, i remain humbled and indebted to the Way, as it should be…

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10 http://machetero.bpt.me
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-gs

Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part 5)


Sacrifice Without Hesitation The Story Of Former US held Political POW Luis Rosa Perez photo by vagabond
Sacrifice Without Hesitation The Story Of Former US held Political POW Luis Rosa Perez photo by vagabond

Luis Rosa Perez is a former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war. He served almost 20 in US prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from the colonial relationship it’s had with the US since 1898. In 1999 a group of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war were given clemency by President Clinton. Luis Rosa Perez was among them. Sacrifice Without Hesitation is his story. This fifth episode concludes the documentary web series.

In this final episode Luis talks about how his incarceration politicized his family and brought them closer together. He also speaks about how the FBI tried to get him to turn against his ideals and the fallout his family, friends and loved ones suffered when they felt he wouldn’t. Luis also talks about the value of his sacrifice in the ongoing struggle to free Puerto Rico from US colonial rule.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-XK

Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part 4)


Sacrifice Without Hesitation The Story Of Former US Held Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Of War Luis Rosa
Sacrifice Without Hesitation The Story Of Former US Held Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Of War Luis Rosa

Luis Rosa Perez is a former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war. He served almost 20 in US prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from the colonial relationship it’s had with the US since 1898. In 1999 a group of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war were given clemency by President Clinton. Luis Rosa Perez was among them. Sacrifice Without Hesitation is his story. This is part four of an ongoing weekly documentary web series.

Part Four
In this episode Luis speaks about his political development and how he felt like joining the clandestine armed movement came out of his ongoing commitment to free Puerto Rico from US colonialism. He also speaks about the ramifications of that decision and the hardship it brought not only to himself but to his family and friends. Despite the pain and difficulty of living in clandestinity and then going to prison for almost twenty years, Luis feels that it was worth it and if he had to do it all over again, he would, a thousand times over if necessary…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-Xf

Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part Three)


Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part Three) by vagabond
Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part Three) by vagabond

Luis Rosa Perez is a former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war. He served almost 20 in US prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from the colonial relationship it’s had with the US since 1898. In 1999 a group of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war were given clemency by President Clinton. Luis Rosa Perez was among them. Sacrifice Without Hesitation is his story. This is part one of an ongoing weekly documentary web series.

Part Three
In this episode Luis talks about his families struggles as he grows up in Chicago. He lays out the beginnings of his political activism and how he first became politically involved through doing anti-police brutality and anti-gentrification struggles at the tender age of 12. Luis was also took an active part of the campaign to free the Puerto Rican political prisoners of his youth Lolita Lebron, Raphael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, Oscar Collazo, and Irving Flores who were a huge inspiration to him.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-WX

Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part 2)


Sacrifice Without Hesitation Luis Rosa Perez Part 2
Sacrifice Without Hesitation Luis Rosa Perez Part 2

Luis Rosa Perez is a former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war. He served almost 20 in US prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from the colonial relationship it’s had with the US since 1898. In 1999 a group of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war were given clemency by President Clinton. Luis Rosa Perez was among them. Sacrifice Without Hesitation is his story. This is part two of an ongoing weekly documentary web series.

Part 2
In this episode Luis talks about his experiences as a political prisoner and how the prison system unsuccessfully tried to use that to pit him against the other prisoners. He speaks about maintaining his empathy and humanity in a place designed to strip a person of both. Luis also recounts his state and federal trials and how he refused to participate in them as a young man of 19 years of age.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-WD

Sacrifice Without Hesitation (Part One)


Luis Rosa Perez - Sacrifice Without Hesitation by vagabond ©
Luis Rosa Perez – Sacrifice Without Hesitation by vagabond ©

Luis Rosa Perez is a former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war. He served almost 20 in US prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from the colonial relationship it’s had with the US since 1898. In 1999 a group of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war were given clemency by President Clinton. Luis Rosa Perez was among them. Sacrifice Without Hesitation is his story. This is part one of an ongoing weekly documentary web series.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-VY