When Puertio Rican revolutionary Lolita Lebron died August 1, the comrades couldn’t resist paying tribute to her. – even though Lebron had participated in an armed attack on the U.S. Congress that had injured 5 Congressmen.
From the Peoples World.
Lolita Lebron, a Puerto Rican freedom fighter widely known as the mother of the island’s independence movement, died Aug. 1, in San Juan at age 90.
Lebron is most remembered for leading an armed attack on the U.S. Capitol in 1954. She and three other Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from an upstairs spectators’ gallery onto the crowded floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lebron unfurled a Puerto Rican flag and shouted, “Viva Puerto Rico libre!”
No one was killed in the attack but five U.S. representatives were wounded.
Lebron was sentenced to more than 50 years in prison. She was in jail for 25 years until President Jimmy Carter granted Lebron and her comrades clemency in 1979.
Lebron later said that she never intended to kill anyone and that all four nationalists expected to be killed in the attack.
Police found a note in her purse that said, “My life I give for the freedom of my country.” The note continued, “The United States of America is betraying the sacred principles of mankind in their continuous subjugation of my country.”
“I am a revolutionary,” she said at the time. “I hate bombs, but we might have to use them.”
After their release from jail, Lebron and the others were widely celebrated and received a warm welcome from independence activists in Puerto Rico. Lebron became a symbol of nationalist pride and continued to protest U.S. involvement on the island...
Lebron was an advocate for women and children’s rights and fought for a more equitable economic system. Her ideals were based on socialist and feminist principles.
In 2001, she was arrested at age 81 while protesting the U.S. military’s use of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a bombing range. She was sentenced to 60 days in jail for trespassing.
After wide protests the U.S. finally closed the bombing site in 2003.
Today independence fighters say Puerto Rico is a U.S. colony and the people should have the right to self-determination and decide their own national sovereignty.
In recent years Lebron said the fight for social justice could be won without violence.
“I think times have changed, and there is no need now to kill for freedom,” she told El Mundo newspaper in 1998. “I would not take up arms nowadays, but I acknowledge that the people have a right to use any means available to free themselves.”
Lebron will be remembered as a heroic, leading figure in the Puerto Rican people’s struggle for justice, equality and freedom.
Yes, what’s a little treason and attempted murder between comrades?