Gayblack Canadian Man

Foreign Policy Analysis
“War Against All Puerto Ricans” – Nelson Denis Lecture

“War Against All Puerto Ricans” – Nelson Denis Lecture


>>NELSON DENIS IS AN ATTORNEY. HE’S ALSO A GRADUATE OF HARVARD
UNIVERSITY, HARVARD COLLEGE, AND HIS DEGREE IS IN LAW
FROM YALE UNIVERSITY. HE WAS ALSO AN ASSEMBLYMAN
IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE
STATE ASSEMBLY OF NEW YORK. HE BASICALLY BEGAN TO DO
THIS WORK ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO.>>YEAH.>>THE RESEARCH FOR THIS BOOK. IF YOU SEE THE BOOK YOU
WILL BE AMAZED OF THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THAT
HAS BEEN GATHERED. I STUDY HISTORY OF PUERTO RICO
AND I KNEW MOST OF THE THINGS THAT I READ IN THIS BOOK. BUT IT’S JUST THE WAY THAT
IT IS WRITTEN WHICH IS NOT LIKE A BORING HISTORY BOOK. IT’S REALLY A VERY GOOD WAY. HE’S ALSO HAD WRITTEN SCRIPTS FOR A DOCUMENTARY
ABOUT [INAUDIBLE].>>MM-HMM.>>YEAH. HE ALSO — AND BY
THE WAY I WISH I HAD THE LIST OF THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
OF PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, FROM
[INAUDIBLE] ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THIS BOOK HAS
HAD ON [INAUDIBLE]. A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT
YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR — MANY OF YOU MAY HAVE
NOT HAVE HEARD. BUT EVEN PEOPLE WHO
HAD STUDIED HISTORY OF PUERTO RICO HAVE
NOT HEARD IN THE WAY THAT YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR. SO WITHOUT ANY DELAY,
MR. NELSON DENIS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>I APPRECIATE THOSE KIND
WORDS FROM PROFESSOR RODRIGUEZ. THANK YOU FOR EVERYONE
THAT’S ORGANIZED THIS. THIS IS A MASS OF HUMANITY. I WASN’T EXPECTING THIS. I WAS TOLD THAT, “NELSON, OUR JOB IS TO GET PEOPLE
HERE ON SATURDAY MORNING. YOUR JOB IS TO KEEP THEM AWAKE.” SO MY MARCHING ORDERS
ARE VERY CLEAR. IT’S A GREAT HONOR TO
SHARE THIS TIME WITH YOU. I GIVE YOU A LITTLE BIT, A SENSE
OF MY PROGRESS THROUGH THIS BOOK AND ITS HISTORY AND THIS
IS SORT OF A PRESIDIUM, SO I WAS THINKING HOW I CAN
SORT OF GRAPHICALLY PRESENT IT, AND MAYBE A WAY TO
START IS IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE WAY MY BOOK
STARTS IS ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, AND TURN. AND THERE’S A HUMAN FIGURE
THAT’S JUST WALKING ENDLESSLY LIKE A PENDULUM FOR 25 YEARS. THIS IS HIS UNIVERSE. TEN/FIFTEEN FEET, KEEPS MOVING
TO KEEP HIS JOINTS HYDRATED, TO KEEP HIS CIRCULATION MOVING,
TO BASICALLY REMIND HIMSELF THAT HE HAS A PHYSICAL EXISTENCE BECAUSE THIS IS ALL
THAT HE KNOWS. THIS IS ALL THAT
HE’S BEEN GIVEN. THIS IS WHAT HAS
BEEN ALLOTTED HIM. THIS IS HIS APPOINTED END
IN LIFE, TO WALK ENDLESSLY. FIVE STEPS, THAT’S HIS UNIVERSE. HIS NAME IS PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS. HE WAS THE FIRST PUERTO
RICAN TO GO TO HARVARD, IN HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, SPOKE
SIX LANGUAGES, A BRILLIANT MAN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE PUERTO
RICAN NATIONALIST PARTY. HE HELPED EAMON DE
VALERA TO WRITE THE — FIRST THE CONSTITUTION OF
THE IRISH REPUBLICAN STATE, AND HE’S JUST WALKING. HE’S WALKING WITH COLD,
WET TOWELS ON HIS HEAD. HE’S SURROUNDING
HIMSELF WITH TOWELS. HE’S RUBBING JERGENS LOTION ON
HIS BODY, AND HE JUST GOES ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR,
FIVE, AND TURN. AND HE DOES THIS DAY AFTER DAY. HE DOES THIS. GETS TO THE POINT WHERE THEY
CALL HIM EL REY DE LAS TOALLAS, THE KING OF THE TOWELS. THEY SAY THAT HE’S INSANE. THIS MAN, WHO’S JUST
WALKING WITH THESE COLD, WET TOWELS ON HIS HEAD. SO HOW DO WE GET TO
THIS POINT IN HISTORY? HOW IS THIS MAJOR
POLITICAL FIGURE, THE PRINCIPAL LIBERATING FIGURE OF PUERTO RICO, COME
TO THAT END? HOW DOES THAT REPRESENT
PUERTO RICAN HISTORY? WELL, THAT IS, FOR ME,
THE STORY OF THE WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS,
AND THIS IS WHAT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY. I’LL GIVE YOU A QUICK HISTORY. A LOT OF YOU THAT HAVE STUDIED IN PUERTO RICAN STUDIES,
KNOW ABOUT THIS. BUT IT GIVES A REALLY —
GEORGE ORWELL WROTE THAT, “HE WHO CONTROLS THE PAST
CONTROLS THE FUTURE,” AND SO AS PUERTO RICO SUPPOSEDLY
OWES A $73 BILLION DEBT, AND YOU CAN DRIVE A
TRUCK THROUGH THAT WORD, IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW
HOW THE RELATIONSHIP THAT HAS GOTTEN US
TO THAT POINT. IN 1898 THE UNITED STATES
OCCUPIED PUERTO RICO AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR, AND THE VERY NEXT YEAR
THE LARGEST HURRICANE IN THE CENTURY [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
DEVASTATED THE COFFEE CROP, LEFT ABOUT 10,000
PEOPLE HOMELESS. THOUSANDS OF FARMS
WERE DEVASTATED. ABOUT $50 MILLION WORTH OF
COFFEE IN THOSE DOLLARS, IN THOSE YEARS, WAS RUINED, AND
IT LEFT THE PUERTO RICAN ECONOMY IN A SHAMBLES IN 1899. THIS IS A YEAR AFTER THE
UNITED STATES GOES IN. THE UNITED STATES SENT NO
MEANINGFUL HURRICANE RELIEF. INSTEAD, THE VERY NEXT YEAR, BY
WAY OF RESPONSE, THEY MANDATED BY LEGISLATIVE FIAT
A CURRENTLY EXCHANGE, AND EACH PUERTO RICAN
PESO HAD TO BE TURNED IN TO AN AMERICAN DOLLAR EXCEPT THAT EACH PESO WOULD BE
WORTH 60 AMERICAN CENTS. THESE WERE TWO CURRENCIES
THAT WERE ROUGHLY EQUIVALENT BY INTERNATIONAL BUYING POWER, SO IT WAS A STRAIGHT-OUT
DEVALUATION. IT WAS AN IMPOVERISHMENT OF
EVERYBODY IN PUERTO RICO. EVERY PERSON, EVERY
BUSINESS, OVERNIGHT, BY LEGISLATIVE DECREE, LOST 40%. IF YOU THINK ABOUT THAT,
IF YOU EXTRAPOLATE THAT, AND YOU’RE ALL STUDENTS AND
YOU’RE STUDYING HISTORY, ECONOMICS, AND POLITICS,
THINK ABOUT A 40% DEVALUATION OF EVERYBODY’S WEALTH
AND EVERY BUSINESS AND EVERYONE THEN ALSO — THE COROLLARY IS THAT
YOU WILL OWE 40%. ALL YOUR DEBTS NOW
HAVE INCREASED BY 40%. THAT WOULD BE A SOCIAL SHUTDOWN. THE UNITED STATES AS WE KNOW
IT WOULD CEASE TO EXIST. THERE WOULD BE RIOTS. YOU WOULDN’T BE IN THIS
CLASSROOM PROBABLY WITHIN A WEEK BECAUSE BUDGETS WOULD
NOT BE MET. EVERYTHING WOULD STOP. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED IN
PUERTO RICO JUST TWO YEARS AFTER THE UNITED STATES GO IN. SO YOU HAVE A HURRICANE,
A CURRENCY DEVALUATION, AND IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR, IN
1901, UNDER THE HOLLANDER ACT, THE UNITED STATES PRESENTED
A STEEPLY GRADUATED SET OF PROPERTY TAXES THAT
HAD NEVER EXISTED BEFORE TO ALL THE FARMERS
IN PUERTO RICO. SO IT WAS AN ECONOMIC TRIFECTA. SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF
NAOMI KLEIN, THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, WHICH IS A WAY OF IMPOSING
A WHOLE NEW PARADIGM, A PARADIGM SHIFT FROM
ONE SOCIETY TO ANOTHER, AND IT’S A WAY OF
IMPOSING YOUR WILL. IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF BOXING. YOU KNOW, YOU JAB AND JAB,
AND YOU LEAVE THEM BEWILDERED, LEAVE THEM CONFUSED,
AND THEN YOU CAN GO IN AND IMPOSE YOURSELF. WELL, THIS WAS A SHOCK. THIS WAS A HURRICANE,
A CURRENCY DEVALUATION, AND A PROPERTY TAX,
STEEP PROPERTY TAXES. THE NET RESULT OF WHICH IS THAT
THE FARMERS WERE DEFAULTING. THEY COULD NOT HOLD ON. AND PUERTO RICO WAS
AN AGRICULTURE AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY. IT WASN’T MECHANIZED. THERE HAD BEEN NO INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION IN PUERTO RICO. SO THE ONLY INDUSTRY THAT EXISTED SUDDENLY
COULD NOT EXIST. THEY NEEDED CAPITAL QUICKLY. SO THEY HAD TO BORROW MONEY. THE ONLY PLACE TO GO WAS
APPROPRIATELY CALLED THE AMERICAN COLONIAL BANK. THE ONLY PLACE, SOURCE
OF LENDING. THERE WAS NO USURY LAW
RESTRICTION IN PUERTO RICO SO THEY COULD CHARGE
WHATEVER THEY WANTED. SO, IF YOU REMEMBER THE MORTGAGE
CRISIS OF 2007 AND THE PROBLEMS WITH PREDATORY LENDERS, WELL
YOU MULTIPLY THAT EXPONENTIALLY IN PUERTO RICO AND YOU
WILL UNDERSTAND WHY, WITHIN 10 TO 15 YEARS, THERE
WAS VIRTUALLY NO OWNERSHIP, INHERENT LAND OWNERSHIP,
IN PUERTO RICO. BY 1920 80% OF THE ARABLE
LAND IN PUERTO RICO WAS OWNED BY NORTH AMERICAN
BANKING SYNDICATES, AND THEY HAD TURNED A PREVIOUSLY
DIVERSIFIED AGRICULTURE, SELF-SUSTAINING AGRICULTURE, INTO A ONE-CROP CASH COW
ECONOMY, THAT OF SUGAR. SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE STUDIED
[SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE], AMERICAN SUGAR KINGDOM. HE’S DONE EXCELLENT
WORK, EXCELLENT STUDIES, ON THE CONVERSION
OF THE CARIBBEAN, NOT JUST IN PUERTO RICO, BUT
IN SANTO DOMINGO, IN PUBA, T THE ECONOMIES INTO
THAT SIMPLE MODEL. IT BECAME SORT OF AN ASSEMBLY
LINE MODEL OF PRODUCTION THAT WOULD LEND ITSELF TO THE
GENERATION OF SIMPLE PROFITS THAT COULD BE SENT
TO WALL STREET. THAT’S THE WAY IT WAS
DONE IN PUERTO RICO. BY 1920, 80% OF THE LAND. AND IT WAS CONCENTRATED IN WHAT
DO THEY CALL [FOREIGN WORD], SUGARCANE [FOREIGN WORD],
THE FOUR LARGEST OF WHICH, [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] AND EAST PUERTO RICO
SUGAR OWNED COLLECTIVELY ABOUT HALF OF THAT 80% OF LAND. SO FOUR [FOREIGN WORD]
OWNED 40% OF THE LAND UNDER CULTIVATION
IN PUERTO RICO. EACH [FOREIGN WORD]
10% OF THE LAND. THAT’S A HUGE CONCENTRATION
OF WEALTH. AND IT WAS ALL FOREIGN
OWNERSHIP; HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS
FROM THE UNITED STATES. THE TEMPLATE FOR THIS WAS SET
AND THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE SORT OF LOOKING FOR DOING A SENIOR
THESIS OR JUST SOME AREAS OF RESEARCH, PUERTO RICAN
HISTORY ACTUALLY HAS SOME STILL — I DISCOVERED SOME FOR
ME — UNDISCOVERED FIGURES. THEY’RE PRETTY FASCINATING. ONE OF WHICH WAS THE
FIRST CIVILIAN GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO WHOSE NAME
WAS CHARLES HERBERT ALLEN. THIS GUY KNEW HOW TO ROLL. HE COMES IN, THE FIRST GOVERNOR, AND HE CONDUCTS SOIL SAMPLE
STUDIES THROUGHOUT PUERTO RICO. HE’S ONLY A GOVERNOR
FOR 17 MONTHS. EACH GOVERNOR UNTIL LUIS
MUNOZ MARIN WOULD HAVE TO HAND IN A YEARLY FISCAL REPORT TO THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. SO THE FIRST FISCAL REPORT WAS
HANDED IN BY THE FIRST GOVERNOR, CHARLES HERBERT ALLEN. SO HE DOES THESE
SOIL SAMPLE STUDIES AND HE DISCOVERS SOMETHING, THAT
PUERTO RICO WAS NOT JUST GOING TO BE A NAVAL COALING STATION
WITH GEOPOLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE WHICH IS WHY THEY, AFTER
THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR, THAT WAS THE THOUGHT TO BE
THE VALUE OF PUERTO RICO. WE’LL HAVE AN OUTPOST
THERE IN THE CARIBBEAN. IT’S SORT OF A GATEWAY INTO
SOUTH AMERICA CLOSE TO PANAMA. BUT NOW THEY REALIZED,
THROUGH CHARLES HERBERT ALLEN, THAT THERE WAS THIS
TREMENDOUSLY FERTILE CLIMATE AND SOIL THROUGHOUT PUERTO RICO BECAUSE OF THE SOIL
SAMPLE STUDIES THAT HE DID. HE PUT THOSE STUDIES INTO HIS
FISCAL REPORT TO MCKINLEY, HANDED HIS REPORT, AND THEN
RENOUNCED THE GOVERNORSHIP JUST TWO OR THREE WEEKS BECAUSE
HE KNEW WHERE HE WAS HEADED. IMMEDIATELY AFTER
HANDING THAT REPORT IN, HE HEADED UP TO WALL STREET. HE BECAME A VICE PRESIDENT
OF MORGAN GUARANTEE TRUST. WITHIN 10 YEARS HE BECAME
TREASURER THEN PRESIDENT THEN CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
OF A COMPANY KNOWN AS, THAT HE HELPED CREATE, CALLED THE AMERICAN SUGAR
REFINING CORPORATION. THAT COMPANY OWNS
EVENTUALLY OVER 90% OF THE SUGAR REFINING
CAPACITY OF THE UNITED STATES. IT WAS SO VERTICALLY
INTEGRATED THAT THEY — AFTER THE SHERMAN
ANTI-TRUST ACT WAS IN PART PROMPTED
BY THIS COMPANY. THAT COMPANY, OWNED BY CHARLES
HERBERT ALLEN AND HIS PARTNERS, TODAY IS KNOWN AS DOMINO SUGAR. THAT’S HOW INTEGRATED
THIS MAN BECAME INTO THE PUERTO RICAN ECONOMY. HE HARDWIRED THE AGRICULTURE
OF PUERTO RICO TO THE BENEFIT OF HIMSELF AND HIS ASSOCIATES. AND IT WAS SO PROFITABLE THAT THE MOMENT PEOPLE
SAW THE ENORMOUS FRONTIER THAT CHARLES HERBERT
ALLEN HAD OPENED, THAT YOU HAD A WHOLE SERIES
OF CARPETBAGGERS COMING INTO PUERTO RICO AND THEY’RE
THE ONES THAT TRANSFORMED THAT ECONOMY INTO THAT ONE CROP,
AS I SAY, CASH COW, OF SUGAR. THINGS HAPPENED AT A VERY
ACCELERATED RATE IN PUERTO RICO. YOU HAD SORT OF AN INTERNAL
DIASPORA AND AN INTERNAL — WENT FROM A FARMER ECONOMY TO
A PROLETARIAT WITHIN REALLY, LITERALLY, WITHIN
20 OR 30 YEARS. THEY LOST THEIR FARMS. THEY STARTED WORKING
ON THEIR FARMS. BUT THERE WASN’T ENOUGH
JOBS ON THOSE FARMS ANYMORE BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES
HAD TURNED IT INTO A, SORT OF A MECHANIZED
ASSEMBLY LINE ARRANGEMENT. SO THEY COULDN’T GET
WORK ON THEIR OWN LAND SO THEY STARTED LOOKING
FOR WORK IN THE CITIES. THERE WAS NO MINIMUM
WAGE LEGISLATION. WHEN THEY TRIED — IN 1917
PUERTO RICANS WERE DECLARED CITIZENS, IN MARCH, 1917, EXACTLY ONE MONTH BEFORE WOODROW
WILSON SENT IN HIS DECLARATION OF WAR TO CONGRESS IN APRIL. SO JUST ONE MONTH BEFORE WORLD
WAR I THE PUERTO RICANS WERE DECLARED CITIZENS. AND THEN 18,000 OF THEM WERE
CONSCRIPTED INTO THE MILITARY AND THEY FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR I. THERE ARE SOME HISTORIANS — AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
I’VE ENCOUNTERED IS SOME DISAGREEMENT, SOME CONTROVERSY,
ON SOME OF MY FACTS. FOR INSTANCE, I DRAW
A REASONABLE INFERENCE THAT IF YOU ARE GIVEN
A CITIZENSHIP IN MARCH AND THEN YOU’RE SENT OFF
TO WAR A MONTH LATER, THAT THERE’S SOME
REASONABLE INFERENCE THAT ONE HAD SOMETHING
TO DO WITH THE OTHER. BUT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO
DISAGREE, AND I CERTAINLY, I RESPECT THEIR OPINION. IT IS MY OPINION
THAT THEY DRAFTED, THAT THEY GAVE US CITIZENSHIP
SO THAT WE COULD GO AND FIGHT AND GET SHOT [LAUGHTER]. BUT WHAT SUPPORTS THAT IS
THAT FIVE YEARS LATER SOME OF THOSE RETURNING VETERANS COME
TO PUERTO RICO AND THEY GO BACK TO WORK IN THE SAME
FIELDS THAT THEY CAME FROM. AND THEY’RE HOPING FOR
MINIMUM WAGE LEGISLATION, WHICH THEY FIGURE
THEY’VE EARNED. WELL, THE UNITED STATES
UNDER THE SUPREME COURT CASE OF BALZAC, B-A-L-Z-A-C,
BALZAC V PUERTO RICO, IN 1922, HELD THAT THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
DID NOT APPLY TO PUERTO RICO BECAUSE PUERTO RICO
IS A TERRITORY, AND THAT THE TERRITORIAL CLAUSE OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
PRE-EMPTED THAT CONSTITUTIONAL
COVERAGE AND, THEREFORE, MINIMUM WAGE LEGISLATION IN
PUERTO RICO IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THAT’S A — YOU KNOW,
IT’S JUST LIKE KAFKAESQUE. YOU HAVE TO GIVE
CREDIT TO SOME PEOPLE. THE PRETZEL LOGIC THAT THEY USE
TO REALLY COVER FOR THE FACT IN MY EXPERIENCE IN
NEW YORK POLITICS — I HAVE SEEN POLITICS TO BE A
CONFLICT OF INTERESTS DISGUISED AS A CONFLICT OF PRINCIPALS. AND VERY OFTEN WHAT YOU’RE
HEARING IS PEOPLE TALKING IN VERY GLOWING AND —
BUT WHEN IT FINALLY COMES DOWN IS ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MONEY, ALWAYS FOLLOW THE
PERSONAL INTERESTS. YOU KNOW, GET TO THE
BOTTOM LINE OF THE DEAL BECAUSE THAT’S PROBABLY
REALLY WHAT’S DRIVING THAT RELATIONSHIP. AND WHAT’S DRIVING THE
RELATIONSHIP IN PUERTO RICO IS THAT FOR 117 YEARS IT HAS
BEEN, AND CONTINUES TO BE, A COLONY FOR THE BENEFIT
OF THE UNITED STATES. NOT NECESSARILY THE U.S. PUBLIC. YOU CAN’T BLAME THE PEOPLE
OF THE UNITED STATES. BUT THERE ARE VERY SELECTED
POCKETS OF INFLUENCE AND INTERESTS THAT HAVE BEEN
DERIVING AN ENORMOUS BENEFIT FROM PUERTO RICO AND FROM OTHER
AREAS, AND THEY ARE VERY — THEY’RE GOING TO BE VERY
RELUCTANT TO RELINQUISH THAT. SO WE CAN’T GET MINIMUM
WAGE LEGISLATION IN 1922. SO THE WORKERS THEN
FORMED UNIONS WHICH IS A NATURAL PROGRESSION. THEY LOSE THEIR FARMS;
THEY TRY TO GET WORK; NO MINIMUM WAGE;
THEY CREATE UNIONS. THE UNIONS THEN START
NEGOTIATING, START DOING WHAT UNIONS DO. BUT THEY FIND OUT THAT THEIR
OWN UNION MEMBERSHIP IS BEING — THEIR LEADERSHIP IS BEING
BRIBED BY THE OWNERS OF THE SUGARCANE
COMPANIES AND BY MEMBERS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. THE LEADERSHIP OF THE UNION,
[SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE], WITH THE COLONIAL
GOVERNMENT IN SAN JUAN. SO AT THAT POINT,
THE RANK AND FILE OF THE UNION ASKED A GENTLEMAN,
A MAN NAMED PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS, TO COME AND HELP NEGOTIATE
AND LEAD THEIR UNION, EVEN THOUGH HE WASN’T
THEIR UNION LEADER. THAT WAS A PARADIGM SHIFT. THAT WAS UNEXPECTED. AND THAT IS WHERE THE HISTORY OF
PUERTO RICO TOOK A STEEP TURN, BECAUSE IT WENT FROM JUST A
QUIET, COLONIAL RELATIONSHIP TO A DIRECTLY ADVERSARIAL
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED
STATES AND PUERTO RICO. AND THAT’S WHEN THE WAR
AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS BECAME VERY CLEAR. WHEN THE AGRICULTURAL STRIKE
NOW STARTED THERE WAS — WE’RE AT THE POINT NOW WHERE
THE WORKERS NOW ARE GETTING PAID STARVATION WAGES. THEY WERE GETTING PAID ABOUT
SEVEN-AND-A-HALF CENTS AN HOUR FOR A 10-HOUR WORKDAY, 75
CENTS A DAY, 7.50 A WEEK. THE PROBLEM WAS THAT
PEOPLE WEREN’T ABLE TO FEED — IT WAS THIS SIMPLE. YOU CAN UNDERPAY PEOPLE,
AND THAT’S AN ABSTRACTION. BUT WHEN PEOPLE CAN’T
FEED THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR CHILDREN ARE STARVING,
THAT’S NO LONGER AN ABSTRACTION. AND AT THAT POINT YOU
REALIZE SIMPLY I’M NOT GETTING PAID ENOUGH. CALL IT WHATEVER YOU WANT. I CAN’T WORK FOR YOU 50
HOURS A WEEK, GO HOME, AND NOT BE ABLE TO
FEED MY FAMILY. THAT’S WHERE THEY REACH
OUT TO ALBIZU CAMPOS WHO HAD BEEN THE FIRST PUERTO
RICAN TO GRADUATE FROM HARVARD AND HARVARD LAW SCHOOL,
AS I MENTIONED. A BRILLIANT MAN. A VERY PEACEFUL MAN. WHILE HE WAS AT HARVARD,
HE ACTUALLY ADVOCATED FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE IRISH
REPUBLIC AND HE CAMPAIGNED IN THE IRISH WARS OF EAST BOSTON
AND CAMBRIDGE, COLLECTING MONEY, WORKING WITH EAMON DE VALERA,
DOING WHATEVER HE COULD TO ORGANIZE ON BEHALF
OF THE IRISH FREE STATE. AND HE CARRIED THOSE SAME
PRINCIPALS BACK TO PUERTO RICO. WHEN HE GRADUATED HE COULD HAVE
BEEN, IF YOU THINK BACK THEN, BACK IN THE EARLY 1915S
AND 1920S, HE WAS A PIONEER WHO COULD HAVE HAD A
VERY PROFITABLE LIFE. HE GOT TREMENDOUS JOB OFFERS
INCLUDING ONE FROM UNITED FRUIT. AND HE CHOSE TO — HE BACK
TO HIS HOME TOWN OF PONCE AND OPENED A ONE-MAN LAW OFFICE
AND PRACTICED POVERTY LAW. HE JUST WANTED TO REPRESENT
THE PEOPLE THAT HE CAME FROM AND TO DEVELOP A REPUTATION
FOR BEING AN HONEST MAN, SOMEONE THAT YOU COULD COUNT ON, AND SOMEONE THAT
RETURNED TO HIS ROOTS. AND HE DID THAT. AND AFTER ABOUT 15 YEARS OF
BEING IN PUERTO RICO AS THE HEAD OF THE NATIONALIST PARTY, THIS
AGRICULTURAL STRIKE STARTED. THEY CAME TO HIM. AND THEY SAID, “ALBIZU, WE CAN’T
EVEN TRUST OUR OWN LEADERSHIP. WILL YOU HELP US?” DON PEDRO THEY CALLED HIM. AND HE SAID, “OKAY.” SO HE STARTED ADVOCATING —
HE WAS A TREMENDOUS SPEAKER. HE CERTAINLY COULD ARTICULATE
THE CASE FOR PUERTO RICO. RIGHT THEN IS WHEN
THE UNITED STATES KNEW THAT THERE WAS A
SHIFT IN PUERTO RICO. [ SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE ] BUT, YOU CAN’T [LAUGHTER]. BUT YOU CAN’T KILL HIM. YOU CAN’T TURN HIM
INTO A MARTYR. SO THEY TRIED A PLAN A
AND A PLAN B. THE PLAN A, AS THEY HAD DONE
IN OTHER COUNTRIES, IS THEY TRIED TO BRIBE HIM. THEY FIRST BROUGHT DOWN A
ARMY GENERAL THAT HAD A LOT OF EXPERIENCE IN DEALING WITH
NATIVE AMERICAN POPULATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES, A
GENERAL NAMED BLANTON WINSHIP. AND THAT’S ANOTHER INTERESTING
FIGURE PEOPLE WANT TO RESEARCH. BLANTON WINSHIP BECAME THE
GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO AND THEY BROUGHT IN A NEW
POLICE CHIEF, E. FRANCIS RIGGS. AND THAT’S ANOTHER
INTERESTING FIGURE. E. FRANCIS RIGGS HAD
GRADUATED FROM YALE, A MEMBER OF THE PRIVILEGED
ELITE FROM ONE OF THE FINISHING CLUBS,
THE SCROLL AND KEY. TWO INTERESTING THINGS
ABOUT HIM. HE WAS A MILITARY INTELLIGENCE
OFFICER WHO HAD JUST COME FROM NICARAGUA AND HE
WAS ADVISING SOMOZA. AND VERY SHORTLY AFTER HIS
DEPARTURE FROM NICARAGUA TO PUERTO RICO IS WHEN THE
SOMOZA REGIME ASSASSINATED AUGUSTO SANDINO, RIGHT
AFTER E. FRANCIS RIGGS LEFT, AND THEN FRANCIS RIGGS
COMES TO PUERTO RICO. BUT ANOTHER INTERESTING FACT
ABOUT E. FRANCIS RIGGS IS THAT HIS FATHER WAS THE OWNER
OF THE RIGGS NATIONAL BANK, R-I-G-G-S., RIGGS NATIONAL BANK, WHICH WAS AT THAT TIME THE
LARGEST BANK IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IT HAD BEEN USED TO SUBSIDIZE
THE PURCHASE OF ALASKA. AND REALLY INTERESTING,
THERE’S A BOOK CALLED THE FISH THAT ATE THE WHALE, WHICH WAS
PUBLISHED JUST IN THE LAST YEAR OR TWO, AND IT’S THE HISTORY
OF UNITED FRUIT COMPANY. AND THE RIGGS NATIONAL
BANK WAS ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL FINANCING
AGENTS FOR UNITED FRUIT. THEY HAD A REALLY, A WILD
POLITICAL AND BUSINESS MODEL. THEY WOULD GO INTO COUNTRIES,
AND NICARAGUA FOR ONE OF THEM, HONDURAS, GUATEMALA, COLUMBIA, AND THEY WOULD STAGE FAKE
REVOLUTIONS, FAKE REVOLUTIONS THAT WERE ACTUALLY
DISGUISED RIGHT-WING TAKEOVERS TO INSTALL A TINPOT DICTATOR
WHO WOULD BE FAVORABLE TO UNITED FRUIT AND
HAND THEM CONFESSIONS, HAND THEM WATER RIGHTS,
EASEMENTS, RAILROAD PROPERTIES, NO SOURCE, NO BIG CONTRACTS, AND
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LAND TO CULTIVATE THEIR BANANAS
BECAUSE BANANAS, APPARENTLY, YOU CAN’T CULTIVATE
EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. THERE WAS TO BE A FALLOW PERIOD
AND SO YOU HAVE TO LEAVE A LOT OF LAND UNUSED, AND
THAT’S NOT VERY HELPFUL TO THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE THERE. THEY NEED THAT LAND TO
GROW THEIR OWN PRODUCTS, AND SO YOU HAD THE UNITED
FRUIT COMPANY OWNING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ACRES THAT
ARE NOT BEING CULTIVATED. AND YOU NEED A RIGHT WING
DICTATOR TO DO THAT FOR YOU. SO, ANYWAY, THE RIGGS NATIONAL
BANK HELPED TO FINANCE THIS IN ONE COUNTRY AFTER ANOTHER. AND THE SON OF THE OWNER
OF THE RIGGS NATIONAL BANK, E. FRANCIS RIGGS,
COMES TO PUERTO RICO AS THE CHIEF OF POLICE. AND THAT’S WHERE THINGS NOW
REALLY TAKE A DIFFERENT TURN BECAUSE E. FRANCIS RIGGS,
THE FIRST THING HE DOES AS HE HAD DONE IN
OTHER COUNTRIES, HE CALLS FOR A SIT-DOWN
WITH PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS AT A REALLY FANCY CASINO
CALLED THE [FOREIGN WORDS], AND IN FRONT OF MULTIPLE
WITNESSES, AND IT WAS REPORTED IN THE NEWSPAPERS AND WAS
WRITTEN ABOUT BY HIS WIFE IN HER AUTOBIOGRAPHY,
LAURA MENESES, AND THAT E FRANCIS RIGGS JUST
STRAIGHT OUT NAMED A FIGURE. HE OFFERED ALBIZU CAMPOS
$150,000 IN 1934 DOLLARS, $150,000 AND A CLEAR PATHWAY TO BEING THE FIRST PUERTO RICAN
ELECTED GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO. SO WAS OFFERING HIM
MONEY AND POWER. HE WAS BASICALLY GIVING
HIM EVERYTHING EXCEPT ON TWO CONDITIONS. ONE, YOU KNOW, THIS
NATIONALIST STUFF, YOU KNOW, LET’S GET YOU ELECTED
FIRST AND THEN WE’LL TALK ABOUT YOUR NATIONALISM. AND, TWO, LET ME TAKE CARE
OF THE SUGARCANE STRIKE. YOU KNOW, I MEAN, COME
ON, YOU’RE TOO BUSY. YOU’RE GOING TO BE TOO
BUSY BEING ELECTED. I’LL TAKE CARE OF
THE SUGAR PROBLEM. WELL, ALBIZU KNEW — HE UNDERSTOOD WHAT THAT WAS ALL
ABOUT, AND HE VERY POLITELY, RESPECTFULLY, GOT UP, DIDN’T
WASTE ANY FURTHER TIME, AND HE EXPLAINED THAT HE
HAD NOT COME TO THAT MEETING TO SELL HIMSELF OR HIS ISLAND, AND THAT THERE’S NOTHING
FURTHER TO DISCUSS. SO HE LEFT THAT MEETING. SO THAT WAS PLAN A. THE MOMENT
THAT ALBIZU CAMPUS REFUSED THAT, THEY WENT TO PLAN B WHICH WAS, IF YOU CAN’T BRIBE
THE NATIONALIST, WE’RE GOING TO SHOOT YOU
AND KILL YOU IN THE STREET. AND THAT’S WHAT THEY DID. WITHIN A FEW MONTHS THE NEWLY
MILITARIZED POLICE FORCE WITH TOMMY GUNS, BECAUSE
THAT’S WHAT BLANTON WINSHIP DID AS A GENERAL. HE WENT TO MILITARIZE
THE POLICE FORCE. STARTED CHASING AND
SHOOTING NATIONALISTS ALL OVER THE ISLAND. AND IN SOMETHING KNOWN AS THE RIO PIEDRAS MASSACRE
THEY KILLED FOUR OF THEM IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, AND THEN
RIGGS, THE POLICE CHIEF, HELD A VERY FAMOUS
PRESS CONFERENCE. HE DIDN’T JUST WANT
TO KILL THEM. HE WANTED THE ISLAND TO
KNOW WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT. HE CONVENED THE PRESS. HE CALLED THEM, KNOWING
THAT THEY WERE GOING TO ASK, “WHAT’S THIS MEAN? WHAT’S THE PATTERN
GOING ON HERE?” HE SAID, “IT’S VERY CLEAR. I MEAN, YOU SHOULD
UNDERSTAND IT. IF ALBIZU CAMPOS CONTINUES TO
AGITATE THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND THE SUGARCANE WORKERS,
THERE’S GOING TO BE WAR TO THE DEATH AGAINST
ALL PUERTO RICANS.” THOSE ARE THE WORDS
THAT HE ENUNCIATED TO THE ISLAND’S PRESS,
KNOWING FULL WELL THAT THEY WOULD REPORT IT, THAT IT WOULD BE THE FRONT
PAGE OF THE NEXT DAY. AND SO AT THAT POINT, WHEN I
REACHED THAT IN MY RESEARCH, IS WHEN I DECIDED, YOU KNOW,
THAT’S THE TITLE OF MY BOOK — WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS. AND SO E. FRANCIS RIGGS
STARTED — HE DECLARED, HE SAID, “THESE ARE THE BATTLE LINES NOW. WE’RE COMING OVER AND WE’RE
TAKING OVER YOUR ECONOMY. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU
CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, BUT IF YOU PUSH TOO
HARD, WE WILL SHOOT YOU. WE WILL DECLARE A
WAR AGAINST YOU.” BUT THERE WAS ALSO
AN UNDECLARED WAR. THERE WAS SOMETHING
CALLED THE CARPETAS PROGRAM WHICH STARTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER
ALBIZU CAMPOS WOUNDED STRIKE. I SHOULD SAY PART OF WHAT
REALLY UPPED THE ANTE ON THIS IS THAT THE SUGARCANE STRIKE
WAS A TREMENDOUS VICTORY. IT SHUT DOWN THE ECONOMY OF
PUERTO RICO FOR FOUR MONTHS. THE STRIKE LASTED FOUR MONTHS. THERE WAS A COMPLETE
STOPPAGE OF WORK. WALL STREET NEEDED THIS MONEY. WALL STREET IS A LITTLE
BIT LIKE THE WIZARD OF OZ WITH THE CURTAINS
AND EVERYTHING. AND THEY HAVE THE —
ALL THE SMOKE IS GOING. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, WALL STREET REALLY
NEEDS CAPITAL FLOW. I’LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THE MUNICIPAL BOND FINANCING
STRUCTURE RIGHT NOW THAT — SUPPOSEDLY PUERTO RICO
OWES ALL THIS DEBT. THE NATIONAL GDP, THE
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, OF THE UNITED STATES
IS $17 TRILLION A YEAR. THE MUNICIPAL BOND MARKET
IS $3.6 TRILLION A YEAR. IF YOU DO THE MATH,
3.6 INTO 17 IS 21%. SO AT ANY GIVEN TIME IN
THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, 21% OF ITS GROSS DOMESTIC
PRODUCT IS BEING CYCLED THROUGH THESE MUNICIPAL
BONDS THAT ARE GOING THROUGH 50 STATES, AND THEY
SUSTAIN THE PENSION SYSTEMS IN ALL 50 STATES. SO WHEN PUERTO RICO
SUPPOSEDLY OWES MONEY INTO THAT MUNICIPAL BOND
FINANCING STRUCTURE, THAT’S A VERY BIG DEAL. IF YOU MESS AROUND WITH THE
MUNICIPAL BOND STRUCTURE, YOU CAN ACTUALLY TOPPLE
THE ENTIRE HOUSE OF CARDS THAT IS THE ARCHITECTURE OF
FINANCING IN WALL STREET. WELL, IN THE ’30S THIS WAS
NOT DURING THE DEPRESSION. IN 1934/’35 THIS STRIKE. TO STOP THE CASH FLOW COMING
FROM PUERTO RICO IN THE MIDDLE OF A DEPRESSION, WHEN THERE
WAS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF STOPPAGE ALL OVER THE
CONTINENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THAT HURT WALL STREET. THEY PAID ATTENTION. THAT’S WHY THEY WERE SENDING DOWN FRANCIS RIGGS
AND BLANTON WINSHIP. SO THEY [INAUDIBLE] THE STRIKE. THE WAGES DOUBLED FROM 7.5 CENTS
AN HOUR TO 15 CENTS AN HOUR. THE WORKERS AT THE END OF THE DAY NOW WERE GETTING
PAID $1.50 A DAY INSTEAD OF 75 CENTS A DAY, AND THAT WAS
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOR A LOT OF FAMILIES IN PUERTO RICO
BETWEEN STARVING AND NOT. A TREMENDOUS VICTORY
FOR PUERTO RICO. AND THE WORD WENT OUT THAT
THESE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP
OF ALBIZU CAMPOS. THERE COULD BE A
REVOLUTION DOWN THERE. AND THAT’S WHY THEY SENT
DOWN E. FRANCIS RIGGS AND BLANTON WINSHIP. BUT IN ADDITION TO THE
SHOOTING OF THE PEOPLE, THE FBI WAS CREATED
IN THE EARLY ’30S. IT HAD BEEN — BEFORE
IT WAS CALLED THE BOI, THE BUREAU INVESTIGATION. AND J. EDGAR HOOVER
— REALLY, THAT WAS — YOU KNOW, HE WAS SORT OF
A NEUROTIC INDIVIDUAL. I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE SEEN THE
MOVIE WITH LEONARDO DICAPRIO, BUT THERE WAS NO END TO
— HE WAS VERY EFFECTIVE, BUT HE WAS ALSO — I
THINK HE WAS REALLY GOOD BECAUSE HE WAS WEIRD. I MEAN, HE KIND OF
LIVED FOR THIS STUFF. YOU FINISH YOU COFFEE IN PUERTO
RICO, YOU GOT TO BE CAREFUL THAT J. EDGAR HOOVER — THEY STARTED WHAT WAS
CALLED A CARPETAS PROGRAM. A CARPETAS OR POLICE FILES,
SECRET POLICE SURVEILLANCE OF OVER 100,000 PUERTO
RICANS THAT THE MAJORITY, A LARGE MAJORITY OF
WHOM WERE NOT EVEN AWARE THAT THEY WERE SUBJECT
TO POLICE SURVEILLANCE. BUT THERE WAS A KNOWLEDGE
OF A CARPETAS PROGRAM. SO IF YOU HAVE 100,000 CARPETAS
IN AN ISLAND OF A POPULATION OF 2 MILLION, AND IF
YOU DO GOT THE NUMBERS, THAT MEANS THAT IN THIS ROOM
RIGHT NOW THERE WOULD BE ABOUT 20 INFORMANTS. BECAUSE IN ORDER TO CREATE
SECRET POLICE FILES YOU NEED PEOPLE THAT ARE PROVIDING
THE INFORMATION. AND THE CARPETAS PROGRAM WAS
A SORT OF A SUBTLE VIOLENCE INTO THE PUERTO RICAN
PSYCHE BECAUSE IT CONTINUED FOR 60 YEARS, FOR
THREE GENERATIONS, FROM THE EARLY ’30S
TO THE EARLY ’90S. AND IF YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT
THAT DOES TO A PEOPLE, IF YOU, YOUR PARENTS, AND YOUR
GRANDPARENTS GREW UP WITH THIS, KNOWING THAT IF YOU DID — IF THIS IS WHAT THE AMERICAN
ECONOMY IS GOING TO BE HERE IN PUERTO RICO, IF YOU DON’T
LIKE IT, DON’T TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO
HAVE A POLICE FILE ON IT. AND IF YOU KEEP TALKING ABOUT
IT AND YOU GO ANY FURTHER, YOU CAN GET SHOT AND KILLED. THAT’S A REALLY OPPRESSIVE
ENVIRONMENT, AND IT EXISTED FOR SIX DECADES. THIS CARPETAS PROGRAM IS
PART OF WHAT ENABLED ME TO WRITE THIS BOOK, BECAUSE
THOSE FILES WERE CLASSIFIED. NO ONE KNEW WHAT THEY CONTAINED
OR HOW MANY THERE WERE. THEY WERE FINALLY
DECLASSIFIED IN THE YEAR 2000 WHEN CONGRESSMAN JOSE
SERRANO FORCED IT. AND IT IS AT THAT
POINT THAT WE REALIZE THAT THERE 1.8 MILLION PAGES. THERE WAS THAT MUCH INFORMATION
— 1.8 MILLION PAGES, OVER 100,000 FILES
ON PUERTO RICANS KEPT OVER A PERIOD OF SIX DECADES. THEY HAD THAT AND THEY HAD
SOMETHING ELSE CALLED LAW 53. LAW 53 WAS KNOWN AS
LA LEY DE LA MODASA, THE LAW OF THE MUZZLE, GAG LAW. UNDER LAW 53, WHICH WAS
PASSED IN 1948 IN PUERTO RICO, IF YOU SAID A WORD, SANG
A TUNE, WHISTLED A TUNE, SANG LA BORINQUENA, THE
PUERTO RICAN NATIONAL ANTHEM, OR OWNED A FLAG, THE FLAG OF
PUERTO RICO, THAT WAS GROUNDS FOR — THAT WAS A FELONY
AND YOU COULD BE JAILED FOR 10 YEARS JUST FOR THAT. SO THEY BASICALLY COULD — THEY TURNED THE FEELING
OF INDEPENDENCE AND SAYING ANYTHING, LIKE SAYING
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE], COULD GET YOU IN
JAIL FOR 10 YEARS. AND THAT — TO BE IN THAT SORT
OF ENVIRONMENT HAS AN EFFECT ON PEOPLE WHEN IT — WHEN
IT’S CONDITIONED FOR 60 YEARS. SO, NOW, I’LL JUST GO
BACK TO ALBIZU CAMPOS. HE WINS THE AGRICULTURAL STRIKE. HE’S IMMEDIATELY BROUGHT UP ON
CHARGES OF SEDITIOUS CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE UNITED STATES
WHICH WERE THE SAME CHARGES FOR WHICH OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA
IS IN JAIL FOR RIGHT NOW. AND YOU COULD DRIVE A TRUCK
THROUGH THAT LANGUAGE. RIGHT NOW, I CAN — I’M ARGUABLY
ENGAGING IN SEDITIOUS CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE UNITED STATES
BECAUSE I’M ENCOURAGING ALL OF YOU TO GO OUT, YOU
KNOW, AND CHANGE THIS. AND SO, THAT’S WHAT
— HOW THEY — HOW THEY COULDN’T FIND
ALBIZU CAMPOS ON ANY CHARGES OF DIRECT VIOLENCE AND
THEY COULDN’T DO IT WITH OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA EITHER. BUT WHEN ALBIZU CAMPOS WON THE
STRIKE IN 1935, WITHIN ONE YEAR, THEY ALREADY HAVE HIM UP ON
CHARGES AND IT TOOK TWO TRIALS BECAUSE WHEN THEY
COULDN’T FIND HIM GUILTY, THEY SET UP ANOTHER — I
DON’T KNOW HOW THEY GOT AROUND THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY
CLAUSE IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. BUT WHAT — THEY HAD MADE UP A
SECOND JURY THAT THEY GUARANTEED THAT HE WAS GOING TO BE FOUND
GUILTY BECAUSE IT WAS COMPRISED OF 10 NORTH AMERICANS AND TWO
PUERTO RICANS THAT WERE WORKING FOR THE COLONIAL GOVERNMENT. SO, THEY FOUND HIM GUILTY AND
THEY GOT HIM OFF THE ISLAND AND PEOPLE WANTED TO — ON
THE ISLAND TO SUPPORT HIM, AT LEAST TO GIVE
HIM A FAIR TRIAL. SO, THEY HAD A PEACEFUL
MARCH IN PALM SUNDAY IN PONCE IN APRIL, 1937. PEACEFUL — THERE
WAS NO — NOBODY — THEY HAD PALMS, IT
WAS PALM SUNDAY. MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN
WERE MARCHING AND THEY HAD A LITTLE
BRASS BAND THAT STARTED TO PLAY LA BORINQUENA,
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM. WHEN THEY STARTED TO PLAY LA
BORINQUENA, THERE WERE THESE — AS I SAID, THEY MILITARIZED
THE POLICE FORCE, SO THEY HAD TOMMY GUNNERS
UP ON TOP OF MARENAS AND OROTAS STREETS AND THEY HAD
ABOUT 50 TO 100 POLICE OFFICERS ON THE BASE OF THE STREET. IT WAS A KILLING ZONE
WHERE NOBODY COULD ESCAPE AND THEY JUST KEPT SHOOTING
FOR 10 TO 15 MINUTES AND THEY KILLED 17 MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN INCLUDING
A SEVEN-YEAR OLD GIRL THAT WAS SHOT IN THE BACK AND
KILLED NAMED GEORGINA MALDONADO. AND THEY SENT OVER 200 OF THEM WITH VERY SERIOUS
WOUNDS TO THE HOSPITAL. THAT WAS KNOWN AS
THE PONCE MASSACRE. SO, YOU HAVE THE RIO PIEDRAS
MASSACRE WHERE THEY DECLARED WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS AND
THEN A YEAR AND A HALF LATER, YOU HAVE THE PONCE MASSACRE. YOU HAVE LAW 53 WHICH
DECLARES IT A FELONY PUNISHABLE BY 10 YEARS IN JAIL TO SAY ONE
WORD IN FAVOR OF INDEPENDENCE OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. YOU HAVE THE CARPETAS
PROGRAM WHERE YOU HAVE FILES ON OVER 100,000 PUERTO RICANS. THAT’S A PRETTY, YOU KNOW, PRETTY DIFFICULT
REGIME TO GO AGAINST. SO, ALBIZU CAMPOS NOW, HE
— WHEN HE WON THE STRIKE, WITHIN A YEAR, HE
GOES — HE’S IN JAIL. THAT WAS IN 1936. HE DIED IN 1965 WHICH
IS 29 YEARS LATER, 25 OF THOSE 29 YEARS, HE WAS
EITHER IN JAIL OR UNDER WATCH IN SOME HOSPITAL ISOLATED,
25 OF THOSE 29 YEARS, ALBIZU CAMPOS WAS
SEPARATED FROM HIS PEOPLE. ANOTHER FOUR YEARS,
HE WAS SURROUNDED AROUND THE CLOCK
BY 25 FBI AGENTS. AT ANY GIVEN TIME, IT
WOULD BE FIVE OR SIX BECAUSE YOU ARE ROTATING
THAT GROUP. HE HAD 25 FBI AGENTS WERE
ASSIGNED TO ALBIZU CAMPOS AND THEY WOULD INTERROGATE
ANYONE THAT SPOKE WITH HIM OR ARREST THEM IF THEY
COULDN’T GIVE A CLEAR ANSWER OF WHAT THEY WERE
DOING WITH ALBIZU. SO, ALBIZU CAMPOS WOULD
BASICALLY, FOR THE MOMENT OF THAT AGRICULTURAL STRIKE
UNTIL THE MOMENT OF HIS DEATH, HE WAS SEPARATED FROM HIS
PEOPLE IN A VERY CALCULATED WAY. THIS IS THE MAN I
JUST TALKED ABOUT, [INAUDIBLE] WITH THE
TOWELS ON HIS HEAD. SO, ALBIZU CAMPOS GOES TO
JAIL, COMES BACK IN 1940 — IN DECEMBER OF ’47 AND IT
WAS IN JUST A FEW MONTHS OF HIS RETURN IS WHEN THEY
PASSED THE LAW 53, THE GAG LAW. THEY BASICALLY ABROGATED
THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF AN ENTIRE ISLAND IN
ORDER TO SHUT ONE MAN UP, TO KEEP ALBIZU CAMPOS IN CHECK, TO KEEP THE NATIONALIST
SUPPRESSED. AND THE PURPOSE OF ALL THIS WAS BECAUSE THERE WAS
AN ECONOMIC BENEFIT. PUERTO RICO WAS GENERATING
ENORMOUS AGRICULTURAL BENEFITS TO THE UNITED STATES AND
IT DIDN’T BEHOOVE ANYONE IN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO
HAVE ANY PROBLEMS COMING FROM PUERTO RICO AND THEY
COULD CONTROL THE MESSAGE THAT WAS COMING OUT OF PUERTO
RICO BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IN PUERTO RICO —
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS TERM
[LAUGHTER] STAYS IN VEGAS. BUT WHAT HAPPENS IN PUERTO
RICO NEVER HAPPENED AT ALL. YOU COULD JUST LITERALLY
— YOU LITERALLY — YOU COULD GET AWAY WITH MURDER. PEOPLE WERE BEING KILLED AND
THEY WOULD BE MISREPORTED. THE PONCE MASSACRE WAS REPORTED
IN NORTH AMERICA AS A RACE RIOT, AS A PUERTO RICAN RACE RIOT. IT WAS ALSO REPORTED
AS A GUNFIGHT BETWEEN THE NATIONALISTS
AND THE POLICE, BUT THERE WAS NO GUNFIGHT BECAUSE THAT IMPLIES
GUNS ON BOTH SIDES. THERE WAS NO GUNS, THERE
WAS NOBODY WAS ARMED. IT WAS A SLAUGHTER, IT
WAS A MASSACRE WHERE — WHEN MEN, WOMEN, AND
CHILDREN WERE JUST — WERE JUST DEMOLISHED. SO, THIS IS HOW THE UNITED STATE
WAS ABLE TO CONTROL THIS — IT’S AN ISLAND THAT HAS BEEN
AND CONTINUES TO BE SEPARATED BY 1500 MILES OF OCEAN, BY
A LANGUAGE, BY 400 YEARS OF [INAUDIBLE] AMERICAN HISTORY. AT THAT TIME, BY TECHNOLOGY,
BECAUSE THERE WAS NO TELEVISION IN PUERTO RICO UNTIL
1950 — ROUGHLY 1954. RADIO WAS BASICALLY
ONE UNILATERAL — THERE’D BE RADIO
TRANSMISSIONS INTO THE ISLAND, NOT MUCH WAS COMING
OFF THE ISLAND. CERTAINLY, NO COMPUTERS AND
WHAT WAS LEFT THEN WAS PRINT. BUT ROUGHLY ONLY
ABOUT HALF A DOZEN AP AND UPI WIRE SERVICE
REPORTS WERE THE ONES THAT WERE REPORTING THE NEWS
OUT OF THE ISLAND AND MOST OF THAT NEWS WAS PREPACKAGED
PRESS RELEASES COMING FROM THE ISLAND GOVERNMENT
THAT WAS SIMPLY REGURGITATED AND THEN WHAT WOULD BE THEN
DISSEMINATED WAS AN ALREADY PRESCRIBED GOVERNMENT NARRATIVE. AND IT WAS SO CAREFULLY
CONTROLLED THAT YOU COULD HAVE A
SLAUGHTER OF 17 PEOPLE IN THE PONCE MASSACRE
AND THEN IT GETS REPORTED UP IN THE NORTH AMERICAN — MAINLAND PRESS AS AN
OUTBREAK, A PUERTO RICAN RIOT. SO, THAT WAS A — SORT
OF THE STRANGE SITUATION THAT ALBIZU CAMPOS WAS
DEALING WITH FROM THE MOMENT THAT THEY WON THAT
AGRICULTURAL STRIKE. IT’S INTERESTING THAT THE NOVEL
1984 , GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984 ABOUT TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT,
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, THAT NOVEL WAS PUBLISHED
IN 1948. IT BECAME A HIT IN THE UNITED
STATES AND IN ENGLAND IN 1948. ACTUALLY, PEOPLE SAY HE
PUBLISHED IT, HE SIMPLY ARRIVED AT THE TITLE 1984 BY
INVERTING THE TWO DIGIT, 1948 — HE SAID, “OH, WHAT’S THE TITLE?” “WELL, LET’S MAKE IT 1984 .” SO, 1984 IS PUBLISHED
IN ’48 AND IT IS EMBRACED BY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, THE HORRORS OF THE TOTALITARIAN
GOVERNMENT AND IT WAS IN 1948 THAT GAG LAW 53 WAS
PASSED IN PUERTO RICO WHICH MADE IT A CRIME
TO BASICALLY TO THINK ABOUT INDEPENDENCE
OR TO SAY ANYTHING. SO, AT THE SAME TIME THE
AMERICAN PUBLIC UNDERSTANDS THE HORRORS OF BIG GOVERNMENT,
GEORGE ORWELL IS ALIVE AND WELL IN PUERTO RICO AT THAT
SAME MOMENT IN TIME. AND ALBIZU CAMPOS WAS
ACUTELY AWARE OF THIS. HE REALIZED THAT WE’RE
COMING TO A POINT IN OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
WHERE THERE’S GOING TO BE NO NATION, NO DEVELOPMENT. WE NEED TO GET A MESSAGE OUT, THEY’RE SURROUNDING
ME WITH FBI AGENTS. SO, WHAT’S LEFT? THAT’S WHERE THEY STARTED
TO ENGINEER THE PLAN FOR THE PUERTO RICAN REVOLUTION
AND THAT’S THE CENTRAL AND THE MOST DRAMATIC
EVENT IN MY BOOK. THERE WAS A REVOLUTION THAT
HAPPENED IN 19 — OCTOBER, 1950. EVEN I, HAVING STUDIED
THIS MATTER, BEING INVOLVED IN PUERTO RICAN HISTORY AND
INTERVIEWING PEOPLE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, I WASN’T
REALLY AWARE OF THIS. HOW MANY — LET ME JUST A SHOW
OF HANDS — HOW MANY OF — IN THIS AUDIENCE AREA AWARE THAT
THERE WAS A REVOLUTION ATTEMPT IN PUERTO RICO IN 1950? OKAY, AND THAT’S GENERATIONAL. YOU SEE EVERY HAND THAT WENT
UP, YOU KNOW, [LAUGHTER] SO — AND THIS IS WHERE I’M
REALLY HAPPY TO BE — TO COME TO SPEAK
WITH YOUNG AUDIENCES SO THAT WE CAN PASS THIS
INFORMATION ON BECAUSE UNTIL FIVE OR 10 YEARS AGO,
I SORT OF KNEW ABOUT IT BUT I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND
THE CONTEXT. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE WHY. THE WAY IT WAS REPORTED
BY HARRY TRUMAN, PRESIDENT TRUMAN HIMSELF
SAID THAT IT WAS AN INCIDENT BETWEEN PUERTO RICANS
AND IT ALL — AND IT’S ALSO TAPS INTO JUST — LIKE I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS
A KID, I WOULD SAY, “YO MAN, DON’T BE AN INDIAN GIVER.” RIGHT? YOU REMEMBER THAT? WELL, IF YOU THINK OF IT
— I’D JUST USUALLY SAY — I SAY TO UNCRITICALLY. I HADN’T RED D. BROWN’S BURY
MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. I DIDN’T KNOW AT THAT POINT,
I WAS JUST SIMPLY, YOU KNOW, REPEATING WHAT I SAW AND I SAW
JOHN WAYNE SHOOTING ALL THE INDIANS WHO WERE ALWAYS GOING
WOOP-WOOP AND SHOOTING PEOPLE. THAT’S ALL I KNEW BUT
I DIDN’T, YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T KNOW THE WHOLE
CENTURY OF GENOCIDE AND, YOU KNOW, AND BETRAYAL. SO, HERE IN THE UNITED
STATES, WE HAVE THIS IMAGE OF THE HOT-BLOODED LATINO. SOMETIMES, IT PLAYS
NEATLY FOR ME, I — YOU KNOW, [LAUGHTER]
IT’S A COMPLEMENT. NOT VERY — RIGHT —
LITTLE — BUT I — YOU KNOW, BUT GENERALLY, IT’S A
PROBLEM THAT WE’RE HUMAN BEINGS AND WE’RE NOT THESE STEREOTYPES. WE’RE RESPONDING TO SOME
VERY REAL CIRCUMSTANCES. SO, IT WASN’T THESE — ALL
THESE CRAZY PUERTO RICANS, YOU NEVER KNOW, OH
MY GOD, [INAUDIBLE]. NO, IT’S A REAL SERIOUS PROBLEM. THEY WERE — THERE WAS ACTUALLY
A CALCULATED POLITICAL ATTEMPT TO TRY TO GET A MESSAGE
OFF OF PUERTO RICO. THEY KNEW THAT YOU
COULDN’T DEFEAT THE UNITED STATES MILITARILY. THEY HAD JUST OBLITERATED —
THEY HAD JUST BOMBED HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI INTO THE STONE
AGE JUST A FEW YEARS BEFORE. SO WHEN ALBIZU CAMPOS
ATTEMPTS THIS, IT WAS A VERY SPECIFIC
EFFORT TO REACH A MESSAGE TO THE UN DE-COLONIZATION
COMMITTEE BECAUSE THIS WAS
DURING THE COLD WAR. AND IT CERTAINLY DIDN’T BEHOOVE
THE UNITED STATES WHO WAS TRYING TO WAGE THIS PUBLIC RELATIONS
CAMPAIGN AGAINST RUSSIA TO BE KNOWN TO OWN ONE OF THE — ONE OF THE LAST REMAINING
CLASSIC COLONIES IN EXISTENCE THAT WERE BEING — THEY
WERE SHOOTING PEOPLE, WHERE THEY HAD A
LAW 53 IN PLACE, WHERE THEY HAD A
SECRET FBI PROGRAM. THAT DIDN’T BENEFIT THE UNITED
STATES, SO THEY ALWAYS — THEY KEEP SUPPRESSING
THIS INFORMATION. ALBIZU WANTED TO MODEL THIS — THAT REVOLUTION ACTUALLY
WHAT WAS KNOWN AS THE EASTER RISING
OF 1916 IN IRELAND. HE WAS ACUTELY AWARE OF
IRISH HISTORY AND HE KNEW THAT THE EASTER RISING
WAS A MORAL VICTORY BUT A MILITARY DEFEAT. THEY ATTEMPTED THE SAME THING
IN IRELAND AND IT ONLY LASTED ABOUT A WEEK AND IT
DIDN’T — IT DIDN’T WORK. BUT IT SET A MORAL
PARAMETER THAT GOING FORWARD, IT FOCUSED THE WORLD’S
ATTENTION SO THAT WITHIN — NOT TOO LONG, WITHIN 10 OR 20
YEARS, PEOPLE WERE STARTING TO REALIZE THAT THEY NEEDED TO
LOOK SERIOUSLY AT THE PROBLEM, WHAT THEY CALLED
THE IRISH PROBLEM. AND THAT’S WHAT HE WAS
TRYING TO DO IN PUERTO RICO BECAUSE IN 1950, IN THAT
SAME YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION, JUST A MONTH LATER, WAS
GOING TO BE A REFERENDUM TO CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES
FOR CREATING — FOR TURNING PUERTO RICO INTO
WHAT’S CALLED A COMMONWEALTH. AND A COMMONWEALTH
IS A PROBLEM FOR — PUERTO RICO IN EXPLAINING
ITSELF TO THE REST OF THE WORLD BECAUSE IT ALLOWED THE UNITED
STATES TO PURPORT TO GIVE — TO COMMUNICATE THE FICTION
THAT PUERTO RICANS HAD AGREED TO THIS RELATIONSHIP, THAT
THIS IS WHAT THEY WANTED. THEY VOTED FOR IT, BUT WHAT THEY
DIDN’T TELL YOU IS THE UNITED STATES, THEY SAID, “IF YOU
VOTED FOR INDEPENDENCE, THERE WAS A LAW THAT SAID,
“IF YOU SAY ANYTHING IN FAVOR OR INDEPENDENCE, YOU GO TO
JAIL FOR 10 YEARS.”” SO, HOW CAN THAT BE A FREE ELECTION? HOW CAN YOU VOTE
FOR INDEPENDENCE? THEY WERE PAPER BALLOTS
FIRST OF ALL, THEY WEREN’T [INAUDIBLE]
ELECTION MACHINES. IT WAS JUST PAPER BALLOTS
THAT PEOPLE COULD OPEN. THEY MIGHT EVEN UNDERSTAND
YOUR HANDWRITING. SO PEOPLE DID NOT FEEL
VERY COMFORTABLE VOTING FOR INDEPENDENCE IF THEY
KNEW THAT THEY COULD GO TO JAIL THE VERY NEXT DAY. SO, THEY HAVE THIS
— THEY’RE SETTING UP THIS COMMONWEALTH VOTE
AND ALBIZU CAMPOS KNOWS IT AND IT WAS COMING
IN NOVEMBER OF 1950 AND THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE — THEY WERE GEARING UP TO HAVING
THIS BIG DECLARED [INAUDIBLE], IT WAS SORT OF LIKE THE
AGRICULTURAL STRIKE. THEY FIGURED, “WE’RE GOING
TO SHUT DOWN THIS ELECTION AND THEN PEOPLE WILL KNOW.” BUT WORD GOT TO ALBIZU
THAT THEY WERE — THE FBI WAS GEARING UP TO
ASSASSINATE HIM BEFORE, SO THEY HAD TO MOVE
ALL THESE PLANS FORWARD AND THE REVOLUTION HAD
TO HAPPEN VERY QUICKLY. SO, IT SORT OF BECAME
HAP-HAZARD AND WHAT THEY MANAGED TO DO THOUGH, IT WAS PRETTY
— IT WAS A GOOD PLAN. THEY KNEW THAT THEY HAD
TO BE SORT OF CREATIVE. THAT THEY REALLY COULDN’T
ENGAGE THE UNITED STATES AND WIN A MILITARY VICTORY BUT THEY NEEDED TO
CREATE DISRUPTION. SO, IT STARTED WITH
A PRISON BREAK. THE PRISON CALLED OSO BLANCO IN
RIO PIEDRAS HAD A PRISON BREAK IN OCTOBER 27, OCTOBER
28 AND 110 FUGITIVES, 110 PEOPLE MANAGED TO BREAK OUT OF THE LARGEST
PRISON IN PUERTO RICO. SO, POINT ONE — IT WAS
A THREE STEP PROGRAM. STEP ONE IS WE’RE GOING
TO HAVE THE PRISON BREAK SO THAT THE POLICE HAVE TO BE CHASING THESE 110
PEOPLE ALL OVER THE ISLAND. THAT’S PRETTY —
THAT’S NOT A BAD IDEA BECAUSE STEP TWO
WAS WE’RE THEN GOING TO ATTACK THE POLICE PRECINCTS
AND GET THEIR ARMORIES AND GET THE GUNS OUT OF THE
POLICE PRECINCTS WHILE THE POLICE ARE OUT CHASING
THE FUGITIVES. THAT’S AT THE MOST VULNERABLE
TIME WHEN WE CAN GO IN AND HAVE A COORDINATED STRIKE
AGAINST THE POLICE PRECINCTS. THAT WAS STEP TWO. STEP THREE IS ONCE WE GET THE
GUNS OUT OF THOSE ARMORIES, ALL OF US ARE GOING TO RETREAT
COLLECTIVELY TO THE TOWN OF UTUADO, THE CENTRAL — A CENTRAL TOWN IN THE CORDILLERA
MOUNTAINS AND WE’RE JUST GOING TO HOLD OUT THERE
FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS. AND THEN WE’RE JUST GOING TO
KEEP SENDING OUT PRESS RELEASES. SO, IT WAS REALLY A VERY
WELL, THOUGHT-OUT WAY OF CREATING A WINDOW OF
OPPORTUNITY WHEN FORCIBLY, THERE WAS — THERE’D BE SUCH
A FORCEFUL NARRATIVE COMING OUT OF PUERTO RICO THAT
THE WORLD COULD NOT IGNORE. THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING GOING ON THAT WAS A SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC
WILL, A MAJOR DESCENT OCCURRING IN PUERTO RICO THAT WAS NOT
JUST HOT-BLOODED PUERTO RICANS OR AN INCIDENT AMONG
PUERTO RICANS, THAT IT WAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM. THIS WAS A PART OF IT. A PART OF THAT REVOLUTION, THIS
IS A SCENE FROM THAT WEEKEND WHEN THEY — IT INCLUDED
AN ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF THE GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO. THEY CHARGED [INAUDIBLE]. THEY ALSO INCLUDED A TWO
NATIONALISTS THAT WENT UP TO WASHINGTON, THE WHITE
HOUSE WAS BEING DECORATED, SO PRESIDENT TRUMAN WAS LIVING IN SOMETHING CALLED
BLAIRE HOUSE. SO, TWO NATIONALISTS, OSCAR
COLLAZO AND GRIS ELIO TORRESOLA, THE SAME WEEKEND, WENT IN A — BASICALLY A SORT OF A
SUICIDE MISSION TO TRY TO KILL THE PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES. THAT WAS — AND YOU
HAVE TO — IT SOUNDS — IT WAS REPORTED AS A
WILD, CRAZY, LUNATIC — WHAT WAS THE POSSIBLE
REASON FOR THIS? WELL, ACTUALLY, THERE WAS
A METHOD TO THAT MADNESS BECAUSE THE ENTIRE
REVOLUTION OF — IN PUERTO RICO IN
THOSE EIGHT TOWNS WHERE THEY HAD ASSAULTED
THE POLICE PRECINCTS, IT RARELY GETS REPORTED IN
THE UNITED STATES AND IN FACT, WITHIN FOUR DAYS, THE UNITED
STATES SCRAMBLED 5000 NATIONAL GUARDSMEN, ARRESTED
3000 PUERTO RICANS, AND THEY BOMBED TWO TOWNS. THEY BOMBED THEM, UTUADO
AND JAYUYA, UTUADO THE TOWNS WHERE I TOLD YOU, WHERE THE
NATIONALISTS WERE GOING TO GO. AND SO, THE ONLY TIME
IN AMERICAN HISTORY THAT THE UNITED STATES BOMBARDED
ITS OWN CITIZENS WILLINGLY AND DURING PEACETIME. THEY JUST BOMBARDED THEM AND THEY STRAFED THE SURROUNDING
MOUNTAIN SIDES AND COUNTRY SIDES WITH 50 CALIBER MACHINE GUNS. YOU DIDN’T HEAR ABOUT
THAT THOUGH. WHAT YOU DID HEAR ABOUT IS
THE TWO WILD MEN THAT CAME UP AND THEY TRIED TO KILL
TRUMAN, AND THEY WERE WRITTEN UP AS LUNATICS, COMMUNISTS,
FASCISTS, FANATICS, ALL THESE ARE ADJECTIVES. THEY WEREN’T EVER
WRITTEN UP AS PATRIOTS. WHAT YOU DEFINITELY DIDN’T
HEAR IS THAT THESE TWO MEN WERE FROM JAYUYA AND THAT
THE DAY BEFORE, THE TOWN WHERE THESE MEN
WERE BORN AND RAISED, WHERE THEIR FAMILIES STILL
LIVED, THEIR NEIGHBORS, EVERYTHING THEY KNEW,
THEIR CHILDHOOD — THEIR HOMETOWN OF JAYUYA, 24
HOURS EARLIER HAD BEEN BOMBED BY 10 P47 THUNDERBOLT PLANES. YOU DIDN’T HEAR ABOUT THAT BECAUSE WHEN YOU CONTEXTUALIZE
THAT, WHO WAS THE TERRORIST? WHO WAS PERPETRATING
THE VIOLENCE HERE? THE PERSON THAT THEY
— THE DAY BEFORE, THEY HAD BOMBED YOUR TOWN, YOUR
NATIVE TOWN, OR YOU’RE GOING UP TO WASHINGTON, YOU AND
ANOTHER GUY DOING THE BEST THAT YOU CAN WITH ONE GUN. YOU KNOW? SO, YOU KNOW, WHEN
YOU COMPARE IT, THAT YOU BEGIN TO SEE THE IMBALANCE
OF THIS RELATIONSHIP. SO, THIS IS HOW — THIS IS HOW
THE REVOLUTION WAS DEVELOPED BY ALBIZU CAMPOS. THAT’S THE RESULT OF IT. ALBIZU CAMPOS WAS PUT BACK INTO
PRISON IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE — AFTER THIS ABORTED
REVOLUTION AND THEN, I DEVOTED THREE CHAPTERS OF
THIS — TO THIS IN THE BOOK. THERE IS AN INCREASINGLY
MOUNTING CREDIBLE BODY OF EVIDENCE THAT WHAT — IT
WAS KNOWN THAT THERE WAS — THAT THE PRISONERS
WERE BEING TORTURED BUT THAT THERE WAS A
SPECIFIC TORTURE RESERVED FOR ALBIZU CAMPOS. HE WAS SUBJECTED TO
SOMETHING CALLED TBI, TOTAL BODY IRRADIATION. NOW, THIS MAY SOUND LIKE
SOMETHING OUT OF X-FILES AND, YOU KNOW, GOING LOONEY
FRINGE, BUT THERE’S AMAZING — YOU KNOW, AN AMAZING SET OF
CORROBORATION IN THE CARPETAS THAT I READ AND THERE’S A
WOMAN NAMED ILENE WELSOME WHO WON THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR A BOOK CALLED THE
PLUTONIUM FILES . ILENE WELSOME DID A STUDY
DURING THE ’50S, ’60S, AND ’70S AND SHE FOUND A TREMENDOUS
DOCUMENTATION FOR THE FACT THERE WERE — SHE FOUND 14,000 CASES THAT
SHE DOCUMENTED OF PEOPLE THAT WERE SUBJECTED TO
UNDISCLOSED RADIATION STUDIES BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT
OF ENERGY. THIS ISN’T SOME FAR-LEFT
FRINGE JOURNALISM. SHE DOCUMENTED IT AND SHE WON
THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR IT. SO, IF YOU, YOU KNOW,
IF YOU’RE TAKING NOTES, WRITE DOWN ILENE
WELSOME, W-E-L-S-O-M-E, AND HER BOOK IS CALLED
THE PLUTONIUM FILES , AND THIS IS SO SERIOUS
THAT AFTER ITS PUBLICATION, THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT
OF ENERGY, AT THE TIME, IT WAS A WOMAN NAMED
O’LEARY, SHE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS WAS A SHAMEFUL
INCIDENT IN PUERTO RICAN HISTORY AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
THEN, ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATIONS TO MAKE PAYMENTS
TO THE GRIEVING — SOME OF THE GRIEVING FAMILIES. SO, THIS IS NOW A
MATTER OF RECORD. YOU HAVE IT — THERE’S
MULTIPLE ARTICLES IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
ABOUT IT AS WELL. WELL, ALBIZU CAMPOS WAS ONE OF
THOSE 14,000 PEOPLE AND HE CAME OUT — HE DISCOVERED THAT HE
WAS BEING BASICALLY BURNED ALIVE AND THAT IF HE PUT COLD
WET TOWELS OVER HIS HEAD THAT IT WOULD GIVE HIM
SOME TEMPORARY RELIEF AND HE WOULD BE BREAKING
OUT WITH WELTS AND THINGS THAT HE COULDN’T EXPLAIN. AND THE — IT’S REALLY
PAINFUL TO READ, BUT IF YOU — IF YOU DO FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION LAW, FOIL REQUESTS, YOU CAN GET THESE
CARPETAS FROM THE — FROM THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT AND JUST FOR — JUST ASK FOR THE FILES
ON PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS AND START CHRONOLOGICALLY. START FROM 1950 ONE — 1950 –
1951 AND GO THROUGH ABOUT ’56. GET THE — GET THE CARPETAS FOR THOSE FIVE YEARS
FOR ALBIZU CAMPOS. IT’LL BE ABOUT —
ABOUT 500 PAGES. THEY HAVE ABOUT FOUR
BOXES ON ALBIZU CAMPOS, ABOUT TWO TO 5000 PAGES
TOTAL ON ALBIZU CAMPOS. THERE’S SOME OTHER
INTERESTING CARPETAS. LUIS MUNOZ MARIN, I’LL, YOU
KNOW, I’LL JUST GIVE A SIDE — AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT
I DEVOTE SOME TIME TO. I’VE PROBABLY GOTTEN THE
MOST CONTROVERSY FROM THAT. LUIS MUNOZ MARIN, THE
GUY WHO TOOK THAT DEAL, THAT $150,000 DEAL, YOU
KNOW, YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR, HE HAD A — SOME
PERSONAL PROBLEMS AND HE HAD A LIFETIME DRUG HABIT THAT WAS VERY WELL
DOCUMENTED IN THE CARPETAS. AND THE UNITED STATES
HAD THAT INFORMATION BUT THEY NEVER RELEASED IT. THEY HAD IT, THEY HAD
MULTIPLE RELIABLE INFORMANTS AND THERE WAS JUST A — HE WAS
KNOWN AS EL MOTO DE ISLA VERDE. IT GOT TO THAT POINT
THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A WIDE-SPREAD
RECOGNITION THAT — AND HE HAD TO DEFEND
HIMSELF AGAINST CHARGES OF BEING AN OPIUM ADDICT
REPEATEDLY THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER. SO, YOU KNOW, YOU THINK
ABOUT THE IRONY OF THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A GUY IN THE
GOVERNOR’S MANSION, IN MY VIEW, OKAY, I’LL ADMIT, YOU
KNOW, I WASN’T THERE. I DIDN’T SEE HIM LIGHT THE OPIUM
PIPE, BUT THERE’S APPARENTLY, YOU KNOW, ENOUGH
EVIDENCE THAT IT APPEARS THAT YOU HAVE LUIS MUNOZ MARIN
ENJOYING HIS WEEKEND PIPES IN THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION
AND LA PRINCESSA WHICH IS — THIS IS AMAZING,
IT’S CONTIGUOUS. LA PRINCESSA ABUTS — IF THIS
IS THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION, LA PRINCESSA IS RIGHT
NEXT TO IT. SO, TWO OR 300 FEET AWAY,
YOU HAVE THE LIBERATOR OF PUERTO RICO, THIS FIGURE
THAT COMBINES NELSON MANDELA AND SIMON BOLIVAR ALL ROLLED
UP INTO ONE AND HE’S IN JAIL FOR 25 YEARS AND HE’S BEING
IRRADIATED WHILE THIS DUDE IS SMOKING OPIUM. IT’S JUST, YOU KNOW,
A SURREALISTIC — IF YOU GOOGLE, THERE’S
AN INTERESTING — YOU CAN, RIGHT AFTER
THIS LECTURE, YOU CAN — EVEN IF YOU HAVE, YOU
KNOW, IF YOU DO YOUR IPADS, YOU CAN GO ON YOUTUBE AND
GOOGLE WORDS, LUIS MUNOZ MARIN, WASHINGTON MERRY
GO-ROUND, NATIONALIST. THAT SHOULD DO IT. LUIS MUNOZ MARIN, WASHINGTON
MERRY GO-ROUND WAS THE SYNDICATED NATIONAL PROGRAM THAT
LUIS MUNOZ MARIN WENT ON IN 1954 WHERE HE TALKS ABOUT ALBIZU
CAMPOS BEING A MAD MAN AND BEING [INAUDIBLE]. IT’S SORT OF A DESPICABLE
MOMENT WHEN THE GOVERNOR, KNOWINGLY GOES ON AND BASICALLY
TALKS ABOUT WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE A GREAT LIBERATOR BUT HE
TRASHES HIS REPUTATION IN FRONT OF THE UNITED STATES
TALKING ABOUT HIM — ABOUT HIM WRAPPING HIMSELF
WITH THE WET TOWELS. SO, LET ME GO FORWARD A LITTLE
BIT, THAT’S WHAT MY BOOK — THAT’S THE PHOTO, THE
TRAJECTORY OF THE BOOK. IT STARTS AROUND 1900 AND
IT ENDS WITH HIS REVOLUTION AND WITH ALBIZU CAMPOS
AND THEN HAS AN EPILOGUE THAT BRINGS A LOT OF IT — THAT BRINGS IT FORWARD
AND EXTRAPOLATES IT INTO WHERE WE ARE
IN THE PRESENT. I WROTE TWO BOOKS, I REALLY
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU SAID, THAT THERE WAS A
NARRATIVE ELEMENT TO THIS BECAUSE I REALIZED THAT IT — THE HARDEST THING IS YOU
HAVE TO KEEP YOUR READER. YOU HAVE — IF YOU LOSE
YOUR READER, IF YOU — IF IT GETS TO SAY PAGE THREE
AND THEN YOU KNOW, THEY GO OFF AND DO SOMETHING ELSE,
YOU COULD WRITE WHATEVER, IT DOESN’T MATTER. IT’S LIKE WHEN A TREE
FALLING IN THE FOREST. I ESPECIALLY APPRECIATE
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW WROTE, ” A GREAT POET REQUIRES
GREAT AUDIENCES,” AND I DON’T DEEM MYSELF A POET. BUT WHAT I’VE REALIZED IS THAT
PEOPLE HAVE RESPONDED TO THIS. IN PUERTO RICO, MOST OF
THE SALES FOR THE BOOK, IT CAME OUT ON AMAZON
BEST SELLER WHICH I DIDN’T EXPECT
IMMEDIATELY BUT IT STARTED BEST-SELLING
THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE BOOK WAS PUBLISHED. AND IT SOLD REALLY WELL FOR
ABOUT SIX MONTHS AND NOW, NOW IS WITH THE —
THE SALES ARE PICKING UP FOR THE SPANISH BOOK COMES
OUT IN NOVEMBER 24 BUT IT NOW, THE SALES ARE REALLY
GOING TO THE SPANISH BOOK. IT WAS — THE BOOK WAS
EMBRACES IN PUERTO RICO, THE INDEPENDENCE PARTY, THE
PRESIDENT RUBEN BERRIOS, GAVE SOME SPECIAL
RECOGNITION THEN HE INSISTED ON WRITING THE INTRODUCTION
TO THE SPANISH VERSION. THEY TOOK ME ON AN
EIGHT-CITY TOUR WITH THE BOOK AND THEN I GOT A LOT OF
FEEDBACK AND PUSHBACK FROM THE [INAUDIBLE], BOTH
OF THOSE PARTIES ARE CROOKS BY THE WAY [LAUGHTER]. BOTH OF THEM HAVE BEEN
SELLING OUT FOR — YEAH, THEY’VE BEEN SELLING OUT
PUERTO RICO FOR THE LONGEST AND THEY’VE BEEN SELLING THIS — THIS LITTLE DIALOGUE ABOUT
SHOULD PUERTO RICO BE A STATE OR SHOULD NOT BE A STATE. HOW — HOW LONG HAVE
I BEEN TALKING? FORTY MINUTES? LET ME JUST MAYBE GIVE 10
MINUTES TO GO INTO THE PRESENT AND THEN WE’LL OPEN
UP THE QUESTIONS. HERE’S WHERE I —
I WROTE THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT HAD SPECIAL
MEANING TO ME. MY FATHER WAS TAKEN FROM ME
WHEN I WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD. HE WAS — MY FATHER WAS
CUBAN, HE WAS VERY PRO-CASTRO AND THEN DURING THE CUBAN
MISSILE CRISIS, THE FBI KNOCKED ON OUR DOOR AT 3:00 IN THE
MORNING AND THEY TOOK HIM. THEY DEPORTED HIM, THERE WAS
NO ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS, IT WAS NO — THEY REALLY — THE
CONSTITUTION, THOSE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES, THEY
DIDN’T APPLY TO MY FATHER AND I NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN. THEY DEPORTED HIM TO CUBA,
SO I HAD AN EARLY EXPERIENCE WITH THE FBI AND WHEN I
STARTED SEEING THESE FBI FILES IN THE YEAR 2000, IS
WHEN I DECIDED THAT I — THAT THIS IS SOMETHING I
NEEDED TO DO FOR THE MEDIO, YOU KNOW, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. SO, I WROTE THIS AS HOMAGE TO
ALBIZU CAMPOS BECAUSE HE DIED IN 1960 — APRIL, ’65, AND
THIS WAS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS PASSING. AND SO, I INSISTED WITH MY
PUBLISHER THAT THEY PUBLISH THIS IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR. SO, THAT WAS MY THINKING. WHAT I DIDN’T ANTICIPATE WAS
THAT IT WOULD BE PUBLISHED INTO THIS TREMENDOUS
CYCLE, THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF THE PUERTO RICAN ECONOMY
PRECISELY IN THIS YEAR. AND WHEN I STARTED
IN REFLECTING, I REALIZED THAT THIS WAR
AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS HAS A REAL CONTINUITY. THERE WAS A THROUGH LINE IN IT AND I’LL TELL YOU WHAT
— MY PERCEPTION OF IT. NEXT MONTH, IN DECEMBER OF
THIS YEAR, PUERTO RICO RUNS OUT OF CASH RESOURCES. IT BECOMES OFFICIALLY INSOLVENT. THE GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT
[INAUDIBLE], THE GDB [INAUDIBLE]
RUNS OUT OF CASH. PUERTO RICO IS OFFICIALLY
NO MONEY. THE VERY NEXT MONTH,
JANUARY, 2016, PUERTO RICO OWES A $945
MILLION BOND PAYMENT TO ONE OF THE HEDGE FUNDS. SO, YOU’RE BROKE IN DECEMBER BUT
YOU OWE NEARLY A BILLION DOLLARS IN THE VERY NEXT MONTH. THERE’S NO CHAPTER 9
BANKRUPTCY FOR RELIEF BECAUSE THOSE SAME HEDGE FUNDS
HAVE BEEN LOBBYING INTENSIVELY AGAINST IT. THEY SPENT OVER $200,000
IN WASHINGTON TO MAKE SURE THAT HRH70, THE CHAPTER 9
REFORM ACT STAYS BOTTLED UP IN COMMITTEE. SO, BETWEEN THE LOBBYING
IN WASHINGTON AND THE FACT THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES, OBAMA, IS NOT GOING TO TOUCH — HE’S
NOT GOING TO TOUCH THAT BECAUSE HE’S NOT GOING TO UPSET THE MUNICIPAL
BOND FINANCING STRUCTURE. YOU — JUST A — SO, A
QUICK UNDERSTANDING HERE, THE CHAPTER 9, THE BANKRUPTCY
ACT STIPULATES THAT STATES AND ONLY STATES CAN FILE
FOR BANKRUPTCY RELIEF. IF YOU HAVE A MUNICIPAL
BOND THAT IS DUE AND YOU CAN’T PAY
IT, YOU HAVE TO — YOU FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY RELIEF. BUT THE UNDERLYING
MUNICIPALITIES AND THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES LIKE
THE WATER, ELECTRICAL, HIGHWAY, SCHOOL SYSTEM, PRISON
SYSTEM, NONE OF THOSE CAN FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY RELIEF. ONLY THE STATE IN TOTAL,
THE OVERALL ENTITY. BUT PUERTO RICO IS NOT A
STATE, SO IT CAN’T FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY RELIEF BUT
BECAUSE OF THAT, NONE — NO PART — NO COMPONENT
ELEMENT OF PUERTO RICO CAN FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY RELIEF EITHER BECAUSE OF THE WAY
THE LAW WAS WRITTEN. WHY WAS THAT? WELL, MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE IT
WAS A 1984 DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE REAGAN ERA WAS WHY PUERTO
RICO WAS NOT WRITTEN INTO THAT. THAT’S THE ONLY REASON
THAT I CAN SEE, SO PUERTO RICO THEN WOULD NEED
AN EXEMPTION FROM CHAPTER 9 IN ORDER TO HAVE ANY
PROTECTION OR ANY RESTRUCTURING, ANY WINDOW PERIOD TO
RENEGOTIATE THAT DEBT. BUT THE COMPANIES, THE
HEDGE FUNDS THAT ARE BUYING UP THIS DEBT FOR
PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR BUT ARE INSISTING $1 WORTH
OF INTEREST, THEY’RE THE ONES THAT ARE UP IN WASHINGTON
LOBBYING AGAINST IT. OBAMA IS NOT GOING TO UPSET THE
MUNICIPAL FINANCING STRUCTURE WHICH IS, AS I SAID, A 3.6
TRILLION YEARLY INDUSTRY, 21% OF THE AMERICAN
ECONOMY — HE CAN’T. HE COULD BUT THEN HE’S GOING
TO GO DOWN IN HISTORY KNOWN AS THE GUY WHO COMPLETELY
TOPPLED THE FINANCING STRUCTURE OF WALL STREET. YOU GOT TO BE REALLY
CAREFUL BEFORE YOU LET — AND HE’S CERTAINLY NOT GOING
TO DO IT IN AN ELECTION YEAR AND THEN BE THE ONE
THAT’S RESPONSIBLE FOR REPUBLICANS TAKING
BOTH HOUSES AND WINNING THE WHITE HOUSE. SO, HIS HANDS ARE TIED. THE GOVERNMENT — THE CONGRESS
ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE IT, SO PUERTO RICO THEREFORE,
HAS NO BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION, COMING INTO THIS
NEGOTIATION IN JANUARY. SO, IF IT HAS NO
MONEY, THE ONLY THING THAT IT HAS IS ITS HARD ASSETS. SO, IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF —
I MADE THIS ANALOGY YESTERDAY. YOU HAVE A GUY THAT’S SITTING
THERE IN A CHAIR AND THEY SAY, “WELL, WHAT CAN YOU GIVE US? WE’RE NOT ALLOWING YOU TO SAY
YOU’RE GOING TO WORK HARDER AND WORK AN EXTRA 20 HOURS. WE WANT YOU — WHAT ARE YOU
GOING TO GIVE US RIGHT NOW?” WELL, THE ONLY THING
YOU CAN DO IS, “WHY DON’T WE CHOP OFF YOUR ARM? THAT ARM LOOKS GOOD. WE’RE GOING TO TAKE YOUR LEG. WE’RE JUST NOT GOING TO
THINK ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT WE WANT NOW.” SO, THESE HEDGE FUNDS, THEY
WANT SOMETHING IMMEDIATELY AND WHAT’S LEFT ARE THE PHYSICAL
INFRASTRUCTURE OF PUERTO RICO BECAUSE THAT IS A HARD ASSET. SO, ALREADY, THE RFPS
HAVE GONE OUT FOR PREPA, THE ELECTRICAL AUTHORITY
TO BE PRIVATIZED WITH AN ATTACHED 20% RATE HIKE,
4.2 CENTS PER KILOWATT HOUR. THAT’S THE ELECTRICAL. JUST THIS WEEK, THROUGH
THE PUERTO RICAN SENATE, THEY FAST-TRACKED A BILL AND IT
WAS FAST-TRACKED AND APPROVED TO PRIVATIZE THE PUBLIC
EDUCATION SYSTEM OF PUERTO RICO, SO THERE’LL BE NO MORE
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS, THERE’LL
BE PENSION ROLLBACKS. THERE’LL BE NO TEACHER
PROTECTIONS. YOU CAN APPRECIATE
WHAT THAT MEANS. THEY’RE LOOKING TO
PRIVATIZE THE PRISONS IN PUERTO RICO, THE
WATER SUPPLY. THERE’S BEEN A DROUGHT
IN PUERTO RICO, PEOPLE COULDN’T EVEN
GET WATER, BUT NOW, YOUR WATER SUPPLY IS
LITERALLY GOING TO BE OWNED BY A BILLIONAIRE, BY
A HEDGE FUND OWNER. THAT’S GOING TO TELL YOUR KIDS
HOW MUCH THEIR WATER’S GOING TO COST IN PUERTO RICO AND BY
THE WAY, IT’S GOING TO COST MORE BECAUSE THESE THINGS
ARE SUBJECT TO — THEY’RE CALLED P3S AND THIS IS
WHERE I SAY [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. THEY’VE BOTH BEEN IN ON IT. THEY CREATED THE P3 AUTHORITY, THE PUBLIC PRIVATE
PARTNERSHIP AUTHORITY. THEY ELEVATED IT TO THAT LEVEL
AND THEY CREATED A COMMISSIONER FOR PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
AND THIS WAS DONE BY THE PENEPE, LUIS FORTUNIO WHILE HIS WIFE,
BY THE WAY WAS $50,000 A YEAR TO DO HER NAILS, HER
HAIR, AND, YOU KNOW, SHE WAS CHARGING THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO WHILE
THEY FIRED 30,000 WORKERS AND ELIMINATED TEACHER PENSIONS. SO, FORTUNIO SET UP
THIS AUTHORITY, NOW — AND THAT WAS THE STATE PARTY,
BUT NOW THE COMMONWEALTH PARTY IN ITS 78-PAGE PROGRAM
THAT IS SUPPOSED TO REFORM THE PUERTO
RICAN ECONOMY, THERE’S NO JONES ACT
REFORM, THERE’S NOTHING THAT BRINGS ANY POWER TO
THE PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE. IT’S A GIVING UP PIECES OF PUERTO RICO TO
THESE HEDGE FUNDS. SO, WE’RE AT THE POINT NOW,
WHERE WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS SORT OF SILENT
WAR, THIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES
IS CONTINUING. LITERALLY WITHIN
TWO OR THREE MONTHS, PIECES OF PUERTO RICO
ARE GOING TO BE SOLD OFF. WHAT THEY DON’T DO, WHAT THEY
SHOULD BE DOING IS LOOKING AT — I JUST MENTIONED THE JONES ACT. I’LL GIVE YOU —
WELL, A PIECE OF THAT AND THEN MAYBE WE
CAN GO TO QUESTIONS. THE JONES ACT WAS PROMULGATED
IN 1920, IT’S SECTION 27 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE
ACT OF 1927. IT’S KNOWN AS THE JONES ACT. UNDER THAT ACT, PUERTO RICO
IS SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED FROM DEVELOPING ITS
OWN SHIPPING INDUSTRY WHICH IS COUNTER INTUITIVE
FOR AN ISLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN THAT DEPENDS ON IMPORT
AND EXPORT. YOU ASK YOURSELF, “WHY —
HOW WOULD THAT HAPPEN?” WELL, IN 1920, THERE
WAS AN ARGUABLE STATE — FEELING THAT THERE WERE
GERMAN U-BOATS AND YOU NEEDED TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN
COASTLINE, BUT THAT DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE. UNDER THE JONES ACT
— EXCUSE ME. THE JONES ACT STATES THAT
NO FOREIGN SHIP CAN COME — NO FOREIGN REGISTRY VESSEL
CAN COME INTO PUERTO RICO WITHOUT BEING REGULATED. THAT THE GENERAL — BUT THE
SPECIFICS OF IT IS THAT ANYTHING THAT COMES, ANY FOREIGN GOOD
THAT COMES TO PUERTO RICO HAS TO GO THROUGH — COME
IN THROUGH TWO WAYS. IT EITHER COMES DIRECTLY
TO PUERTO RICO OR IT GOES TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. SO, IF YOU HAVE A CAR FROM
JAPAN, A MOTOR FROM GERMANY, FOOD FROM SOUTH AMERICA,
OIL FROM VENEZUELA, ANYTHING THAT COMES
FROM PUERTO RICO OTHER THAN FROM THE UNITED
STATES, IT GOES — IF IT COMES DIRECTLY
TO PUERTO RICO, THAT FOREIGN REGISTRY VESSEL
IS SUBJECT TO TAXES, DUTIES, TARIFFS, FEES, FINES, THE NET
RESULT OF WHICH RAISES THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING IN THAT
BOAT BY ABOUT 15 TO 20%. SO, THE PUERTO RICAN CONSUMER
DOES NOT GET ANY FOREIGN GOODS THAT HAVEN’T — THEIR PRICES
HAVEN’T RAISED BY 15 TO 20%. THAT’S IF IT COMES
DIRECTLY INTO PUERTO RICO. THERE’S ANOTHER OPTION. IF YOU WANT, YOU COULD TAKE THAT
SAME BOAT, DON’T GO DIRECTLY TO PUERTO RICO, GO TO JACKSON
— SPECIFICALLY TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, WHERE IT’LL BE — THAT ALL THOSE PARTS
WILL BE OFFLOADED FROM THE FOREIGN REGISTRY VESSEL AND THEN RELOADED UNTO
AN AMERICAN BOAT AND THEN THAT AMERICAN BOAT IS PERMITTED
TO GO INTO PUERTO RICO. NOW WHAT IS — WHY,
IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THAT’S LIKE A MAFIA
PROTECTION RACKET. THERE’S NO PHYSICAL REASON WHY
IT HAS TO BE OFFLOADED ONE BOAT AND THEN RELOADED INTO
ANOTHER BOAT AND THEN THAT BOAT COMES INTO
PUERTO RICO. WHAT IT DOES DO, IS IT CREATES
50,000 JOBS IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, STEVEDORE
JOBS, TEAMSTER JOBS THAT BELONG IN PUERTO RICO. SO, RIGHT THERE, THAT’S A
MASSIVE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM FOR FLORIDA. THAT’S ONE BUT THE OTHER PART IS THAT IT CREATES THIS
TREMENDOUS PRICE SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR ALL CORPORATE PRODUCTS
COMING FROM THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE WHAT IT ALLOWS
THE UNITED STATES TO DO IS YOU CREATE
THIS TRADE PROTECTIONISM FOR ALL THESE FOREIGN GOODS AND THEN THE U.S. COMPANIES
CAN JUST COME UNDERNEATH IT. THEY CAN JUST PAY — CHARGE
MAYBE FIVE CENTS LESS. SO THEN, YOU COULD
SAY, “WAIT A MINUTE. NO ONE’S PUTTING A
GUN TO YOUR HEAD. YOU COULD STILL BUY
THAT PRODUCT.” BUT YEAH, BUT IF THE
AMERICAN PRODUCT IS FIVE OR 10 CENTS CHEAPER,
YOU’RE GOING TO BUY IT. SO, THAT — IT IS
THROUGH THAT MECHANISM, JUST THROUGH THE JONES ACT THAT
UNITED STATES HAS SET IT UP SO THAT 80 TO 85% OF ALL CONSUMER
GOODS IN PUERTO RICO ARE FROM THE UNITED STATES. PUERTO RICO, THAT
ISLAND OF ONLY THREE AND A HALF MILLION PEOPLE
IS THE FOURTH LARGEST MARKET IN THE WORLD FOR U.S. PRODUCTS. THERE’S MORE WALGREEN’S AND
WALMART’S PER SQUARE MILE IN PUERTO RICO THAN
ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE PLANET. THIS IS AN ISLAND WITH LIKE A
PER CAPITA INCOME OF $16,400 WHICH IS LESS THAN
HALF OF MISSISSIPPI, THE POOREST STATE IN
THE UNITED STATES. SO, YOU HAVE THESE POOR PEOPLE, VERY POOR WITH THIS
TREMENDOUSLY HIGH COST OF LIVING AND THEY’RE PAYING THIS
ENORMOUS SET OF PROFITS TO THE UNITED STATES,
OR U.S. CORPORATIONS. AND IF YOU DO A SIMPLE MATH ON
IT, IT COMES DOWN TO ABOUT SIX TO $7 BILLION A YEAR JUST FROM
THIS ADDITIONAL CORPORATE PROFIT AND ADDITIONAL, BECAUSE
IT’S PROFITS ALREADY BUT THIS IS ADDITIONAL PROFIT. SO, IF YOU DO THE MATH ON THAT, SIX TO $7 BILLION A
YEAR TIMES 95 YEARS, BECAUSE THE JONES ACT EXISTED
SINCE 1920, IF YOU MULTIPLY — LET’S SAY $6 BILLION
TIMES 95, THAT’S FIVE — I THINK THAT’S 570 BILLION,
SOMEONE ELSE — BUT 500 — LET’S SAY IT’S 550, I
THINK IT’S 570 BILLION. WELL, THE PUBLIC DEBT OF
PUERTO RICO IS 73 BILLION. SO, IT’S VERY SIMPLE, IF THAT
JONES ACT HAD NOT EXISTED, THE PUBLIC DEBT OF PUERTO RICO
COULD HAVE BEEN PAID SEVEN OR EIGHT TIMES OVER, JUST FROM
THAT ONE BILL, THAT ONE THING. BUT THAT DOESN’T GET
INCLUDED IN THE DISCUSSION. YOU DON’T GET THAT
— THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT IT HERE IN
THE UNITED STATES. THEY TALK ABOUT DEBT, YOU’RE NOT
— PUERTO RICO OWES AND IT TAPS INTO THAT MENTALITY
THAT, “OH WELL, THE PUERTO RICANS
DON’T PAY INCOME TAXES AND THEY’RE GETTING
FEDERAL TRANSFER — TRANSFER PAYMENTS,” AND SO IT
STARTS GETTING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC TO THINK THAT
IT’S PUERTO RICANS AND A PUERTO RICAN
WORK ETHIC OR — VERSUS THE UNITED
STATES, BUT IT’S NOT. IT’S NOT ONE PEOPLE
AGAINST ANOTHER. IT’S A CLASS SITUATION
BECAUSE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN PUERTO RICO IS A TRICKLE-UP
ECONOMY WHERE THERE’S A FEDERAL, THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER
IS ALSO GETTING HURT, THEY’RE GETTING SOCKED
BECAUSE THEY’RE PUTTING MONEY INTO THAT — INTO THAT ECONOMY WHICH IS THEN JUST
FILTERED RIGHT BACK UP TO THESE CORPORATIONS THAT ARE GETTING THE
BENEFIT OF THE JONES ACT. SO, WE’RE IN A SITUATION RIGHT
NOW IN PUERTO RICO WHERE WE NEED TO DEFINE WHAT’S REALLY
HAPPENING, WHO THE GOOD GUYS AND THE BAD GUYS
AND THE INTEREST. YOU CAN’T HAVE A
SITUATION THAT’S CONCOMITANT WITH HUMAN RIGHTS AND
NATIONAL SELF-DETERMINATION AND YOU KEEP A STRUCTURE
LIKE THAT IN PLACE. AT THE SAME TIME, THEY HAVE
AN ACT 20 AND AN ACT 22, THE TWO BILLS, TWO
LAWS IN PUERTO RICO THAT GIVE A 20-YEAR
TAX ABATEMENT TO PEOPLE LIKE JOHN PAULSON WHO WAS ONE OF THE PRINCIPLE
HEDGE FUND OPERATORS THAT BENEFITTED DURING
THE 2007 MORTGAGE CRISIS WITH CREDIT THE[INAUDIBLE], WITH OTHER DEVIOUS
FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS. WELL, JOHN PAULSON NOW, IS THE
MAJOR INVESTOR IN PUERTO RICO. HE GETS A 20-YEAR TAX ABATEMENT
ON ALL INTEREST, DIVIDEND, AND CAPITAL GAINS INCOME. HE DOESN’T PAY TAXES. HE GETS TO BUY DISTRESSED
PROPERTIES FROM THE PUERTO RICANS
THAT ARE HAVING TO MOVE OUT AND HE BUYS THEM FOR PENNIES
ON THE DOLLAR AND THEN NOW, HE’S BUILDING A $500
MILLION RESORT COMPLEX ON THE DORADO BEACH. HE OWNS BIG PIECES OF ALTO REY, THE FINANCIAL AREA
OF PUERTO RICO. JOHN PAULSON AND OTHER
HEDGE FUND OPERATORS, THE HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS
AND BILLIONAIRES ARE THE ONES THAT ARE IN THE POSITION
NOW TO BUY INTO THE PUERTO RICAN
ECONOMY, BUY HUGE PIECES OF PUERTO RICAN COASTLINE, BUY
THE PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE OF PUERTO RICO AND THEN
EVEN DO EQUITY FLIPS. YOU REMEMBER NO MONEY DOWN BACK IN THE DAY BEFORE
THE MORTGAGE CRISIS? YOU BUY A HOUSE AND
YOU COULD FLIP IT? WELL THAT’S WHAT THEY
DO WITH THESEP3S, THEY BUY INTO THEM
AND THEY FLIP THEM. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE
MULTIPLE EQUITY FLIPS AND THESE PUBLIC PRIVATE
PARTNERSHIPS GET PASSED FROM ONE CORPORATE
ENTITY TO ANOTHER. BY THE END OF IT, THERE’S
FOUR OR FIVE LAYERS OF PROFIT AND THE ONLY WAY THAT
PROFIT CAN BE SERVICED IS BY INCREASING RATES, FIRING
TEACHERS, ROLLING BACK PENSIONS, PRIVATIZING EVERYTHING AND
THAT’S WHAT PUERTO RICO IS FACED WITH AND THAT’S WHY I
SEE A SENSE OF URGENCY. SO, I’LL JUST WRAP THIS UP. I HAVE THESE DISCUSSIONS
ALL THE TIME AND PEOPLE IN PUERTO RICO HAVE
TREMENDOUS SUPPORTERS ESPECIALLY FROM THE INDEPENDENT’S PARTY. BUT FROM SOME OTHER PEOPLE. THEY SAY, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
BUT THERE’S SO MANY THIEVES AND THERE’S SO MANY VESTED
INTERESTS IN PUERTO RICO THAT WE NEED TO BE VERY CLEAR THAT THERE HAS TO
BE CIVIL ACTION. THE UNIONS HAVE TO GET TOGETHER. WE HAVE TO — ALL HANDS
HAVE TO GET TOGETHER ON THIS AND THE PEOPLE THAT, YOU
KNOW, HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ME, I JUST SIMPLY TELL THEM THIS AND IF THERE’S ANY
PUERTO RICANS HERE, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO THE SAME. JUST TELL THEM THIS,
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE] PUERTO RICO AND I LEAVE YOU — I
LEAVE YOU WITH THAT BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE
WE ARE TODAY. [ APPLAUSE ]

15 comments on ““War Against All Puerto Ricans” – Nelson Denis Lecture

  1. I took the very first class taught on Puerto Rican history at Brandeis High School 1970. I went on to study Afro-American and Caribbean studies at Brandeis University. Am very anti colonial government not anti American. I salute you for your important detail resource that very informative that has rape our resources and sweat. Thank you, Bro

  2. We can not thank you enough, thank you my brother, we salute you for speaking the truth, and educating us, thank you again.

  3. A lot of good info in this book.  Specially when the FBI files were declassified under the freedom of information act.  Lot of good stuff came out.

  4. 1:08:22 please, what does he say (in Spanish) at the very end here? I heard… mi patria en NY… y … ? Anyone can tell me please?

  5. Thank you Mr. Denis you have giving me so much info on the mother island that I didn't I know. A great injustice that's been going on to Puerto Ricans even now 2017 after the Maria hurricane that destroyed the island and the federal gov't are slow to react. A total genocide from this U.S. gov't.

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