The Ejército Popular Boricua (“Boricua Popular/People’s Army”), also known as Los Macheteros (“The Machete Wielders“), is a clandestine organization based in Puerto Rico, with cells in the states and other nations.
It campaigns for, and supports, the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States.
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Pedro Albizu Campos (September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965) was a Puerto Rican attorney and politician, and the leading figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement. Gifted in languages, he spoke six; graduating from Harvard Law School with the highest grade point average in his law class, an achievement that earned him the right to give the valedictorian speech at his graduation ceremony.
However, animus towards his mixed racial heritage would lead to his professors delaying two of his final exams in order to keep Albizu Campos from graduating on time. During his time at Harvard University he became involved in the Irish struggle for independence.
Albizu Campos was the president and spokesperson of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party from 1930 until his death in 1965. Because of his oratorical skill, he was hailed as El Maestro (The Teacher). He was imprisoned twenty-six years for attempting to overthrow the United States government in Puerto Rico.
“It’s very difficult to do art in prison, because the limitations are enormous.”
The understated words of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera reflect both the realities of the U.S. prison-industrial complex and the challenges of a political prisoner making art a weapon of resistance.
To understand how Oscar developed as a renowned artist in such a poisonous environment, we examine his history.
Who is Oscar Lopez Rivera?
Oscar López Rivera is a Puerto Rican political prisoner who has served more than 34 years in U.S. prisons, among the longest-held political prisoners on the planet. Convicted in 1981 of “seditious conspiracy” – that is, conspiring to use force against the authority of the United States over Puerto Rico – for his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico, Oscar was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life.
He is nevertheless serving a sentence of 70 years in the U.S. “gulag.” He is among the longest held political prisoners in world history, and is considered by many to be the Mandela of the 21st century.
Oscar López Rivera: Artist
In spite of 34 years of adversity in prison, Oscar has maintained his integrity, spirit, and political principles. He keeps fit, reads voraciously, stays up to date with current affairs, and writes.
The narrative of his life and years in prison, Between Torture and Resistance, created from letters to family, friends, and comrades, was published in 2013.
~~Story about the Puerto Rican flag on Lady Liberty~
While many may think this image has been altered, it was not. This is an actual photo taken on October 25, 1977 when a group of unarmed Puerto Rican activists gathered to protest demanding the release of Puerto Rican Nationalist prisoners.
This was an act of symbolism illustrating their hopes of freedom and independence in putting an end to the discrimination that Puerto Ricans were enduring.
On November 5, 2000, Puerto Rican activist, Alberto de Jesús Mercado, better known as Tito Kayak, along with five other protesters went to the top of the Statue of Liberty in New York City where he bravely placed the Puerto Rican flag on the statue’s crown.
Law 53 of 1948 — better known as the Gag Law (Spanish: Ley de La Mordaza) — was an act enacted by the Puerto Rico legislature of 1948 with the purpose of suppressing the independence movement in Puerto Rico.
The act made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, to sing a patriotic tune, to speak or write of independence, or meet with anyone, or hold any assembly, in favor of Puerto Rican independence.
It was passed by a legislature overwhelmingly dominated by members of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which supported developing an alternative political status for the island. The bill was signed into law on June 10, 1948 by Jesús T. Piñero, the United States-appointed governor. Opponents tried to have the law declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, but did not succeed.
The law remained in force for nine years until 1957 when it was repealed on the basis that it was unconstitutional as protected by freedom of speech within Article II of the Constitution of Puerto Rico and the First Amendment of Constitution of the United States.
“IOTD” is image of the day, a concept I came up with. I teach visual meditative therapy – or in easy terms – a mini mental holiday. For some people it is very difficult for them to get their image right. I post an image a day for people to use in their mini mental vacay. Some are serious, some are silly, and some are just beautiful!”’