The 21st of March of 2008 will mark the 71st anniversary of the Ponce Massacre, a peaceful march in the town of Ponce, Puerto Pico to seek self-determination and independence. What should have been a peaceful demonstration, turned out to be an annihilation by the National Guard under u.s. military command. For many Puerto Ricans living in the united snakes, this event they may have never heard of or known that it ever happened. Hopefully this essay will enlighten those Puerto Ricans who have been deceived by the amerikkkan dream and the so-called amerikkkan help, and understand the u.s. aggression against the will of the Puerto Rican people to be self-determined.
Days before leading to the Ponce Massacre, a letter was written by the Ponces branch leaders of the Nationalist Junta, to inform the township government that they will come together and have a parade on the 21st of March of the year 1937. Ponces Mayro Jose Tormos Diego granted such permission for this demonstration. Although permission was not needed since Colonial Supreme Court ruled back in 1926 that consent were not needed to occupy parks or public place for meetings or parades. Still the Nationalist Junta wrote the letter as a sign of courteousness
On the 19th of March of 1937, Colonel Orbeta, which was the Insular Chief of Police went to Ponce to examine the conditions. Shortly after, Colonel Orbeta went to San Juan to meet with the united snakes appointed governor of Puerto Rico, Blanton Winship. It is said, that during that meeting between these two individual the massacre was arranged. Colonel Orbeta was sent by Winship to go back to Ponce to persuade the mayor to prevent the parade.
The day before the parade, Ponces Chief of Police, Captain Felipe Blanco wrote a letter to the Nationalist Juntas leaders of Ponce, Luis Castro Quesada and Plinio Graciany, stating to them that he has recognized the letter that they have written, giving the township of Ponce, a notification of a parade by the Cadets of the Republic and the Nationalist Committee, which will take place on the 21st of March of the year 1937. Capt. Felipe Blanco also stated to them in that letter, that he was informed by his higher ranks, that such parade will not be allowed. After the advisory by Capt. Blanco, Capt. Blanco met up with Colonel Orbeta to discuss things. They both agreed to meet up with Ponces Mayor, Jose Tormos Diego, to persuade him to cancel the parade. Mayor Jose Tormos Diego made it clear to them that he gave permission for the parade to take place. Colonel Orbeta kept pushing the issue to the Mayor, by planting in the mayors mind of a serious danger that the parade will bring. Orbeta persisted with the so-called danger, that the Nationalist posed, by adding, that he had knowledge that The Nationalists intended to come armed to the parade and that there were also other groups planning to attend the parade , coming from Mayaguez. It was observed that the other group of people who were from Mayaguez, were a group of 50 people, who consisted of women, men and children, who like the Nationalist Junta were not armed, and posed no danger.
Somehow Colonel Orbeta managed to get the mayor to give in. The mayor then directly called the Nationalist leaders to tell them that the Paulist Fathers had asked him, not to allow the parade because it was a religious holiday, "Palm Sunday". The Nationalists, knowing that the mayor was being dishonest, told him that the people who are going to attend the parade were already in Ponce, and that the parade would take place in a methodical tone, and that they will also inform the Paulist Fathers of their cause. But of course to the mayor, this was not the response he wanted to hear from the Nationalist, so he ended the meeting and told them that the permit was vacated.
The day of the parade there were conferences that were being held; one conference amongst the pigs; and the other amongst the Nationalists. It was evident that the scene at the parade was belligerent. As the Nationalists lined up to march, it was easy to identify the Nationalists since they were in uniform. Lined up in lines of 3, in the back of the Nationalist were a group of women called the Nurses Corps, uniformed in white, behind the Nurses Corps came the band of 4 musicians, which at the time were playing the National Anthem "La Borinqueña", while the participants in the parade stood at attention.
Eye witnesses and photographers stated that you could clearly see, that the parade participants were surrounded by u.s. trained forces. They also state that-the u.s. trained forces were heavily armed with rifles, tear gas, etc. Shots were fired, causing the men and women scattered for cover, and even though witnesses and photographers could not pin point which u.s. trained personnel fired first, it was clear that the aggressors were the u.s. trained forces. As the barrage of bullets went flying for a period of 10 minutes into the crowd, 20 were killed at the scene and 150 injured. It is also said that others died in a nearby hospital, while others were almost dismembered by this brutal attack.
Shortly after the Ponce Massacre, the ACLU conducted an investigation, along with witness and photographers. ACLU, with photos taken on that day clearly sees the brutal shooting against the unarmed people. What the ACLU did not understand was, with so much published pictures in the open, why wasn't any of them used by the government for their investigation. But to no surprise the Puerto Rican people were going to be deprived of justice. A couple of congressmen wanted a thorough investigation, but nothing was honored by congress. Instead there was a plan to persecute and indict some of the Nationalist leaders for murder and for instigating murder, but behind were a group of respected Puerto Ricans, from the District Attorney who vacated their positions, rather than to give in to Blanton Winships requests to indict on murder charges, the innocent survivors of the Ponce Massacre. Reports say that the ACLU blamed Blanton Winship. Washington with no quilt or pitty backed Blanton Winship, keeping him in command for 2 more years after the Ponce Massacre.
I honor the Nationalist Party and those people who died on that day of March 21,1937. Their stance was heroic, relentless, their wills could not be shaken by the fear of terror that was presented to them at that present moment. Here I will mention a few that should always be remembered for their bravery. Bolivar Marquez, a young Puerto Rican mortally wounded in the event of March 21, 1937 dragged himself to a sidewalk, took his fingers and dipped it into his blood and wrote on a wall,"Viva la Republica", "Abajo los Asesinos", in english "Long Live the Republic","Down with the Assassins". A girl from Mayaguez by the name of Dominga Cruz Becerril, who was already away from harm, when she noticed that the Flag was on the floor, she immediately went back into the danger zone and courageously picked the Flag up and walked towards a hospital. She was later asked, why did she go back? Her response was, and I quote "Our Master has said the Flag should always be flying". Do you know who that Master was? None other than Pedro Albizu Campos, the leader of the Nationalist Party.
To many when they hear of the Nationalist Party, the first name that pops up is Pedro Albizu Campos. Some may be asking why did I not mention him in this essay. Pedro Albizu Campos, to me is one, if not the greatest Revolutionary Leaders in the history of the struggle of Puerto Rico. I apologize for not mentioning him in this essay, but as you may know that he was incarcerated during the Ponce Massacre of March 21, 1937. But regardless of his whereabouts, his influence and legacy will always be admired by true seekers of an Independent Puerto Rico.
I truly felt the need to give a tribute to the Ponce Massacre. I also felt the need to write this essay to hopefully enlighten those Puerto Ricans living in the u.s. I gave a young fellow Puerto Rican brother a copy of the literature that described the events of the Ponce Massacre, and it hurt me, because when he gave it back, the words that came out of his mouth was, "that he has always thought that the u.s. was always there to help Puerto Rico and its people". But as he found out, that help was never the intentions of the u.s., but rather to exploit.
Anyone willing to go into more details of the event of March 21, 1937, I recommend you look for a book titled, "Albizu Campos and the Ponce Massacre", written by Juan Antonio Corretjer, which is the book that I have obtained information in putting together this essay.
—Dedicated to those who died and survived the Ponce Massacre, you will never be forgotten for your Heroic stance.
MIM(Prisons) adds: In the internal semi-colonies of the united $tates we generally face an upward battle in awakening the inherent anti-imperialism of the struggle for national self-determination. It is not just a lack of knowledge of the true relation between amerikkkans and Boriquas, as this comrade laments and attempts to counteract through this essay. There is also a real belief among Boriquas that they too can be amerikkkans. Making that temptation a reality was the reason that u$ citizenship was forced upon them in 1917. Ever since then Puerto Ricans have had free access to the richest country on the planet, while those on the island were able to benefit from u$ sponsored social programs.
While the majority may be sucked in by the imperialists' carrots at this stage, there remains a vibrant and armed resistance to u$ occupation among Boriquas. Ultimately, the people must learn from the oppressor that they must fight to be free. But by educating around the historical and contemporary oppression of the people of Puerto Rico, Aztlán, New Afrika, and the First Nations we can plant the seeds of future resistance when the oppressed in north amerika give up amerikkkanism to join with the world's majority in a struggle against oppression and exploitation.