IN THE FACE OF REPRESSION AND HARASSMENT BY FEDERAL AGENCIES
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean and Latin American archipelago invaded and converted into a colony by two empires: first the Spanish in 1493 and then the United States in 1898.
The existing reality today is that since 1898 we continue to be a colony, subject to the authority of the President and the Congress of the United States.
However, our People have not stopped fighting, to the extent possible and in different local, federal (EU) and international (UN) spheres for our sovereignty and total independence. As part of that struggle, we have established a hundred-year-old relationship of reciprocal solidarity between the Cuban people and ours, organized and developed in the very bowels of the empire.
Thus, the constitutive bases of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, approved in 1892 in New York City, stipulated that it was created "to achieve, with the united efforts of all men of good will, the absolute independence of Cuba and promote and help that of Puerto Rico.”
But even more so, long before (and after) that event (1892) of genuine support for our freedom, hundreds of Puerto Ricans had shed blood in the Cuban jungle for the independence of Cuba, and others, such as Ramón Emeterio Betances and Eugenio María De Hostos, promulgated Cuban independence and Antillanism without ever having shaken hands with José Martí.
Another event of the most complete solidarity between Cuba and Puerto Rico is the creation of our flag framed in the format and inversion of the colors of the Cuban flag, which was presented to Martí himself for his endorsement and approval. (There are no flags in the world more similar to each other than that of Cuba and Puerto Rico).
The reality is that the close solidarity between our peoples has remained and strengthened with the Revolution of January 1, 1959. Civil groups of our society, artistic, labor, educational, cultural, sports, scientific, political, academic-student and citizens in their individual character, they travel and share experiences with their Cuban brothers with the greatest respect, solidarity and Caribbean and Latin American identification.
Committee of Solidarity with Cuba of PR and the Juan Rius Rivera Brigade
As far as we are concerned, the Committee of Solidarity with Cuba (CSC), we were established on September 18, 1992, to develop a broad campaign in favor of lifting the criminal blockade imposed on Cuba. We maintain a close relationship of friendship with the Cuban people and one of the main projects of the CSC has been the annual trips of the Juan Rius Rivera Brigade of people willing to visit the sister Republic and observe first-hand the reality in which they work and learn so many successful experiences of that heroic people despite the blockade imposed by the United States. The only requirements to travel in the Brigade are solidarity, being against the blockade and respect for the decisions of the Cuban people.
We are not a "commercial travel agency", we are a group of friendship and solidarity, as there are many others around the world. The Juan Rius Rivera Brigade is named after a Puerto Rican hero of Cuba's wars of independence.
Last July (2022) we carried out the 31st Brigade, which was extremely successful. Trip achieved after two years of not being able to visit Cuba due to the pandemic, but the Brigade continued to support the activities of the CSC and other just causes.
United States government repression and harassment
Three weeks after our trip, a considerable number of our brigade members have been called and/or visited by federal agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asking to answer questions related to the Brigade and its Director, partner Milagros Rivera. Likewise, relatives of the brigade members have called and have even tried to summon minors who traveled with their respective families in the Brigade.
Persecution that begins when the humanitarian campaign to support those affected by the tragic events in Matanzas was made public.
FBI in Puerto Rico
In 1939, the permanent office of the FBI in Puerto Rico was established with the primary objective of persecuting and criminalizing the political activities of the Nationalist Party led by Don Pedro Albizu Campos, who advocated the independence of the country. Fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico for the United States is an act of sedition and the FBI was and continues to be the Imperial police in charge of keeping the population under control. In the case of the Nationalist Party, they managed to imprison their President for 10 years on charges of sedition and imprison him again after the nationalists took up arms to denounce the deception of the new colonial status under the name of Commonwealth. Albizu was bombarded with radiation and was released by the colonial governor days before he died in a hospital in San Juan.
Signing up and persecuting independentistas and those who fight for social, economic and environmental demands continues to be their main function in Puerto Rico, although they also intervene with some drug traffickers, some corrupt politicians and all those who harm the imperial interest in the Island.
Now, possibly responding to pressure from far-right Cuban exiles, they have dedicated their resources to intervening and persecuting the members of the Juan Rius Rivera Brigade, which continues the centenary legacy of solidarity of Puerto Ricans with the Cuban people. The FBI intends to intimidate our people so that they cease their commitment to solidarity with Cuba.
Our brigade members have remained firm in solidarity with the Cuban people, in rejecting the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States and in defending their citizen rights to share and identify with their Caribbean and Latin American brothers.
On the other hand, beyond the support and endorsement received from our brothers in other countries, we have also received it from our people, through various national organizations and groups, we require that all voices help us stop this infamy that tries to criminalize the solidarity and friendship between Cuba and Puerto Rico
Any statement repudiating this persecution and supporting it is necessary, please send it to the media in your countries and copy us to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com email from the CSC and the Digital Magazine Somos Caribe respectively.
We will continue our fight because they will never be able to block a reciprocal and centennial solidarity.
For Solidarity with Cuba, everything.
We count on your support.
Director of the Juan Rius Rivera Brigade
August 30, 2022/San Juan, Puerto Rico