The Federal Bureau of Investigation has swooped on known associations and
locations connected to a Puerto Rican pro-independence movement, the People’s
Their actions have drawn swift reaction from protesters.
“We are here showing our opposition to the FBI’s attitude,
to this persecution of our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters,”
said Alberto Jesus, known for leading protests against U.S. Navy bombing exercises
on Vieques island and attaching flags and banners promoting his cause on New
York’s Statue of Liberty in 2000.
“We have here a foreign country that puts the label of terrorist
[Posted By faelnarr]
By Associated Press
Republished from The
Hartford Courant (Connecticut, U.S)
FBI Claims Puerto Rico Threat
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—FBI agents in Puerto Rico on Friday searched five
homes and a business to thwart what the agency said was a “domestic terrorist
attack” planned by militants favoring independence for the U.S. island
The alleged attack would have involved explosives directed at “privately
owned interests” and the public in Puerto Rico, according to Luis Fraticelli,
special agent in charge of the FBI on the island.
Fraticelli, in a statement, did not disclose details about the alleged attack
or the investigation, which the FBI said was focused on the pro-independence
People’s Boricua Army.
“The FBI is committed to aggressively investigating all matters related
to national security and the safety of the citizens of the United States, to
include Puerto Rico,” Fraticelli said.
Agents searched the homes and business in and around the island’s capital,
San Juan, and in the smaller towns of Mayaguez, Aguadilla, Isabela and San German.
FBI spokesman Harry Rodriguez said there were no arrests, but declined to provide
details of the operation.
“All I can say is that it is an investigation that deals with the People’s
Boricua Army,” he said.
The People’s Boricua Army, also known as the Macheteros or “cane
cutters,” was accused of bombings and attacks in the 1970s and 1980s.
The group was among three groups that claimed responsibility for a 1979 attack
in which gunmen opened fire on a U.S. Navy bus, killing two U.S. sailors.
In September, FBI agents shot and killed Filiberto Ojeda Rios, a leader
of the Macheteros wanted for the 1983 robbery of $7.2 million from an armored
truck depot in West Hartford. Ojeda Rios allegedly opened fire when they came
to arrest him at a farmhouse in a town in the western part of the island.
Hundreds of protesters demonstrated late Friday outside the federal building
in San Juan, accusing the FBI of persecuting the pro-independence movement.
They burned an American flag and chanted, “If the Yankees don’t
leave, they’ll die in Puerto Rico!”
“We are here showing our opposition to the FBI’s attitude, to this
persecution of our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters. I believe that this is
an act of abuse and an act of persecution,” said Alberto Jesus, known
for leading protests against U.S. Navy bombing exercises on Vieques island.
Jesus attached flags and banners promoting his cause to the Statue of Liberty
“We have here a foreign country that puts the label of terrorist on us,”