Macheteros-Gang, Club, Or Political Influence?

Last month a jet carried this hubber to a small country in the Caribbean. I plan on living here for quite a while. Love will do that to a man.

I have found Puerto Rico to be paradise in comparison to everywhere else I have been.

Years ago, while a teenager, I had a tattoo put on my arm. I ran with a group of teens who were tied in to the El Forastero Motorcycle Club. The tat is two machetes crossed with HARLEY in the middle. When my fiancé saw my tattoo, she told me to Google Macheteros. Could this be why when people here look at my arm they give me peculiar looks?

Filiberto Ojeda Rios

Filiberto Rios was born in Puerto Rico in 1933. Many considered Mr Rios to have above average intelligence and in 1961 he moved to Cuba where he was recruited into the Cuban intelligence service.

Rios always felt the United States had run rough-shod over the Puerto Rican people and after studying much of Puerto Rico history, I believe I agree.

In 1967 Filiberto started the Armed Revolutionary Independence Movement and it was disbanded by government officials and Rios was arrested in 1970. Rios bailed out, skipped to New York and started another movement called the Armed Forces of National Liberation. Not long after he founded the Boricua Popular Army also known as Los Macheteros. This name came in part by the men who cut the sugar cane in Puerto Rico using machetes.

The United States claims Macheteros to be a terrorist organization. Yes, they have committed acts of warfare, but I have seen where the United States has done their own warfare to the Puerto Rican people.

In 1983 ,accusations were that Los Macheteros robbed a Wells Fargo depot of 7 million dollars. The money was supposedly used to aid the independence movement here in Puerto Rico. There are claims that a big portion of that money was funneled to Cuba.

In 1985, indictments were handed down in that case and Rios was one of them. When agents went to his home to arrest him, they claim Filiberto shot at them. Rios had a good attorney and as a condition of release was put on an ankle bracelet. He cut it off and became a fugitive. In 1992 Rios was sentenced to 55 years in prison even though he had never been captured.

In 1998 Puerto Ricans held a general strike and the Macheteros planted bombs at several banks. Filiberto also warned the United States Navy that if they did not vacate and stop their practices on the island of Vieques, they would plant more bombs. Who actually gave the U.S. free reign to control that island? So really who are the terrorists?

F.B.I. Murder

On September 23rd, 2005, the F.B.I. surrounded the house that Filiberto Ojeda Rios was residing at in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. The F.B.I. claims they were spotted and fired upon, so they opened fire. What is very peculiar about that is they didn't call in Puerto Rican authorities.

Neighbors and Rios' wife all claimed the F.B.I. did all the firing and when all stopped, they didn't enter the house for seven hours. They found Filiberto bled to death from a single gunshot wound. The F.B.I. was criticized by many for the murder including Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá .

Rios' funeral was attended by many dignitaries and a probe of the F.B.I. was requested by the United Nations.

Independence Movement

All the Macheteros want is independence just like the Philippines and Cuba received, but the United States is "using" Puerto Rico.

Those who try to celebrate Grito de Lares here are looked upon as troublemakers and terrorists. Grito de Lares was an armed insurrection that occurred on September 23rd, 1868 to free Puerto Rico from Spain. Notice that is the same day the F.B.I. killed Rios.

My opinion is: let the Macheteros have their political say. Call them to the tables and let them in the polls. Don't call or label them terrorists, they are just defending the cause, much like George Washington, Patrick Henry and Paul Revere.

My Opinion

I don't necessarily support independence or statehood here, but I don't think those that support either should be treated as terrorists. It is my opinion the United States needs to quit robbing countries and being bullies.

I hope that the Macheteros will come up politically and I pray that all violence will cease on both sides. I love this country and the people deserve better.

Long live Puerto Rico!

© G.L. Boudonck

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Comments 4 comments

Maria Ruiz 5 years ago

My dear Greg...I would say like Elizabeth Barrett...How do I love thee? Thanks for this Hub. It means so much to me. Not necessarily like a political position but as a patriotic that took birth in my heart for Puerto Rico. You expressed more here than many boricuas speeches. Your opinion here written is the best I have ever read. Blesses also to you!


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 5 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico Author

Thank you my lovely Maria. I know some may think I support when actually I am just against violence all together. The U.S. has become bullies to the world.

May we all just get along.


PenmanZee profile image

PenmanZee 5 years ago

This is an interesting and thought-provoking article, Froggy. As a Kenyan, I can relate to what you say here. Kenya was once a British colony and in the late forty and early fifties, Kenyans began to agitate for their independence leading to the formation of the Mau Mau movement which, as far as I am concerned was an independence movement. As I live in the U.S. I am often asked about the history of my country and sometimes when I mention the Mau Mau, I get the comment that they were terrorists. Initially it surprised me but I now understand that it is a matter of perspective. People fighting for their independence are freedom fighters. Their sympathizers see view them as such. But those who oppress or rule a people without having been invited in the first place, view them as terrorists - a strange incongruity. Thanks for sharing this piece.


MobyWho profile image

MobyWho 5 years ago from Burlington VT

Let me suggest reading Kenneth Roberts' Oliver Wiswell. It will remind people that these conflicts have many sides. That doesn't help define one, but it does show the complexity of the situation. In the end, they are all people.

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