Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Alberto Rodriguez
and his two children Yazmin and Ricardo

Politics of Cruelty, Rhetoric of Mercy

The Clinton administration has been under heavy pressure to free
the Puerto Rican political prisoners. The demand has been broadly
popular among Puerto Rican people. And in recent months a fresh
and powerful movement has erupted in Puerto Rico to demand the
removal of the U.S. navy from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.
Meanwhile a significant worldwide campaign has supported the
release of political prisoners in the U.S. including the
Puerto Rican prisoners, Native American activist Leonard Peltier
and the revolutionary Black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Millions of people around the world understand that the United
States has held Puerto Rico as a colony for a hundred years
and that U.S. federal prisons are used to punish fighters for the
liberation of Puerto Rico. For the U.S.--which bombs the world
under the banner of "defender of human rights and democracy"
international exposure of its imprisonment of political opponents
is a major embarrassment and political problem. At the same time,
the U.S. has taken advantage of the current world situation to
attempt to extinguish the struggle for Puerto Rican independence.
The U.S. embargo and strangulation of Cuba is shown to the Puerto
Rican people with the pointed message: This is what you can
expect if you try to slip out of U.S. domination. The U.S.
has conducted referendums and elections "under the gun" after
which they claim that the Puerto Rican people have turned their
back on independence.

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