Professor José Solís was sentenced to over four
years in prison
by a federal judge on July 7--after the FBI repeatedly and
unsuccessfully pressured him to finger activists and leaders of
the Puerto Rican community for indictments. In short, the
Clinton administration has fought to maintain permanent U.S.
domination over Puerto Rico. Its offer to the imprisoned
independentistas is not an act of mercy or justice--but a
calculated part of this colonialist policy.
The Shameful Government Confessions
"The president reviewed the matter and obviously
the sentences imposed for the crime committed were out of
proportion to sentences for similar offenses for others."
Attorney General Janet Reno
"They no longer pose a danger to society. The rationale is
they have served long enough for the crimes they have committed.
If they were to commit such crimes today, they would not get
White House spokesperson
These are individuals who were not convicted of any crime
involving physical harm to any person and, yet, some of them
received sentences of upwards of 50 years; some of them would
not have been released for another 25 years or more, in fact,
if the President had not acted."
White House spokesman Barry Toiv
Now, after these fighters have served 14 to 19 brutal years
in prison, the White House admits that these were incredibly
extreme sentences. What a confession by U.S. imperialism!
And yet, having said that, this same White House imposes new
political demands on the prisoners--that they publicly bow
before U.S. imperialism and its colonial rule over Puerto Rico.
As we go to press, no statements have been
released by the
political prisoners themselves on the Clinton offer. However on
August 20, a spokesperson for the federal Justice Department
reported that none of the 11 political prisoners had accepted
the August 11 clemency offer. Meanwhile, the White House offer
has intensified the struggle for unconditional release. Former
political prisoner Lolita Lebrón said, "These are shameful demands.
The president has insulted the dignity of the Puerto Rican nation
and those who fight for its liberty." Supporters of the political
prisoners quickly announced a letter-writing campaign demanding
that the White House unconditionally release the prisoners.
The White House announcement has been criticized by a wide
range of political figures in the U.S. and Puerto Rico including: