Three other Puerto Rican independentistas--Carlos Alberto Torres,
Antonio Camacho Negrón, and José Solís Jordán were not
offered this clemency deal by Clinton. Carlos Alberto Torres
reportedly refused to renounce violence at a previous parole
hearing. And Antonio Camacho refused to acknowledge the
authority of U.S. parole officers during his release last
year. José Solís was sentenced to over four years in prison
The Clinton White House openly acknowledged that these Puerto
Rican prisoners had received unjustly long sentences and yet
the White House still refused to simply release these prisoners.
Instead, the so-called "clemency offer" is riddled with
cruel conditions and undisguised political demands. First
of all, each of the prisoners accepting the clemency offer
was required to sign a one-page document renouncing violence
promising they would not, personally, possess a weapon. But more,
they were required to renounce their political right to
"advocacy of the use" of violence for any purpose including ending
the colonial status of Puerto Rico.
In addition, the federal government insisted that it would closely
control the actions, statements and contacts of these released
prisoners--in many cases for the rest of their lives. The Monday
after their release, all were required to report to parole
authorities--and hand over detailed written accounts of
their activities and contacts. This too is a highly political
matter--it is a demand that these prisoners publicly acknowledge
the sovereignty of the U.S. federal government over themselves
and Puerto Rico.
The details of their parole will now be set by the federal authorities.
These prisoners live under the threat that any activity that is
not approved by the authorities can send them back to prison in
some cases for life. Some released prisoners said they will now
be accompanied by a friend everywhere, so that they have a
witness to prevent frame-ups by government agents.
Paroled prisoners are specifically forbidden to associate with
other "felons" without the prior permission of the authorities.
These political activists have spent their lives in a movement where
many people have been convicted for armed actions, civil