Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Basta Ya! 31 Years, A Message from Oscar

Greetings with Much Respect and Love,

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Puerto Rican people in PR and in the diaspora for the support you have given me during the past 31 years. I also want to express the same gratitude to the freedom and justice loving people in the U.S. and in different parts of the world for the solidarity they’ve shared with me. The support I’ve received has been a fountain of strength that has helped me face and deal with the difficult challenges I’ve experienced in prison during the past 31 years, and to remain morally and spiritually strong to continue struggling and resisting.

The 31 years seem to have passed fleetingly. Many radical changes have occurred all over the world during this period of time. In Latin America progressive presidents rule in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil and Argentina. In the last two countries the presidents are progressive women. And in Puerto Rico the US navy is no longer present in Vieques. Unfortunately, the most important change Puerto Ricans need has not taken place. Because colonialism seems to be more entrenched now than ever.

It was José Martí who said that for a people to be free they needed to be cultured. I believe Puerto Ricans are a cultured people. Yet we still are a colonized people. We are also a morally, mentally, spiritually strong people. But we haven’t been able to make Puerto Rico a free and sovereign nation.

It was Albert Einstein who said that by repeating the same experiment the results were always going to be the same. Doing that is nothing else than an exercise in futility. And Puerto Rican independentists have been repeating the same experiment for decades and obtaining the same results without being able to achieve their goal of an independent and sovereign nation. The celebration of plebiscites has been such an experiment. So why do we continue engaging in Sisyphean tasks? What should we do? Let’s pay heed to Einstein’s wise warning.

My proposal is a simple one. Let’s work on the problems we can resolve with the means and resources we have at our disposal. For example, let’s take one problem related to the health issue we are facing – obesity. To resolve this problem a simple change in lifestyle will do. Eat a healthy diet, exercise and create a support network. We can also start programs of urban gardening. There’s space for such a program in the 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico. And in those spaces we can grow healthy products that can help with a nutritional diet. We can look for alternative sources of energy and of transportation. Let’s start thinking of changes we can make in our lifestyles and we can resolve some of the difficult problems we face. Problems shouldn’t intimidate or scare us. They should produce ideas in our heads and challenge us to find solutions. Finding solutions to problems give us confidence, and help us transcend our colonized mentality. And that transcendence gets us closer to our goal of achieving an independent and sovereign nation and a better and more just world. We are intelligent enough to know what needs to be done. We can change lifestyles in Puerto Rico and in the Puerto Rican diaspora and by doing so we will grow stronger morally, physically, spiritually and mentally. We can make Puerto Rico a free and sovereign nation.

En resistencia y lucha,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Breaking the One-Sided Cycle: Filiberto, the movie

There are at least two sides to every story. When it comes to the history of Puerto Rico there are many stories. The same same can be said of its many patriots and their long fervor-ed stance against imperialistic might.

On September 23, 2005, the anniversary of El Grito de Lares, in the town of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, the home of Filiberto Ojeda Rios was surrounded by FBI agents. After spending many years on the FBI's most wanted list, the one side of Filiberto's life that lead to his being labeled a terrorist in his own nation would culminate in his killing by federal agents. This, of course, is the one side that is preferred by the those who seek to further deny a true patriot his right to justice for his beloved country and people.

To better understand Filiberto's life, one has to take a much deeper journey into the life of the man and into his beloved nation, Puerto Rico. It is with an understanding of both that we can then break the cycle of the one-sided story inclination that makes a man, a patriot to some and a terrorist to others. This is what one sided histories do.

 Clandestinity By Comandante Filiberto

In an attempt to better understand the man, a documentary detailing the life of this  professional musician who abandoned his trumpet and his family to live a clandestine life of armed revolutionary has been in the works. Like any other undertaking of this magnitude, a huge amount of funding is required and getting the word out is of utmost importance in achieving this.

If you would like to donate please do so, no amount is too small. You can also post it into your Facebook wall, tweet it, pin it and email it.

Filiberto, Teaser (Proyecto Chiringa) from Filiberto, the movie on Vimeo.