03 December 2016

Pedro Albizu Campos – Rise of a Nationalist

War Against All Puerto Ricans by Nelson Denis, 2015, Excerpts

Ponce’s La Cantera was one of the island’s poorest districts. Albizu rented a wooden house on a dirt road and from a hill behind his house, he could see the Central Constancia sugar cane plantation. The vista showed an infinity of cane: thousands of rows, multiplied in successive mirrors, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Albizu was practicing povety law, and his clients were simple people – mostly sugar can workers and jibaros – who paid with chickens, vegetables, and sometimes a simple thank-you. Albizu had no savings or property, but he was building something more important:” a reputation as a man of principle, a man who could be trusted. This reputation grew when he started writing for El Nacionalista de Ponce and advocating for independence around the island.

From 1927 to 1930, he traveled to Cuba, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, campaigning and networking for his revolution. When he spoke about US banks owning Puerto Ricans’ land, the US Navy controlling their borders, the US Congress writing their laws, and US companies paying them starvation wages in the sugar fields, everyone knew what he was talking about.

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