Hundreds of people rallied in New York City in front of 26 Federal Plaza this evening, Monday, September 26, 2005 against the slaying of legendary Puerto Rican revolutionary Filiberto Ojeda Rios by the FBI last weekend.

Ojeda Rios was the Commander of the Boricua Popular Army, better known as Los Macheteros and had been living in clandestinity since 1990. On Friday September 23rd, a historic day for Puerto Rican independentists and nationalists know as El Grito de Lares, the FBI assaulted the home of the Ojeda Rios, shooting hundreds of round which he answered with ten rounds. After three volleys of shots, an FBI sharpshooter apparently shot and wounded Ojeda Rios. FBI officials refused to enter the house and refused entry to supporters, family, lawyers and local government prosecutors. They allowed Ojeda Rios, 72 years old with a pacemaker for his weakened heart, to bleed to death from his wound, causing widespread indignation all over Puerto Rico.

Political figures from across the spectrum denounced the action and the secretive manner in which the FBI handled the action and the FBI has now announced what they term an "independent investigation" of the incident. What remains to be seen is how independent this investigation will be as it is being conducted by the Justice Department.

In New York City, hundreds of Puerto Ricans and supporters of their community rallied in front of the federal building in Lower Manhattan to denounce the incident as a political assassination. A broad spectrum of people join the picket lines, chanting slogans honoring the slain Nationalist leader and demanding that the United States end colonialism in Puerto Rico. Creative placards were displayed with the picture of Ojeda Rios while groups played Plena, traditional music of Puerto Rico, and the protesters chanted in unison denouncing the FBI as assassins. Lawyer Ronald Kuby was present in the crowd as were members of the Black Panther Party and other known activists and former members of revoutionary organizations. Everyone commented on the impressive showing at the rally and remarked how this incident has shocked the Puerto Rican community into action.

The movement received messages of support from comrades in Venezuela and Mexico and received extensive coverage all over the world, as evidenced from pieces in Cuba, Colombia, and countries in Europe. Ojeda Rios will be buried in his home town of Naguabo on Tuesday September 27th. His funeral was filled with Puerto Rican dignitaries, including former governors and other political and nationalist figures, like the President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party Ruben Berrios and legendary Nationalist Lolita Lebron. His casket received an honor guard from the uniformed Cadets of the Republic of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and the Macheteros flag hung above him. The family thanked and welcomed the thousands who showed to pay their respects and simply see the man who had been living underground for 15 years, as Don Luis the humble rose planter who was really the architect of Puerto Rico's armed struggle since the Nationalist years of the 1950s. His widow confirmed that federal officers fired first and were obviously intent on killing him and also called for the investigation.

Whether or not this investigation results in anything substantial (we know it will not, since all American terrorist activity in Puerto Rico goes unpunished), we now have to accept that Filiberto Ojeda Rios has been elevated to the status of a revolutionary icon. He was a committed and selfless Nationalist, a good Puerto Rican, and a true Machetero who gave his life as an example of the valor and sacrifice required of those who really wish to see their people live freely, free from the tyrannical and murderous rule of a foreign power, free from the crutches of the United States government, who has only represented tyranny, murder, repression, exploitation, and despotic rule for the last 107 years in Puerto Rico.

Filiberto, Presente!

Abajo Los Asesinos!

Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!