( Page 5 )

Editors: Blánca Vazquez & Teresa Santiago
Typography & Design: Blánca Vazquez

National Congress For Puerto Rican Rights

Parents Against Police Brutality at Racial Justice Day march, South Bronx, NY, May 1999

The National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights is a mass membership, activist, grassroots organization dedicated to securing full equality and an end to discrimination against Puerto Ricans. It is a volunteer organization which does not solicit government funds. Founded in the South Bronx in 1981, the NCPRR is the largest organization of its kind in the United States.

What does NCPRR do? ADVOCATES for the human and civil rights of Puerto Ricans. EDUCATES its members and the community about the conditions affecting the Puerto Rican and Latino community and ways to improve them. SUPPORTS affiliated organizations and local groups by bringing citywide and national support to their local efforts. DEVELOPS new leadership, with an emphasis on youth and women. INFORMS elected representatives and public officials about our community’s problems and needs and ways of addressing them. ORGANIZES local and national campaigns. The NCPRR is best known for its organizing against environmental racism, police abuse, racially-motivated violence, and other forms of discrimination; work in support of local community issues; and campaigns to hold elected and appointed officials accountable. SERVES as a voice for Boricuas who cannot speak out because they work in agencies or community groups dependent on government funding. OFFERS "apprenticeships in struggle" for new activists. PUBLISHES a "Status Report on Puerto Ricans in the U.S." every two years, as well as national and local newsletters. ENGAGES in activities that preserve and develop our language and culture. BUILDS progressive coalitions with other people of color and groups fighting discrimination.

To join or for more information, contact:

National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights
NYC Chapter
105 East 22nd Street, Room 902
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 614-5355

History Revealed:
FBI Releases Files On Independence Movement

Congressman José Serrano with some of the boxes containing secret FBI files on Puerto Ricans

On March 16th, 2000, Congressman José E. Serrano (Democrat-NY) faced Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis J. Freeh in a House Appropriations sub-committee hearing. Congressman Serrano wanted to know: What role did the FBI and other federal agencies play in discrediting and persecuting the independence movement? In the process, was the FBI involved in violent acts? And particularly, did the FBI play any role in torturing the leader of the independence movement, Pedro Albizu Campos, for his beliefs while he was in federal prison?

The answers to many of these questions were contained in FBI documents that up to then had not released to the public. For years independence forces on the Island had known that they were the targets of FBI COINTELPRO operations. COINTELPRO refers to Counterintelligence Programs instituted by the federal government, between 1956 and 1971, to uncover organizations and individuals who were considered a threat to national security. In the FBI’s own words, the goal was to "disrupt" the work of certain organizations. Targeted by COINTELPRO, from the very beginning, were leftist and labor organizations, African American groups such as the Black Panthers, individuals such as Martin Luther King—and the Puerto Rican independence movement.

The day after the hearing Freeh sent a letter to Serrano announcing a task force to explore the agency’s role in the creation of political dossiers ("carpetas" in Spanish) on Puerto Ricans. On May 17, the Congressman received 8,400 documents, the first installment of a total of 1.8 million documents the FBI plans to release.

Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since the Spanish-American-Cuban War of 1898. In 1917, Puerto Ricans became United States citizens by act of Congress, but have no representation in Congress, have been drafted into U.S. wars since WWI, and cannot vote for president.

What do these documents, still being analyzed, reveal? The files released thus far reveal surveiliance of Luis Munoz Marín, the first elected governor of Puerto Rico born on the Island; Pedro Albizu Campos, leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party; the Federation of Pro-Independence University Students, FUPI; and the Puerto Rican Independence Party. Files were kept on ordinary individuals also—doctors, lawyers, journalists, housewives and factory workers who had at any time supposedly made any comments in support of independence for Puerto Rico.

"People also lost their lives," Serrano noted in a press release, "and there is a serious belief that somehow the authorities, if you will, were involved in the loss of these lives."

Congressman Serrano believes that uncovering this history is important. "The carpetas issue has been studied and continues to be studied on an individual level, but it is important that the public at large, especially students, youth and people from all segments of society have an opportunity to learn about these documents. A universal conduit for this history needs to be established so that it can be shared with schools and organizations across the country, and this history must be preserved. It is my intent that in the near future these files will be released to an academic institution where they can be viewed by the public. It is also my intent that these files will be utilized as learning tools in classrooms across the country, as an opportunity to discuss this chapter in our history and to teach young people about this aspect of Puerto Rican history."

Another reason this history matters, according to Serrano, is that "in the not-too-distant future the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico will be decided, To understand where we’re going we have to know what’s happened during the 101 years of this relationship."

Congressman Serrano represents the 16th Congressional District in the South Bronx. A native of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, he is the longest-serving Puerto Rican member of Congress.

Las Carpetas: The Book

A detailed analysis of the Carpetas case can be found in Las Carpetas: persecución política y derechos civiles en Puerto Rico, ensayos y documentos. The book, co-edited by Ramón Bosque-Pérez, Researcher at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Hunter College, CUNY) and José Javier Colón-Morera, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, contains a collection of essays and documents on human rights and political persecution in Puerto Rico.

The essays offer background information on the Carpetas scandal and cover issues such as: consensus, political repression and de-colonization; the role of federal agencies in political persecution; the case of the Puerto Rican political prisoners; and political intolerance in Puerto Rico. The book received an Honorable Mention in the category of best essay book from the Puerto Rico Chapter of PEN International Writers Association. An English version is currently in the works.

Las Carpetas
is available from
and bookstores throughout Puerto Rico
(ISBN 0-9650043-0-9/Library of Congress Catalog Card Number JC 599.P9C67 1997)

Table Of Contents

Message On Behalf Of Comité Noviembre 2000
Comité Noviembre - Fifth Annual Gala
Gala Foto Album (PuertoRicans.Com)
History And Mission
About The Poster
About The Artist

Comité Noviembre 2000 Spokesperson Dave Valentín
Celebrities Come Out For Comité Noviembre

Celebrando Lo Mejor De Nuestra Comunidad
ASPIRA Of New York, Inc
Exceptional Puerto Rican Youth
Comité Noviembre Scholarship Program
Eugenio María De Hostos Community College
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund

Taíno: Ancient Voyagers Of The Caribbean
El Museo Del Barrio
New Boricua Books

National Congress For Puerto Rican Rights
History Revealed: FBI Releases Files On Independence Movement
Las Carpetas: The Book
Institute For The Puerto Rican / Hispanic Elderly
Day Of Community Service And Social Responsibility

Vieques And The U.S. Military: The Struggle Continues
Intergenerational Message From Vieques

In Memoriam Adelfa - Vera Puerto Rican Nacionalista
In Memoriam - Paul Ramos Health Care Advocate

Comité Noviembre De New Jersey, Inc
New Jersey 2000 Honorees

Poster 2000
Poster 1992
Comité Noviembre - 1999

Copyright ©Comité Noviembre 2000 / Reprinted With Permission


Sign Guestbook

Read Guestbook




Copyright © 1999-2002 / Talí Lamourt-NYBoricua / All Rights Reserved / Updated: November 15, 2003