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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 21, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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04/21/15 04/21/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we will compromise. we will compromise and we will come from eyes in order to become push speedy agreement -- accomplish speedy agreement. this is not what we were elected. amy: greece in crisis. will athens be forced to leave the euro? we will speak to greece's finance minister yanis varoufakis in athens. then puerto rico marks the 50th anniversary of the death of independence leader. >> it is not easy to give a speech when we have our mother
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dead and an assassin in life. such is the situation of our country, our mother of order rico. the assassin is the power of the united states of north america. amy: we will speak to author of the new book "war against all puerto ricans" and put in independence party member hugo rodriguez and puerto rico. all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the united nations has estimated up to 815 migrants perished when their boat capsized on route to europe sunday. confirming its place as the worst migrant disaster in the mediterranean sea. survivors have put the death toll between 400 900 -- 400 to 900 50 people, with reports hundreds were locked in a hold
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by smugglers. italian authorities have arrested the captain and other crew members. on monday, at least three people died when another boat ran aground off the greek island while italian authorities said they rescued over 600. as the european union lunch to back, protesters gathered to demand urgent action. and this teacher national director called -- amnesty international director called for robust program similar to italy's discontinued ameren ostrom. >> looking the other way with hundreds of people dying in the mediterranean. we need to take action and bring about an operation of rescue. amy: the united states has to played two additional warships off the coast of yemen in what officials call the signal to our rent over shipment of armed houthi rebels.
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the move is also seen as a support of saudi arabia over its bombing campaign against the rebels in yemen. on monday, a saudi heaven led strike set off an earthquake-like last in the capital, killing at least 25 people. oxfam has condemned the strike sunday which had one of its military and storage facilities. -- humanitarian storage facilities. as the conflict increases, at the receptor killed washington post reporter with espionage. u.s. paratroopers have begun training ukrainian forces were battling pro-russian rebels in the country ceased. about 300 u.s. troops will train 900 ukrainian counterparts despite russia's warning the move could "destabilize the situation." in oklahoma, tulsa county sheriff stanley plans has apologized to the family of eric harris, the unarmed african-american man fatally shot by reserve deputy robert
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bates who claims he mistook his gun for a taser. following a tulsa world report three supervisors were reassigned after refusing to falsify bates training records. bland said he was not aware of any falsification, but it knowledge to records are missing. in baltimore, maryland, six police officers have been suspended over the death of a man whose neck was broken in police custody. freddie gray died a week after his arrest. police say an autopsy confirmed gray died of spinal cord injuries and was apparently injured while inside a police fan. police said gray was arrested after he ran away after a lieutenant and made eye contact with him. he was charged with carrying a knife, although, authorities acknowledge that a possessing a knife are running away are necessarily crimes. officials say gray asked officers for an asthma inhaler but a medic was not called until over 40 minutes later.
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in illinois, and opted to chicago police detective who opened fire on a group of people killing an unarmed 22-year-old african-american woman has been acquitted. he killed one woman and injured her friend in 2012, claimed he thought cross had a gun. no gun was found. the judge dismissed the case before the difference even called a witness saying his actions were "beyond reckless but prosecutors failed to prove their case." boyd's brother mourned outside the courthouse. >> we will never build a hug and kiss her no more. we will never be up to say i love you. we will never be up to see that smile again. amy: over 50 disability rights activists have been arrested at
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a protest in washington, d.c. the group is to many president obama issued an executive order to end the "inhumane warehousing of people interesting facilities " and implement policies to ensure living wages for health care attendance under medicaid. walmart workers have accused the retailer of closing down five stores in order to suppress growing calls for a living wage and benefits. the united food and commercial workers union filed a complaint before the national labor relations board over the closures, which include the california store which was the site of the first u.s. walmart strike in 2012. walmart says the closures are for plumbing issues. and the 2015 pulitzer prize winners have been announced. winners include the posting courier of charleston south carolina, which took the gold-medal for public service for series on domestic violence homicides. the st. louis post-dispatch and writer elizabeth colbert in general nonfiction for her book
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"the fix extinction was quoted about, change. to see our interview, you can go to democracynow.org. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. with the debt clock ticking greece is fast running out of money. all state bodies up in order to place her cash reserves in the central bank, the bank of greece as it struggles to stay afloat. greece is supposed to receive the last installment of its bailout funds from european creditors. but the countries knew leftist anti-austerity party has expressed concerns about its terms. the creditors reportedly pressuring the country to restructure its labor market and curtail its pension system. sir reza has instead in the opposite by increasing pension payments to lower wage workers. eaking in washington, d.c. last week, the head of the international monetary fund christine lagarde urged greece to restore stability. >> what needs to happen now is the political views need to
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actually deliver the measures, the tools, the reforms that would actually reach the objectives that have been set between international community and greece. restore stability improve the economy, make sure one of these days greece reacts as the financial market on its own and without support. that is what needs to happen. and we're completely available to work with the greek authorities on those objectives. amy: on friday, eurozone finance ministers will decide whether to release emergency funds to greece. without the funds, greece may default on its debt payments in coming weeks of its membership in the euro zone at risk. for more we go directly to athens, greece, where we are joined by greece finance minister yanis varoufakis. he is not only a political economist, but also something of a global celebrity. prospect magazine list semester much as the world's most leading thinkers it after french economist and before canadian author naomi klein. yanis varoufakis, welcome back to democracy now! can you tell us what you're calling for right now? how high are the stakes?
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>> i would like to phrase my answer in terms that don't resemble a hollywood movie and a kind of confrontation. the way i see it is this. greece has been in a class of a major crisis over the last five years. we had a serious recession that led to a depression. so the question is, how can we put in and to these never-ending downward spirals so as to stabilize the economy, create conditions for the return of a degree of social justice, and also repay our debts to our creditors. the official version was that greece was on the mend and austerity was working. our proposition to the greek people on which basis he were elected was the opposite. the medicine wasn't working. it wasn't just that it was bitter and we did not want to take it, it was toxic and making a bad thing worse. it was worse than the disease. this is what is at stake.
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you asked me how high are the stakes? it is a question of establishing what needs to be done in order to return greece to a sustainable path. juan: yanis varoufakis, you talk to your speech you gave at the brookings institution of the design failures of the european union. could you talk about that? >> this is a common secret that the eurozone was never designedtain the shockwaves of the major financial markets earthquake of 2008. it was like all monetary unions that lack shock absorbing mechanism, mechanisms for recycling -- a give you an example. remember what happened in 1929? there was a global currency of sorts, the gold standard, the created very sharp, very quick flows of capital even back then even of the internet was not available at the time in the were no computers. and that created bubbles that
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eventually burst beginning of course with wall street. and the result was, the burden of adjustment when on to the debt nations in the devastated parts within the united states. what did the roosevelt administration do with the new deal? a creative mechanisms for recycling debt services within the united states of america through social security, through the fed, the fdic so that when the next crisis happened in 2008 which, of course, was monumental even in the united states, the next 1929 in 2008 happened, the ste of nevada did not have to bailout the banks domiciles in nevada in the state of nevada did not have to worry about an implement benefits. he had these shock absorbing mechanisms. we're the fdic looking out for the banks of nevada and social security at the federal level paying automatically without a political decision. texas from new york state and california were diverted to pay. these are the types of
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mechanisms needed in order to end monetary union -- europe never had those. amy: i want to turn to the opposition lawmaker of the new democracy party, which is the former governing party of greece. he criticized your party, the governing party am a syriza's approach to financial troubles. >> it is devastating. all this uncertainty downgraded, the fact the government is using all the available cash, thing no one. the fact the banks are funneling all the liquidity to support the government is catastrophic for the economy. in action has a real cost. amy: yanis varoufakis, your response? >> well, look. if it were true that the greek economy was on the mend prior to election and it was on a sustainable path then my colleague would be right. unfortunately, it isn't. the debt deflationary crisis was continuing.
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nominal incomes continue to fall. the debt continues to rise. the banks could not function as credit providing institutions. investment was negative. and generally speaking, the greek economy was like a drug addict that relied on the next dose of loans from international and european creditors. what we try to do was to say to our creditors, partners in europe, into the whole world that this recipe was simply not working. and we took a very considered view and very principled position. we said, look, if we sign on the dotted line of this existing program -- imf-inspired program, then we will secure another $7 billion, another does if you want, and our addiction will continue. but at least we will have our ghost for a few more months. we didn't take that does. we did not sign on the dot of line because we want to get rid
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of the addiction. we want to stabilize the greek economy. if that means to be a standoff for a few months, our creditors who don't like to hear the program they have been enforcing and implementing in greece for the last five years was a failure -- nobody likes to be told what you been doing for five years is a failure. well, this is the price we have to pay in order to reboot greece and reboot our relationship with our creditors. the only way it could be heard was to say, we are not interested in getting this loan until or unless we have a rethink of the whole program so that greece stops going down the path of the downward spiral of debt deflation. in the meantime, if this means our bonds have been downgraded well, from what? from -one million to minus 1.1 million? then so be it. we were not elected to live. we were elected to say to our own people and to the people around the world that this medicine has not been working and we need a new treatment. juan: meanwhile, many world leaders keep putting pressure on greece.
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u.s. treasury secretary jack lew warned a full-blown crisis in our country would impact the wider european and global economy. this is what he said. >> if there is a crisis, it will first hit greece and it will hit the greek people very hard but is something the european global economy do not need to have another crisis. so it is in everyone's interest to find that space, but greek government needs to come forward with a kind of details the institutions and they can work through to find the kind of program that can have that kind of confidence. juan: your response to treasury secretary lew? >> secretary lew is absolutely spot on, quite right. this is a crisis we don't have to have because stand up we should have ended some time ago -- standoff we should have ended some time ago. if this negotiation fails to achieve an advantageous outcome, the situation will be dire.
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we are completely in agreement with that. what i believe jack lew has been doing over the last few days and weeks, he is been applying pressure to both the greek government but on the other hand the institutions -- imf, european central bank, european commission, european partners, to get to an agreement. on the question of proposals of settling the agreement, i can assure you, quite a few weeks actually, months, the greek government has clear proposals on how to settle this. it is a matter of convincing the institutions -- the three institutions that the ways of yesteryear, the ways of the last five years, were not solving the problem, that we need deeper reforms. we need to get rid of the idea the austerity is going to end the debt crisis. we need an investment package for greece, and we need together with our partners in these institutions, to agree on a reform mechanism, reform package that attacks here in greece the worst case of rent
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seeking, the cartels the oligarchies, but instead are targeting the little people, the pensioners who are living on a $600 a month, as if that is a reform that would work. amy: yanis varoufakis, what will you do if europe expels you from the euro? >> europe is not going to expel us from the euro. i refuse to believe europe would ever operate that way. remember, that since the end of the second world war, european peoples and the governments have been working tirelessly to bring closer integration together. nobody in europe wants to begin the process of disintegration. after all, what is a very small philosophical difference of opinion. opposition is -- our position is, the last five years offer proof that this program you had
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agreed with previous governments was not working. and now we need to reboot it. we need another one. we need one that makes perfect sense, that is completely automatic, and would solve two major things. firstly, removes the austerity have been driven logic from the scene because it is self-defeating and pushing debt up rather than down by attacking incomes from which the debts will have to be repaid. and secondly, d for reforms -- deeper reforms and in particular, the oligarchy and very gross level of inequality, which is adding to the crisis. when you have a society like greece turning into less legally to more unequal society, and you reduce the tax base by allowing the rich to get away without paying their taxes, to have tax immunity, and constantly to be looking small-scale behavior while neglecting the grand scale
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behavior then you're simply making things worse. believe you me, our proposal -- we all want to come to conclusion quickly. we were prepared months ago to come to an agreement. we are working tirelessly to forge this agreement for the benefits of greeks, europeans and the global community. amy: yanis varoufakis, thank you for being with us, finance minister of greece. january 2015 general election, elected to the greek parliament, representing syriza, and took office in the new government of tsipris soon afterwards. his professor and author of some 15 books. does she is a professor and author of some 15 books. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we we're member pedro albizu campos. stay with us.
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♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: commemorations are being held across puerto rico today to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of pedro albizu campos popularly known to many as don pedro. leader of the independence
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movement, he spent some 26 years in prison for organizing against u.s. colonial rule. he was born in 1891 to seven years before the u.s. invaded the island. he would go on to become the first puerto rican to graduate from harvard law school. once he returned to puerto rico, he dedicated his life to the independence movement and of becoming president of the puerto rican nationalist party in 1930. it was a position he held until his death in 1965. amy: in 1936, pedro albizu campos was jailed along with other nationalist leaders and conspiracy and sedition charges. his german led to protest across puerto rico. on palm sunday, march 21 1937, police shot and killed 21 reagan's and wounded over 200 others, taking part in a peaceful march to protest pedro albizu campos's and persimmon. the event became known as the massacre. after his eventual release, he was arrested again in 1950 just days after nationalist revolt
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began on october 30. this is how his arrest was reported at the time. >> puerto rico rounds of its nationalists following the wounding of five u.s. congressman. pedro albizu campos is subdued after a two-hour gunbattle with police, which ended when his barricaded hideout was the target for two gasper roche. in all, 37 of the party are rested. there were 100 -- several rounds of ammunition were fired. campos faces the original 89 year sentence imposed at the time of the attempt on former president truman's life from which he had been paroled. the nationalist arsenal is believed to have been supplied by reds, now being hunted throughout the island. juan: pedro albizu campos spent almost the rest of his life in prison where he repeatedly said he was the subject of human radiation experiments.
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photos taken of him in prison show his body covered with welt s. this is a copy of his speech he gave just a month before one of his arrests come his arrest in 1950. [applause] >> mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, it is not easy to give a speech when we have our mother laying dead and an assassin waiting to take her life. such is the present situation of our country, our mother of puerto rico. the assassin as the power of the united states of north america. one cannot give a speech while
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the newborn of our country are dying of hunger. while the adolescence of our homeland are being poisoned with the worst virus of them all, the virus of slavery. when the adults of our homeland must leave their hometown in fear, and they don't even have exit to countries other than the enemy power that binds us. they must go to the united states to be slaves of the economic powers, of the tyrants of our country. they are the slaves to go to michigan out of need, to be stormed an outraged and kicked. one cannot easily give a speech when this turret has the power to tear the sons out of the hearts of puerto rico mothers dissent to korea or into hell to kill, to be the murderers of innocent koreans, or to die
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covering a front so the yankee enemies of our country, for them to return insane to their own people or for them to return mutilated beyond recognition not even own mothers. it's not easy. our blood boils. it tells us it must end, you must disappear. and the day must be the day which is to say, it must be the day of the puerto rican revolution. [applause] >> this year is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the cuban flag. our lester secretary-general made a beautiful speech, an homage to the flag of cuba.
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he compared it and called it -- the centennial of the cuban flag is also the centennial of the puerto rican flag in the sense of origin. we have called together here those who want the union of our brothers, of our latin american brothers. and very specially, the can. all the people, the haitians, the dominicans, for all of them to love the independence of puerto rico as their very own. as long as puerto rico is not free, every single one of those nations is me later. amy: that was pedro albizu campos in 1950, shortly before he was arrested. he died 50 years ago today on
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april 21, 1965. we are joined in new york by democratic commerce member of new york is a serrano who push for the fbi to declassify records regarding the bureau's activities targeting independence activist. he was born in puerto rico. also in new york, nelson dennis is author of a new book, "war against all puerto ricans." he is the former new york status of women and former editorial director of the largest spanish-language newspaper here in new york city. joining us from san juan, puerto rico hugo rodriguez undersecretary of relations for north america for the puerto rico independence party. he joins us via video stream from the party's headquarters. we welcome you all to democracy now! let's start off with commerce member's a run-up, why you feel pedro albizu campos is so important -- commerce member serrano, why you feel pedro albizu campos is so important. >> it is a historical situation. first of all, one of the things
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i hear in congress a lot is we can't resolve the status of puerto rico until puerto ricans decide what they want. no, they did not invade us, we invaded them. in my case, we invaded them. it gets very complicated since i was born there and now a member of the u.s. congress. part of me invaded the other part of me i guess. pedro albizu campos was a man who stood up for what he believed was right and what a lot of puerto rican saw what was right. it was not necessarily -- this is a tricky thing to say. not necessarily outright independence, but our respect, our right dignity and understanding to grow colony. i believe a lot of people who may not support independence back and demand from washington based on his desire to act and demand from washington. he asked for independence. others ask for statehood or enhanced commonwealth. but i think it all stems from the fact there was this puerto
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rican who do are challenged a system. so now it is each challenge washington because he dared do it such a long time ago. i is a person who came here when i was for a young, grew up in new york living in a state, being born in puerto rico, i have the highest respect for him. i've said it forever. some people criticize you for that, but he stood up when people would not stand up. he paid a big price. we're still trying to find out -- when we got the fbi files and juan gonzalez was the first person to look at the files. i don't know how to read that stuff. he does. we found out a lot of things we didn't know. there are still things we don't know. we don't know how much he was tortured in prison. we don't know other people that were killed during that time. and we also, sadly, found something. a lot of names were crossed out because a lot of people we thought were they thought were with them were actually not with them and those names are people who at that time were still
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alive, but the fbi gave to me over one million documents of which -- two sets. one set, i sent to hunter college and the other i sent to senator of puerto rico, which understand is sitting somewhere in a basement doing nothing. juan: compass men serrano, i want to ask you how the files got released. if you could tell the story. you were the time -- at the time house of the head of the house committee. >> also member of the appropriations committee. i was the top democrat. we were not in the majority, so republican was the chairman. i was asked by my friends from the independence party, why don't you ask him about the behavior toward puerto rico? we both thought we would get a
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hemming and point from the director of the fbi. juan: at that time? >> louie free. he shot me off my chair and left me for the first time in my career in politics without a follow-up weston. about the believe the puerto ricans have been persecuted for years in the independence persecuted, is anything you can tell us? he said, it was true, and i will release the documents to you. that shocked me. that started the whole thing that let you are investigation to your reporting. and i understand nelson has been kind enough to say that some of that research went into his books also. amy: nelson dennis, for people who don't know who pedro albizu campos is, can you give us a thumbnail sketch of his life? >> well, pedro albizu campos was the greatest patriot importer in history. he was the first puerto rican to graduate from harvard. he was the first puerto rican -- amy: but he did not give the
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valedictorian address even though he was the valedictorian. >> it was neither perceived as racism, it was just the way it was at that time. almost considered a given that we would not have a person of color delivering the valedictorian speech. that was sort of a defining moment for him when he could see, basically, how things were run. he started -- he refused all sorts of corporate sinecures and very elegant offers to open up a one-man office. he basically practiced poverty law but he also contained the head of the nationalist party. he advocated organized editorialized, but he was ignored. it was like he didn't exist until the 1935 agricultural strike that ended up doubling the sugarcane workers wages. and then the united states took a very serious attention. it was at that point that they completely militarized the island police force. they sent in an army general, a
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policeman named you francis riggs whose father was the president of the riggs national bank which had colonial investments all over south and central america. just quickly, to get to the title of the book, the violet started immediately thereafter. in 1935 -- juan: before you go to the violence, i found has meaning in your book the story of the riggs bank you talked about and its role. could you elaborate a little bit on that? >> it was finally defunded and terminated when he got caught laundering money forpinochet in chile. it is called filibustering. it meant to go down to south america and start a fake revolution, which is actually a disguise right-wing takeover. those revolutions have to be financed. the riggs bank was one of the principal sources of money
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exchange to finance these revolutions so places like the united fruit company could come in and take over a government. riggs comes to basically oversee the colonial investments in puerto rico. when his police force assassinated three nationalist in broad daylight, he had an immediate police press comments to contextualize to the island what this was all about. he said nakedly, bluntly to everybody, this was his intent. he told the entire island that if pedro albizu campos continue to "agitate" the sugarcane workers, there would be war to the death against all puerto ricans. juan: you also note he tried to buy pedro albizu campos in a luncheon at the wealthiest club in san juan. could you talk about that? >> equipment of where the double takes you -- the equivalent of
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where the devil takes you to the mountainous has come all this shall be yours if you will just come with me. they took him to a very famous, elaborate casino in san juan and e. francis riggs offered pedro albizu campos $150,000 -- this is not apocryphal, french journalism. it was reported the next day in our multiple witnesses there. it was written in his wife's autobiography, $150,000 if he would basically back off of the sugarcane strike and sort of soft in his nationalist the mains. pedro albizu campos rightfully and politely refused the offer and said his island wasn't for sale. that offer was repeated to marin who took it and became the governor of puerto rico. >> when we looked at those
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documents that you look at with me, the first page shows the sickness of the people dealing with at the fbi the time. a gentleman whose name i forget, writing to herbert hoover and saying, keep an eye on albizu campos. this man speaks many languages and is very intelligent and he could win the next election. he knows about army intelligence. in other words, if you take all that today and present it for candidate running for president you will get elected. so the first question is, where was the problem? the problem obviously was that he was intelligent enough to alert people, and it was considered making trouble when in fact, he was simply alerting people to the suffering and mistreatment of puerto rico as a colony. juan: also joined by hugo rodriguez and puerto rico of the puerto rican independence party. albizu campos is generally regarded as a terrorist in the
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united states and the work the nationalist for independence is considered part of the terrorist movement here in the united states, but yet you have a high school named after albizu campos , in elementary school named after albizu campos, a high school in chicago named after albizu campos, a middle school here in new york city named after albizu campos, a public housing project in the lower east side named after albizu campos. so what is the significance of campos still on the island? >> pedro albizu campos is very important puerto rico because albizu campos gave us back our identity. remember when the united states invaded us, they tried to colonize diddley for economics but as well in education process.
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they tried to force on american values and a race all puerto rican and spanish -- you race all puerto rico and spanish from us. they try to do our spanish language. that point in time, pedro albizu campos gave us that the pride of being a different identity, of being a different nationality. and the politics of puerto rico, not only for independence, but for all the politics in puerto rico, [indiscernible] before and after pedro albizu campos, because no one would deny the value of our identity of our values and our language. and that is one of the most important contributions that pedro albizu campos did to puerto rico. i believe it is important as well that in order to understand
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albizu campos and those characterizations [indiscernible] you have to understand the time in which he lived. the 1950 event, the insurrection of 1950 and the attack to the congress in 19 -- was in the context of the establishment of that decade. that was [indiscernible] let me tell you something. they gave a name and puerto rico for the and colony, but the proper dust for the colony, but the proper -- they put commonwealth the puerto rico in english. together with that effort, united states, we're trying to
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break out quarter rico from the list of territories and colonies of the united nations. and in that context -- i mean, the context of the cruel persecution of the independent movement is that pedro albizu campos made the insurrection of 1950 and having the event of the attack to congress in 1954. of course, albizu campos new knew [indiscernible] an open fire once inside the building. if he wanted to -- but he wanted to focus the attention of the work on what was happening in puerto rico and to demonstrate before the world, show before the whole world the regime of puerto rico. amy: let's go back to nelson denis, talking about the attack on congress, also on vice
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president truman. can you talk about the actions of pedro albizu campos, what he did what he did? for those not at all familiar with his history? >> at that time, if you make an empathic leap to the 1950's and earlier, you realize that puerto rico -- let's call it a nation. the nation separated by an ocean, language, a culture, 400 years of history. if you say what happens in vegas stays in vegas, what happened in puerto rico never happened at all. you could literally shoot 17 people and then deceive the mainland claiming the police had acted in self-defense. the even rearranged the corpses. the core graft the settings -- choreographed the settings and created a different reality and told -- somehow created the reality puerto ricans were shooting themselves. similarly in the 1950's context president truman said this would dismiss everything even an
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assassination attempt against him, as an incident between puerto ricans. this incident involved the deployment of 5000 national guard troops, the arrest of 3000 puerto ricans, and the bombing in broad daylight of two counts. "the new york times" reported it it looked like an earthquake had hit it. the earthquake was a bombing but "the new york times" of the nationalists had burned their own town. within this context of repression, there was an additional law law 53, from 1948 to 957, made it illegal to utter a word, sing a song, was a late june, say anything with respect to the independence of puerto rico. even if you had a flag in your own home, that was a felony and you could be arrested for 10 years. juan: a puerto rican flag. >> a puerto rican flag. you had over 100,000 puerto ricans that had secret fbi files open on them.
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there's one that congressman serrano has released. 1.8 million pages of secret surveillance. under these conditions, you could not even get word off the island. the information was controlled by say half a dozen wire service reporters. within that context, albizu campos realized -- he had fbi agents following him all over the island. a series of 25 and platoons. at any time, there were six fbi agents. they had to do something striking. that to engage in some dramatic gesture to galvanize the world's attention. it was modeled after the easter rising in ireland in 1916. the idea wasn't to defeat the most powerful empire on earth, it was just to confront that reality and, especially the u.n. the colonization committee realize there was a serious problem in puerto rico. there was referendum vote coming up to create the commonwealth. there was a great urgency that kicked in. it was a fanaticism or reds are the way even heard it on the
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newscast. it was a very specific and necessary action so the world would know the seriousness of the conditions. amy: explain what they did. >> they had an island-wide, i would say eight pounds, they tried to secure guns by attacking police precincts. it started with a prison breakout led by somewhat famous criminal, as the police were then chasing these 110 fugitives around the island. they attacked in these 8 towns particularly -- the idea was to attack the police precincts and then retreat to a very centered lee -- centered location. and hold out for a of a week or two so they can get word out. to the world. it was more of a symbolic act. it wasn't really a military act. the point was to get the word out. it was for that reason the u.s. oppressed it immediately. the reprisals were across the
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board. 3000 puerto ricans were arrested. 2000 -- two counts were bombed. the only word he heard in the united states was they were these fanatics in puerto rico and it was an incident. juan: not only that, but in that context, the attack of the nationalists on blair house occurred. it was during that same uprising. amy: and what happened? >> two nationalists, because communication had been cut from the island to the united states about what was happening, they figured they would go to washington and attempt to assassinate president truman, who at that time was staying at the blair house because the white house was under reconstruction. they had a shoot out right outside the blair house. actually killed one officer and wounded another. >> the ironic context is, george
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orwell's 1984 had been published just in 1949, and it was a huge best selling hit in both the united states and great britain. in 1949. and yet in 1950, we had this brilliant circumstance in puerto rico -- orwellian circumstance of puerto rico worry had this island-one revolution and president truman napping in his underwear and washington a few botrytis shoot him, and they dismiss it as an incident between puerto ricans, as if nothing was wrong in puerto rico. it was in or really an situation on the island, and people did not even realize it. amy: we're talking about pedro albizu campos, the 50th anniversary of his death today. we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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>> amy: song for the independence leader who is being honored today throughout puerto rico and other places in the notice states. our guests are nelson denis hugo rodriguez who is about to head out to commemoration in san juan new york congress member jose serrano. i am amy gonzalez with juan gonzalez. -- i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: owed to ask you about the legacy today and the nationalists who are basically forgotten today, even in puerto rico. >> the independence party will unveil in a building located in old san juan, on the corner, a
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building that was the headquarters of the nationalist party. afterwards, there would be [indiscernible] i believe albizu campos is not forgotten. he is very present. his lessons, full of sacrifice is an example for all of us in the case of independence. he suffered jail. he suffered torture in jail. it demonstrates he was burned with radiation in jail. and he never took a step back in his struggle in favor of independence. so that example of her severe and dust perseverance is an example for all of us. amy: that is a key point.
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we want to go to an interview with ben governor -- within governor, an interview he gave on u.s. television in the 1950's. the governor called into question pedro albizu campos's sanity. let's but to a clip. >>'s mental state was not good. he spent all the time wrapped in cold towels saying that some mysterious machines were throwing nuclear rays at him from a great distance. since it would be unbelievable that anybody believed that, if you are locked up and nobody could see him, i thought that if you were outside of the jail people would realize how his mind was operating and he would be able to get less young people -- even less than he has in this terrible state of mind that we observed here recently. >> does he still where the cold
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tells now that he is out of jail? >> he lives in a house about four or five blocks from where i live. all my information is that he continues to wear the cold towels. >> to prevent the atomic race from coming from the united states to kill him. >> that's right. you can see how fantastic this whole thing is when you think of a government that would prepare such an incredible machine to burn up this important personage. i never thought of applying it to joseph stalin or thought about taking the cold towels away from him when he was in jail. >> now that he is out of jail, he still wears the cold towels. amy: that was u.s. journalist drew pearson joking with the then governor of puerto rico talking about pedro albizu campos's claim that when he was in jail, he was a radiated. he did not quite understand what they were doing, but, nelson
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denis, you write very vividly about this in your new book. what happened to albizu campos in jail? >> as you can see, george orwell was live and well in puerto rico. you have a situation where a man is in jail for 25 years followed by fbi agents. his body was so stripped or striped with burns, he looks like it and flipped over on a barbecue, if you will. you have the head of the cuban radiology, cuban cancer association, a world-renowned radiologist, who went and diagnosed him as having been undergoing radiation. you had a geiger counter that broke when it was approached -- put in proximity to his body. you had an x-ray film with a paper clip when it was placed on his skin, the paperclip irradiated on the image onto the x-ray. amy: quickly, what happened in the jail cell? he described what it was like with lights flashing. you thought this was at night. >> there's a woman who won the
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pulitzer prize for book called "the plutonium files." she found this close and they agreed there had been undisclosed experiments conducted for about 40 years from the 1940's or 30 years -- to the 1970's, of 16,000 that were found for stub 16,000 unwilling subjects, including many prisoners, of specifically, radiation studies. it was called "tbi." albizu campos apparently, was one of the subjects. you see have creatively, the governor puerto rico -- by the way, the prison where he was at, is him is directly contiguous with the governor's mansion. they are within 100 feet of each other. this was happening in full knowledge and complicity of the united states government. i read the fbi files were you had a chinese wall around albizu campos so that nobody could get through it, so no doctor could come and confirm what everyone
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knew that which is that he was being slowly killed in this island. they wanted to do it under conditions that it would not be known, because they did not want to create a martyr. they figured if they could declare albizu campos the king of the towels and treat him like a madman, then by inference, the nationalists were also crazy. but now the truth is very evident that there was a widespread -- unfortunately, it was a conspiracy. this is not a conspiracy theory. it is now known this was the attitude and the way they treated our leadership in puerto rico. >> one of the things that is painful when you see, no one can deny the importance of marin and puerto rican history, and so on, but there you see what the fbi was able to do. it was the fbi more than anyone else to divide puerto ricans to where albizu campos could've been a natural ally for the very liberalmarin -- it did not turn
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out that way. marin basically snitched on him and hurt him in so many ways. the other thing that is interesting, for good or for bad, and i think for good, how much we have grown. in those days, to say anything positive about the flag or albizu campos would have gotten you into a lot of trouble. you're we are discussing it today, commemorations in the bronx and washington, puerto rico, it is not seen as anything. lastly, albizu campos's legacy allows for people than to go to congress and to a president and get political prisoners out of jail. the first group bobby garcia worked on. the second group we worked on. the locust situation -- lopez situation. if he had not said that kind of mode -- amy: we will continue this
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conversation and post it on democracynow.org. congress member serrano, nelson denis and hugo rodriguez, thank you for joining us. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] (music playing) ♪ over here i have a bread pudding made with some cherries, and we're serving it with an assortment of ice cream. sometimes it kind of makes me chuckle because when i grew up as a kid in france bread pudding
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was called mendiant. mendiant means "beggar" or "force for the food," but we all loved it. i must say my dad used to have a great recipe that he used to do in his patisserie and that's the recipe i want to share with you today. on today's show, i will show you how to make this delicious cherry bread pudding and all the secrets my father taught me to get the perfect results. i'm also making another rustic dish i grew up with stuffed eggs with smoked salmon that stands out wherever you serve it. our main course is a perfect rabbit braised in mustard sauce, a recipe from my grandmother. so great recipes from my childhood. stay with me and i will show you every secret and every trick of it.
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