Puerto Rican Youth Leader Arrested by FBI

The following press release was issued July 3, 2001, by the Union of Socialist Youth (UJS, or Union de Juventudes Socialistas), youth organization of the Socialist Movement of Workers (MST, or Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores), P.O. Box 22699, UPR Station, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931. For more information, call: (787) 763-6946.  

Today, Tuesday, July 3, 2001, at approximately 5 p.m., eight agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) went to the home of university student Pedro Colón Almenas to arrest him. Pedro was alone with his mother when the squad of FBI agents arrived. They arrested him on trumped-up charges surrounding the protest at the ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps] offices against the morning exercises held by the ROTC at the Rio Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. The protest was called by the students on April 30. It is significant that this arrest takes place two months after the events of April 30, barely a week until the end of the U.S. Navy maneuvers at Vieques and the day before the Fourth of July holiday.

Pedro Colón Almenas is a member of the UJS, Union of Socialist Youth), the youth organization affiliated with the Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores (MST, Socialist Movement of Workers). The UJS has carried out a continuous two-year campaign of political denunciation of the military presence at the university. The MST organized a brigade that was able to penetrate the firing range on Vieques during the recent military practices and was able to halt the bombings according to the admission of the U.S. Navy itself.

Given this reality, we denounce this arrest as a clear reprisal on the part of the FBI in retaliation for the actions of civil disobedience carried out by the MST in just the last two weeks. In addition, this is part of a public relations ploy by the FBI as a component of their efforts to promote the campaign of political hysteria that has been unleashed by the most right-wing conservative sectors of the New Progressive Party (PNP, the pro-statehood party), which began with their attack on the chapel in front of the Legislature in San Juan and which culminates in their Fourth of July activities.

This arrest is yet another attack by the repressive apparatus of the U.S. federal government against the Puerto Rican people in our struggle to get the U.S. Navy out of Vieques.

We call on the people of Puerto Rico and their supporters everywhere to demonstrate solidarity with the student Pedro Colón Almenas in the face of this blatant frame-up and act of political persecution by the FBI.

Ricardo Olivero Lora
Union de Juventudes Socialistas (UJS-MST)