1930 - 1940


Imprisonment of the Nationalists begins after several clashes with authorities: In the Masacre of Rio Piedras four Nationalists are killed by the Policia Insular de Puerto Rico. Poet Juan Antonio Corretjer is held in contempt and sentenced to 1 year in prison for refusing to give up the minutes and books of the national committee of the Nationalist Party. He was previously jailed in Cuba for denouncing a U.S. threat to invade that island during a workers strike there.

The Nationalists avenge the Masacre de Rio Piedras. Hiram Rosado and Elias Beauchamp kill Chief of Police E. Francis Riggs. They are caught and killed in the police headquarters of Old San Juan.

The assassination of Riggs leads to greater persecution and imprisonment of the Nationalists. Days after Riggsí death, the Tribunal de Distrito de Estados Unidos en Puerto Rico orders the arrest of Pedro Albizu Campos, Juan A. Corretjer, Luis F. Velazquez, Clemente Soto Velez, Erasmo Velazquez, Julio H. Velazquez, Rafael Ortiz Pacheco, Juan Gallardo Santiago, Juan Juarbe Juarbe and Pablo Rosado Ortiz. They are accused of conspiring to overthrow by force the United States government in Puerto Rico. All are sentenced except Juarbe Juarbe who is found innocent and Ortiz Pacheco who flees to Santo Domingo. These cases are tried twice. The first trial ends in a hung jury. In the second, the jury was made up of a majority of Americans and reached a "guilty" verdict.

Most human rights violations in Puerto Rican history occur in the mid-1930's. After the arrest of Albizu Campos, Governor Winship plans to silence all protest and political demonstrations against the American regime.

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Masacre de Ponce: 19 people, including the elderly, women and children, die and a hundred are wounded by police during a peaceful demonstration commemorating the abolition of slavery. Two police die from friendly fire, at eh hands of their own fellow officers.The Ponce demonstrators did not have weapons.


The Nationalists are accused of attempting to assassinate Judge Robert Cooper after Albizu Campos and other Nationalists are transferred out of Puerto Rico to serve time in Atlanta, Georgia Ten members of the national committee of the Nationalist Party are arrested. Eight are sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in Atlanta and two,Jesus Casellas Torres and Anibal Arsuaga Casellas, turn state witnesses.

The government also violated the civil rights of groups that formed in support of the imprisoned Nationalists. People are arrested for collecting money for the legal defense of the Nationalists.

In Guanica, Judge Antonio Oliver Frau of the Yauco court has Guaniquen Nationalists Alejandro Victor Sallabery, Agapito del Toro Rivera, Enrique Chacon Izquierdo, Casimiro,Alicea Morciglio, Ramon Rivera Pietri, Adrian Victor Ramos, Ernesto Almodovar Santiago, Eugenio Santana, Vicente Morciglio Figueroa and Pedro Almodovar Figueroa arrested. They were collecting money for the defense of the imprisoned Nationalists and accused of violating transportation laws.


Seven people are arrested in Ciales for violating transportation laws. They are accused of obstructing traffic by collecting money along the roadway. Jose Padro Mislan, Eugenio Matos, Juan Ortiz Perez, Lino Ortiz, Jose Figueroa Gomez and Angel Manuel Rodriguez were making a collection for the defense of the imprisoned Nationalists and their families. Rodriguez was president of the local chapter of the Nationalist Party in Ciales. In the newspaper El Imparcial, Rodriguez said the police pretended their arrests were made because it was against the law for the Nationalists to celebrate El Grito de Lares each year.


Jose A. ìNinî Negron Rodriguez is jailed for explosives. Ciales Mayor Guillermo Pierluissi has several houses torn down because he has inside information that explosives are coming into the city from other towns in the south.

Arrests in connection with the bombing attempts against the priest Nestor J. Aguilera and the baker Pedro Juan Rosaly begin. Jesus Ruiz Arzola is confined in the Ponce District jail for nearly three weeks then released without explanation

Winship continues his repressive policies. Nationalist Party activities are banned or disrupted. Two of their leaders are in prison but the Nationalists continue their struggle to free Puerto Rico.



Another group of Nationalists are sentenced to hard labor in Ponce for possessing, transporting, storing and using explosives. They are specifically accused of placing a bomb wrapped in an American flag on the balcony of the home of the Reverend Aguilera which exploded and caused a tremendous amount of damage. The priest had been targetted for his anti-independence position. Antonio Buscaglia receives 10 years, Alejandro Medina Rodriguez and Guillermo Hernandez, 8 years, Candita Collazo, 4 years. Collazoís husband Virgilio Torres and Ramon Morales were acquitted but had spent two months in jail awaiting trial.

Candita Collazo should be recognized as the first woman independentista to be jailed in the 20th Century for a long term and on a charge of substantial gravity.


Four Nationalists from the Barrio Obrero in Santurce are sentenced to one year imprisonment for possessing illegal explosives: Carlos Llauger Diaz, Agustin Pizarro, Guillermo Roque Cortigo, Eli Barreto Perez and Pedro Brenes.


Increased political repression results in the attempt to assassinate Winship. He is considered responsible for the Masacre de Ponce.
Winship orders the celebration of the invasion of Puerto Rico. Nationalist Antongiorgi attempts to shoot the governor who is on a platform. He fires continuously from the crowd, missing Winship and striking Colonel Luis Irizarry. Antongiorgi is killed on the spot.

The Nationalists are accused of murder and conspiracy to kill. Six are found guilty and sentenced to the chain gang: Tomas Lopez de Victoria, Elifaz Escobar, Santiago Gonzalez Castro, Juan Pietri and Prudencio Segarra. They served 8 years in the State Penitentiary of Puerto Rico. Governor Rexford Guy Tugwell pardons them, finding the governmentís actions unjust.

In the last years 1930ís many people are arrested for destroying U.S. government property. Destroying U.S. Post Office mail boxes was the most repeated offense. The Nationalists were held responsible. The term was up to 5 years.

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