June 2, 2014
National Puerto Rican Parade
i would like to thank you and the other Board Members with profound gratitude for making me part of this year’s celebration of the National Puerto Rican Parade. It is a great honor and a very humbling experience for me.
Thirty three years ago today i started facing the great challenge of imprisonment. When i arrived in prison i expected to spend no more than the same amount of years other Puerto Rican political prisoners had spent. Don Oscar Collazo López had spent the most-29 years in federal prison when i was arrested. Unfortunately, i have surpassed him by 4 years. Thus far, i have been able to face the challenge with dignity and honor, and stay strong, both spiritually and mentally. And, in spite of all the dehumanizing and toxic experiences i’ve had to face, i can aver that there is no hatred or fear in my heart and that i can still fill it with love and compassion every day.
i chose to serve the most just and noble cause any Puerto Rican can serve. Every day i affirm my Puerto Rican identity and do it to confirm that i can’t be anything else but a boricua. Thirty three years ago i said in a federal courtroom that Puerto Rico would be an independent and sovereign nation, and i continue believing the same to be true. Ours is a struggle that has lasted centuries and has survived every attack waged by two imperialist powers in their quest to destroy it. It has survived because the courageous women and men who initiated it did it as an act of love and every generation that has succeeded them have done it for the same reason. For me it was a seed that was sown with lots of love, therefore it will of be fruitful and perennial. Puerto Rico is my homeland and i love it and my people. But not only do i believe that ours will be an independent and sovereign nation but that we have the potential of transforming it into an edenic garden for the enjoyment of our people and the rest of the world. We can do it because we are a creative people and because we have the human resources that are capable of doing it. All we need to do is to dare to struggle and to dare to win. i wish you great success with the celebration of this year’s Parade and with all the endeavors you have undertaken. Take good care and stay strong.