Since birth, there are people who are destined to show you the right path in life. There are different cases, in a family are the parents, in school are the teacher and in work is your boss. During the lifetime and through the experiences that you’re getting in the way, you learn what things are beneficials or harmful for you. Little by little you begin to form as a person, acquire knoledge, skills and begin to shape the figure in wich you see yourself in a future. In my case, besides my parents, there are some people who during the journey of my life have helped me become the person I am today. They, without knowing who I am, have filled the empty space in me, have clarified my doubts, helped me overcome my fears and failures and have taught me how to survive in this world. How? Just the way they lived their lives and how they never give up by any sircumstances.
But they didn’t came to my head like magic. I was reading a couple of history books and in content they had biographies of different important people of the world. Among them were six Puerto Ricans and one Argentine that caught my attention. They were: Filiberto Ojeda Rios, Pedro Albizu Campos, Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Antonia Martinez Lagares. Filiberto Ojeda Rios, Puerto Rican, best known for the assault to the Wells Fargo in Hartford, Connecticut. Stealing 7 million dollars that he and his group used to buy toys for the poor children and finance the independence movement. Pedro Albizu Campos, Puerto Rican, known for fighting till the last day of his life for the independece of Puerto Rico and all the countries that need it. Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda and Irving Flores, also Puerto Ricans, kown for the assault to the United States House of Representatives in 1954. Lolita was best known because when she got arrested she yelled “I did not come to kill anyone, I came to die for Puerto Rico”! Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Argentine, known for being one of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution and one of the closest friends of the maximum Cuban leader Fidel Catro.
My admiration for these people is not because of what they did or are known, it is because of the path that they had throughout their lifes. Their dedication to an ideal and people, for the defence of a cause. It was that constant dedication, no matter what others say or may happen, that make me realized that life is for the people that fight fot their believes and goals, and not for the ones that prefer to sit and wait. They taught me that life is not easy for those who wants to do the right thing, because there would always be an obstacle that is not going to let you move forward and its up to you to give up or fight till you pass it. But it was the story of a 21 years old young lady that awoke the anger in me and was her act what change my life forever. This is her story.
March 4, 1970. The University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras was having a manifestation which later became a strike. The conflict began when the task force/strike force of the police was sent to the University of Puerto Rico to intervene against the students. Antonia, a 21 yeas old young lady, student of the University of Puerto Rico, was watching what was happening from the balcony of her lodging on the second floor of the Ponce de León Avenue. While she was looking from her balcony, she saw how a group of police officers were beating a group of students. When she saw the brutality of the act, she yell at them “asesinos” (murderes). One of the officers looked up at the balcony, took out his pistol from his pocket and fired. The bullet went through the head of Antonia and wounded in the neck another student that was with her. Antonia died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The student that was with her recounted what happened and identified the one who did it. The police was accused and later acquitted. But was later discovered that the police department and the FBI altered the case, blamming someone that had nothing to do and hiding the responsable. Antonia then became a symbol of braveness and a role model. She became the fighting spirit of the people.
The effect that this story had on me when I read it was one of phases. First, I was in a state of shock and surprise. I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly all these questions coming In and out of my head, making me more and more confused. How could it be posible that exists such brutalilty inside of the brain of a human being? How close a person is to look and act like an animal? What kind of person is able to do such things? But like my dad once told me, “welcome to reality my love”! Second, I begin to search for the history of different contries and then I realized that like Antonia there were much more. So much injustice, so much misery, deaths, betrayals, power and control abuse. I educate my self in every way. Third, in the end I became a defender of the students rights and all the people in general. That story make me believed in social and economic equality, freedom in all the sense of the word and in unity. I don’t believe in the capital power or capitalism and least in colonies. I believe in a bright future and in a free way of living where the people are the ones with the power of decide their future and the right of liberty. Antonia inspired me to be a better person each day. A person with only fear of God and no one else. I became a free spirit and a person willing to give my life for my country if necessary.
PS: In this site, at the bottom, is the news report of that day.