February 2, 2012
The Civil Rights Commission (CDC by its Spanish
initials) revealed today its report which
concludes that the death of Machetero leader
Filiberto Ojeda Ríos was “illegal” and that the
investigations of his death conducted by the U.S.
Office of Inspector General and the Puerto Rico
Department of Justice omitted important information and testimony.
On Thursday, members of the Caribbean and Latin
American Coordinating Committee of Puerto Rico
made public the CDC's report about the death of
Ojeda Ríos at the hands of FBI agents at his home
in Hormigueros on September 23, 2005.
Liliana Laboy, one of the organization's
spokespeople, indicated that the report contains
information that wasn't included in the OIG or
Justice Department reports and also emphasized
the federal authorities' refusal to collaborate with the investigations.
"This report (CDC) contains worthwhile
information and testimony that hadn't come to
light previously. It's notable, in this
investigation as well as in the Puerto Rico
Department of Justice's investigation, that
federal authorities refused to cooperate and
allow the examination of several employees and
former employees who participated, and thus had
responsibility for the murder," said Laboy.
The spokesperson also stated that the report
points out facts that prove that the intention of
the federal agents was not to arrest Ojeda Ríos
and that thus what happened was "an illegal death."
"The report points out facts that prove the lack
of intention to arrest Ojeda and concludes that
an illegal death was committed in other words, a murder," stated Laboy.
For his part, Luis F. Abreu, the Machetero
leader's attorney, stated that the CDC report
details four particular aspects about the events
that took place at Ojeda Ríos’ home in
Hormigueros, including: the nature and amount of
the force used by the federal agents against
Ojeda Ríos, the availability of adequate medical
attention, media access, and the role of the
government of the Free Associated State.
As for the involvement of the Puerto Rican
government in the case, Abreu condemned the fact
that it was the administration of then Governor
Aníbal Acevedo Vilá that notified federal
authorities of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos’ whereabouts,
in exchange for a designation of funds to combat terrorism.
Although Abreu recognized the importance of the
CDC report in terms of its content, he said he
was not satisfied because the report doesn't
clearly establish the crass violation of rights implicated by the murder.
Laboy stressed that in light of this new report,
the United States and Puerto Rican governments
should reopen the case to make criminally
responsible the agent who shot Ojeda Ríos, as
well as Luis Fraticelli and José Figueroa Sancha,
who directed the federal operation.
Laboy stated that the Civil Rights Commission
sent them a simple communication on Wednesday
indicating that the report on the death of
Machetero leader Filiberto Ojeda Ríos had been
sent to the Governor and the Legislature, and
that it was under the consideration of the State
Electoral Commission's Board of Advertising
Examiners pending authorization for its
publication, according to Electoral Law
requirements during the electoral season.
The report was ready in March of 2011.
Saturday, February 04, 2012