Freed FALN Radical Defiant Over U.S. "Crime"
By Deborah Orinand and Maria Alvarez
Defiant freed FALN convict Ricardo Jimenez yesterday refused to apologize
for his role in the
terror bomb group - claiming he's a "freedom fighter" while the United States is out to "terrorize"
"It is an international crime that the United States has retained Puerto
Rico in a colonial status,"
Ricardo Jimenez told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"There's been an objective by the United States government to terrorize
the Puerto Rican nation
You have never, never respected us," said Jimenez - who arrived in Puerto
Rico around 7:30
Jimenez rode out of jail in a flashy gold Mercedes last Friday thanks to
controversial clemency deal, which cut his 90-year jail sentence to 19 years served and let him
He was convicted in 1982 on seditious conspiracy, armed robbery and weapons charges.
Jimenez was asked several times by NBC anchor Tim Russert if he wanted
to apologize to the
families of FALN bomb victims but he never did so, arguing instead that the United States
deserves the real blame.
He said he was acting against colonialism and that's "rightfully just"
just like the American
Revolution and George Washington.
"In Puerto Rico they call me a freedom fighter," Jimenez said.
Clinton's clemency gave a get-out-of-jail free card to 11 FALN prisoners,
remitted fines for two
more and cut the jail time for a 14th who still has some years to serve. Two others refused the
The FALN members are barred from meeting with one another under a provision
them from associating with convicted felons.
Despite the unrepentant tone shown by Jimenez and other freed FALN members,
spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said: "The president believes he made the right decision and it is a
decision that was just."
Jimenez claimed maintenance of the U.S. military base on Vieques amounts to terrorizing Puerto
Rico and it must go.
He brushed off any responsibility for the six deaths and scores of injuries
- including three
maimed New York City cops - caused by the 130 bombs set by the FALN, whose Spanish
acronym stands for Armed Forces of National Liberation.
The Senate today is slated to vote on a resolution of its own that charges
"deplorable concessions to terrorists, undermined national security and emboldened domestic
and international terrorists."