Puerto Rico Herald
September 23, 2003

135th Anniversary Of "Grito De Lares" Celebrated

Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

LARES (AP) – Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday at the town’s Revolutionary Square to celebrate the 135th anniversary of the historic uprising of Puerto Rican nationalist leaders against the Spanish government that came to be known as the "Grito de Lares."

The burning of the U.S. flag, an act that has become a tradition during the commemoration of the revolutionary act, again took place Tuesday. This time the Star Spangler Banner was burned by members of the Pro-Independence University Movement chapter of Mayaguez. The group was also protesting construction of a building within the local UPR campus for the ROTC.

A radio recording of the convicted fugitive revolutionary leader Filiberto Ojeda was also broadcast. In it, the leader criticized the pro-independence leaders who have failed to move the island close to its freedom.

"If a solid organization, willing to make the most in a revolutionary manner without entering into political contradictions, is created, pro-independence will be strengthened," Ojeda said.

The official acts began when singer Danny Rivera sang the revolutionary version of the Puerto Rico National Anthem.

The Congreso Nacional Hostosiano, a pro-independence group, used the opportunity to begin a campaign to collect funds aimed at purchasing a radio station.

Group President Hector Pesquera said the radio station will help promote independence for Puerto Rico.

We believe this project will cost $2 million, but the independence movement can unite efforts and finance it," Pesquera said.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Party President Rosa Meneces said she is disappointed with Gov. Sila Calderon’s performance.

"I think she has been a colonial governor; she folded completely with the U.S. government, and any woman who truly feels Puerto Rican should reject and condemn her," Meneces said.

The Puerto Rican Independence Party used the activity to recruit members.