By MARIA ALVAREZ and
Freed FALN prisoners yesterday vowed to join
forces to resume their political activism - starting
with a mass rally next week - and claimed they
have the OK from the feds.
"We plan to be together - all of us," Ida Luz
Rodriguez said outside the federal courthouse in
San Juan. "Being in jail has not broken my spirit."
The move came despite a federal parole rule that
bars parolees from associating with anyone with a
criminal record - such as fellow FALN convicts -
"unless he has permission of his parole officer."
Nine members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group,
freed on parole Friday after President Clinton
granted them clemency, said U.S. probation
officials in San Juan stipulated only that they must
inform their probation office before any
Eustaquio Babilonia, deputy probation chief in
San Juan, declined to discuss the restrictions,
other than to note they have pledged, as a
condition of clemency, "not to engage and
A probation spokesman in Chicago - where two
other freed FALN members are living under that
district's jurisdiction - wouldn't comment on
whether the co-mingling ban has been lifted for the
pair, but noted "it is the normal practice" to
enforce the ban.
Clemency critics were shocked at the San Juan
"This arrangement defies logic. It's as if the clock
was turned back," said Rep. Vito Fossella
(R-S.I.) who last week led a House resolution
condemning the clemency.
"Now they're meeting over a cup of coffee and
who knows what they're plotting," added
Fossella, who is seeking a meeting with parole
officials to clarify the prisoners' status.
"This is astounding. It goes against everything we
were led to believe," said Joe Connor, whose
father died in an FALN bombing.
None of the FALN members have voiced regret
for their past - although not charged with any of
the FALN's 130 bombings, some were
videotaped making bombs - and Sunday, a
defiant Ricardo Jimenez refused to apologize for
his role, calling himself a "freedom fighter."
The freed FALNers plan to attend a
pro-independence rally in Puerto Rico next
Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously voted 93-0
last night to go ahead and debate a resolution
denouncing the clemency.