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Irvin Flores, Puerto Rican Nationalist Leader, Dead at 69

March 19, 1994

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Puerto Rican nationalist leader Irvin Flores, who along with other independence supporters attacked the U.S. Congress in 1954, died Saturday of cancer. He was 69.

Flores had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1993 and underwent surgery last year. He died at his home in a suburb of the capital after three months in what doctors described as a progressive coma.

Flores spent 25 years in federal prisons for the March 1, 1954, attack in which five congressmen were injured.

In 1950, he was briefly incarcerated for his alleged role in the island’s nationalist rebellion. He was wounded in a battle and fled, but was later arrested by police.

After his release, he moved to New York to join independence leader Rafael Cancel Miranda, who introduced him to Lolita Lebron and Andres Figueroa Cordero.

Together they carried out the attack on Congress, shooting at U.S. representatives from a second-floor balcony in the Capitol. All four were imprisoned until they were pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

″Of the four, Irvin was the only member of the working class, a defender of workers’ movements, not an intellectual,″ historian Mini Seijo Bruno said. ″He is the one that best represents the people of Puerto Rico.″

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