Puerto Rican Proud of Attack
Mar. 02, 1999
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ The Puerto Rican nationalist who led an attack on Congress 45 years ago marked that anniversary Monday, saying violence may no longer be the way to independence.
``I will never repent,'' Maria Dolores Lebron, whose four-member team wounded five lawmakers, told Primera Hora newspaper. ``I did my patriotic duty.''
During the attack, Lebron unfurled her island's flag, screamed ``Viva Puerto Rico!'' and fired the first pistol shots from the visitor's gallery of the House of Representatives.
She and her companions were sentenced to prison and were pardoned in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.
Lebron, 79, said further efforts to win independence from the United States, which seized the island during the Spanish-American War in 1898, should not require violence because the world is more receptive to demands for freedom.
Cancel Miranda, 63, the only other member of the team who is still alive, now says he also urges peaceful efforts to win independence.
In a December referendum on the status of the Caribbean island, most voters favored the island's current commonwealth status. An independence option won just 2 percent of the vote.