Nationalist Party Leadership, 1930-1937

In the 1930s Don Pedro solidified his place as the most impactful leader of Puerto Rico’s independence movement. During this time Don Pedro organized a movement that seriously challenged U.S. control over Puerto Rico, inspiring both widespread popular support and open colonial opposition — it also sparked the revitalization of the people’s national identity and dignity.

The importance of this period of Don Pedro’s life is profound considering the impact it had on Puerto Rican society — an impact felt and seen today. Much of what took place during this period, whether it be Nationalist Party activities or colonial authority reactions, were significant in scale. The sensational nature of some of these events, particularly in the year 1936, have also caused some aspects of Don Pedro’s leadership to be underrepresented if not overlooked.


Leading A Principled Movement

Complete Non-Collaboration With The Empire The principle of non-collaboration with the colonial regime was promoted by Don Pedro as soon as he returned to Puerto Rico from his university studies ten years earlier. It was his belief in it that brought him to join the Union Party when its members were being removed from andContinue reading “Leading A Principled Movement”

Organizing A Nation

Building A National Movement The Nationalist Party under the leadership of Don Pedro became a bona fide national movement. As he traveled across the territory of Puerto Rico educating the masses about their colonial situation, the heroes and symbols that define their history, and the actions they could take to secure their freedom, he ledContinue reading “Organizing A Nation”

The War Against Nationalists

Developing A Military Regime When strikes across several industries in Puerto Rico broke out in 1933 and the U.S. government was put on high alert, the U.S. administration, headed by President Roosevelt, made several appointments intended to take control of the situation and enforce order. The first appointment, on October 1, 1933, was former U.S.Continue reading “The War Against Nationalists”

Responding To Colonial Violence

Reactions To The Río Piedras Massacre The reactions to the Río Piedras Massacre were significant. The wake for the fallen nationalists was attended by as many as 8,000 people. At the wake, Don Pedro delivered a passionate speech denouncing the massacre and held Chief of Police Riggs responsible for ordering policemen to the Río PiedrasContinue reading “Responding To Colonial Violence”

Months From Independence

The Widespread Movement For A Constitutional Convention Though the Tydings Bill had serious and decidedly harmful design flaws, when it was introduced on April 23, 1936, a nation-wide conversation on independence began. Even Rafael Martínez Nadal, the pro-statehood leader of the Partido Unión Republicana, was quoted in El Mundo on April 25 saying “Rather thanContinue reading “Months From Independence”