Obituary: Lolita Lebron

On 1 August, the famous Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebron died, aged 90.

Lebron, along with three other nationalists, was sentenced to death in 1954 following an armed assault on the US House of Representatives in Washington. Some 30 shots were fired during the attack, and four people were injured. Nobody was killed, the purpose of the assault being rather to draw attention to the vibrant opposition in Puerto Rico to the US’s colonisation of their country.

The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and Lolita was freed in 1979, following widespread international demands for her release. She remained resolutely anti-imperialist, as well as being a fighter for women’s equality within her community.

At the age of 80, she was involved in the protests in Puerto Rico against the presence of the US naval base in Vieques, and was once more put in prison for two months for trespassing on US Navy territory.

She always refused to recognise that Puerto Rico belonged to the US, and would not apply for a US passport. Instead, she and other activists obtained a Nicaraguan passport from the Sandinista government, which she used when she needed to travel.