23 March 2011

It's bad PR this week, but at least Ed. spells their names right.

The anonymous, globe-trotting Editor of Blawg Review is recently returned from the lovely island of Puerto Rico. Those of us who've been fortunate enough to see him at one of recent legal blogging meet-ups have heard much about the PR's beauty.

In this week's Blawg Review #303, however, Ed. tells us about an ugly time in the place's history. He describes the Ponce Massacre:
On March 21, 1937 (Palm Sunday), a march was organized in the southern city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. The march, organized to commemorate the ending of slavery in Puerto Rico by the governing Spanish National Assembly in 1873, was also formed to protest the incarceration by the U.S. government of nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos, a Harvard educated lawyer, on sedition charges.


A large contingent of the Insular Police had been assembled to enforce an order from the Governor forbidding a planned parade by members of the Nationalist Party, a group that, while non-violent, fiercely advocated Puerto Rican independence. At least 14 persons were killed and another 64 injured when the police suddenly opened fire both on the Nationalists who were assembling to parade outside their clubhouse and also upon the many bystanders.
Though the police claimed that they merely defended themselves against armed and violent demonstrators — claims which were accepted in official reports and American press accounts — a subsequent investigation determined that
only the militia were armed; what occurred was in fact a police riot, and that; the “only possible descriptive title” was “massacre.”
With this tragic chapter in American and Puerto Rican history as its backdrop, this week's Blawg Review covers notable recent legal blogging, much of which discussed current troubles in the PR, the United States, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Highlights include authoritarianism and endangered civil rights in today's Puerto Rico, the dim prospects for a Guatemalan claim against the United States, and the recently-released 2004 report on then-President Bush's warrantless wiretap program.

The next couple of weeks of Blawg Review should be a treat. George Wallace will host both editions, with #304 appearing at his insurance law-focused Declarations and Exclusions blog and #305 at his personal blog, A Fool in the Forest.

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