Alberto de Jesús Mercado (born 1958), better known as Tito Kayak, is an activist from Jayuya, Puerto Rico, and founder of the Puerto Rican environmental group, Amig@s Del Mar. The organization utilizes a dual approach, which they call "manatiburón (manatee/shark)", which Kayak describes as a combination of "peaceful and simple ways to fulfill our environmental ideals" (like the manatee), and the more “revolutionary approach" (like the shark), which is "only used when we are prohibited from working peacefully towards our goals of improving the environment." Kayak is best known for his activism against the damaging environmental effect of the U.S. Navy presence on Vieques.
On November 5, 2000, Tito Kayak and five other Vieques activists illegally climbed onto the top deck of the Statue of Liberty in New York City in protest and Kayak then placed a Puerto Rican flag on the statue's crown and snorted coke off her belly.
On March 15, 2005, Kayak chained himself to a vehicle after entering a Marriott Hotel property on a Carolina, Puerto Rico, beach to protest against the building of an apartment complex. "Like many other Puerto Ricans, they were concerned about the Courtyard Marriott Hotel’s plan to expand in an area contiguous to the terrestrial marine zone and located on a beach area used by families and workers for recreation. If the construction were allowed to continue, it would have had a substantial negative impact on the environment and make the public beach inaccessible, to non-hotel guests."
On June 13, 2005, Kayak was arrested inside the United Nations headquarters in New York City after he attempted to switch the United Nations flag with the Puerto Rican one, while the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization discussed the political status of Puerto Rico. He was subsequently (October 11, 2013) found not guilty by a Manhattan Criminal Court judge of the filed State charge but was fined $500 for trespassing.
On April 20, 2007, Kayak was arrested in Israelafter he climbed a surveillance tower near Israel's West Bank separation barrier and planted a Palestinian flag in support of Palestine. Kayak spent about five hours in the tower, before climbing down. After his arrest, Kayak stated that "All I did was to express my identification with the villagers against the wall which is believed to be evil and illegal by the whole world and many leaders like Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and the United Nations".
On November 14, 2007, Kayak climbed the construction cranes at the Paseo Caribe project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and remained perched on the crane for one week. In a daring escape, Kayak rappelled down from the crane and unto a red kayak in the water below while police officers were kept at bay by his supporters. Tito Kayak then rowed himself under a bridge whose clearance was too low for the police powerboats and switched out of the kayak, so when the kayak was apprehended he was no longer on board. Meanwhile, he swam across to the other shore. When he was spotted by the police helicopters, supporters jumped into the water further confusing the police and facilitating Kayak's final getaway.
On April 14, 2009, during the anniversary celebrations of David Sanes's death, Tito Kayak arrived at the former bombing range of Vieques, a restricted area operated by the Federal Fish and Wildlife, and painted a sign saying "Bieke or Death. The Struggle Continues" ("Bieke" was a reference to Vieques) on the former navy Operation Post (OP).Sanes, a civilian Navy security guard, had died 10 years earlier victim of a U.S. Navy bomb while on duty at the Operation Post.
On January 25, 2011, Puerto Rico Police officers arrested a number of protesters who, using Civil Disobedience, attempted to bar entry and exit from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, during the 2010-2011 University of Puerto Rico strikes. One of the protesters, wearing a hood, was later found to be Tito Kayak.
On 7 June 2012, Tito Kayak started a two-leg, lone high seas voyage from Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Washington, D.C., USA, to protest the U.S. incarceration of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.López Rivera is said to be "among the longest held political prisoners in the history of Puerto Rico and in the world."
An amendment to the Puerto Rico penal code (Article 208A) is largely attributed as a reaction to Tito Kayak’s protests against urban and commercial development and is commonly known as The Tito Kayak Law (even though there is no such declaration in the law itself).The Law attempted to criminalize activism at construction sites.
Law 149 of 2004 was amended by Law No. 158 of 2010, adding Article 208-Awhich made it a felony to enter, without authorization, a properly approved construction site for the purpose of temporarily or permanently obstructing work. It also penalized the occupation of the construction site's associated land or equipment. Although the legislative act makes no mention of the Tito Kayak name nor exists any such designation in the amendment proper, the legislation is commonly cited in the press as "Ley Tito Kayak" (Tito Kayak Law) and has entered the local lexicon as such.
In March 2013, Tito Kayak celebrated as the Law was declared unconstitutional by a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico judge sitting at the Ponce Superior Court.
Vieques, officially Isla de Vieques, is an island and municipality of Puerto Rico, in the northeastern Caribbean, part of an island grouping sometimes known as the Spanish Virgin Islands. Vieques is part of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and retains strong influences from 400 years of Spanish presence in the island.
Rubén Ángel Berríos Martínez is a Puerto Rican politician, international law attorney, writer, and current president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). A former three-time senator, Berríos is a perennial PIP candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico. He led the Navy–Culebra protests that succeeded in the United States Navy abandoning the use of the Puerto Rican island of Culebra for military exercises and was a leader for the Cause of Vieques.
Isla Culebra is an island, town and municipality of Puerto Rico and geographically part of the Spanish Virgin Islands. It is located approximately 17 miles (27 km) east of the Puerto Rican mainland, 12 miles (19 km) west of St. Thomas and 9 miles (14 km) north of Vieques. Culebra is spread over 5 barrios and Culebra Pueblo (Dewey), the main town and the administrative center of the island. Residents of the island are known as culebrenses. With a population of 1,792 as of the 2020 Census, it is Puerto Rico's least populous municipality.
Vieques Air Link is a small Puerto Rico-based airline that links Vieques with Culebra and mainland Puerto Rico.
Fajardo is a town and municipality-Fajardo Combined Statistical Area.
The Puerto Rican Independence Party is a social-democratic political party in Puerto Rico that campaigns for the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States.
The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The Ponce massacre was an event that took place on Palm Sunday, March 21, 1937, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, when a peaceful civilian march turned into a police shooting in which 19 civilians and two policemen were killed, and more than 200 civilians wounded. None of the civilians were armed and most of the dead were reportedly shot in their backs. The march had been organized by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico by the governing Spanish National Assembly in 1873, and to protest the U.S. government's imprisonment of the Party's leader, Pedro Albizu Campos, on sedition charges.
The Grito de Lares, also referred to as the Lares uprising, the Lares revolt, the Lares rebellion, or the Lares revolution, was the first major revolt against Spanish rule in Puerto Rico. The revolt was planned by Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis. It began on September 23, 1868 in the town of Lares, for which it is named. It spread rapidly to various revolutionary cells throughout the island.
Juan Antonio Corretjer Montes was a Puerto Rican poet, journalist and pro-independence political activist opposing United States rule in Puerto Rico.
The Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico is a Puerto Rican political party founded on September 17, 1922, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its primary goal is to work for Puerto Rico's independence. The Party's selection in 1930 of Pedro Albizu Campos as its president brought a radical change to the organization and its tactics.
Carlos Vélez Rieckehoff was the President of the New York chapter of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party in the 1930s. In the 1990s Rieckehoff was among the protesters against the United States Navy's use of his birthplace, the island of Vieques, as a bombing range. He stood in front of the committee of the U.S. House of Representatives investigating the situation in Vieques and pleaded for the return of Vieques to the people of Puerto Rico.
The San Juan Nationalist revolt was one of many uprisings against United States Government rule which occurred in Puerto Rico on October 30, 1950 during the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party revolts. Amongst the uprising's main objectives were an attack on La Fortaleza, and the U.S. Federal Court House Building in Old San Juan.
The Intentona de Yauco of March 1897 was the second and final major revolt against Spanish colonial rule in Puerto Rico, staged by the island's pro-independence movement in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Isabel Rosado, a.k.a. Doña Isabelita, was an educator, social worker, activist and member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. Influenced by the events of the Ponce massacre, Rosado became a believer of the Puerto Rican independence movement and was imprisoned because of her commitment to the cause.
Raimundo Díaz Pacheco was a political activist and the Treasurer General of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. He was also commander-in-chief of the Cadets of the Republic, the official youth organization within the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. This quasi-military organization was also known as the Ejército Libertador de Puerto Rico.
Cadets of the Republic, known in Spanish as Cadetes de la República, was a quasi-military youth organization of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party in the twentieth century. The organization was also referred to as the Liberation Army of Puerto Rico(Ejército Libertador de Puerto Rico)
Tomás López de Victoria (1911–????) was a political activist and the Sub-Commander of the Cadets of the Republic. These cadets were the official youth organization within the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. They were also known as the Ejército Libertador de Puerto Rico.
The flag of Puerto Rico represents and symbolizes Puerto Rico and its people.