In re Juan Mari Bras – Native Americans/Indigenous Peoples’ Rights – CCR Docket Fall 1992

When Juan Mari Bras, a leading Puerto Rican pro-independence leader, went to pick up the files of his son, Santiago Mari Pesquera, he was given only an index card with a file number, and not the file. Santiago Mari Pesquera, a pro­ independence activist, was assassinated in 1976 at the age of 23-murdered by one   shot to the head in the town of Caguas, Puerto Rico. A neighbor was later found guilty of the killing, but, because the original police investigation suggested that the someone else beside the neighbor was involved, the verdict was never fully accepted. Yet police never came up with the identity of another person.

In 1984, the district attorney involved in the original investigation declared publicly that there should be an inquiry into a possible police cover-up. He maintained that the murderer met privately with a CIA agent. Based on these statements, the Justice Department of Puerto Rico reopened the investigation, which is still continuing. CCR is representing Juan Mari Bras in efforts to obtain the missing files and any other information held by the FBI which could shed light on the assassination of his son. Mari Bras believes that files could also exist in Washington, D.C. where his son was born, and in New York, where his son lived for a time.

Newspaper reports indicated that the FBI had purged files in the possession of the Intelligence Division of the Puerto Rican Police Department. Previous records obtained by Juan Mari Bras showed that the FBI had surveilled his whole family, particularly his son.

CCR will work with the Instituto Puertorriquefio de Derechos Civiles, a civil rights organization, to make requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and, if necessary, to litigate to recover all relevant files. The Instituto is also involved in the recovery of the Puerto Rican “subversives list” files.

Jose Luis Mor{n and Michael Ratner