Puerto Rican nationalist dies

Puerto Rican who shot up US Congress dies at 90

Lolita Lebrón, a fiery Puerto Rican nationalist who, along with three others, opened fire inside the US House of Representatives in 1954 wounding five lawmakers, died Sunday following respiratory failure in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was 90.

Lebrón served 25 years of a 50-year sentence before she was released after receiving a pardon by US President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

In 1954, she and a group of independence supporters took the bus from New York City to Washington where they entered the capitol building while Congress was in session. The four opened fire as lawmakers were debating an immigration bill. No one was killed in the attack but five representatives were seriously wounded.

Paraded in front of the television cameras, Lebrón said that she didn't intend to kill anyone in the attack. "We didn't do anything that we should regret," Lebrón said upon her release. "Everyone has the right to defend their right to freedom that God gave them."

(Published by El País – August 4, 2010)

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