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"Yo no vine a matar, yo vine a morir."

Lolita Lebron arrested outside House of Representatives 1954

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Lolita Lebron

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Lolita Lebron

Lolita Lebron is a Puerto Rican nationalist who led an attack on the U.S. house of representatives on March 1, 1954 with three other men: Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irving Flores Rodriguez. More than 240 House members were debating an immigration bill when bullets started whizzing overhead, slamming into marble columns, splintering wood. Everywhere, House members were sliding under desks and running for exits.

Witnesses said they could hear Lolita's voice above the commotion, and it was a shrill, chilling sound. "Viva Puerto Rico Libre!" Long live free Puerto Rico, she yelled as she and her compatriots unfurled a Puerto Rican flag and blasted away with Lugers and an automatic pistol.

Police found a handwritten note in her purse, alongside some lipstick and Bromo-Seltzer tablets: "Before God and the world, my blood claims for the independence of Puerto Rico. My life I give for the freedom of my country. This is a cry for victory in our struggle for independence . . . The United States of America are betraying the sacred principles of mankind in their continuous subjugation of my country . . . I take responsible for all."

All the attackers were given minimum sentences of 70 years in prison and after spending 25 years in prison, they were pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Lolita was born in Lares in 1920, a town best known for a revolt, Grito de Lares, waged by Puerto Ricans against Spanish occupation in 1868.

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Lolita Lebron poster