Puerto Rico Police Investigate Security Carrying Long Rifles During Trump Rally

Trump-Rally-Puerto Rico

Image via screengrab.

By Mivette Vega

October 20, 2020

A photo of a local senator flanked by men with rifles at the rally has drawn criticism.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Trump supporters on the island held a caravan rally on Sunday to express their support for the president’s reelection. n This despite the fact that Puerto Ricans residing on the island cannot vote for president of the United States, regardless of being American citizens.

The rally, organized by a group called Puerto Ricans for Trump, began in the town of Carolina and headed towards Santurce, where the headquarters of the pro-Republican initiative Movimiento Republicano de Puerto Rico is located.

READ MORE: Florida’s Latino Seniors Are Shifting to Biden

The rally was organized by former Sen. Dr. Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer and podcaster Nelson R. Albino, who both favor statehood for the island.

Albino said the event was intended to “lay the cornerstone of the future” of Puerto Rico as a possible 51st state—despite the fact Trump has not shown support of statehood for the island.

On Oct. 1, hours before announcing he tested positive for COVID-19, the president expressed his views on Puerto Rican statehood to the media.

In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Trump said Democrats want statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington DC to ensure more federal senators and representatives.

“They want to put two or three states—they want to have 53 or 52,” Trump said. “A lot of Puerto Ricans don’t want statehood. They’re doing better the way it is now, frankly.” 

A photo showing New Progressive Party (PNP by its Spanish initials) Sen. Nayda Venegas at the event, flanked by armed men, has elicited reactions from both officials and the public. 

Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, tweeted, “Did this really happen?” 

Arnaldo Claudio, a US Army veteran, also expressed concern on Twitter regarding Venegas’ possible use of public funds to hire a security company disguised as mercenaries.

Police Commissioner Henry Escalera confirmed on Monday that authorities will investigate the legality of the use of long rifles in the rally. 

“We will be conducting investigations to determine if there was any violation of weapon laws. If so, proper measures will be taken,” Escalera said in a written statement.

READ MORE: LIVE BLOG: The Latest on Puerto Rico’s 2020 Gubernatorial Race

The commissioner also said Movimiento Republicano de Puerto Rico had requested a police escort for the caravan. Escalera explained the request was denied because it violates the current executive order banning escorts for caravan rallies during the pandemic.

As part of the investigation the Office of the Arms Registry of the Police Bureau summoned Venegas, on Tuesday. The senator decided not to appear.

Ariel Torres Meléndez, president of the Corporation for the Defense of the Gun License Holder of Puerto Rico, was the one who announced that Venegas would not attend the citation because she will be represented by a lawyer, Humberto Cobo.

In an interview with WIAC 740 AM Monday morning, Albino confirmed the armed men are employees of Tactical Dynamics, a local security company. He said the company’s owner, Luis Rodríguez, provided the service for free.

The use of long rifles in the US has generated much controversy—Trump supporters used them in protests in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as to lockdowns in Michigan.



CATEGORIES: Latinos | POLITICS | Puerto Rico


Local News

Related Stories