Doña Adelfa Verá: Mujer Puertorriqueña, Madre, Socialista, Nacionalista, Revolucionaria
¡Doña Adelfa Vera, Presente! Celebrating her 100th birthday, con mucho amor!
She walks with me specially in moments when life’s commitments became challenging.
At these moments I ask myself what would Doña Vera do?
She was and will always be my guiding light. No matter what was going on in her life she was always present, always committed and unreasonable.
She was the power of one, who energized a movement, her family and community. In trying times, she would say to me/ us. “Nina it doesn’t matter if anyone shows up. I will be there with my Puerto Rican flag.”
I am blessed to have known her and worked closely with her for close to 30 years. I am proud to call her mentor, comrade, sister and friend. Hasta La Victoria Siempre. Comandante Adelfa Verá. Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre y Socialista. Hay Amor!
– Esperanza Martell, March 27, 2017
¡Doña Adelfa Vera, Presente!
Workers World News Service, November 2000
Doña Adelfa Vera Vega Melendez, long-time leader and symbol of the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence, passed away on Oct. 22. Doña Vera, as she was familiarly called, was suffering from cancer at the time of her death. She is survived not only by her children but by a whole community that loved and learned from her over the century of struggle that she represented.
Doña Vera was born to a political family on March 25, 1917. Her parents were members of the Socialist Party of Puerto Rico, founded in 1920. The Socialist Party arose from the tobacco workers’ struggles of the time. She was only 13 when she and her mother were arrested for the crime of raising the Puerto Rican flag in front of their home.
Only a few years later, at the age of 17, Doña Vera joined the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico and became an active member. She was arrested that year for fundraising for Pedro Albizu Campos’ legal defense. Albizu, founder of the Nationalist Party, was repeatedly arrested for his militant actions on behalf of Puerto Rico’s independence. Undeterred by the arrest, Doña Vera continued the campaign amidst fierce repression, getting arrested again, until 1948 when she was put on a list of those prevented from working in Puerto Rico.
This situation forced her to move to the United States. As soon as she arrived she started working with the Movimiento Libertador, an organization based in New York closely linked with the Nationalist Party. Her work with the group and later with other pro-independence and socialist organizations continued throughout her life, in New York and in Puerto Rico.
Doña Vera was a fierce fighter who became a fixture at all events demanding that the U.S. stop bombing the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, even when her participation endangered her own health. She marched and carried banners in the worst weather, under difficult conditions, even as her illness advanced.
Only at the very end was she unable to attend some events, particularly Fidel Castro’s recent speech in New York. Doña Vera remarked from her bed how unhappy she was that she could not participate. But the struggle was brought to her by the voices and stories of all those who shared her life.
Doña Vera demanded that all events in her name were done for the good of Puerto Rico’s independence and in the name of the struggle. We can safely say that when Doña Vera closed her eyes for the last time, she did not think of herself, but thought about the awakening of the Puerto Rican people to a future of freedom and social justice.
!*Sister Adelfa Vera – Presente!
On the morning of October 22, 2000, Puerto Rican revolutionary heroin Dona Adelfa Vera passed away after a long battle with cancer. The Puerto Rican people’s movement will surely miss our beloved sister who set an example of what is to be a determined fighter against U.S. imperialism & colonialism.
Throughout her entire life, sister Adelfa’s greatest devotion was to the Puerto Rican people’s struggle for independence and self determination.
At 17 years of age in 1934, Adelfa Vera became a member of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. That same year she was arrested by the colonial police for collecting funds for Don Pedro Albizu Campos’ legal defense. During those years she frequently visited Don Pedro in prison, who was victim to the repression the U.S. government unleashed on the Puerto Rican movement.
She continued to be active as an organizer during the years of repression when the Nationalist Party was banned by the U.S. colonial government.
In the late 1940’s U.S. colonialism created an economic situation in Puerto Rico which began a process that resulted in half of the colonized nation being forced to migrate to the United States. In 1948 Adelfa Vera left Puerto Rico, but continued her involvement in the Puerto Rican struggle as part of the Nationalist Party committee in New York City.
Her perspective of the liberation struggle was not exclusive to Puerto Rico. Sister Adelfa Vera was also a revolutionary internationalist in every sense of the word. In her pronouncements she identified with the Palestinian, Cuban, Vietnamese, Irish, African American and other liberation struggles. Whenever people sang “La Borinquena”, the national anthem of the Puerto Rican people, she would ask others to also sing “The International”.
While knowing that her illness would soon claim her life, on January 6, 2000, sister Adelfa Vera along with other Puerto Rican women engaged in an act of civil disobedience in which they were arrested for blocking the entrance of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. They were demanding the U.S. Navy stop the bombing and get out of Vieques.
In the earlier part of this year she also went to the civil disobedience encampments in the restricted military zone as an act of protest against the U.S. Navy’s occupation of Vieques.
We will definitely morn, but we will do so in the manner that the death of freedom fighters are mourned. We will celebrate her life and do all which is necessary to realize her dream – the defeat of U.S. colonialism and the liberation of the Puerto Rican people!
– Vieques Support Campaign, October 23, 2000