The wound will not heal if the whole truth does not come out. The archives and the formerly secret files and pages have to be opened.
In the cartoon, a barber tells his client, “I know precisely how to cut your hair…I see it right here in your carpeta.”
“Over time, the carpetas eventually totaled 1.8 million pages. The average carpeta contained roughly 20 pages but others were more extensive. The file on Albizu Campos filled two boxes with 4,700 pages.
The information in carpetas included school transcripts; employment history; religious practice; political affiliations; club memberships; bank accounts; property holdings; taxes paid; family and marital records; travel history; auto registration and license plates; meetings attended; publications written or received. They also included personal information: friends, business partners, sexual partners, mistresses, gigolos, debtors and creditors, personal letters (intercepted at the post office), recorded phone calls, photos, wedding lists, laundry tickets and “miscellaneous items.”
The carpetas were used to imprison people, ruin their careers, fire them from their jobs, terminate their education, and permanently discredit them – even if they weren’t members of the Nationalist Party.”
“The Carpetas” is the uniquely Puerto Rican phenomenon, it has to be studied and understood. The wound will not heal if the whole truth does not come out. The archives and the formerly secret files and pages have to be opened.
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“Justice is incidental to law and order. ”
– FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover
Starting in the mid-1930s, and continuing for over half a century, the FBI developed a secret information program in Puerto Rico – it was called carpetas. These were secret police files, containing intimate personal information. The files were built by a network of police officers, confidential informants, FBI agents – and the amount of information they contained was staggering.
Over 100,000 Puerto Ricans had carpetas opened on them. Of these, 74,412 were under “political” police surveillance. An additional 60,776 carpetas were opened on vehicles, boats, and organizations. Carpetas were even opened on geographic areas: entire neighborhoods had carpetas filed on them by the FBI. Eventually, the carpetas became a part of the larger COINTELPRO program developed jointly by the FBI and CIA, to monitor and suppress political dissent against the U.S.