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  • Puerto Rican nationalists Lolita Lebrón and Rafael Cancel Miranda after their arrest for the 1954 attack on the U.S. Congress.

    Puerto Rican nationalists Lolita Lebrón and Rafael Cancel Miranda after their arrest for the 1954 attack on the U.S. Congress. | Photo: Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico

Four Puerto Rican nationalists carried out a daring attack on the U.S. Congress 62 years ago this March.

Puerto Rican nationalist Rafael Cancel Miranda, one of the participants in the 1954 armed attack on the U.S. Congress, declared that despite the passage of time his passion for Puerto Rican independence remained as strong as ever.

In an interview with the Inter News Service published Tuesday on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the attack by four Puerto Rican nationalists, Miranda said he felt vindicated “because we still have Puerto Ricans ready to fight in one way or another.”

On March 1, 1954, lead by Lolita Lebron's cry of "Free Puerto Rico!" Andres Figueroa Cordero, Irving Flores Rodriguez and Miranda entered the United States Capitol building and fired upon lawmakers with semi-automatic weapons from a gallery.

Five U.S. representatives were injured, all non-fatally.

All four of the nationalists were immediately arrested and eventually found guilty and sentenced to lengthy terms. They would serve 25 years in prison before being pardoned by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

The aim of the attack was to draw attention to the fact that Puerto Rico remained a colony under the domination of the United States.

ANALYSIS: Remembering the 1954 Puerto Rican Attack on Washington

Two years before the attack Puerto Rico was declared a Free Associated State, a move that served to remove the island from the United Nations' list of colonies.

“They've had to accept, after 62 years, that the Free Associated State was a lie,” Miranda told Inter News Service.

Miranda stands by his actions, arguing that violence “is necessary when people are attacked by the enemy.”

Of the four nationalists who participated in the attack, only Miranda is still alive.

“I only wish that Lolita, Irving, and Andresito could be here to see how the passage of time has brought the truth,” said Miranda.

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