Thursday, March 29, 2012

Statue Commemorating Abolition of Slavery in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Statue Commemorating Abolition of Slavery

"Parque de la Abolición - Commemorating the End of an Era": Situated on Avenida Hostos in the city of Ponce, Parque de la Abolición serves as a reminder of Puerto Rico's era of slavery and the eventual abolition of this inhumane practice. Features of the park include a 100-foot tall obelisk which is a prominent landmark in the area. At the foot of the obelisk is a statue of a black male slave with broken chains, illustrating that he had been freed from the chains that once bound him, both literally and figuratively, when slavery was abolished in 1873. In addition to these two inspiring monuments, the park has beautifully landscaped gardens that can be enjoyed by visitors.

Parque de la Abolición (English: Abolition Park) is a city park in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is the only park in the Caribbean dedicated to commemorating the abolition of slavery.

Starting in the 16th century, slaves were brought from Africa to Puerto Rico to work in the gold mining industry, as well as on the coffee and sugar cane plantations. Gold mining lost its importance as one of the island's main industries during the 18th century, but slavery continued on the coffee and sugar plantations until it was abolished on 22 March 1873. At that time slave owners were obliged to free their slaves, for which they received financial compensation. However, the majority of the slaves who were freed, many of whom had been born in captivity, remained on the island and continued to work for the plantation owners who had once been their masters, receiving payment for their labor and being assimilated into society.
An obelisk and a statue of a slave breaking free from his chains commemorate the abolition of slavery granted by the Spanish government in 1873. Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The park was created by a group of citizens in 1874, as a memorial to the historic event of slaves being granted freedom. In 1880, three prominent members of Ponce's society – Olimpio Otero, Román Baldorioty de Castro and Juan Mayoral Barnés – initiated the official dedication of the park to the abolition of slavery by presenting the concept to the city's Municipal Assembly. The request was approved by all the assembled officials and ratified by the Central Government. On 1 March 1881, by Royal Decree it became known as Parque de la Abolición (Abolition Park), the only memorial of its kind in the Caribbean. The obelisk and the sculpture, a creation of sculptor Victor Colt, were placed in the park in 1956 and remain as a reminder of this period in Puerto Rico’s history and the ancestry of many of the current generation of Puerto Ricans. (source: Puerto

1 comment:

  1. Should criminals be in charge of correcting the wrong they inflicted?

    Puerto Ricans vote in elections every 4 years at an 80% level of participation. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States (US) government for the past 116 years. If the US government has the final say in what happens in Puerto Rico, what is the purpose of these elections? The purpose is to fool the world that Puerto Rico is a democracy.

    The United Nations (UN) declared colonialism a crime against humanity in 1960. The UN has asked the US government 33 times to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately. The US government has refused. It says that Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States is none of the UN’s business. The US says that it is a domestic affair.

    To appear that the US government wants to decolonize Puerto Rico, it promotes the use of plebiscites to determine what Puerto Ricans want. Doesn’t that sounds innocent and democratic? So what’s the problem?

    To begin with, the international community already rendered its verdict and determined that colonialism is illegal. So to have a political status option in a plebiscite that favors maintaining Puerto Rico a colony of the United States is not permitted. To have a political status option of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States is also not permitted under international law. The problem goes back to the beginning of this article. In order to have free elections, the country must be free. So before these elections and plebiscite could be valid, Puerto Rico would have to first be an independent nation.

    What people must realize is that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US because the US government wants it that way. That is why it has used terrorism to keep it that way. That is why it refuses to release the Puerto Rican political prisoner of 33 years Oscar López Rivera. That is also why it is ridiculous to believe that decolonization is a US internal matter in which the UN has no jurisdiction over. If we allow the US government to decolonize Puerto Rico, she will remain a colony of the United States forever!

    José M López Sierra



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