María Velázquez Rijos

Along with her husband Carmelo Felix Matta, María dedicated her life to rescuing lands in areas controlled by the US Navy in Vieques. María and Carmelo participated in the land rescues of Bravos de Boston in 1965, Bastimento in 1972, Villa Borinquen in 1976. All these land rescues were self-organized by Viequeses and consisted in turning federal lands into lands for self-made new homes, in an effort to provide housing alternatives to poor families in Vieques who had been displaced by the presence of the US Navy in the island. In 1989, María and Carmelo released their honey bees to resist an attempt of eviction by US Marshals at their home in Monte Carmelo.

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Eviction and Migration

"Monte Carmelo was part of Villa Borinquen"

"Making Vieques Larger"

"I had the last one in Fajardo"

María and Carmelo return to Vieques

Release the bees!

"María, let's rescue our lands!"

"We are not leaving, this is our land"

Legal and health battles

María and Carmelo leave Vieques

"The imaginary line"