Skip to main content

Rafael Anglada López Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 11

Scope and Contents

Rafael Anglada’s collection captures the militancy and turbulence of the Puerto Rican movement for independence particularly during the 1970s. The papers document the history of leftist movements in Puerto Rico as well as in the Puerto Rican communities of the United States. Of great significance is the information on the history of the PSP in the United States, where it had a branch and also published a bilingual edition of its newspaper, Claridad. Other major themes of the Papers are the decolonization of Puerto Rico as an issue before the UN, the Wells Fargo robbery in Hartford, and Puerto Rican political prisoners. The bulk of the material is from the 1970s and 1980s. The folders are organized alphabetically and the documents are arranged chronologically. Types of materials include letters, memoranda, reports, pamphlets and newspaper clippings.


  • Majority of material found within 1970s-1989
  • 1936-2002


Conditions Governing Access

Open to all Researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Rafael Anglada López is a lawyer and a civil rights activist. He was a member of the Federación de Universitarios Pro Independencia (FUPI-Federation of Pro-Independence University Students), a delegate for the Puerto Rican Socialist Party before the United Nations, and a reporter for Claridad, the major proindependence newspaper. Anglada has dedicated his life to the struggle for Puerto Rican independence from the United States and, as an attorney, defending the rights of political dissidents.

Anglada was born June 4, 1950. His mother, Gladys Paulina López Cabrera, was a medical secretary and his father, Jaime William Anglada Pérez worked for the Department of Education of the Government of Puerto Rico. The family lived in Santurce during his childhood and then moved to Río Piedras, where he enrolled in the prestigious University of Puerto Rico High School.

During his high school years, he was inclined toward activism and discovered an affinity with leftist and revolutionary causes. The Vietnam War and the student protests at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) raised his awareness and sparked his interest in political issues. Consequently, he joined a pro-independence student group along with individuals like Juan Manuel Carrión Morales, Ricardo Alegría, Jr., Alejandro Ortíz, Cynthia Ferrer, Jorge Hernández and Karl Fromm.

While Anglada’s political activism began in high school, it was his entry into the Río Piedras campus of the UPR in 1967, which would shape his future course. At the start of his academic career, he refrained from joining any of the militant leftist groups on campus, although he participated in a hunger strike that lasted eleven days and had been organized by Miguel Pérez de Otero, President of the Juventud Independentista Universitaria (University Youth for Independence). Gradually he became more involved and before the end of his freshman year, he had become a member of the FUPI. By the spring of 1970, Anglada became more radical in his politics and assumed a leadership role in the FUPI, serving as its Secretary of Finance. Among his accomplishments was developing fund raising strategies for the FUPI such as the sale of leftist books on campus and a wider distribution of the newspaper, Claridad. In the summer of 1970, he joined the Victoria de Girón Brigade and went to Cuba to help with the sugar cane harvest with several close associates including Lipio Vélez Velares, founder of the Movimiento Pro Independencia (MPI), which would later become the Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño (PSP-Socialist Party of Puerto Rico).

In October of that same year, he was expelled from the UPR. Along with other members of the FUPI, he was persecuted by the police and forced to go into hiding as a consequence of the burning of the ROTC building on the Río Piedras campus.

From 1971-1973 Anglada represented the FUPI in Prague, Czechoslovakia where he attended a world youth conference and met with leaders of groups such as the International Student Union, The World Federation of Democratic Youth and the World Peace Council. The two years he spent in Prague were important for his political work and he was able to bring the issue of Puerto Rican independence to the international arena and to place it on the Soviet agenda. These years were personally gratifying and included trips to countries such as North Korea and North Vietnam and meetings with world leaders such as Amilcar Cabral, a key figure in the African independence movement. In 1973, before returning to Puerto Rico, he attended the Tenth World Youth Festival in East Berlin.

Upon his return to Puerto Rico, Juan Mari Brás, Secretary General of the PSP named him Party representative to the United Nations. Anglada moved to New York and he worked as a delegate alongside José Antonio González y González from September until March 1978. At the UN he labored tirelessly presenting and lobbying for resolutions in favor of the decolonization of Puerto Rico. In that time period, the PSP forged ties with the Communist Party of the United States and together they organized activities such as the “Bicentennial Without Colonies” and two “International Solidarity Conferences for the Independence of Puerto Rico” held in Havana, Cuba in 1975 and in México City in 1979.

In 1977, Anglada returned to Puerto Rico and took advantage of an amnesty offered by the UPR to students who had been expelled for political reasons. He completed his BA degree in the social sciences and was admitted to the UPR’s Law School, attending classes during the day and working nights as a reporter for Claridad. He finished Law School in 1982 and returned to New York where he was employed at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Anglada later participated as a defense attorney in the notorious case against members of “Los Macheteros,” a pro independence group whose members were accused of robbing seven million dollars from the Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Since 1989 Anglada has been in Puerto Rico practicing as a criminal lawyer in the Federal Court system. He remains strongly committed to the cause of Puerto Rican independence and is active on behalf of the case of Puerto Rico before the UN Decolonization Committee.

The Rafael Anglada Papers are an important resource for documenting leftist movements and radical politics in Puerto Rico and the United States. They are particularly informative regarding the role of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party in the United Nations. His work with Puerto Rican political prisoners is also well documented.


15.69 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian



Lawyer and civil rights activist. Collection documents leftist movements and radical politics in Puerto Rico and the United States and the role of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party in the United Nations. Also contains information on the decolonization of Puerto Rico as an issue before the UN, the Wells Fargo robbery in Hartford, and Puerto Rican political prisoners. Includes letters, memoranda, reports, flyers, pamphlets and newspaper clippings.


The collection is divided into the following series:

I. Biographical and Personal Information

II. Correspondence

III. Writings

IV. Socialist Party of Puerto Rico

V. The United Nations Organization

VI. Political Prisoners

VII. Organizations

VIII. Subject Files

IX. Photographs

X. Oral History

Other Finding Aids

English / Spanish bilingual finding aid available (see External Documents). Original version of this finding aid was created as part of Ventana Al Pasado: Building a Latino/Hispanic Online Research Collection. The New York State Archives and Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños received funding for this project from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Separated Materials

Newsletters were transferred to Centro Library.

Rafael Anglada López Papers
Ismael García with the assistance of Izzy De Moya, Damary González and Yosenex Orengo.
March 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processed with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding was also provided by a congressional directed initiative sponsored by Congressman José Serrano and administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Revision Statements

  • 2005: Guide was revised by Pedro Juan Hernández and Nélida Pérez

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora Repository

Silberman Building, Hunter College
2180 Third Ave. Rm. 122
New York New York 10065

About the Collections

Our collections consist of personal papers from prominent Puerto Rican artists, elected officials, social activists, writers, as well as the records of community-based organizations. Our largest collection, the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States (OGPRUS) Records, measures approximately 2,900 cubic feet and contains an extraordinary amount of information regarding Puerto Rican migrants and the government institutions established to assist them. The collections date from the 1890s to the present, and document Puerto Rican communities in the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, California and Hawaii.