A Heartfelt Homage to the Late Dr. Luis Nieves Falcón

Repeating Islands
March 15th, 2014

At 84, intellectual activist Dr. Luis Nieves Falcon died on Monday of leukemia at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día writes that “With the death of Dr. Luis Nieves Falcón, Puerto Rico has lost one of its greatest minds and a strong defender of just causes, including the fight against ideological discrimination, social exclusion, and persecution.” Here are excerpts (translation is mine):

At a time when our country needs profound and lasting solutions to its many social and economic problems, the legacy of Dr. Nieves Falcón offers an example of an intrinsic sense of solidarity with which each challenge must be addressed in order to exert change.

With that solidarity and rooted leadership, sociologist, scholar, writer, lawyer, and activist for human and civil rights, devoted his final years to the struggle for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who has been incarcerated for almost 33 years for “seditious conspiracy” in the United States. Nieves Falcón was active in the campaign for the release of the last Puerto Rican political prisoners in the U.S. since the nineties, but was not satisfied with the success of these efforts and never abandoned his efforts for López Rivera.

Born on December 29, 1929, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Nieves Falcon earned a BA from the University of Puerto Rico, a Masters in Educational Sociology from New York University, a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and after retirement from his professorship at the University of Puerto Rico, received a “juris doctor” degree from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

In the field of law, he was an instrumental figure for the Puerto Rico Bar Association, as stated by the president of that institution, Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, who praised the ability of the deceased to integrate “legal knowledge with sensitivity, intellectual ability with concrete action, and the need for justice with cultural achievement.”

His participation in the law field allowed him to put into practice a better defense of human and civil rights, as well as to promote the cause of the release of political prisoners more effectively.

A consistent and self-sacrificing pro-independence leader, as described by the president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, Rubén Berrios, Nieves Falcón always delivered “all his zeal in the service of justice and his country, for which he dreamed of a process towards decolonization and sovereignty.”

In the field of culture, Nieves Falcón also devoted many years to preserve the literary heritage of a great intellectual—deceased Puerto Rican lawyer Nilita Vientós Gaston. He took on this worthy mission through his founding, in 1995, of the Nilita Vientós Gaston Foundation, founded in 1995, which he so lovingly cultivated ad promoted. [. . .]

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