Third arrest

01/03/195415/11/1964View on timeline

During his imprisonment, Albizu suffered deteriorating health. He alleged that he was the subject of human radiation experiments in prison and said that he could see colored rays bombarding him. When he wrapped wet towels around his head in order to shield himself from the radiation, the prison guards ridiculed him as El Rey de las Toallas (The King of the Towels).

Officials suggested that Pedro Albizu Campos was suffering from mental illness, but other prisoners at La Princesa prison including Francisco Matos Paoli, Roberto Díaz and Juan Jaca, claimed that they felt the effects of radiation on their own bodies as well.

Dr. Orlando Daumy, a radiologist and president of the Cuban Cancer Association, traveled to Puerto Rico to examine him. From his direct physical examination of Albizu Campos, Dr. Daumy reached three specific conclusions:

1) that the sores on Albizu Campos were produced by radiation burns

2) that his symptoms corresponded to those of a person who had received intense radiation,

3) that wrapping himself in wet towels was the best way to diminish the intensity of the rays.

— Wikipedia

Pedro Albizu Campos. Wikipedia.

Drew Pearson interviews Gov Luis Muñoz Marín

The most shocking moment [of the video above] occurred from 7:15 to 8:45—a 90-second segment where he described Albizu Campos as a lunatic who constantly wrapped himself in cold wet towels, in order to protect himself from “mysterious machines throwing nuclear rays at him from a great distance.”

On national TV, Muñoz Marín and Pearson scoffed at this madman from Puerto Rico. The implicit message was that anyone who believed in the independence of Puerto Rico was as crazy as Albizu Campos.

But Albizu Campos was not crazy.

He was, in fact, being subjected to lethal TBI (Total Body Irradiation) in his prison cell. This radiation continued for several years, until it finally killed him.

On February 18, 1951, while in solitary confinement, Albizu saw “ribbons of light on all the walls, in all colors, brilliant as the aurora borealis. Sometimes it looked like a cascade of melted gold.” Then, for the first time in his life, he passed out. When he regained consciousness, he had a splitting headache and what felt like a full-body sunburn.

The next day the lights returned, and so did his headache. Sometimes there was no visible light, but he could feel the rays. After a week he noticed that each wave of radiation swelled his legs, hands, head, and whatever other part of his body it hit.

Within a few weeks, Albizu’s legs had swollen to elephantine proportions. His arms were covered with burn marks, and the skin was peeling from his hands and wrists. His feet, ankles and calves were swollen red balloons. His chest and back were covered with stripes, as if someone had flipped him over on a barbecue grill.

In every way, from every angle, Albizu Campos looked like he was burning alive.

— King of the Towels: The Torture and Murder of Pedro Albizu Campos, by Nelson A. Denis


King of the Towels: The Torture and Murder of Pedro Albizu Campos, by Nelson A. Denis. Latino Rebels...

Pedro Albizu Campos in prison

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Published in 3/07/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Life of Pedro Albizu Campos:


Invalid DateBirthBirth
Invalid DateScholarship to University of VermontScholarship to University of Vermont
Invalid DateTransferred to HarvardTransferred to Harvard
Invalid DateElected vice-president of the Cosmopolitan ClubElected vice-president of the Cosmopolitan Club
Invalid DateElected president of the Cosmopolitan Club
Invalid DateAlbizu Called House Attack "Heroism"
Invalid DateBrass Tacks
Invalid DateCommunication: Porto Rico and the WarCommunication: Porto Rico and the War
Invalid DateJoins the ArmyJoins the Army
Invalid DateFirst arrestFirst arrest
Invalid DateAttempt to raise money to send him to Paris
Invalid DateJourney to the mainlandJourney to the mainland
Invalid DateDeath
Invalid DateA recording of Pedro Albizu Campos is released
Invalid DateSpeech at the Municipal Meeting in Lares
Invalid DateCrossfire at Albizu's home
Invalid DateOur Political Status, by Pedro Albizu Campos
Invalid DatePuerto Rican Nationalism, an essay by Pedro Albizu CamposPuerto Rican Nationalism, an essay by Pedro Albizu Campos
Invalid DateBecomes president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist PartyBecomes president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
Invalid DateMarried Dr. Laura MenesesMarried Dr. Laura Meneses
Invalid DateJoins the Puerto Rican Nationalist PartyJoins the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
Invalid DateRío Piedras Massacre
Invalid DateAssassination of Colonel RiggsAssassination of Colonel Riggs
Invalid DatePonce MassacrePonce Massacre
Invalid DateHospitalization at Columbus Hospital, New York
Invalid DatePuerto Rican Nationalist Party RevoltsPuerto Rican Nationalist Party Revolts
Invalid DateSecond arrest
Invalid DatePardoned by Luis Muñoz MarínPardoned by Luis Muñoz Marín
Invalid DateAttack on the United States House of RepresentativesAttack on the United States House of Representatives
Invalid DateThird arrestThird arrest
Invalid DateAttempt to assassinate president Harry TrumanAttempt to assassinate president Harry Truman
Invalid DateSuffered a stroke
Invalid DatePuerto Rican flags were illegalPuerto Rican flags were illegal
Invalid DateAdmitted to Harvard Law School
Invalid DateReturns to Harvard Law School
Invalid DateGraduates from Harvard and returns to Puerto Rico
Invalid DateTravels around Latin America
Invalid DateDefends the nationalist Luis Velasquez
Invalid DateRuns for the Puerto Rican Senate
Invalid DateSugar cane strikes
Invalid DateBarceloneta's Central Plazuela workers go on strike
Invalid Date1,200 workers from Central Coloso join the strike
Invalid Date8,000 workers join the Coloso strike
Invalid DateCentral Guánica goes on strike
Invalid DatePeak of the strike
Invalid DateAlbizu Campos speaks to a crowd of 6,000 people
Invalid DateAlbizu Campos has a lunch with Colonel E. Francis Riggs
Invalid DateThe sugar strike is settled
Invalid DateAlbizu Campos' trial
Invalid DateTrial
Invalid DateAlbizu Campos is flown to a prison in Atlanta
Invalid DateReleased on probation
Invalid DateReturns to Puerto Rico
Invalid DateThe Nationalist Party is targeted by the FBIThe Nationalist Party is targeted by the FBI
Invalid DatePublic Law 53 or "Gag Law"