TV News: Puerto Rican Nationalists in Chicago

A compilation of news reports from 1979, including President Carter addressing the energy crisis, Pope John Paul II's visit to Chicago, and the release of four Puerto Rican Nationalists who were granted clemency by President Carter.

0:11Copy video clip URL On July 15, 1979 Jimmy Carter delivered a televised speech discussing the nation’s energy crisis and the accompanying recession. He refers to a meeting he had hosted in Camp David, Maryland where he met with other leaders, stating that the strength needed will come not from the white house but instead the people of America. 

2:43Copy video clip URL He emphasizes the lessons of the past lead us to a path of common purpose and the restoration of American values, though the energy crisis will be the way to unite the nation once more. America previously was a country of independence but overtime has depended on other countries for over half of its oil, excessive dependence on foreign oil has taken a tremendous toll on the economy and its people in terms of inflation and unemployment.

5:00Copy video clip URL Carter sets a goals for the energy crisis; them being to never use more foreign oil than 1977 and every new addition will be met from American production and conservation. Dependence was to be stopped and then reversed moving to 1980s setting a goal to cut oil in half by the next decade, equivalent to 4.5 million barrels of oil per day. To ensure the meeting of goals a quota was set, from 1979 to 1980 forbiddance of one drop of oil more than goals were to be allowed in the country which would lead to reduction. He claims asking for massive peacetime commitment of funds and sources to develop own sources of energy. The creation of energy security corporation to lead effort replacing 2.5 million imported barrels by 1990 and issuing 5 billion in energy bonds in small increments so average Americans can invest directly into the energy crisis.

7:48Copy video clip URL Carter proposes the creation of nations first solar bank to work towards getting 20% of energy from the sun by the year 2000. Carter states the goal is costly and therefore congress needs to deploy the Windfall Profit Tax Act immediately. A better expenditure of money rather than on foreign oil, the money going to other Americans to fight inflation and unemployment not increase it.  

8:40Copy video clip URL Mandate to utility companies to reduce use of oil by 50% in the decade and proposes the use of the most abundant energy source, coal as an alternative. To make sure that the goals are achieved he will urge congress to create an energy mobilization board dedicated and responsible for overcoming the obstacles that come in the way of key projects. 

9:37Copy video clip URL Channel changes to a news reporter. Discussing the visitation of Pope John Paul II on October 5, 1979 in Chicago at Grant Park.

10:10Copy video clip URL After some the channel flipping the video stays on a male news reporter at 9 WGN News. He discusses the unconditional release of four Puerto Rican Nationalists, Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irving Flores Rodriguez guilty of shooting at representatives in the 83rd congress while debating an immigration bill. After 25 years of denying parole they embrace for the first time, the fight for Puerto Rican independence uniting them still today. Outside of the building awaits a rally of people in support of the Nationalists release claiming that the four serve as a martyr for their country. Several thousand people were in attendance and there were no reports of outbreaks.

11:28Copy video clip URL Reporter transitions to the following news topic, the Pope arriving to Chicago October 4th to the 6th, 1979. 

12:29Copy video clip URL Channel switches to a male news reporter in front of a television screen with a image of a woman named Patty Columbo. Reporter says a prison watch dog group wants a full investigation on Columbo for organizing sex parties at the states women’s prison at Dwight, including female inmates and male guards. Columbo, 23 in prison convicted for killing her parents and brother back in 1977. Video pans out to show two reporters, female reporter transitions to talk about Puerto Rican Nationalist rally.

13:13Copy video clip URL Channel transitions to a view of a landscape with large oil barrels. Reporter claims that there is a surplus of heating oil in Chicago, companies experiencing shortages will have a large supply to tap into and Chicagoans will be more concerned with the cost which is up more than 50% from last year. Average price before 53.7 cents per gallon, now increasing to 80 cents and expected to reach a dollar by the end of the season. Less homes are being heated by oil and now using natural gas instead, oil heat marketers are critical of government policies that have held natural gas prices so low but deregulation will mean higher prices over the next five years.

14:22Copy video clip URL Video transitions to female news reporter in front of a television set with words that read life from beyond. She discusses new evidence that give indication to life on earth about 400 billion years earlier than previously known, thought to have evolved from chemical reactions discovered amino acids in two 4 billion year old meteorites. 

14:55Copy video clip URL Channel transitions to same reporter discussing the release of four Puerto Rican Nationalists who were jailed for terrorist activities in the early 50s were granted clemency by President Carter. John Culea was the main reporter following the topic, video transitions to him where he explains in more detail. Black and white footage of the four terrorists crossing a street in Washington, DC where they killed a man and wounded five congressmen and attempted to kill President Truman. Video transitions to show a rally of Hispanic supporters in Chicago holding a large white that reads, “The four are free!” The reporter says that most people on the streets were not born when the event happened and wonders the children’s impression of celebrating the release of individuals who use guns for diplomacy. The nationalists never expressed regret claiming they were political prisoners who acted on behalf of Puerto Rican independence. Video zooms in on woman with short grey hair named Lolita Lebron, Freed Terrorist. She says that America wants to label them as violence, that people love violence but questions the standard in judging anyone at all. Video transitions to show thousands of people gathered. Rally outside. Someone speaking on megaphone, reporter talking.

17:43Copy video clip URL Video transitions to a crowd of people waiting by fence at airport. Reporter Bob Jamieson in San Juan discusses arrival of four nationalists from prison back to Puerto Rico. Waving and embracing people. The video transitions to a shot inside airplane. Reporter begins to talk about nationalists experience reflecting flying home. Video zooms in on Oscar Collazo. Says he feels overwhelmed with a smile. This is a big moment in his life. 

18:30Copy video clip URL Video transitions back to the nationalists arrival. One raising fist to crowd. Crowd raises fist in return. Can nationalists give new life to independence movement. Support poor in past.

18:53Copy video clip URL Video transitions to walking crown of people chanting a song and clapping their hands in unison. Most students not born during time of events. Organized march at The University of Puerto Rico. The video then transitions to Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State, Pedro Vasquez who says that most people think of them as curiosities not heroes but he hopes that it will nonetheless help united people over the cause.

19:53Copy video clip URL Video changes to show a man playing a guitar in a garden. Singing inaudibly in Spanish. Reporter claims they are standing in front of the grave of the founder of the Puerto Rican Independence movement, Albizu Campos.

20:40Copy video clip URL Video changes to show a blue screen with white letters. Series of questions asking citizens their response to the President’s Speech. First reads “Are President Carter’s plans to deal with the energy shortage tough enough? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Not Sure.” Reporter claims it is not a representative study but nonetheless it is a good way to collect information on a population electronically. Sample in Columbus reported results of 39% Yes, 40% No, 21% Not Sure. Following question is presented, “Did the President convince you that you will have to make personal sacrifices? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Not Sure.” Sample in Columbus reported results of 79% Yes, 23% No, 5% Not Sure. Last question, “Do you think the country will pull together to solve its problems? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Not Sure.”  Sample of 7600 homes in Columbus reported results of 59% Yes, 22% No, 19% Not Sure. Overall most people are confident in President Carters ability to lead the country but almost half believe he is not tough enough and want to see more measures taken to develop other forms of energy to get the country independent from foreign oil. 



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