Gerontology Wiki
Isabel Rosado
Isabel Rosado
Birth: 5 November 1907
Ceiba, Puerto Rico
Death: 13 January 2015
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Age: 107 years, 69 days
Country: Puerto RicoPRI,United StatesUSA

Isabel Rosado (November 5, 1907 – January 13, 2015), a.k.a. Doña Isabelita, was an educator, social worker, activist and member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. She was one of the oldest known people in Puerto Rico when she died.

Early years

Rosado (birth name: Isabel Rosado Morales) was born in Barrio Chupacallos in the town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico to Simon Rosado and Petra Morales. Her father was a leader in the barrio and was often sought by the people of the barrio for his opinion on local matters regarding the community.[1][2]

Rosado received her primary and secondary education in the public schools of the towns of Ceiba, Fajardo and Naguabo. Isabelita, as she was known, was only eighteen years old when she became a student at the University of Puerto Rico. There she earned her teachers certificate. For years Rosado taught at the rural schools in the towns of Ceiba and Humacao.[1][2]

Ponce massacre

On March 21, 1937, Rosado was listening to the radio, where she heard the events involving what is known as the Ponce massacre.[2] That day the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party held a peaceful march in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, commemorating the ending of slavery in Puerto Rico by the governing Spanish National Assembly in 1873, and coinciding with a protest against the incarceration by the government of the United States of America government of nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos on sedition charges,[3][4] The participants and innocent bystanders were fired upon by the Insular Police, resulting in the death of 17 unarmed civilians and two policemen, plus the wounding of some 235 civilians, including women and children.[5] The Insular Police, a force somewhat resembling the National Guard, answered to orders of the U.S. appointed governor of Puerto Rico, General Blanton Winship.[6] The outcome of the Ponce massacre served as an influential factor in her decision to join the Nationalist Party and to become a follower of Pedro Albizu Campos.[1]

Puerto Rican Nationalist Party Revolts of the 1950s

On May 21, 1948, a bill was introduced before the Puerto Rican Senate which would restrain the rights of the independence and nationalist movements in the island. The Senate at the time was controlled by the PPD and presided by Luis Muñoz Marín approved the Bill.[7] The Bill, also known as the "Ley de la Mordaza" (gag Law), made it illegal to display a Puerto Rican flag, to sing a patriotic tune, to talk of independence, and to fight for the liberation of the island. The Bill which resembled the anti-communist Smith Law passed in the United States, was signed and made into law on June 10, 1948, by the U.S.-appointed governor of Puerto Rico, Jesús T. Piñero and became known as "Ley 53" (Law 53).[8] In accordance to the new law, it would be a crime to print, publish, sale, to exhibit or organize or to help anyone organize any society, group or assembly of people whose intentions are to paralyze or destroy the insular government. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying the law could be sentenced to ten years of prison, be fined $10,000 dollars (US) or both. According to Dr. Leopoldo Figueroa, a member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, the law was repressive and was in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Speech. He pointed out that the law as such was a violation of the civil rights of the people of Puerto Rico.[9]

On October 30, 1950, Nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos ordered an uprising by the against United States Government rule of Puerto Rico and against the approval of the creation of the political status "Free Associated State" ("Estado Libre Associado") for Puerto Rico which was considered a colonial farce.[10]

The uprisings occurred in various towns, among them Peñuelas, Mayagüez, Naranjito, Arecibo and Ponce, of which the most notable occurrences being in Utuado, where the insurgents were massacred, Jayuya, the town where the "Free Republic of Puerto Rico" was declared, and which was heavily damaged by the military in response to the insurrection, and in San Juan where the Nationalists made an attempt against then-Governor Luis Muñoz Marín at his residence "La Fortaleza".

Even though Rosado did not participate in the revolts, she was accused by the US Government in doing so. She was occupied in her job as a school social worker when the police came and arrested her. Rosado was sentenced to serve fifteen months in jail and fired from her job. Since she was unable to earn a living in the public school system, she obtained a position in a private school.[1][2]

On March 1, 1954, four Puerto Rican nationalists, Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irvin Flores Rodríguez, shot 30 rounds from semi-automatic pistols from the Ladies' Gallery (a balcony for visitors) of the House of Representatives chamber in the United States Capitol.

On March 6, 1954, she was in the Nationalist office with the Nationalists Pepe Sotomayor, Doris Torresola Roura, Carmín Pérez and Albizu Campos.[11] The police arrived and raided the facilities. The following morning the police attacked the Nationalist headquarters in San Juan with tear gas.[2] Albizu Campos was carried out unconscious and those in the building, including Rosado were arrested and imprisoned. Rosado was sentenced to serve eleven years in prison. She was released from prison in 1965, via a Habeas Corpus.[1]

Later years

In 1979, Rosado participated in an ecumenical prayer service on Vieques naval territory. She was among a group of protestors against the occupation of the small island by the U.S. Navy. Rosado was handcuffed and taken to the police station by the local authorities. She was released soon after.[1]

Unable to find a job, Rosado makes a living sewing and crocheting. She continues to be active in everything involving the pro-Puerto Rican independence movement.[1][2]

A documentary was made called "Isabel Rosado: Nacionalista" was made with the intention of uncovering decades of unknown history of this island and encourage discussions on political repression, surveillance, and human rights violations.[12]

Isabel Rosado Morales died on January 13, 2015, at the age of 107 years, 69 days, of natural causes at the Sagradas Misiones de la Misericordia (Sacred Missions of Mercy) hospice in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, where she resided.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Ecu Red
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Isabel Rosado Morales
  3. Latino Americans and political participation. ABC-CLIO. 2004. ISBN 1-85109-523-3. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  4. "Latino Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook". By Sharon Ann Navarro and Armando Xavier Mejia. 2004. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc. Template:ISBN.
  5. 19 Were killed including 2 policemen caught in the cross-fire, The Washington Post Tuesday, December 28, 1999; Page A03. "Apology Isn't Enough for Puerto Rico Spy Victims." Retrieved July 8, 2009.
  6. Insular Police Template:Webarchive Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  7. "La obra jurídica del Profesor David M. Helfeld (1948-2008)'; by: Dr. Carmelo Delgado Cintrón Template:Webarchive
  8. "Puerto Rican History". January 13, 1941. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  9. La Gobernación de Jesús T. Piñero y la Guerra Fría
  10. Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico-FBI files
  11. Isabel Rosado
  12. Isabel Rosado: Nacionalista