Biography of Ángel Rivero Méndez (1856-1930)

Puerto Rican military, one of the protagonists of the Spanish-American war in Puerto Rico, born in the neighborhood of cocoa, Trujillo Bajo, on October 2, 1856 and died on February 23, 1930 in Trujillo Alto.

He studied first at the Jesuit school in Santurce. He began his military career in the infantry Academy in Puerto Rico (Island School of military training), where it remained from 1879 until 1882. On July 28 of that year he received the employment of Ensign, in kind of supernumerary, infantry, and they allocated him to Madrid No. 3 infantry battalion based in San Juan.

In 1883 he moved with his battalion to Ponce where he remained until the end of June 1884. He returned to San Juan to continue its services in the 6th company of the Cádiz battalion until December 29, 1884. From January 1 until the end of February 1885 he served in the fixed battalion of artillery in the Plaza de San Juan.

On January 26, 1885 he requested admission to the course of enlargement (preparatory course) in the General Military Academy in Toledo. Accepted for this course, he left for the Spanish city where he remained until June 1886. During their stay in the city he wrote Toledo. Historical overview of the city and the Military Academy of the same (Toledo, 1885).

In August 1886 he joined the Academy of the body of artillery in Segovia, where he made studies for up to 28 February 1889. At this Academy he was also awarded the degree in industrial engineering.

Completed studies in Segovia, he was promoted to Lieutenant of artillery; Mountain Regiment of Vitoria (Álava) was commissioned to the 2nd from March 1, 1889, until the end of November, 1890. In Vitoria it served as Deputy Assistant and Manager of the academies of the regiment. On March 21, 1890 he requested the transfer to Puerto Rico, where became on January 1, 1891 and where established forever.

In San Juan he joined the 12th battalion of Plaza and began its services in the company of mountain. During the years 1891 - 1896 held several military positions until in October 1896 was promoted, by seniority, to captain. It was low in the 12th battalion in December of that year to become supernumerary (in reserve) status without pay.

In its new status, occupied his time as a Professor of the Civil Institute of secondary education, in the departments of chemistry, physics and mathematics. He also participated actively in the country's politics from the ranks of the unconditional Spanish party and the integrity national newspaper, organ of the party, which he directed until 1898. The controversies that generated the articles published in this newspaper did see wrapped in several duels with distinguished journalists who defended political openness, including Mariano Abril.

On November 3, 1897, after being ejected along with others of the party stalwart, he collaborated in the formation of a dissident movement of the same (more liberal ideas) that would be called left progressive unconditional and that later the 15 February 1898, already separated from the party stalwart, was named party opportunist. His name appear on a political Court newspaper article was arrested (the military, still in reserve, could not intervene in these matters), on the orders of general Ortega, and imprisoned for fifteen days in el Castillo del Morro. During this last period you requested downward from the army, but due to the events that are coming, the Governor Macías pardoned him completely on March 1, 1898 and asked that take charge of the 3rd company of the 12th artillery battalion based in the Castillo de San Cristobal.

On May 10, 1898, under his command, the first shot of the Spanish-American war in Puerto Rico, was against the Yale boat, which was blocking the port of San Juan. By this action the people accused him of being responsible for the May 12 bombing, accusation later demonstrated by him that had no foundations. The batteries of the Castillo San Cristóbal, Rivero commanded, had a performance in the defense of San Juan in the before mentioned action and therefore were awarded several decorations, including the cross of the order of military merit, first class, with distinctive red.

After October 15 it again became a supernumerary status, but general Ortega asked that it take care of the delivery of all the military buildings in San Juan. After these events, the U.S. Government offered him employment as a military, which rejected. Also the regional Government proposed that work of training and head of what could have been the first Puerto Rico police, but only accepted charge of his education. In those duties was when was dissolved the regional government, which nipped in the project. In 1898 Captain Reed offered him a job as Chief of police of Puerto Rico, but also rejected this offer, as well as the army to continue his military service in Spain Spanish. On April 21, 1899 the Spanish army gave low officially after 20 years of service.

Resolved all their military and civil affairs he founded the North Pole factory dedicated to the production and packaging of soft drinks, sodas and siphons. Also devoted himself to put in order a multitude of notes, notes, letters, reports, etc., on the war to write his book. Many of his notes and information of the events of the war received them from the hands of its protagonists, almost immediately after occurred, and even before that the staff received them.

He devoted himself to collect information on both of us military files.UU. as Spain and Puerto Rico, and interviewing many of the protagonists of the war, military and civilians on both sides. In 1921 he traveled with his friend Rafael Colorado, everywhere in Puerto Rico where the events of 1898 were developed. Rafael Colorado, one of the main protagonists and that war hero, was the author of most of the photographs in the book of Rivero.

These years also devoted to journalism: wrote articles in El Imparcial, El Mundo and La correspondence de Puerto Rico. Rivero, who defended the Spanish sovereignty in Puerto Rico, with the pen and the sword after the 98 lined up on the side of the Puerto Rican writers who were Hispanic and Creole against the cultural "Americanization" of the country.

The items under the heading of Remigio published in the Sunday edition of El Mundo were notable. In them, Rivero gave an account of types and customs of Creole life of Puerto Rico at the end of the 19th century.

In 1922 he published the book Chronicle of the Spanish American war in Puerto Rico (Editorial Edil, 1972) which is, until today, the most complete that has been written on the subject.

On June 25, 1927, he founded the Legion Hispanic American Veterans of war, dedicated to honoring the fallen of both sides. This Legion was erected on October 30, 1927 the obelisks that mark the place where Rafael Martínez Illescas and fruits López died in the battle of Coamo.

The captain Ángel Rivero Méndez, victim of a deep depression, committed suicide at his home in Trujillo Alto (Villa Manuela), on Sunday, February 23, 1930, while his wife, Doña Manuela, was at mass in the chapel our Lady of Lourdes. The House was relatively close to the Chapel and the shot was heard by the parishioners, who quickly came to find it already lifeless.

Captain Rivero, who is buried with his wife in the cemetery of the old Juan San (outside the original) at the foot of the city walls once knew how to defend, was undoubtedly an illustrated man, their trades, high sense of honor that he met and had the friendship of many of the important of his time with the protagonists of the war men. But, for its political and military positions, also made great enmities as the general Ortega, general Camó, Chief of the General staff and the of Mariano Abril, with whom even became to beat at duel in Ponce in 1895.

Other literary works of Rivero in addition to those already mentioned are reminder of my visit to Lourdes (Madrid, 1922) and tribute paid on October 30, 1927 (San Juan, P.R., 1927).