Tito Kayak

From Academic Kids

Alberto De Jesus Mercado (born circa 1958) —better known as Tito Kayak— is an enviromental activist from Vieques, Puerto Rico. He was one of the most outspoken activists of the Navy-Vieques protests as well as other struggles involving danger to the environment in the island.

Kayak gained great notoriety after the 1999 death of David Sanes, when a group of Vieques natives and people from all over Puerto Rico and from some other countries began protesting. He and Ismael Guadalupe are often pointed out by newspapers such as El Nuevo Dia and El Vocero as two of the most active natives of Vieques against the military presence on Vieques.

On November 5, 2000, he and five other Vieques activists stepped onto the top deck of the Statue of Liberty in New York in protest. Kayak then placed a Puerto Rican flag on the statue. For this action, he faced federal charges and was jailed in New York. Before being arrested for that, he had been arrested in Puerto Rico for trespassing military property in Vieques, and after extinguishing his Puerto Rico sentence at a jail in Guaynabo, he was extradited to New York.

Kayak once again expressed his anti-military views to Puerto Rican newspapers after the death of young Vieques cancer patient Milivi Adams.

On March 15, 2005, Kayak returned to activist action, when he chained himself to a vehicle after invading a Marriott Hotel property in a Carolina beach. Kayak and others were protesting against the building of an apartment complex on the prelude. He was arrested later. In June, the Court of First Instance of Carolina ruled that the terrain contracts of the Marriott Hotel were null, halting the construction.

In June 13, 2005, Kayak was arrested inside the United Nations headquarters after he tried to switch the United Nations flag with the Puerto Rican one, while the U.N. Descolonization Comittee discussed the political situation of Puerto Rico.

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