A humbler, but no less important member of Villa Sin Miedo, is Ramón Santiago, known as "Chino." His house was one of the last to be knocked down for transporting to the new location of the community. While awaiting a truck for the final clearing of the five acres granted by the Episcopal Church, Chino busied himself cleaning up the trash. It was pride in his community, pride in being Puerto Rican that motivated him to try to leave the area cleaner than he had found it two years ago. The houses had been constructed so that they could be easily disassembled, and plants had been carried off in their containers.
As poet and philosopher of the community, Chino envisions a life of economic independence, proving that one can live and survive without the help of the government. He sees colonialism as supporting leeches dependent on welfare and food stamps. But by working together in mutual support, a community can free itself and provide for its own needs. If a road needs to be repaired, you don't wait for the government to repair it, is Chino's philosophy. You do the job yourself. This is a step towards independence that the colonial government feared and sought to destroy, lest the concept of self-reliance spread throughout the country and undermine colonial control. "People are brain-blocked," he declared, "fearful that they can't survive without the support of the colonizer."
As the son of a Nationalist, Chino witnessed days when it was dangerous to wear the black shirt of the Nationalist cadets. His father barely missed being killed by the police, and fled to the United States.
Chino himself entered the PIP Party, a party dedicated to a nonviolent approach to independence. He yearns to see independence before he dies. He sees no problem in Puerto Rico's supporting itself with the natural resources available. He recalls from history that when Spain granted autonomy to Puerto Rico, there was enough gold to make coins they called pitirres, named after a native Puerto Rican bird.
Chino sees a trend within the past five years of returning to the land. His community sets a noble example. To this vision he has dedicated a series of poems he anticipates publishing. One of these is as follows:
Let us raise our flag of freedom
Let us be united and strong
Let us share our faith and wisdom
All united, all in one.