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Free Speech Campaign

Post Office Box 7
Leavenworth, Kansas
November 25, 1922
Raul Palma,
Dear brother:

The autopsy or careful examination of Ricardo's body in order to know the real cause of his death, seems to me imperative, not only to satisfy his numerous friends' just doubts, but to make light, much light in this black crime committed against our beloved one.

Before Ricardo's cadaver none of the criminals in the plot to kill him can not deny now that he was right to the last moment. Magon was very sick. He made often strong appeals for an impartial examination of his body, but he was not heard. His calls were answered with deep disdain by his hangman. He died alone in his cell. The telegram addressed to you was made by Warden Biddle's order not withstanding my protests. My telegram was not allowed as it was written by me.

All medical attention was denied to Ricardo, even medicines. And when on last June 1st., I did dare to write a letter to Gus Telstch telling him of Magon's very serious condition in regard to his health, that letter was kept in the Warden's office and I was severely punished with the indefinite suspension of my mailing privileges. I could not write nor receive any letters during four months and a half. This was done by Warden Biddle instead of Ricardo's examination, with which he could prove that I was a felon and a liar. At the time it happened that the Warden found in my possession one of Ricardo's letters. Magon was called at the Warden's office and was threatened by the same Warden to punish him and even to cut away all his good time—seven years—if he dared to show me any of his letters, or to tell to any of his friends that he, (Ricardo) was not receiving careful attention by the prison physician. —My letter to Telstch was written as follows: "June 1st., 1922. My dear Teltsch: Your letter of May 8th. was gladly received. As I told you in my former letter of April 5th., that Ricardo was sick in the hospital, it happened that he was there during three days with the purpose of making a complete examination of his health and they found that he is enjoying a very good health. This surprised me because the facts are very different. Actually you could not recognize him, he is the shadow of that Ricardo whom you saw years ago. Besides his blindness he suffers some other sickness. Since 1916, during his last trial in Los Angeles, Ricardo was sent to the federal hospital by the judge's orders because since then he was suffering with Diabetes. After his sentence he was released on bond and during this time Magon was under the care of a specialist paid by the group "Regeneracion." And when in 1918 he was sentenced to 20 and one more years in the last charge, he was very sick. The prison physician of McNeil Island made an analysis of his urine and found much sugar in it. During his imprisonment in McNeil Ricardo was under strict diet for fifteen months. Then he was transferred to Leavenworth but during his confinement in this penitentiary he has never been cured not even under any diet. Yet "he is enjoying very good health." Diabetes is hard to cure. It is considered incurable by some physicians. —"We are living under the most cruel tyranny. Things are not so bad after all. Liberty is tyranny's daughter. Who knows if in this very moment the process of this beloved phenomena is developing in tyranny's womb!"

The 21st. (Nov.) I held the following conversation in Warden's office. Warden: "Did you ever know that Magon had such disease, (heart disease) before?" Rivera: "He always complained of strong pains in his heart but could not explain the character of the disease." Warden: "I never knew that." Rivera: "He complained very often that he was very sick." My original telegram to you was written as follows: "Ricardo Flores Magon died this morning at five o'clock from heart disease according to prison physician Yoke." The Warden objected about the name Yoke. When I told him that that was the name of the disease mentioned by Yoke before him (Warden) and me. He did not allow me to mention Yoke in my telegram, as fearing to reveal certain compromise between themselves.

I am going to write to Mr. Weinberger. My love for all of you.

Librado Rivera

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This page was authored by Reggie Rodriguez, and
was last updated on February 16, 1998.


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