The Borinqueneers chronicles the never-before told story of the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment, the only all-Hispanic unit in U.S. Army history. Narrated by Hector Elizondo, the documentary relies on the vivid testimony of the regiment’s veterans and rare archival footage to trace the unique experience of the 65th, culminating in the Korean War and the dramatic events that would threaten its very existence. The 65thInfantry Regiment was nicknamed “The Borinqueneers” after “Borinquen”, the word given to Puerto Rico by its original inhabitants, the Taino Indians. Bound by a common language and a strong cultural identity, the men of the 65th were determined to prove their mettle against a backdrop of discrimination within the Army and curtailed rights in their own land, where to this day they can be drafted but cannot vote in U.S. elections.
Finally given the chance to be full participants in a military conflict, they excelled during the first years of the Korean War, earning praise from General MacArthur. But in the fall of 1952 the regiment would be at the center of a series of dramatic events, when dozens of its soldiers abandoned their positions and were tried in one of the largest courts martial of the war. “It was the first case in this war in which men from a unit that won international recognition for bravery unexplainedly seemed to have changed their character under fire,” said The New York Times.
For more than sixty years, the events that led to the regiment’s darkest hour have been shrouded in mystery and controversy. Were these men cowards or casualties of discrimination and ill-conceived tactics? The Borinqueneers sheds light on this compelling story, revealing the real story of what happened that fall through the dramatic testimony of the men who were there.
Las Mercedes Memorial Park