Urging Release of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner

City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was among the protestors. (Photo by Alexandra Ochoa via El Diario)

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was among the protestors. (Photo by Alexandra Ochoa via El Diario)

Chanting and carrying signs, a group of women from El Barrio demanded the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who has been in jail for more than 33 years.

“This has been very painful. I have spent 12 years without seeing my dad and, today, at 44 years old, I still long to walk with him and be with him as if I was the 10-year-old who was never able to do so,” said Clarisa López, who attended last Sunday’s demonstration held in La Placita, the outdoor space at the La Marqueta market on Park Avenue and 116th Street.

“He is going to be 72, and it is enough. We want to enjoy his last years as a family,” added López with tears in her eyes.

Protest chants such as: “Listen, Obama, 33 years is enough,” “Women, women on behalf of Oscar” and “No justice, no peace” were heard throughout several streets in the area, a crucial hub for Puerto Rican immigration in the city.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has spearheaded the fight for López Rivera’s release, said that it is important to spread the word about his cause and promote the movement so that he can finally be released. “He has been imprisoned for this many years for his political convictions, not because he committed a crime, and we believe that it is time that he is set free.”

López Rivera is serving a 70-year sentence, the longest prison term in the history of the Puerto Rican pro-independence movement. He is the only political prisoner still incarcerated for this cause; all others have been released.

The movement “33 Mujeres NYC x Oscar” (33 NYC Women for Oscar), active both in New York and Puerto Rico, demands that President Obama exercise his constitutional power to pardon López Rivera and grant him an immediate and unconditional release.

Who is Oscar López Rivera?

López Rivera was detained in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, among other crimes including transporting firearms and explosives. Another 15 years were added to his term in 1987 for conspiring to escape prison.

Before he was one of the leaders of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN, or National Liberation Armed Forces), López Rivera served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and was awarded a Bronze Star. His militancy began in the Puerto Rican neighborhoods of Chicago when he returned from the war.

One Comment

  1. http://thenewfounders.org/deny-release-oscar-lopez-law-enforcement-victims-and-victims-families-letter-to-president-obama/

    Please read this post for the full truth about Lopez. A dedicated terrorist, he refused Clinton’s clemency in 1999. That fact is never disclosed by the pro terrorists.

    In 2011 we went to his parole hearing, open to letting a remorseful Lopez be released. What we met was a remorseless old terrorist making excuses for his past but taking no responsibility.

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