Puerto Rican Political Prisoner honored with national parade

NATIONAL PUERTO RICAN DAY PARADE HONORS OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA AS PUERTO RICAN PATRIOT

Delivers Call-to-Action to End the Puerto Rican Political Prisoner’s Incarceration of Nearly 33 Years

April 29, 2014, New York City – In the spirit of its 2014 theme, “Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces”/”One People, Many Voices”, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) has officially called for the release of long-time political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera. Arrested in 1981, López Rivera was convicted of seditious conspiracy related to his actions in the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. A long-time, vocal champion for Puerto Rican independence, López Rivera received a 70-year prison sentence, having spent more than 12 years in prisons that rank highest in punitive control, under torturous conditions of isolation and sensory deprivation. With this year’s celebration, the Parade honors López Rivera to recognize his unique voice and rally support from the Puerto Rican and Latino communities, as well as the nearly 2.5 million parade-goers that line the streets of New York City’s Fifth Avenue, to sign a petition for the release of López Rivera.

Puerto Ricans of all ideological and political backgrounds support the release of López Rivera since his sentence is widely viewed as not being commensurate with his actions. In fact, the 14 other compatriots that were imprisoned around the same time as López Rivera were released in 1999 when President Bill Clinton authorized their release, determining that their sentences were disproportionate with their actions.

“Oscar López Rivera was not convicted of a violent crime,” says Orlando Plaza, Board Member for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. “He was incarcerated for his beliefs and affiliations, and it is time that his prison sentence of nearly 33 years comes to an end. For that reason, we honor him to generate awareness and mobilize our community in support of the ‘Free Oscar López’ movement.”

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade stands in solidarity with members of congress, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rican, Nobel Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a number of religious organizations, labor organizations, human rights groups, Hispanic civic and community groups, community activists and supporters of all political affiliations in Puerto Rico and across the Diaspora in calling for the immediate release of the 71-year-old political prisoner.

In October 2013, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla issued a statement, saying, “The release of the Puerto Rican Oscar López Rivera, after 32 years in prison, is an issue directly related to the basic principles of social justice, humanity and compassion. Because of this I have asked the President of the United States of America, honorable Barack Obama, to execute his constitutional power and grant a presidential pardon so he can be freed and reintegrated into our society. Justice demands his release.” A link to a video of García Padilla stating his support, and the support of the Puerto Rican people, can be found on the official website for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, www.NPRDPinc.org.

As part of this year’s Parade, a contingent from Chicago, led by the brother of López Rivera, José López Rivera, and the NYC Coordinator To Free Oscar Lopez – which includes all the New York City groups engaged in the “Free Oscar López” movement – will march down New York City’s Fifth Avenue to represent him and deliver a rallying cry to generate community support for his release. Additional information on the movement, as well as links to sign petitions requesting that President Barack Obama exercise his executive privilege and grant clemency to López Rivera, can be found on the Parade’s website, www.NPRDPinc.org.

Applications for the 2014 Parade participation and press credentials are available online at the official Parade website, or they can be picked up at the Parade offices, located at 145 W. 15th Street, 3rd floor, Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM or at La Casa, 1230 Fifth Avenue, Suite 409 in Manhattan, Monday through Friday from 1PM to 7PM. Applications can be submitted via email at application@nprdpinc.org or dropped off at these locations.

Contact – For press inquiries only:
Javier E. Gómez – (917) 533-1247 / javier@highpitchpr.com

2 Replies to “Puerto Rican Political Prisoner honored with national parade”

  1. The Second Oscar – Mandela March in New York City 2015

    We will be having our 2nd Oscar – Mandela Protest March on Monday, June 22, 2015. We will start marching peacefully at 9 AM from Hunter College on East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue, to East 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue. We will then go East (turning left) to end up at the Ralph Bunche Park on First Avenue (across from the United Nations).

    We will be at the park until 5 PM. We will be giving out flyers and talking to people about who Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is. We will also be educating the public about Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the government of the United States (US).

    Most people don’t know that every year, usually on the Monday after Fathers’ Day, the United Nations holds its hearing about the decolonization of Puerto Rico. The petitioners will usually join our protest after this meeting.

    The UN determined in 1960 that colonialism is a crime against humanity. Since then, the UN has issued 33 resolutions asking for the US government to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. The US government has ignored these resolutions. What kind of democracy is that?

    The US government tries to keep these hearings a secret. What we are trying to do is to get them out of the closet. The UN is in its 3rd decade trying to make the world colony-free. Please help us!

    Most people also don’t know that the United States government takes out 14 times more money than what it invests in Puerto Rico. But, that is what colonies are for!

    This savage exploitation impedes Puerto Rico’s ability to provide opportunities for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans living away from Puerto Rico than in their homeland.

    Oscar López Rivera has been incarcerated for 34 years for his struggle to decolonize Puerto Rico. Since colonialism is an international crime, international law gives Oscar the right to use whatever means necessary to decolonize his homeland. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years for doing the same thing as Oscar. This is why we say, Oscar López Rivera is our Nelson Mandela!

    United Partners for Puerto Rico Decolonization invites the public to be part of the tsunami of people that will be necessary to make the US government comply with the UN resolutions. These annual protests in Puerto Rico and at the UN are absolutely necessary, because, those who maintain colonies, don’t believe in justice for all!

    José M López Sierra
    http://www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com
    787-429-1981

  2. Should criminals be in charge of correcting the wrong they inflicted?

    Puerto Ricans vote in elections every 4 years at an 80% level of participation. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States (US) government for the past 116 years. If the US government has the final say in what happens in Puerto Rico, what is the purpose of these elections? The purpose is to fool the world that Puerto Rico is a democracy.

    The United Nations (UN) declared colonialism a crime against humanity in 1960. The UN has asked the US government 33 times to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately. The US government has refused. It says that Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States is none of the UN’s business. The US says that it is a domestic affair.

    To appear that the US government wants to decolonize Puerto Rico, it promotes the use of plebiscites to determine what Puerto Ricans want. Doesn’t that sounds innocent and democratic? So what’s the problem?

    To begin with, the international community already rendered its verdict and determined that colonialism is illegal. So to have a political status option in a plebiscite that favors maintaining Puerto Rico a colony of the United States is not permitted. To have a political status option of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States is also not permitted under international law. The problem goes back to the beginning of this article. In order to have free elections, the country must be free. So before these elections and plebiscite could be valid, Puerto Rico would have to first be an independent nation.

    What people must realize is that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US because the US government wants it that way. That is why it has used terrorism to keep it that way. That is why it refuses to release the Puerto Rican political prisoner of 33 years Oscar López Rivera. That is also why it is ridiculous to believe that decolonization is a US internal matter in which the UN has no jurisdiction over. If we allow the US government to decolonize Puerto Rico, she will remain a colony of the United States forever!

    José M López Sierra
    http://www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com

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