by Andy Mai As Published in NY Daily News, Sunday Feb. 28, 2016.
Supporters behind a movement for Puerto Rican independence rallied in Manhattan Sunday urging President Obama to free a prisoner who has been in jail nearly half his life over the issue. Nearly two dozen protesters demonstrated in Times Square for 34 minutes, one minute for every year that Óscar López Rivera has been in jail. López Rivera, 73, was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in federal prison for seditious conspiracy, conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was also accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. “What they’ve done to him is wrong,” said protester, Rosario Vera, 62. “He has been there for 34 years now and soon to be 35 years. It’s basically putting a muzzle on the independence movement in Puerto Rico. His life was basically cut short.”