The well-respected English newspaper e Guardian published a poignant and powerful call to President Obama to grant clemency to imprisoned patriot Oscar Lopez Rivera on October 16, 2016. The U.S. version of paper described in a detailed and lengthy article the breadth of the support to free Oscar Lopez, his birth and early life in Puerto Rico and his move to the U.S. The article then moved on to discuss Oscar Lopez’s transformation from a fun-loving person to the person he is today.Th e transformation was initially due to his military service in Vietnam, where he saw the destruction reaped by the unjustified U.S. war on the people of Vietnam. The transformation process continued due to his involvement in the movement to free the Puerto Rican Nationalist prisoners, which later resulted in his participation in the armed clandestine movement to free Puerto Rico.
Oscar Lopez explained that, as a colonial subject, he had the right to engage in armed struggle to free his nation. Oscar emphasized that any actions of the armed movement were of an “armed propaganda” nature, mean- ing that the goal was to focus on companies that exploit Puerto Rico but not to kill people. However, as the author noted, Oscar Lopez renounced violence more than twenty years ago and now considers that there are other more appropriate methods of struggle to win sovereignty for Puerto Rico.
Oscar Lopez has not wasted a day while he has been in prison. He is an avid reader, consuming books and articles. He helps other prisoners learn Spanish and teaches them to read and write. He is an accomplished painter. He taught himself to paint in prison when he realized his isolation in solitary confinement, for all but two hours a week, surrounded by yellow-gray walls was actually affecting his ability to distinguish colors. He maintains, not only his mental health, but also his physical health by an extensive regime of exercise.
As the article makes clear, it is way past the time to bring him home. It can happen if President Obama takes the fair, just and correct action and grants him clemency.
By Melinda Power