JAMES COCKCROFT, AUTHOR
Querido amigo José, Hemos ganado la victoria más importante e “imposible”, el perdón presidencial y comutación de la condena a prisión de nuestro héroe en la lucha por la independencia de Puerto Rico, tu hermano Óscar López Rivera. Te felicito y expreso mi pura alegría y mi amor por ti, tu centro, y desde luego, Oscar — y toda su familia! Un abrazo fuerte de amor y solidaridad.
DR. RICHARD HELLDOBLER, PRESIDENT NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Trustee Garcia, Its President Helldobler at Northeastern I just got the word on Oscar López. That’s wonderful news, and congratulations, I know that you were part of that movement. And I think this is a moment to celebrate, congratulations.
MIKE NIEVES, CEO, HISPANIC INFORMATION TELEVISION NETWORK
Thank you, @POTUS Let me also thank José E. López Rivera (brother) and Alejandro Molina for making all this happen!
SHEILA VENSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR YOUTH CONNECTION CHARTER SCHOOL
@jacprcc congratulations to all who have worked so hard, for so long to free Oscar.
January 17 at 5:55pm Today, I received the most incredible news – that Oscar López Rivera will be freed. I will admit that towards the end, I began to lose hope and began to emotionally prepare myself in case he didn’t get released. There are those around me though that never lost hope – Alejandro Luis Molina and Oscar’s brother, José E. López. Out of my 41 years on Earth, 20 have been spent campaigning for Oscar and other political prisoners. Believe me that I know that there are many others who have dedicated many more years to this cause. Fighting for Oscar has always put things in perspective for me & has a taught me a resolve that I cannot explain. I think of Oscar each year that past, each birthday, each holiday. Oscar often helped me in the advice he gave me in many of the letters we exchanged. To think – he helped me. But that’s how Oscar is. More importantly, the campaign has taught me that nothing is impossible and that people and communities can move mountains. In those 20 years I have been incredibly blessed to witness the release of the first batch of political prisoners in 1999, the US Navy leaving Vieques in 2002, the release of Carlos Alberto Torres in 2010 and now this. The campaign has taught me an innumerable amount of skills and has given me some of my closest friends – including ex prisoners Ricardo Jiménez, Luis Rosa Pérez & Edwin Cortés. Thank you everyone who supported this. I’m just overwhelmed.
NATIONAL NETWORK ON CUBA (NNOC) STATEMENT ON OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA COMMUTATION
Today, January 17, 2016, President Barack Obama issued a commutation of the sentence of Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera after he served 36 years in U. S prisons for his struggle to free Puerto Rico from United States domination. First of all we joyfully celebrate the long overdue return to his family and community that will take place on May 17, 2017. We honor the unwavering determination of Oscar to uphold the principles and values of the struggle for the independence and sovereignty of Puerto Rico. In November, 2016, at the NNOC national meeting in Chicago, we were fortunate to have the participation of Oscar’s brother, José E. López at a public meeting. Many people learned of his struggle and of his heroic fight for the first time at that meeting. During his years of incarceration many NNOC member organizations have raised the issue of Oscar including during “5 Days for the Cuban 5” actions and have actively engaged in public education campaigns and advocacy efforts with elected officials. We, the National Network On Cuba, are proud to have been part of the worldwide call to free Oscar. We are proud to have joined the Cuban people, the Caribbean community, and the friends in ICAP who have embraced and advanced this cause for justice and freedom.
HATEM ABUDAYYEH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARAB- AMERICAN ACTION NETWORK
Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 5:01 PM We are thrilled and proud to announce that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera–brother of our friend and compañero, José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, Humboldt Park–has had his sentence commuted by President Barack Obama. Oscar López is the longest held political prisoner in the U.S. from Latin America, and will be released in May 2017 after 36 consecutive years in prison, including a full 12 years spent in isolation. Our hats go off to the incredible members of the Puerto Rican community here, in NY, in dozens of other cities in the U.S., and in Puerto Rico itself, for their righteous decades-long struggle to win their leader’s release. Special recognition to the National Boricua Human Rights Network and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, both of which we have worked with proudly for decades as well. And to José E. López, Alejandro Molina, Michelle Morales, Clarisa López Ramos (Oscar’s daughter), Emma Lozano, Jeanne Kracher, LahTere, Melinda and Margaret Power, David Thibault-Rodriquez, Michael Reyes, Michael Deutsch, IL State Senator Iris Martinez, Alderman Carlos Rosa, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, and so many other friends of ours who dedicated significant parts of their lives to help make this happen. A bunch of incredible attorneys worked on the case as well, of course, but nobody put in the hours of our brilliant and beautiful friend Jan Susler of the People’s Law Office. And to Oscar López Rivera himself: we thank you for your sacrifice, for your principles, and for your strength. You have motivated us to fight unequivocally for our rights and the liberation of our people here and in the homeland, the way you always have. The leaders of your defense campaign have taught us how to defend our own prisoners–like Rasmea Odeh–and advocate and organize for her freedom and others’. Your call for self-determination, an end to colonialism, and full and complete independence for Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican people has inspired us to call for the same in Palestine and the rest of the Arab World. You are a leader to us and our people as well, and we celebrate your freedom with the excitement and joy of all Puerto Ricans and people of conscience everywhere!
VICKIE CASANOVA WILLIS, NCBL PRESIDENT NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BLACK LAWYERS
Querido amigo José, Hemos ganado la victoria más importante e “imposible”, el perdón presidencial y comutación de la condena a prisión de nuestro héroe en la lucha por la independencia de Puerto Rico, tu hermano Óscar López Rivera. Te felicito y expreso mi pura alegría y mi amor por ti, tu centro, y desde luego, Oscar — y toda su familia! Un abrazo fuerte de amor y solidaridad, Congratulations to all who worked tirelessly for this outcome! This is such a hard fought and well-deserved victory
DR. MAUREEN GILLETTE DEAN, THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES – SETON HALL UNIVERSITY
Congrats! So many years of advocacy in the part of so many. Give Jose a hug for me!!
ANGELA VALENZUELA, DIRECTOR OF THE TCEP, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
SOOO wonderful! I can only imagine how happy José, in particular, is. Felicidades!
MELISSA SWEAZY, PRINCIPAL UCSN ESMERALDA SANTIAGO CAMPUS
Wow! Congrats! And Lin Manuel will be back to play Hamilton, too 🙂 Please pass on my regards to José.
AMAR PATEL, TEACH FOR AMERICA
I read about the wonderful news last night!! Wow!!! I’m so happy for Jose, you, and the entire community that has been working for this over decades. What a wonderful thing that Oscar will have the freedom to come home in a few months.
VICTORIA-MARIA UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
So WONDERFUL to hear the news, I know its been such a long dedicated journey for so many of your community. Truly a blessing for him and his family at this scary time in our history.
CLAUDIA VALENZUELA IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY, HEARTLAND ALLIANCE
I was in a meeting when I heard the news – congratulations Marvin, I know this has been years of work for you and many others and I am so glad to hear that President Obama did the right thing on this one.
IDA ROLDAN, PHD, LCSW CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK/THERAPIST
I’m in tears. Tears of joy rain on the Puerto Rican community today!! Abrazos.
OLIVIA LORIA NCACS, WESTERN SUPERVISOR FROM CLONLORA SCHOOL, COLORADO
I’m so happy that Oscar’s sentence has been commuted. Why does he have to wait until May to walk free? Why can’t he be released now?
GREGORY JACKSON, MPA, PHD CANDIDATE INSTRUCTOR, PUBLIC POLICY & ADMINISTRATION
José: I have always had a great deal of respect for you and your work. I know we have not conversed much since Cindy Soto’s first campaign and I left Roberto Maldonado’s office, but I felt it would be remiss of me not to drop a quick note to express how pleased I am for you and your family that Oscar is finally coming home. I share this quote with you because you have lived it… “There’s no known love like the love for a brother. There’ss no other love like the love from a brother.” May Oscar soon enjoy the company of his daughter and the warmth of Puerto Rico’s sun. Be well and all my best. Greg
JOEL WEBER NATIONAL COALITION OF ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS & COMMUNITY (NCACS)
The Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School in Chicago, formerly a strong part of the NCACS with us, and the Puerto Rican community internationally, have worked to free Oscar Lopez since 1981. Thanks to all who worked on this, and to President Barack Obama. Free at Last.
CHRISTINE CLARK, ED.D. UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS
Thanks so much for sharing this information—I find out about it just in time! I got goose bumps and then started crying and desperately wanted to share my sense of relief and, though far too long in coming, my joy and could not think of anyone locally who would understand! Then Erika Abad, a new colleague at UNLV, reached out to me and shared a similar reaction. I wish he could be released immediately, so I will be holding my breath until he’s free. Please let José know that I have him, his brother, and family in my thoughts.
SCOTT CHESEBRO CHICAGO CENTER, ACADEMIC DIRECTOR
Very exciting for all who have supported the release of Oscar. Celebrating with you!