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“Su lucha es más heroica que la de Washington”

Posted on 08 December 2016 by alejandro

René Pérez reclama la excarcelación de Oscar López Rivera

jueves, 8 de diciembre de 2016 – 4:00 PM

Por José A. Delgado/El Nuevo Día.

Washington – René Pérez, el residente de Calle 13, afirmó hoy que cada segundo que pasa en la cárcel crece el heroísmo del prisionero político puertorriqueño Oscar LópezRivera.

https://www.facebook.com/residente/videos/1015768255235350/

En un salón del Senado estadounidense, Pérez, la alcaldesa de San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, y el congresista demócrata Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois) lideraron una sesión informativa para abogar por la liberación de López Rivera, en momentos en que le quedan 42 días de trabajo en la Casa Blanca al presidente de EE.UU., Barack Obama.

“Su lucha es más heroica que la de (George) Washington, porque no tuvo que matar a nadie”, indicó Pérez, en su presentación.

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El evento fue organizado por la oficina del senador independiente Bernie Sanders (Vermont), e incluyó a la hija de López Rivera, Clarisa López Ramos, a José López Rivera, hermano del prisionero independentista, los representantes del Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) Luis Vega Ramos y Manuel Natal, y la abogada Jan Susler.

Cerca de 90 personas – incluidos asesores de miembros del Congreso-, asistieron a la sesión informativa.

El grupo de oradores se reuniría después con el senador Sanders.

López Rivera, de 73 años, ya ha cumplido 35 años y seis meses de cárcel. El prisionero independentista, quien fue miembro de las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), ha estado más tiempo en prisión que Nelson Mandela, recordó Residente.

El evento tiene lugar en momentos en que cerca de 110,000 personas han suscrito una petición en la Casa Blanca en respaldo a la solicitud de clemencia que presentó López Rivera ante el Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos.

La Casa Blanca dijo la semana pasada que la solicitud sigue en manos del Departamento de Justicia, aunque el presidente Obama no tiene que esperar por ninguna recomendación ni consultar a nadie para otorgarle clemencia a López Rivera.

“El presidente Obama puede hacer lo que le dé la gana. Puede firmar la clemencia esta misma tarde. Esta es una decisión política, no es una decisión legal”, dijo la abogada Susler.

http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/politica/nota/suluchaesmasheroicaqueladewashington-2270332/

 

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OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA IN OBAMA’s HOUSE!

Posted on 22 November 2016 by alejandro

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October 9 in Washington, DC. in front of the White House-a freedom clamor from a multitude for Oscar Lopez Rivera’s unconditional release -made an infinite mark in history. It is an event where “Oscar estuvo en la casa de Obama.” If we were to measure the energy level of the people that attended the event, it was over 2,000 volts. Everyone’s faces were radiant.

There were many speakers from all walks of life and representing all political ideologies, a norm for Oscar who has become the moral power to unify forces. The event was organized by a coalition in Puerto Rico, and the mobilization came from the diaspora. There were ecumenical figures that did the convocation. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, NY State representative Adriano Espalliat, Speaker of NYC Council Melissa Mark Viverito, candidate for governor in Puerto Rico, Maria de Lourdes Santiago, San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz spoke.

Cornel West sent a recorded message, Rene Perez (El Residente de Calle 13) spoke and the cultural performances by: Danny Rivera, Roy Brown and Tito Auger and others interpreted Juan Antonio Corretjer’s songs. Danny Rivera resonated with the public when he sang “Tu Pueblo es mi pueblo.”

A high point of the rally was Oscar’s family coming onto the stage. Mercedes (Oscar’s oldest sister) and Zenaida (sister), Babbi (niece), Lourdes (niece) and Clarisa (Oscar’s only daughter), could not wipe the grins of their faces as they watched thousands rally in solidarity to Lafayette Park, in front of the White House were the rally took place.

New York City mobilized 11 buses and a caravan of cars from different parts of the city with the help of Melissa Mark Viverito, who urged union workers from construction, maintenance, hotel, education and health trades. We are forever indebted to her leadership and their solidarity. We made our entry by marching through the street of DC through the White House into Lafayette Park with 40 body size images of Oscar chanting “Pres. Obama listen to me, we want OSCAR LOPEZ FREE!”

We were also in the presence of former Puerto Rican political prisoners like Luis Rosa, Ricardo Jimenez, Edwin Cortes (given presidential clemency by Pres. Bill Clinton) and Felix Rosa, all that have been relentless in the campaign to Free Oscar.

People from all walks of life came from more than 30 cities from north to south of the east coast to the midwest and California. Not to mention all those who came from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

A special humanitarian moment was when the whole Lopez Rivera family was on stage, Oscar’s youngest brother, Jose E. Lopez spoke so eloquently about the family’s desire for 35 years to bring him home. He related anecdotes of the trials and tribulations and Oscar’s enduring strength that transcended the prison bars to the family. During this moment that Jose spoke, the thousands in the park quieted down to hear the love and pain of the family, which made not only Oscar’s family cry on stage, but also many in the audience. Oscar, we captured the many tears of the audience that were touched by the your family. At that moment, we all put ourselves in Oscar’s family’s shoes and felt the pain, but also the strength. Empathy is so humbling.

Clarisa commented that she felt overwhelmed and happy to see so many people that traveled across US from different state lines to support her father’s release. If all who attended got on board to work the campaign in the next 105 days (the number of days Obama has left in office), we can become a force to be reckoned and secure Oscar’s release.

We called it a “mission accomplished” in the crunch time of only 5 weeks. Imagine if we had a year to plan it. We were decolonized in this process especially when we felt the unity that Oscar promotes and freedom clamor he represents. We waited to hear from Oscar on this important day, as we are sure he felt all that energy and love. Again, we will record in our collective memory, the day Oscar was in Pres. Obama’s house. We reiterate, “Pres. Obama with a stroke of your pen, FREE Oscar, NOW!”

By Ana M. Lopez, NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

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British Newspaper Guardian Highlights the Case of Puerto Rican Patriot Oscar Lopez Rivera

Posted on 22 November 2016 by alejandro

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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

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Juntos por el voto boricua y la liberacion de Oscar Lopez: Gutierrez, Soto y Suarez

Posted on 21 November 2016 by alejandro

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En Orlando, FL

El congresista Luis Gutierrez y el candidato al Congreso por el 9no distrito de Florida Darren Soto hicieron un reclamo conjunto a favor de la movilizacion electoral de los boricuas y la excarcelacio?n del prisionero politico Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Los democratas boricuas Gutierrez y Soto encabezaron un grupo de funcionarios electos y li?deres comunitarios en Orlando, como parte de una convocatoria de la Agenda Nacional Puertorriquena (NPRA, por sus siglas en ingles).

Un juez extendio hasta el martes proximo – 18 de octubre-, la fecha ultima para los electores en EE.UU. inscribirse y poder votar el 8 de noviembre en las elecciones presidenciales y legislativas de EE.UU.

En los proximos comicios, los electores boricuas del estado, que son aproximadamente 500,000, podria decidir el ganador de la contienda presidencial en Florida, que puede decidir quien sera el proximo inquilino o inquilina de la Casa Blanca.

Convicto principalmente de sedicion, por sus vinculos con las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN), Lopez Rivera, de 73 anos, ha cumplido 35 anos y cuatro meses en prisiones estadounidenses.

“Oscar Lopez Rivera no debe permanecer en la carcel ni un dia mas. Mientras su salud empeora entre las cuatro paredes de una celda, es otro dia de Accion de Gracias, otra Navidad mas que su familia se sienta sin su presencia en la mesa. El precio que ha pagado ya ha sido demasiado alto. Por eso es importante que los boricuas hagan sentir su voz y que hagan contar con su voto en las urnas,” indico el congresista Gutierrez.

El domingo, Gutierrez fue tambien uno de los oradores de una manifestacion frente a la Casa Blanca que conto ademas con la participacion de la hija de Lopez Rivera, Clarisa.

“Vamos a pedir desde la ciudad de Orlando, donde viven miles de boricuas, que trabajan y votan, que se cumpla el pedido de todos los vivimos en la isla y fuera de ella: ya es tiempo que Oscar regrese a casa. Esperamos que Obama escuche el reclamo de los puertorriquenos de la diaspora y le conceda la libertad a Oscar antes que cumpla su termino presidencial,” senalo, por su parte, Darren Soto, actual senador estatal y favorito para ser elegido en noviembre por el distrito 9 de Florida y convertirse en el primer congresista de origen boricua elegido por su estado.

Por su parte, el abogado republicano Anthony Suarez, primer legislador estatal electo de origen puertorriqueno en el estado y presidente de la Puerto Rican Bar Association de Florida, recordo que desde 1999 reclamo la excarcelacion de Lopez Rivera. “Creo que el juez abuso de su discrecion judicial. Lo castigo por sus ideales, una violacion a la Primera Enmienda de nuestra Constitucion. Otro en su lugar, hubiese recibido una sentencia mucho menor de lo que se le impuso,” agrego Suarez.

La conferencia de prensa se realizo en el medio del bufete del licenciado Suarez, y canto con la participacion de docenas de activistas y lideres comunitarios del centro de la Florida.

Jose E. Lopez, hermano de Oscar, cerro la conferencia haciendo entrega del reciente publicado libro de Oscar Lopez Rivera, a la activista Zoraida Andino Rios, al lider sindical Jimmy Torres Velez, al Lic. Anthony Suarez, y a Darren Soto y el Cong. Luis V. Gutierrez.

Los congregados se llevaron carteles alusivos a la campana que se hace en tres estados: Florida, Ohio y Pennsilvania, “We Vote to Free Oscar Lo?pez Rivera.”

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Community Victory in Humboldt Park Advisory Committee

Posted on 21 November 2016 by alejandro

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COMMUNITY ACTIVIST CHARLIE BILLUPS EXPRESSES GRATITUDE FOR

Community Victory in Humboldt Park Advisory Committee

—  TRACEY BARTELS REPLACED AS SECRETARY  —

SEPTEMBER 2016

Tonight a victory of enormous proportions has been won in Humboldt Park. is is a very sobering victory because we had to expose a fellow human being that for reasons known to her has had a misinformed and misguided opinion about who we are in the Puerto Rican community and our history and the struggles that many of us on daily basis fight to survive and to achieve signicance.

My heart is filled with joy as many members of our community were there, some with their little flags that somebody else had criticized as being cheap.

Their smile tonight was as big as their hearts and believe me tonight some felt that they were important and that their opinions counted.

The room was tense and the expectation that something nasty was about to happen never materialized, at the end the joy of victory was swift and the embraces and the love was heartfelt.

With this victory, we chart a new day in Humboldt Park, a new day in which many recognized our pain and realized that we need to be dealt with respect as fellow human beings. I recognize Jessie Fuentes, Janeida L. Rivera, Xavier Nogueras, Catherine Mueller Serpa, Carol Ann, Michele Miner, Mikey, Jesus the park district supervisor, Alderman Maldonado, Nilda Montanez, Raquel Torres, Pastor Ruben Escobar Pepin, Juanita Irizarry, Carl the garden guy, My mentor Maggie Martinez (You are an inspiration to me) Nancy Diaz, Marilyn Morales, the Park District Department Head and finally Amy Vega who I recognized has tried to bring and respect diversity in area that is difficult because of the realities of our changing communities in Chicago.

Lorena B. Billups Sarah and Pachi your joy and your smiles when we are feeding the geese and ducks live constantly in my heart.

To the Corillo of Humboldt Park you bring me joy and you might not think I see you, but I do and I love you.

Tonight I extend a hand of fellowship to those that don’t see things as we do. Inside our hearts there is forgiveness for the insults that we have received, we ask you to walk in our shoes and join us in the fellowship known as Humboldt Park.

Originally published on CharlieBillups.com

http://humboldtparkadvisorycouncil.blogspot.com/

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In La Marqueta Retona; New York Welcomes Gutierrez

Posted on 21 November 2016 by alejandro

Hundreds Applaud, Cheer Gutierrez and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito call for Oct. 9 Interfaith Convocation and Cultural Celebration

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On September 17, 2016 a special and spirited rally was held in the historical site “La Marqueta” in East Harlem to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera. La Marqueta is a market built underneath the metro north train system that has been renovated into a special space for Puerto Rican cultural expression and fortification of identity. Thus renamed “La Marqueta Retona”. It is, in essence, an outdoor theatre with a Caribbean touch with “kioskos” that sell “alcapurriaspastelillos” and other “cuchifritos” for the community to enjoy. It is an space where artist and musicians share their talents with free community performances.

On this date, “salsa” day, “La Marqueta” was visited by over 500 people. The community embraced the humanitarian rally for our beloved patriot Oscar who has been in prison for more than 35 years. Proclaimed by many the “Mandela of the Americas”, has become a symbol of unity and love for the Puerto Rican people. Special guests at- tended this rally all the way from Chicago. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who has embarked on a journey from the East Coast to the Midwest to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera, spoke in a very moving fashion to the hundreds present. Jose E. Lopez, Oscar’s brother was also present.

Over 1,000 fliers were distributed for the Interfaith Freedom Convocation on Oct. 9 to Washington, DC in the event and community, 200 petitions were signed, T-shirts bearing the words “Obama: Free Oscar Lopez Now!” were sold, and hundreds of persons took turns taking pictures with the life-size image of Oscar.

The humanitarian spirit spread, the reception was filled with warmth, and the community of East Harlem asked that we rally as much as possible. Agreed, until Oscar returns home!

by Prof. Ana M. Lopez NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

 

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Sign the Petition: FREE OSCAR!

Posted on 11 November 2016 by alejandro

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 We are asking all organizations, communities, unions, churches, activists, political parties- to CALL ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS to sign this petition and spread the word- this is a time-sensitive request!
We must try to achieve the signing of 100,000 signatures by December 11, 2016.
No matter how many petitions you have signed- SIGN THIS ONLINE PETITION and get everyone else to do the same. Do not let anyone tell you they have signed petitions or letters before- this is the one that will be highlighted.

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In Lorain, OH, Congressman Gutiérrez Receives Rousing Welcome

Posted on 04 August 2016 by Kevin Garcia

Screenshot 2016-08-04 11.22.27Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez received a rousing welcome by hundreds of Puerto Ricans/Latinos in Lorain, Ohio as he initiated his efforts to build support for a massive freedom musical event to be held on Oct. 9, 2016 in Washington DC, demanding the release of the Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López. In his opening remarks, Councilman Arroyo noted how Gutiérrez had become a voice for the millions of undocumented workers, for the defense of Puerto Rico and particularly for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner López Rivera. Luis spoke about how this issue had also been very important to him as well as the defense of Black Lives, the uplifting of women’s and gay rights, but, for him at this point, the freeing of Oscar López Rivera by Pres. Obama was a priority. Congressman Gutiérrez was invited by Lorain Councilman Angel Arroyo Jr. as part of an annual community festival in his predominantly Puerto Rican/Latino district. Councilman Arroyo was joined on stage by State Rep. Dan Ramos, the highest ranking Puerto Rican elected official in Ohio, and Mayor of Lorain, Chase Ritenauer, who also gave a warm welcome to Congressman Gutiérrez. He acknowledged and thanked the President for releasing many people who had faced longed sentences, but it was time for him to free Puerto Rico’s and Latin America’s Nelson Mandela. He urged everyone to mobilize for Washington DC for the musical event.

PRCC Staff

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An Historic New Consensus: In the United Nations and in 46 Countries Int’l Solidarity w/ Puerto Rico AND Oscar Lopez is Manifested!

Posted on 04 August 2016 by Kevin Garcia

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On June 20, 2016, in both diplomatic and dramatic fashion, the peoples of the Caribbean nation of Puerto Rico stood tall and united on the international stage in an historic manner not previously imagined possible. The opening annual hearings on Puerto Rico of the United Nations Committee of 24, the Special Committee on Decolonization now led by Venezuelan Former Foreign Minister and Permanent Representative Ambassador Rafael Ramirez and made up of twentyseven nation-states, has long been a time of conflicting viewpoints publicaly aired regarding how best to move forward vis-a-vis the archipelago island’s status. This year, in the wake of crippling debt and amid widespread controversy about the recent US Supreme Court PR v. Sanchez Valle case and the Puerto Rican Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) – both of which place clear control of the island’s political and economic future under the direction of the US government – leaders of every major Puerto Rican electoral party and civil society organization petitioned the international body to intensify their support of a decolonization process which would remove US authority over the nation. Testimony by Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, head of the commonwealthoriented Popular Democratic Party, was joined by Gubernatorial candidates from the pro-statehood, independence and nationalist parties, all of whom critiqued current conditions on the island and spoke with one voice on the need for immediate release of prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera, deemed the “Mandela of the Americas” by several Latin American heads of state at the 2015 Organization of American States summit. On the non-governmental level, June 20 was declared International Day of Solidarity with Oscar Lopez Rivera by a coalition led by the National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) and the Puerto Rican Human Rights Campaign (CDHPR), and included Olga Sanabria Davila, President of the Committee for Puerto Rico at the United Nations. Support actions for Lopez Rivera’s clemency were held in a startling fortythree countries, well beyond the original expectations of the coalition initiators, who had hoped for at least thirty-five actions representing each year of Lopez Rivera’s unjust imprisonment. At age 74 and behind bars since 1981, Lopez Rivera is the longest held prisoner in Puerto Rican history, convicted solely for the thought crime of seditious conspiracy – the same charge South African President Nelson Mandela served twenty-seven years in jail for. The June 20 actions began with a virtual “pray-in” for Oscar’s unconditional freedom coordinated by South African Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, in conjunction with four additional Nobel Laureates from a total of five continents. East Timor’s former President Jose Ramos-Horta, Argentina’s Adolfo Perez Esquivel, US-based Jody Williams, and Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Island all took part in the prayerful vigil; Corrigan Maguire added that she will light a candle for Lopez Rivera as the prominent human rights elders pledge to continue to work for Oscar’s release. In an unprecedented move at the UN Decolonization hearings – and in the context of both an in-session mobile phone conversation between Lopez Rivera and Ambassador Ramirez, and a standing ovation following the testimony of Oscar’s daughter Clarissa – Bolivian Permanent Representative Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz proposed that the Committee of 24 engage directly in the work to free Oscar and commit to visiting him in prison, a proposal enthusiastically endorsed by the UN body. “Sometimes the historical moment strikes unexpectedly,” commented Hostos Professor Ana Lopez, New York Coordinator and a key international activist of the Campaign to Free Oscar. “It is said that the stars become aligned guiding the path of righteousness. On June 20, the unanimous passing of the United Nations resolution, calling for Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination and for Oscar’s release without delay, was such a moment.” Affirming the reach and response of the solidarity actions as “nothing short of miraculous,” Professor Lopez noted that the activities – which took place across six continents in Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, England, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Euzkadi, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, India, Italy, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, and Venezuela – were extremely diverse in nature. In addition to the prayin and candlelight vigils, groups held demonstrations at key sites of international and US connections, including a quickly-dispersed civil disobedience in front of the US embassy in Athens, Greece. In the Indian Ocean African nation of Mauritius, the indigenous party Lalit held a protest linking Oscar’s freedom and Puerto Rico’s colonial status with the US occupation and use of Diego Garcia as a nuclear military base, much as the US occupied and used the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for decades. In some instances, support actions took on more personal forms, such as a small student petitionsigning in Taipei, China and faculty-led petition drives in Algeria, Australia, Nigeria, Trinidad and elsewhere. In a few cases, private meetings between government officials and Oscar supporters took place, and a few representatives of foreign governments made public statements in support of Oscar’s freedom; in others, solidarity groups sent broad messages of greeting and love to Oscar himself, or to President Obama, demanding that he exercise his power of pardon before leaving office in early January 2017. A former political prisoner and current popular radio talk show host in the Dominican Republic dedicated his June 20th telecast to news about Oscar’s case, and two young women from Eritrea – Meaza and Hanna Petros, whoset father and mother were both major leaders of the independence movement there and are now both political prisoners, held incommunicado since 2001 and 2003 – made and publicized signs in their native Tigrinya stating “Release Oscar Now!” Actions or vigils in the US took place in San Francisco, CA, Boulder, CO, and in front of the United Nations in New York, where Professor López and others from 35 Women for Oscar led chants and listened to reports from inside the UN, including from Puerto Rican former political prisoner Adolfo Matos; extensive coverage included interviews airing on Univision, Telemundo, TeleSur and in local print media.

by Matt Meyer

In addition to representatives of NBHRN and the CDHPR, the international coalition included Lopez, Sanabria, San Francisco-based solidarity activist Judith Mirkinson, National Lawyers Guild President Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, 1199 Service Employees International Union Vice President Estela Vasquez and this author. Professor Lopez concluded: “What we witnessed was indeed historic – a new consensus on Puerto Rican self-determination, with Oscar Lopez Rivera’s freedom at the center.” In addition to serving on the June 20, 2016 International Solidarity with Oscar campaign committee, author Matt Meyer is a representative of both the War Resisters International and the International Peace Research Association, for which he serves as UN representative affiliated with the Department of Public Information and the UN Economic and Social Council.

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Against the Control Board

Posted on 04 August 2016 by Kevin Garcia

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Two new initiatives announced last week look good as a starting point for the indispensable unity the Puerto Rican people need in these crucial moments of our history. In the long run, it is impossible to predict their reach, but these processes that pursue unity of purpose and common and concerted action toward a goal are always positive, as our previous experiences have shown, in the struggle to oust the United States Navy, first from Culebra and then from Vieques, and more recently in the popular efforts to paralyze the projects to build the gas pipelines from the south and the north of Puerto Rico. That is why at CLARIDAD we welcome these two new and urgent fronts of struggle, which aspire to motorize the widest will of the Puerto Rican people, in Puerto Rico as well as in the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, to achieve the broadest political and human rights for our people. The new Coalition for the Freedom of our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is an embracing attempt to unite all efforts toward this goal, maximizing the collective voice of the Puerto Rican people, here and there, so that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, hears our demand and, before his presidential term expires in January of 2017, orders the release of the patriot who has already served 35 years in prison in the United States. The work of the Coalition, whose spokesperson is the former Secretary of State of Puerto Rico and the distinguished environmental activist, engineer Ingrid Vila Biaggi, and which includes a full spectrum of organizations and personalities that represent the political, human rights, civic, labor, environmentalist, religious, artisticcultural sectors, as well as several exgovernors of Puerto Rico and every gubernatorial candidate, proposes to converge in a great mass act under the theme Free Oscar López Now: The Event, to take place on October 9 in the U.S. capitol, Washington, D.C. It is extraordinary that Oscar hasn’t been released yet, when all his compañeros and compañeras have been released and are fully integrated as productive and exemplary citizens in their respective communities in Puerto Rico and the United States. It seems as if the government of the United States wanted to dump on Oscar all the hate they feel over the fact that even after 118 years of colonialism, the Puerto Rican people haven’t assimilated or gotten scared, and keep resisting and fighting the aggressions and intentions of the most powerful empire in the world. That is why this new Coalition is necessary, to reinforce the struggle until Obama listens to us and he gives us Oscar so we can bring him home. The other front of struggle opened last Saturday, with the convening of the First People’s Assembly against the Fiscal Control Board, at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, under the theme “to fight and disobey,” a demand that thousands of Puerto Ricans came to, representing the broadest sectors of Puerto Rican society. According to Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, ex-president of the Bar Association of Puerto Rico and one of the conveners of the event, the purpose was to present a plan of action and approve a declaration of purpose to direct the strategies to follow to fight the so-called Board, an openly colonial organism imposed by the United States Congress, with powers to make decisions over and above the elected government of Puerto Rico, and whose principal objective will be to assure the payment of debt to the vulture investors before offering essential services to the people. The first strategy of the recently created group, which again unites Puerto Ricans from the Island and those in the diaspora, will be a demonstration in front of the federal court in Hato Rey on the day the United States Senate considers the measure, which is expected to take place in the next few days. Both new efforts of mobilization and action are extremely important and necessary, given the crucial moment our country is living. We must then set ourselves with the best of wills so that the organizers and leaders guarantee every group and sector the maximum representation and democracy. Thus, even with our diversity, we will be able to achieve the proposed objectives. Obama needs to listen to us hard so that he finally releases Oscar. The United States government and the members of the Fiscal Control Board need to feel our rejection most vehemently to this new colonial maneuver which favors the powerful and which is contrary to the best interests of our people.

Originally published in Claridad on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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