People are Preparing to Celebrate the Release of Oscar López RiveraBy: José A. Delgado
Political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is only 15 days away from freedom, and events are being organized in San Juan, Chicago, New York and San Francisco to celebrate his release.
López Rivera, who is under house arrest in San Juan since February 9, after 36 years of imprisonment, will be released on May 17, according to the sentence commutation signed by former President Barack Obama.
As part of the liberation process, the US prison system allowed Rivera to be transported to San Juan, although they did so in a rushed and unannounced manner, so as to not give time to Puerto Rican social to prepare the welcome he deserved. They fear the power of this man who has become a symbol of Puerto Rican resistance. Rivera is obliged to stay at his daughter’s house, which he can only leave to report to prison authorities.
As soon as he’s released on May 17, López Rivera will meet privately with his family in San Juan. But it won’t be long until he greets his people: shortly after that, he will go around the metropolitan area of San Juan, said his spokesman, Alejandro Molina, of the National Boricua Human Rights Network.
The following day, on Thursday May 18, Oscar López Rivera will be in Chicago to meet other family members and people of the city’s Boricua community, to which he was linked in his youth.
According to Molina, activities in Chicago will begin in the afternoon in La Casita de Don Pedro, 2625 Division street.
From there, they will walk to Humboldt park, where councilman Roberto Maldonado will officialize the ordinance of the Municipal Assembly of Chicago by which a section of the Luis Muñoz Marín boulevard was named Oscar López Rivera. Once the official act is over, there will be a party for the people in the park.
Democrat Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois) will present López Rivera in this party, which will feature Puerto Rican musicians and poets.
Last January 17, President Barack Obama commuted Oscar López Rivera’s sentence, effective four months later. This brings an end to 36 years of imprisonment for Oscar López Rivera, who was arrested on May 29, 1981 and convicted months later manly for seditious conspiracy, due to his links to the clandestine group Armed National Liberation Forces (FALN).
On Saturday, May 20, an event will be held in San Juan that will be attended by all of the social groups that helped exert pressure on the US government to free Rivera.
On May 31, Oscar will attend an event in San Francisco, with his brother José, who is the director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center of Chicago.
New York will also host an activity, although the specific details haven’t been announced yet.