by Portside staff
Washington, DC – Today on the floor of the House during Morning Business, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke about the last Puerto Rican political prisoner held in a federal prison, Oscar Lopez Rivera. Rep. Gutiérrez called on President Obama to commute Lopez Rivera’s sentence before he leaves office in January and announced a unity event to be staged in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House in Washington, on October 9, 2016. The Congressman, who stood in front of a picture of himself with Lopez Rivera taken less than two months ago at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, said “commutation is the only option” because of Lopez Rivera’s advanced age (soon to turn 74) and that his next possible parole hearing will not be for 10 years. Rep. Gutiérrez also spoke of the broad support for President Obama to take action.
“It is now or never and President Obama holds all the cards,” the Congressman said. “We can’t allow Oscar to die in jail. Obama must commute his sentence.”
The Congressman outlined the broad support for releasing the non-violent, Vietnam veteran, who has been in federal prison for more than 35 years, whom the Congressman described as an “elder statesman of the Puerto Rican diaspora” and an “exemplary inmate.”
“From the richest to the poorest, whether you live in Bayamon, Ponce, Orlando or Chicago, New York City – the Puerto Rican people are united in our call to free Oscar Lopez Rivera. Internationally, Bishop Desmond Tutu is with us. And a long list of Nobel Peace Prize winners have joined the campaign to free Oscar Lopez.”
He urged everyone listening to his speech or watching it on-line to join him in Washington on October 9 at the event organized byLa Coalición por la Liberación de Oscar López Rivera. CONTINUE READING.