Category Archives: 31 Days for 31 Years

New York Elected Officials and Community Leaders support release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera

A press conference/rally on Friday, November 30, at Local 1199 Auditorium,
310 W. 43rd St., at 6pm, will serve as a “send-off” to a delegation of New York elected officials who will accompany U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois) on a special visit to meet with López Rivera in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana on Sunday December 2.

Oscar López Rivera has served more than 30 years in prison for his political beliefs, he was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life. He is serving a sentence of 70 years. His release date is 2023.

Members of the delegation to visit López Rivera include Gustavo Rivera, New York State Senator from the 33rd Senate District; José Rivera, New York State Assemblyman from Assembly District 78; and Melissa Mark Viverito, New York City Council member for Council District 8.

Elected officials, leaders of churches and religious organizations, leaders of the community, and activists in the City and State of New York are adding their voices to the growing chorus asking for López Rivera’s release from prison. “After serving 31 years in prison, it’s time to bring him home,” said Council member Mark Viverito.

“What a holiday gift it would be, for Oscar to celebrate Christmas with his family for the first time in over three decades,” said his daughter, Clarisa, who will also be at the press conference. Download the press release here.

Successful forum on the Cuban 5 and Oscar López Rivera

Close to 75 people turned out to listen to two impressive speakers: John Hawkins for the Chicago Cuba Coalition and Clarisa López, daughter of Oscar López Rivera, Puerto Rican political prisoner serving 31 years for struggling for the freedom of Puerto Rico.
The forum, which took place at DePaul University last Thursday Nov. 15th, also featured Casandra Figueroa and Jessie Fuentes performing their song “What would Oscar Say?” as well as a spirited Q&A as well as the film “31 Days for 31 Years Project”- a movie short on the Campaign to Free Oscar directed by Matt McCanna (below). Lastly, the forum also featured the launching of a renewed effort to gather letters to send to Pres. Obama and 900 letters were distributed to audience members, who committed to return them signed.

Panorama of May 29 event

This is a panorama of the May 29 event commemorating the 31st anniversary of imprisonment that Oscar López Rivera is serving. The National Boricua Human Rights Network sponsored the event at the Batey Urbano that day.

ORLANDO, FL: March/Candlelight Vigil for Oscar López Rivera

The Orlando Chapter marched the streets of Orlando, Florida yesterday in support of the release of Oscar López Rivera. Yesterday marked the 31st anniversary of the incarceration of Oscar who is the longest held political prisoner in the world. NBHRN members and supporters began their march from Lake Eola to the Orlando City Hall Plaza where an emotional Candlelight Vigil ended the evening with hope for Oscar’s immediate release.

During Tuesday’s events, 31 Marchers were handcuffed representing the 31 years of Oscar’s unjust incarceration. All 31 participants voiced their support for Oscar in an emotional plea for justice. In addition, a letter recently written by Oscar was read where Oscar expressed his sincere gratitude for the community’s continued support for his liberation. Others recited poetry and voiced their organizations’ and personal support for the immediate release of Oscar. However, one the highlights of the evening was the attendance and participation of New York State Assemblyman, Jose Rivera. Rivera flew in all the way from New York to participate, videotape, and support the NBHRN Chapter’s effort to publicize the plight of Oscar Rivera López.

PUERTO RICO: A NATION ERUPTS IN CREATIVE PROTEST; SEEKING FREEDOM FOR IT’S SON

Activists covered statues of nine US presidents with orange t-shirts- the color of US prison uniforms, in front of the Capitol- with the message “Freedom for Oscar López Rivera NOW“, the protesters, in the majority university students, summed up the demand of various political, social and religious sectors for the parole of López Rivera who has been in US jails for 30 years.

Raquel Delgado Valentín, one of the members of the group, said that the political prisoner will complete 31 years in prison today. “In Puerto Rico, though we may differ, we recognize people like Pedro Albizu Campos, Lolita Lebrón and Rafael Cancel Miranda for their love of country. In the same way we recognize figures like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi who were prisoners for the struggle for more rights for society. It’s for that that we must look from another perspective at the case of Oscar López Rivera,” said Aníbal López Correa, another member of the group.

He added, “Though when there are differences in ideological vision, Oscar’s case transcends them and it obliges us as a people to demand justice and his immediate freedom. It’s time to bring Oscar home.”

A press conference was also convoked at the Puerto Rican Bar Association, with representation form every sector of Puerto Rican society. (See above)

In addition, a light plane carrying a huge banner proclaiming “freedom for Oscar López Rivera” flew over the Capitol, the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, the Puerto Rican Bar Association and other institutions.

Teams of activists including the Human Rights Committee also hung large banners from overpasses and stood by the side of roads holding banners in Lares, Mayaguez and San Juan, among other cities.

A mural was also painted in support of Oscar’s struggle for freedom in his hometown of San Sebastian, Puerto Rico.

13th Anniversary of the Historic 1999 Release

September 10 is the 13th anniversary of the historic 1999 release of 11 Puerto Rican political prisoners.

Oscar Lopez Rivera has now served 13 more years than his compatriots.

Download and sign the petition asking President Obama to do justice and grant Oscar’s immediate release here.

Final “31 Days for 31 Years” Video Out


Beginning on April 28th, 2012 Humboldt Park in Chicago was witness to a group of 31 people spending 24 hours in a makeshift prison cell at Café Teatro Batey Urbano to simulate the 31 years Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera has spent in prison for struggling for the independence of Puerto Rico.
The ambitious joint effort of the Latin@ Coalition, Batey Urbano and NBHRN included participation of guards and caterers, letter writing to Oscar, as well as an open exhibit of Oscar’s paintings in Batey. Cliick on the image to view video.

The project culminated in a major event commemorating his arrest and 31 years of imprisonment on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.

For more information please visit boricuahumanrights.org

High Profile Events to Commemorate Oscar López Rivera Anniversary Imprisonment!

“31 Days for 31 Years”

Culminating Event for Oscar López Rivera

Over 75 university students, community residents, family members and special guests gathered Tuesday evening, May 29th, at the Batey Urbano, to celebrate the culminating event for “31 Days for 31 Years”. The ambitious joint effort of the Latin@ Coalition, Batey Urbano, and NBHRN began Saturday, April 28th when Alejandro Luis Molina, prisoner #1, entered the makeshift cell to begin his voluntary “incarceration” of 24 hours. Every subsequent “prisoner” was also watched by a “guard”. While every guard wrote a letter to Oscar, some went further and reflected publically before the crowd on their experience in the cell.

One of the most moving reflections was made by Minister Abel Muhammad, the Latino Community liaison from the Nation of Islam, who made the observation, “How could a man this beautiful, who has brought so many people together here and all over the world in the campaign for his freedom, be a terrorist?

The reflections were interspersed with original poetry by Casandra Figueroa and Jessie Fuentes, Judy Diaz and Marisol Velez, also known as “Pinqy Ring.”, all about Oscar. Many of the reflections that were written by the prisoners, as well as the artistic posters used to bring the message of Oscar’s freedom to the anti-NATO march, were affixed to the surrounding walls, along with Oscar’s paintings.

Lourdes Lugo and José E. López spoke, and while both are members of the family, Lourdes spoke as someone who had helped cater the meals for the “prisoners” in the cell and as someone who has been involved in the campaign for Puerto Rican political prisoners freedom for close to 20 years, and José as a person who the NBHRN asked to reflect on what was he doing the day Oscar was arrested and how that impacted the movement.

Laura Ruth Johnson, a Network member that has been visiting Oscar for many years, read his message, a message that you can read in its entirety here, and that also traveled throughout the Puerto Rican Diaspora and Puerto Rico.

One can the find 31-second videos of each “prisoner’s” reflection and photos on NBHRN’s youtube and flickr sites, respectively.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: NBHRN Sympathizers Banner Overpasses

NBHRN Marches for Oscar, Against NATO

On Sunday, May 20th, the National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) led the Humboldt Park contingent downtown to the protest organized by the Coalition Against NATO and the G8 (CANG8). The Coalition organized a march of over 15,000 to demonstrate against the NATO summit. Over 60 people met at Batey Urbano with flags, noisemakers, buttons, signs and Oscar t-shirts and marched to the Division Blue Line station. After arriving downtown the Humboldt Park contingent marched to the Grant Park rally, where Michelle Morales, NBHRN co-coordinator gave a rousing speech on Oscar López Rivera and our solidarity work.

The NBHRN and their supporters marched alongside the Palestinians and other Arabs peoples, Filipinos and the CANG8 Palestine Solidarity Working Group as well as the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the Committee Against Political Repression, and the Coalition to Protect People’s Rights.

Following is Oscar’s message to the participants of the protest: “Greetings with much love and respect to all of you who dare to protest and struggle against the G-8 and NATO. They are the forces that represent hatred, fear, corruption, havoc, wars, exploitation and oppression. What they have done and continue doing in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine and Egypt clearly represent what they are capable of doing in order perpetuate their control and hegemony. You, on the other hand, represent love, hope, compassion and courage. As long as you don’t allow them to stop you, you can stop them. A better and more just world is possible. Let’s dare to struggle to make it a reality. Dare to struggle and dare to win. En resistencia y lucha, OLR.

View the video of Michelle Morales, Network co-coordinator, greeting the crowd here.