By Oscar López Rivera / imprisoned 32 years
I rarely watch television, but on Thursday, November 21st, by pure intuition, I sat down to watch the Latin Grammy’s with other prisoners.
When Ricky Martin said, “Justice and freedom for Oscar López!” I shivered with emotion and gratitude. Ricky is a courageous man whose voice is respected. In the same moment, I thought about the march that was going to take place on Saturday the 23rd, and in my mind, I imagined an extraordinary event. Without knowing with scientific certitude all the work that was taking place, I had a premonition that many people would take part in it.
When Saturday arrived and I could call your mother, she told me how amazing everything was even at the beginning. The march had not stepped off yet, and I waited a bit before calling again. The minutes seemed like an eternity. I wanted to conserve the little telephone time I had, so that when I called again, the activity would be at its apogee.
And I succeeded. When I returned to communicate with Clarisa, I could hear the music and the chanting of the demonstrators. I wanted to explain to you the excitement that surrounds a person who is imprisoned, when he realizes that thousands of men and women, under the sun and sky and air of the streets, have united to ask that the bars be opened and you can be reunited with them. It is a joy, and at the same time, an indescribable pain. You miss the support — the immediate warmth of the people make you want to embrace them all, and it distresses you to realize that you cannot do so.
Later, I spoke with Jan Susler, who was in the march, and through her phone I could greet various people who were marching with her. I knew some of them from before; others not, but regardless it moved me to establish this contact with so many people who were sacrificing their Saturday afternoon to ask for my release from prison.
The enthusiasm was contagious. I spoke with the congresspeople Nydia Velázquez y Luis Gutiérrez. Both filled me with spirit and promised to visit me. How can I thank them for their gesture, the petitions which they have made in favor of my release?
Hearing these voices, I understood that the word is a perfect window for contemplating the outside world. Thanks to the word, to all that they related to me, I was able to appreciate, through their eyes, the marvel of the spectacle that was taking place.
In truth, I think that this event has validated all the other efforts that have been held this year in order to try to get me out of prison. It is also a great example of the Puerto Rican soul, its goodness and nobility.
It fills me with pride to know that thousands of people forgot their political differences, crossed ideological lines and religious creeds, and transcended generational differences: young and old. To see the photos, it reminded me of a gigantic “quilt,” made from different pieces of fabric, but which serve the same purpose: to surround human spirit with warmth. I felt so warmed.
I could see the 32 Children x Oscar and the Montessori school students at the Escambrón Beach. And I could see, also, the 32 women, dressed with their colorful clothing, asking for my return home.
I could imagine their faces, including the ones I have never seen. It has been a great lesson for me to understand how creative and hard-working my people can be when we set out to do so.
I was entertained like a child watching the Monarch butterflies created by the hands of Puerto Rican artists. Consider, Karina, how these butterflies travel thousands of miles from Canada and Minnesota to take refuge in the jungles of oyamel, a type of fir in Mexico. This time, the butterflies flew in a different direction, coming from Puerto Rico to me, to this prison and the window of my imagination.
The whole march, from beginning to end, all of our people who clamored for freedom and justice, have filled my poor and limited life with hope. It demonstrates again the courage of many people to think differently, and signifies, at the end, that even the youngest child is capable of participating in the search for a better life, aimed at decolonizing our country and to decolonizing our own minds along the way.
I will always have in my memory, until the day I die, the memories of November 23rd and the march that they dedicated to me.
In resistance and struggle, your grandfather, his heart moved,
Oscar López Rivera