On December 22, the Puerto Rican Ateneo will dedicate its solemn act
of raising the Puerto Rican flag to Puerto Rican political prisoner
Oscar López Rivera. The activity will take place, as it does every
year, at noon in front of the historical headquarters in Old San Juan.
The family, including his brother José López, Democratic congressman
from Illinois Luis V. Gutiérrez, and René Pérez, member of the
renowned group Calle 13, are expected to attend the activity honoring
the flag and López Rivera. A statue of the illustrious Ramón Emeterio
Betances will be unveiled.
Claridad will livestream the activity at www.claridadpuertorico.com.
The occasion represents an appeal to the attention and conscience of
all Puerto Ricans to renew their patriotic commitment to struggle for
the freedom of this Puerto Rican brother who this year marked the 30th
anniversary of his cruel and unjust imprisonment.
The dedication of the activity also takes place almost a year after
the awful January 5, 2011 denial of López Rivera’s parole by the
Parole Commission of the United States Department of Justice. As
denounced at the time of the proceedings conducted by Mark Tarnner
[sic], it was arbitrary and contaminated.
“Mr. Tarnner [sic] brought with him an FBI agent and five people who
were supposedly my victims. Four of the five made long statements that
could only be described as diatribes full of hate and poison they used
to compare me to Hitler and Bin Laden,” López Rivera said of the
hearing in a letter sent to the Puerto Rican people in March of this
year. “When it was time for my lawyer Jan Susler and I to speak, Mr.
Tarnner [sic] took on the role of conducting a grand inquisition. His
voice became sarcastic and he never paid attention to what we were
saying. After almost three hours, the hearing ended and he handed down
his recommendation that the Commission see me after I served another
15 years,” he added.
The Parole Commission also wouldn’t allow attorney Eduardo Villanueva
Muñoz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Committee, to attend the
hearing. As Villanueva Muñoz has stated, the 70 year sentence handed
down to this son of San Sebastián is the same as a living death
sentence. López Rivera is already 68 years old, 10 [sic] more years in
prison, as Tarnner [sic] sarcastically said, would keep him behind
bars until he is 83 year old. Of the 30 years he’s been in prison, the
first [sic] 12 were in total isolation.
As compañero attorney Juan Santiago Nieves has said about Puerto Rican
political prisoners Oscar López and brothers Avelino and Norberto
González Claudio: “The political prisoners represent our best human
beings and comprise the highest consciousness of struggle and
denunciation of the colonial regime. Defending and honoring them is
our urgent task.”
Additionally, activists will also be hiring a plane to fly over the Ateneo for 2 hours with a 7-ft tall banner proclaiming (in Spanish): “Oscar López Rivera: Freedom Now” followed by a giant Puerto Rican flag (image below). For more information on the event contact Edwin Cortés at: firstname.lastname@example.org