Welcome Home: Oscar López Rivera Returns To Puerto Rico

After more than three decades in an Indiana prison, Oscar López Rivera is finally home. Following Barack Obama’s host of commutations at the end of his presidency, Puerto Rico’s longest-held political prisoner is set to complete his sentence on native soil. On May 17, the former Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) leader will walk free, since he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy and a string of nonviolent crimes in 1981.

READ: Obama Pardons Puerto Rico’s Longest Incarcerated Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera

After an alleged attempt to escape in 1988, the nationalist was hit with an additional 15 years in prison atop his original 55-year sentence before he was pardoned by the 44th POTUS. After years of protest and the loudening cry for Rivera’s freedom, Puerto Rico bubbled over with anticipation for his return.

READ: San Juan Mayor, Rapper Residente And More Push For Oscar López Rivera’s Freedom

According to Remezcla, dozens who headed to the airport to welcome him back weren’t afforded the chance to lay eyes on the national hero, who stepped foot on the island at 4:36 p.m. local time on Thursday (Feb. 9), but that didn’t matter to many present. “What’s important is that he knows that people awaited his release, and that there’s a pueblo who supports him, that there are people in this country who infinitely appreciate the sacrifice he made on behalf of Puerto Rico’s independence,” one woman, Nady Pacheco, told El Nuevo Día.

Welcome back Oscar!