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


Oscar López Rivera turns 74 today (Jan. 6), but the political prisoner will be spending yet another birthday behind bars.

The former leader of Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) was charged with seditious conspiracy, interstate transportation of firearms and a string of nonviolent crimes in 1981, the year after the organization claimed responsibility for bombing attacks on more than 120 sites in the fight against U.S. colonization, The Guardian reports.

READ: White House Petition Demands Obama Free Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera

While no evidence linked Rivera to any of the bombings, he was sentenced to 55 years in prison without conviction of any violent crimes. The Puerto Rican nationalist is set to serve an additional 15 years behind bars after an alleged attempt to escape. He is now Puerto Rico’s last and longest-incarcerated political prisoner.

As President Barack Obama completes his last days in office, Bernie Sanders is sticking to his plea for Rivera’s freedom through Our Revolution.

“The first questions that often people say is ‘What did he do?’ Well he didn’t do anything,” Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz tells the organization. “He didn’t steal anything. He didn’t bomb anything. He didn’t hurt anyone. The sheer injustice of it because it’s so un-American. It’s so un-American to put someone in prison for thinking about freedom.”

READ: Puerto Rico’s Ineligibility To Vote In Presidential Elections Reeks Of Colonial Rule

Rapper and activist Residente echoes how critical his release is to Puerto Ricans. “In Puerto Rico, his liberation is a fight that has united the nation, because it’s a fight for human rights,” he says.

Joined by Rivera’s daughter Clarisa López Ramos, U.S. representative Luis Gutiérrez and more, the cry for Oscar López Rivera’s freedom continues. Watch here:

READ: ‘Puerto Ricans Underwater’ Series Speaks To The Island’s Financial Crisis