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Oscar López Rivera asked to decline Puerto Rican Day Parade homage

By on May 30, 2017

In this May 18, 2017 photo, Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera, center, who was pardoned by former President Barack Obama in January, arrives for a gathering in his honor in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Organizers of New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 11 stand firm amid boycotts over their decision to honor Rivera, who was a member of a group that that claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings across New York, Chicago, Washington and Puerto Rico in the 1970s and early 1980s. (Charles Rex Arbogast, File/AP)

SAN JUAN – New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Carmelo Ríos requested Tuesday that activist and former political prisoner Oscar López Rivera decline that New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade be carried out in his honor due to the controversy shrouding the recognition.

Several brands and entities such as Goya, the New York Yankees, Coca Cola, and JetBlue have withdrawn their longstanding sponsorship of the parade because the event will be dedicated to López Rivera, who was charged and imprisoned for “seditious conspiracy” and because of his ties to the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN, or Armed Forces of National Liberation), a clandestine group that fought for Puerto Rico’s independence.

“I take this initial turn [in the Senate session] to send a message to Mr. Oscar López: If you really love Puerto Rico, if you really believe that Puerto Rico deserves to be put in the place of honor where it has to be placed, now is the time to renounce the wrongful homage proposed by [the Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa] Mark-Viverito and some members of the Puerto Rican Day Parade board,” Ríos said.

The senator said that this type of recognition vaunts “what we poorly call patriotism of some” and “does not represent Puerto Ricans.”

“Under no circumstances do we want to march to the sound of bombs and dynamite, and not bomba y plena, as some propose. Under no circumstances can the flag of Puerto Rico be tarnished by the violent acts surrounding the deaths of people in that same city 30 years ago,” the minority spokesman said.

Ríos held both Mark-Viverito and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz responsible for the controversy. He assured that the officials, who have closely followed López Rivera’s release are “selfish” and “failed in their separatist agenda.”

“Mr. López, enjoy your freedom and enjoy your family, but also allow Puerto Ricans to enjoy in peace. Take your fight with you; in this democracy everyone fits in, but do not take with you to exile and prison the Puerto Rican Parade, which has brought so much pride to Puerto Ricans,” he added.

In the past, López Rivera has implied that former FBI agents were behind the loss of sponsors. Meanwhile, Mark-Viverito signaled out the NPP as one of the entities behind the rejection of the homage to López Rivera.

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