2nd Day of Call-In
WEEK OF SOLIDARITY WITH OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA
Summary of Yesterday, Monday, January 31
We estimate that the US Parole Board received
between 350-450 calls from Puerto RIco, Mexico
and various cities across the US. The phone
lines, as well as the fax line, have been busy
for 10-15 minutes at a time. DO NOT BE
DISCOURAGED. KEEP TRYING. Various people have
been told that the only way to make their
opinions heard is only through writing. KEEP
CALLING, FAXING AND MAILING YOUR LETTERS TO THE
US PAROLE BOARD. Spread the word on your personal
and organizational Facebook account.
CALL IN TODAY!
The US Parole Commission has said they intend to
make their decision to confirm or reject the
negative recommendation by the US Parole Examiner
on Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López
Rivera, #87651-024, currently incarcerated at FCI
Terre Haute. Oscar, 68 years old, is presently
serving his 30th year of incarceration for
struggling for Puerto Rican independence.
The National Boricua Human Rights Network and the
Puerto Rico-based Comité Pro-Derechos Humanos are
urging the parole commissioners to reject the
wrong-headed and politically punitive
recommendation of the parole examiner. We intend
to flood the Parole Board with letters until they respond positively.
PLEASE DO THE FOLLOWING 3 THINGS:
1) DAILY CALL-IN CAMPAIGN FOR THIS WEEK (Jan
31-Feb 4): CALL the Parole Board in support of
Oscar Lopez Rivera from 9:00am UNTIL 5:00 PM
(EST) CALL and have others call. It only takes 5
minutes. THE NUMBER IS: 301-492-5990 hit 0 to
speak to operator. Sample script is below.
Hi, I'm calling for the release of Oscar Lopez
and I live in Chicago [NY, etc.] The Parole
Commission should parole Oscar López # 87651-024
immediately, in spite of the hearing examiner's recommendation to deny parole.
IF YOU HAVE TIME, USE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
1) Oscar has the support of a broad sector of
Puerto Rico's civil society as well as Puerto
Rican and Latino communities throughout the United States.
2) Oscar was not accused or convicted of causing
injury or taking a life. He was never accused or
convicted of participating in the 1975 Fraunces
Tavern bombing or any other action that resulted in injury or death.
3) President Clinton's determination that Mr.
López Rivera’s sentence was disproportionately
lengthy, and his offer that would have resulted
in Mr. López Rivera’s release in September of 2009.
2) Download the attached letter and fax it right away. (FAX NO: 301/492-5543)
Remember the Parole Commission has stated their
intention to make their decision by Feb. 4. Get
as many of your friends, family. colleagues and
forward to your Facebook and retweet. You can
also download the letter at the National Boricua
Human Rights Network website http://boricuahumanrights.org here.
3) MAIL Letters to:
Isaac Fulwood, Chairman
United States Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
Re: Oscar López Rivera, #87651-024, FCI Terre Haute
Please keep close track of the letters sent/faxed
to the Parole Board and let us know at
LET'S FREE OSCAR
Alejandro Luis Molina
National Boricua Human Rights Network
2739 W. Division Street
Chicago IL 60622
Comité Pro-Derechos Humanos
Oscar Lopez Rivera: A Political Prisoner That History Cannot Forget
Published: January 30, 2011
by Xavier "Xavi" Luis Burgos
Any student of history could and should be able
to communicate that what is placed in
one's school books is far from objective.
Historical events walk along the lines of power
and influence. In our contemporary society, what
is considered notable to tell future generations
must reaffirm (and be repackaged to fit the)
status quo, even if appears to be one of dissent.
That is why very few people in the United States
know about Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican
political prisoner for the last 29 years.
There are very few people who could argue that
Puerto Rico is not a colony of the United States.
In a 1922 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that
the island belongs to but is not a part of the
Union. Moreover, the U.S. Congress (which only
has one non-voting representative from Puerto
Rico) can exercise full powers over the
possession, including overriding any laws adopted
by the local legislative body. This, among other
reasons, is why Oscar López Rivera, in the 1960s
and 1970s, struggled for independence in a long
trajectory of other movements and figures.
Born in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico on January 6,
1943, López Rivera was a part of the massive
migration of islanders in the 1950s, and settled
in Chicago. By the advent of the Vietnam War, he
was drafted into the military and earned a Bronze
Star for bravery. Like many other servicemen of
color who returned to their communities, he
witnessed extreme forms of poverty, substance
abuse, and other manifestation of racism and
inequality. This motivated López Rivera to
organize other community activists and build
institutions, initiatives, and programs that
still exist today, like the Puerto Rican Cultural
Center, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, and
the Latino Cultural Center at the University of
Illinois-Chicago. Furthermore, he advocated for
fair housing, bilingual education, and an end to
police brutality and racist practices in public
utilities. Following the international spirit of
the times, by the mid-1970s he joined a guerilla
organization to step-up the pressure on the U.S.
government to address the colonial question of Puerto Rico.
By 1981, he and other alleged members of the
organization were arrested for seditious
conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government in
Puerto Rico and sent to prison with
disproportionate sentences. All but two of his
compatriots were released by 1999 due to an
international campaign that persuaded President
Bill Clinton to offer them clemency. The
remaining two were released on parole. Oscar
López Rivera remains in prison despite, like his
fellow prisoners, denying being a part of any
acts that killed or injured anyone. More
importantly, he was never charged with such actions.
What is interesting is the fact that many U.S.
citizens are absent-minded about this country's
imperial history, while elevating towards
sainthood those whose background are very similar
to that of López Rivera. Nelson Mandela, the
famed South African hero of racial equality, is a
great example. In the early 1960s, Mandela was
one of the founders and leaders of an armed
guerilla group that took responsibility for
multiple bombings on civilian and military
installations, resulting in many deaths. He also
spent 27-years as a political prisoner of the
white, apartheid system that sought to destroy
the spirit of the black indigenous population.
Mandela was never charged with attacks on human
lives, but with seditious conspiracy, just like
López Rivera and his compatriots. Ironically
enough, President Barack Obama is slated to write
the forward of Mandela's new book while ignoring
the plight of his government's owned political
prisoners and colonies. Therefore, it is safe to
say that if anyone believes Nelson Mandela is a
historic figure of great stature and justly
represents global struggles of national
liberation (which, he indeed, does!), then Oscar
López Rivera should also be out of prison.
On January 5, the U.S. Parole Commission hearing
examiner, Mark Tanner, recommended to the parole
board that López Rivera serve his full sentence
(slated for 2023) or serve another 15 years
before being released. This was done despite the
fact that thousands of people signed petitions
asking for his release, including three Congress
people, the Archbishop of Puerto Rico, the
Resident Commissioner of the island (who does not
believe in independence, but in statehood!), and
numerous elected officials in Chicago,
Philadelphia, New York City, and even Haiti. In
an act that uncovers the political nature of
López Rivera's case, the parole board never
responded to the Puerto Rican Bar Association's
request to be at the hearings, but victims of the
bombings that López Rivera was never charged with
conducting, were allowed to testify � unbeknownst
to his own lawyer until the day of.
Nonetheless, the parole board still needs to make
a final decision and could do so as early as
February 1. Everyone's voice can be influential.
The National Boricua Human Rights Campaign is
asking for petition signatures and phone calls to
the U.S. Parole Commission everyday, between 9-5pm at (301) 492-5990
To get a petition, go to