Friday, February 25, 2011

The Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera Continues!

Clockwise from top left. Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera, National Boricua Human Rights Network - working tirelessly for Oscar's freedom, the last of Oscar's co-defendents Carols Alberto Torres is Free! July 26, 2010, and youth calling for the release of the remaining Puerto Rican Political Prisoners,

The US Parole Commission has daily received hundreds of calls, along with thousands of faxes and letters in support of US Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera over the last 3 week period. (Please see the 2/12 Freedom for Oscar López Rivera! post for more info) The National Boricua Human Rights Network is continuing the campaign to win freedom for Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. On Friday, February 18, the U.S. Parole Commission issued its decision in the case of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, stating “Deny parole. Continue to a 15-year reconsideration hearing in January 2026 or continue to expiration, whichever comes first.”

Please continue to call, fax and mail letters to the USPC. THERE ARE NEW VERSIONS OF THE PHONE SCRIPT AND LETTER. Please make sure you use those.

This decision ignores the express will of the Puerto Rican people and those who believe in justice and human rights, counting tens of thousands of voices supporting his immediate release, the Commission ignored the evidence establishing that Oscar met all the criteria for parole, and also ignored its own rules in the process. Among these many ignored voices are members of legislatures including the United States Congress; the state legislatures of New York, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania; the city councils and county boards of many locales in the U.S. and Puerto Rico; the mayors of many towns in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including the Association of Mayors of Puerto Rico; bar associations including the Puerto Rico Bar Association, the National Lawyers Guild and the American Association of Jurists; clergy and religious organizations, including the Ecumenical Coalition representing every religious denomination in Puerto Rico; human rights advocates, academics, students, artists, community organizations, and workers.

Oscar and his attorney Jan Susler will meet next week to discuss the decision. Meanwhile, the National Boricua Human Rights Network in the U.S. and the Comité Pro Derechos Humanos in Puerto Rico will continue the campaign to express to the Parole Commission the depth and breadth of support for Oscar’s immediate release.

Oscar, his family, his attorney, National Boricua Human Rights Network in the U.S. and the Comité Pro Derechos Humanos in Puerto Rico want to express our deepest gratitude for the vast support for his release.

Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project Denounces US Parole Commission's Decision

The Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project denounces the US Parole Commission's decision to deny the parole petition of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, a father, grandfather, artist, community organizer, and decorated Viet Nam veteran who has spent nearly 30 years in prison for acts and beliefs in favor of independence for Puerto Rico.

In making this decision, the Parole Commission clearly failed to follow its own guidelines, which stipulate that the petitioner not pose a safety threat and not be likely to commit a future offense.

Past and present supporters of his release include Nobel Laureates such as Desmond Tutu and Rigoberta Menchu; scores of other prominent people, including elected officials, celebrities, and religious leaders and denominations, reflecting the broadest cross-section of the Puerto Rican society. Clearly his supporters would not be working to welcome him home to Puerto Rico if they considered it remotely possible that he posed a danger to themselves or their loved ones.

A whole generation has grown up in the thirty years that Mr. López Rivera has been in prison. Around the world, we see people breathing in the new possibilities of freedom and democracy, while students in one of the few remaining colonies in the Americas are maced and tear-gassed for engaging in peaceful protest at the University of Puerto Rico. Regardless of one's views concerning Puerto Rico's political status, it's past time for people of conscience everywhere to join in this call to pray, meditate, demand, and struggle to bring Oscar home.

Rev. Dr. C. Nozomi Ikuta

Co-Chair, Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project.


  1. Dear Partners,

    Join The First Oscar – Mandela Protest in Puerto Rico on Saturday, March 22, 2014, on the Abolition of Slavery Day, to peacefully protest for the decolonization of Puerto Rico and the release of our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. It is the perfect day to protest the enslavement of Puerto Rico by the government of the United States.

    We will march from the Roosevelt Avenue Urban Train Station at 2 PM to the United States Court in Puerto Rico on Chardón Street in Hato Rey.

    If you belong to any particular group, feel free to bring your flags and signs to our protest. We want it to be a collective effort involving everyone who believes that colonialism is a crime against humanity and a threat to world peace. We need to have as many people as possible, because those who practice or accept colonialism, don’t believe in justice for all!

    Un abrazo,

  2. Should criminals be in charge of correcting the wrong they inflicted?

    Puerto Ricans vote in elections every 4 years at an 80% level of participation. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States (US) government for the past 116 years. If the US government has the final say in what happens in Puerto Rico, what is the purpose of these elections? The purpose is to fool the world that Puerto Rico is a democracy.

    The United Nations (UN) declared colonialism a crime against humanity in 1960. The UN has asked the US government 33 times to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately. The US government has refused. It says that Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States is none of the UN’s business. The US says that it is a domestic affair.

    To appear that the US government wants to decolonize Puerto Rico, it promotes the use of plebiscites to determine what Puerto Ricans want. Doesn’t that sounds innocent and democratic? So what’s the problem?

    To begin with, the international community already rendered its verdict and determined that colonialism is illegal. So to have a political status option in a plebiscite that favors maintaining Puerto Rico a colony of the United States is not permitted. To have a political status option of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States is also not permitted under international law. The problem goes back to the beginning of this article. In order to have free elections, the country must be free. So before these elections and plebiscite could be valid, Puerto Rico would have to first be an independent nation.

    What people must realize is that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US because the US government wants it that way. That is why it has used terrorism to keep it that way. That is why it refuses to release the Puerto Rican political prisoner of 33 years Oscar López Rivera. That is also why it is ridiculous to believe that decolonization is a US internal matter in which the UN has no jurisdiction over. If we allow the US government to decolonize Puerto Rico, she will remain a colony of the United States forever!

    José M López Sierra