Oscar López Rivera and his artwork: clockwise from middle top - Katrina's Dome, Salvador Allende, Border Crossing, Mita with apron, Mita making morcilla
I'm writing today to ask that you take a few moments out of your day (especially since many of y'all in the Northeastern US are snowed in by this amazing storm!) to call the US Parole Commission on behalf of US Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera. I've been writing to Oscar for many years, about gardens and history and our families' farms. He was offered an opportunity to be released from prison by the Clinton administration, but wouldn't agree to the terms of the release because two of his comrades were not included in the deal. Now three decades have passed since he was first incarcerated, his comrades have all been released, including the two that he denied release because of. Fellow Puerto rican US Political Prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres was released just this past July.
Oscar López Rivera has been in prison nearly as long as I've been alive not because he was convicted of killing or even harming anyone, but because of his political affiliations - his fierce love for his people and his island of Puerto Rico. He was drafted into the Vietnam War, where he received a Bronze Star for bravery, but like many other veterans, he returned to the States after risking his life for the US gov't and found his community devastated by the effects of racism, poverty, and chemical warfare (the US gov't destroying communities by implanting drugs into poor communities/communities of color). Oscar organized within the community to help create the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, and the Latino Cultural Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He advocated for fair housing, bilingual education, and an end to police brutality and racist practices in public utilities, and supported the work of United Farm Workers. And he fought for the independence of Puerto Rico from the US's continued oppressive colonial rule.
Before and since his incarceration he's been dedicated to justice, and it's far time he be released! His daughter, who I met years ago, and grandchild, other family members, comrades, friends, politicians, celebrities, and other community-minded lovers of justice await the end of his incarceration, to have him home again. And I'm looking forward to corresponding with him not as an act of prison solidarity and support, but as two friends writing, and both of us sending photos of our gardens, instead of just dreaming and writing about this.
Truly, taking a few moments from your day this week to call the US Parole Board makes a difference. Please call, print out a letter and mail and/or fax it in, let your friends and family know. More details included below. Much appreciation...
For more general information on Oscar and the campaign for his release:here to see a short video by a relative of Oscar's.
Urgent Action Needed in Rivera Parole Decision
Please let me know if you have any questions about Oscar, his case, what to say to the parole board, etc. Please pass this info along. !Palante, siempre palante!
WEEK OF SOLIDARITY WITH OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA
Organizers estimate that over 7,000 faxes and letters have been received by the US Parole Commission and people from the US, Puerto Rico, and around the world have been calling daily. The phone lines have been busy for 15-20 minutes at a time and the fax line has been jammed up to an hour at a time. The US Parole Comissioner has stated to the media that they have never had a case like this, with so much activity. Various people have been told that the only way to make their opinions heard is only through writing. PLEASE DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. KEEP TRYING. KEEP CALLING, FAXING AND MAILING YOUR LETTERS TO THE US PAROLE BOARD. Spread the word on your personal and organizational Facebook account. WE WILL LET EVERYONE KNOW AS SOON AS WE HEAR WORD FROM THE PAROLE COMMISSION.
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 30 DAYS AFTER THE PAROLE HEARING OF JANUARY 5, 2011 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 prison 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 swamp the Parole Board with letters, faxes and calls until they respond positively.
PLEASE DO THE FOLLOWING 3 THINGS:
1) DAILY CALL-IN CAMPAIGN (Jan 31 onward until we receive word from the USPB): 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. They will tell you that you must send your opinion in writing. That is fine. KEEP CALLING ONCE A DAY UNTIL FRIDAY. PLEASE DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. Sample script is below.
Hi, I'm calling for the release of Oscar Lopez and I live in Chicago [NY, VT, ME, 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 this letter and fax it right away. Fax Number: 301-492-5543, Alternative Fax Number: 202-492-5307 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.
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 email@example.com.
LET'S FREE OSCAR!
thank you for all your work and solidarity,
Alejandro Luis Molina
firstname.lastname@example.orgNational Boricua Human Rights Network
2739 W. Division Street
Chicago IL 60622