Government Corruption

NY Puerto Rican parade will honor former terrorist who killed cops

on

Organizers of the New York City Puerto Rican Day parade are standing by their decision to honor a freed militant — or terrorist — who embraced armed resistance to the U.S. rule of Puerto Rico, even though there’s been a major boycott by Hispanic police officers and criticism from salsa star Willie Colon.

Monday, the latest person to say he wouldn’t march in the parade was New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill because the man in question — Oscar Lopez Rivera — served decades in prison for his involvement in The Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN.

In the 1970s and 1980s, FALN claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in New York, Chicago, Washington and Puerto Rico, including a blast that killed four people at New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern in 1975.

Unfortunately, Lopez Rivera wasn’t found guilty in any of those bombings, but a former FALN member testified to instructing its members on how to make bombs, detonators and silencers. During his time in prison, Lopez Rivera was convicted of hatching a plot to escape from prison using explosives and a helicopter.

This Puerto Rican terrorist was serving 35 years until one man freed him from prison… President Barack Obama.

The 74-year-old is being named as “Procer de la Libertad” — National Freedom Hero — for the June 11 parade by the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The board of directors of  released a statement Monday defending their decision to name Lopez Rivera:

“We understand that others may not be able to be with us. However, we will continue to represent all voices, with an aim to spark dialogue and find common ground, so that we can help advance our community and build cultural legacy.”

Well… that statement backfired. Now, the New York Police Department’s Hispanic Society, which has sent a few hundred officers to the parade in the past, announced it wouldn’t participate this year because some of those permanently maimed in FALN bombings were police officers. Society president Jenimarie Garcia-Cruz said in a statement:

“We will take a stance in support of the members of service who were seriously injured and with the families of the innocent people who lost their lives.”

And the backfire continues. Goya Foods, which has sponsored every parade since its inception back in 1958, revoked their sponsorship this year, calling it a business decision.

Now, there’s an online petition demanding the title be revoked has about 2,000 signatures. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Puerto Rican native, and more than 30 other lawmakers sent a letter to the parade’s board Monday praising the decision to honor Lopez Rivera in a letter:

“As countless families continue to struggle in Puerto Rico’s current fiscal crisis, Oscar is a reminder of the hope that has always anchored the Island — and that’s why we fully stand behind your efforts.”

Last week, Lopez Rivera was released from house arrest in Puerto Rico, where he has been since his sentence was commuted in January. He then traveled to Chicago, where he got a hero’s welcome with a parade thrown in his honor, and was also given  a street sign bearing his name.   

About Staff Editor

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *