Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oscar López-Rivera

Oscar López-Rivera was born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico on January 6, 1943. His family moved to Chicago when he was twelve years old. In later years he beacame a respected community activist and one of the founding members of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (formerly Rafael Cancel Miranda High School) and the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

Oscar was very active in many community struggles in Chicago and a Puerto Rican independence leader. Arrested in 1981, he was charged with seditious conspiracy and various other charges. 'Described' as a leader of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional-FALN). Oscar was eventually convicted on the charge of seditious conspiracy, armed robbery and some lesser offenses.

Seditious conspiracy can be defined as overt conduct towards an established order. In this case the established order being the U.S. The conduct can be either written, via speech or organizational. The act in this case was of attempting to overthrow the U.S. government from Puerto Rico, which the U.S. invaded in 1898.

For the charge of seditious conspiracy, armed robbery and some lesser offenses, Oscar was given a sentence of 55 years. A sentence that is out of proportion when compared to other crimes committed during the same time period. Some of the conditions under which he has spent his prison term were found to be in violation of the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. (ref.)

The National Boricua Human Rights Network's (NBHRN) new campaign to ask for parole for Oscar Lopez Rivera is well under way, ProLibertad has started an online petition to get President Barack Obama to give Oscar parole or to commute his sentence.

In the words of Congressman Vito Marcantonio, U.S. Congressman, in a speech given by him on August 5, 1939 before Congress titled 'Five Years of Tyranny.' (Recorded in the Congressional Record, August 14, 1939)  "There is no place in America for political prisoners...When we ask ourselves, 'Can it happen here?' the Puerto Rican people can answer, 'It has happened in Puerto Rico.' as he spoke about the treatment of Puerto Rican Nationalist and U.S. prisoner Pedro Albizu Campos.

Click on the image above to sign the petition

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