Tuesday, November 16, 2010


By Vagabond Beaumont

"Agitation, organization, resistance, struggle and love are the ingredients that will guarantee us victory!"
- Oscar Lopez Rivera

Oscar Lopez Rivera is a Puerto Rican political prisoner and prisoner of war. He has been in US prisons since 1980. He was sentenced to serve 70 years for the charge of seditious conspiracy to overthrow the US government as a member of the Puerto Rican armed underground resistance the FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional - Armed Forces of National Liberation). The distinction of being a prisoner of war is important. Oscar and the other FALN members who were also arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy identified themselves as combatants in an anti-colonial war with the US government and refused to recognize the US government as having any jurisdiction over them. Not recognizing the US government’s authority over them meant refusing to participate in the trial proceedings outside of issuing an opening statement. Oscar and the other arrested members of the FALN asked that their trials be argued before an international court but the US courts denied those appeals.

Oscar was born in Puerto Rico in San Sebastián and moved to the US as a child. He was drafted into the Vietnam war and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. When he came back from his tour in Vietnam he found the Puerto Rican community in Chicago in shambles and worked as a community organizer in an effort to make things better for his people. He helped create a Puerto Rican High School and Community Center in Chicago that exist to this very day. He also helped found a free halfway-house for convicted drug addicts. Oscar actively worked on the campaign to free the five Puerto Rican Nationalists Lolita Lebron, Raphael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Oscar Collazo who won a presidential pardon from Jimmy Carter in 1979.

For more than half the time that Oscar has been in prison he has been in solitary confinement and there have been times that the US Bureau of Prisons has denied Oscar emergency medical attention. Amnesty International has criticized these conditions in an effort to bring some justice to Oscar’s situation.

Prolibertad is a grass roots organization working towards the freedom of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war. They have started a petition to free Oscar Lopez Rivera in which they are trying to get ten thousand signatures. You can help free Oscar Lopez Rivera by signing the petition and passing the word on to friends and family and asking them to sign the petition.

On another note Oscar Lopez Rivera was a source of inspiration that became an influence on MACHETERO because of the strength of his belief in the independence of Puerto Rico and the sacrifice that he’s made and continues to make for that cause. His impact can be especially felt in Not4Prophet’s portrayal of Pedro Taino. On more than one occasion those who knew Oscar personally have felt the influence of Oscar in Not4Prophet’s performance. Oscar has sacrificed more than anyone can comprehend for OUR freedom. He has sacrificed being a father to his daughter and a grandfather to his grandchildren to see that WE are free. The onus is on us to see him free. As a result we feel a responsibility to see that Oscar is freed, so please sign the petition and pass it on to others to sign.

No comments:

Post a Comment