“Free Oscar Lopez Rivera”
A group of 35 women of different ideologies,faiths and backgrounds and other protesters,mainly latinos and friends gathered at Times Square on December 25th 2016,Christmas day to ask the actual President Obama and the others for the release of Puerto Rican Oscar Lopez Rivera;who has been jailed for 35 years for fighting for freedom of his homeland,Puerto Rico..These women started their campaign on March 30,2014,with commitment to gather neighborhoods throughout New York the last Sunday of every month until Oscar is pardoned and released from Prison.They wear pink shirts and light blue scarves bearing Oscar`s image and their slogan “Hasta su regreso” meaning “until his return” and Oscar has promised to join these women every last Sunday of the month in spirit by fasting as a sign of solidarity.
So,Who is Oscar by the way? Well,he was born on January 6,1943 and at the age of 14 years old,he left Puerto Rico with his parents to live in Chicago,Illinois.He was a soldier in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Medal of Valor on his return.He then joined the Armed Forces of National liberation (FALN) in 1967 and got arrested on May 29,1981 and charged with seditious conspiracy of plotting to overthrow the US government;but never accused of killing or harming anyone.He was later sentenced to 55 years and another 15 years added for an alleged escape attempt totaling 70 years.He was however offered a pardon in 1999,along with some of his comrades who had served between 19-20 years in prison,but,he didn`t accept the offer because it didn`t include Haydee Beltran or Carlos Alberto Torres.In 2011,Oscar applied for parole at the request of his family and friends,but he was denied and asked to reapply in 15 years.He has a daughter Clarisa and a grand daughter,Karina.Oscar has just turned 73 years old;35 in jail and 12 of them in solitary confinement.
By Niyi Fote