Oscar Lopez Rivera : the nightmare of American government…!!!

           Puerto Rico is also called the Island of enchantment. But the people in Puerto Rico have not yet gone through this feeling of enchantment,  because they are still under the control of American Government. Like, every other nations, they too wants the tag of a ‘Free nation’. The freedom struggle of Puerto Rico has a long history. A name which could not be removed from the history of their freedom struggle is definitely, Oscar Lopez Rivera.

         Oscar Lopez Rivera. Who is he? A terrorist to some people, a national leader to some others; Political prisoner, Freedom Fighter, National Hero.  He is not the same person for everybody. His identity differs according to the person’s knowledge about Oscar Lopez Rivera.

           He was part of a militant group that fought for Puerto Rican independence called the FALN. He fought strongly for the freedom of Puerto Rico and was arrested in 1981 and charged with seditious conspiracy for his role in variety of FALN activities, including bombings and armed robberies. During his trial,  Lopez Rivera and other FALN activists told the court,  their actions were part of an anti-colonial war against the US, declaring them the prisoners of war and requesting that their

 cases be handed over to an international court.

          He was part of a militant group that fought for Puerto Rican independence called the FALN. He fought strongly for the freedom of Puerto Rico and was arrested in 1981 and charged with seditious conspiracy for his role in variety of FALN activities, including bombings and armed robberies. During his trial,  Lopez Rivera and other FALN activists told the court,  their actions were part of an anti-colonial war against the US, declaring them the prisoners of war and requesting that their cases be handed over to an international court.

          Once that request was turned down,  Rivera largely ignored the proceedings, arguing that his actions were legal under the Geneva Conventions, which recognized the right to armed struggle against colonial occupation. He was eventually sentenced to 55 years in prison, a sentence almost 20 times longer than those handed down for similar offenses.         

 

 While in prison he refused to work for UNICOR, the state run prison labor corporation, citing their production of military component parts. He later organized a successful campaign to end an institutionalized harassment campaign by prison guards.

          In 1988, he was sentenced to another 15 years in prison for allegedly attempting to escape.

          The term of punishment given by the US government to Rivera shows how much they feared this man. They put him in jail for 36 years, only to deny freedom to Puerto Rico. US knew that if Rivera is there, they will be forced to free Puerto Rico.

          US always wanted to be the boss. They want every nation to obey them. If anyone does anything against this unwritten rule, then they will show them what they can do. The same has happened in the case of Oscar Lopez too.Us is playing with a fearless fellow.

        His enduring political integrity and unfailing commitment to the principles of solidarity and the independence of Puerto Rico inspired the decade’s long campaign for his freedom, which saw 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners, US politicians such as senator Bernie Sanders and representatives Luis Gutierrez and artists such as Residente and Lin Manuel Miranda, all calling for his  release. But, it took 36 years for the US government to realize how miserable is a person’s life behind the bars, who is fighting for ‘Freedom’.

           President barrack Obama announced the commutation of Lopez Rivera’s sentence in January 2017, days before he left office.

          The announcement is just the latest development in Lopez Rivera’s remarkable life, one dedicated to struggles for freedom, justice and political integrity.

           Rivera is 74 now. May be, that is the reason why US decided to free him from exile. The US government must be thinking like, ‘At this age, what will he do?’

          Earlier President Bill Clinton offered him and other members of the FALN clemency in 1999, prompting an emotionally charged national debate in the US. At the time, Mr. Clinton said their sentences were not proportionate to their offences.

          But, Lopez Rivera turned down the chance to reduce his sentence because it did not include all of the group’s members, his lawyer, Jan Suster. However, 12 prisoners accepted the offer and were released. If he had accepted the agreement,he would have been eligible to be 

freed in 2009.

         If Mr. Obama had not decided to pardon Lopez Rivera, he would have been imprisoned until 26 June 

2023, which is five months after his 80th birthday.

          In June 2017, Puerto Rico has voted to become the 51st state of the United States, in a referendum which promised enormous change yet in reality is likely to make little difference.

          The Island has $70 billion in debt, a 45 per cent poverty rate, woefully under performing schools and near insolvent pension and health systems.

          The civilians in Puerto Rico said that they are extremely happy with his release and they feel were waiting for this day for years. This shows how much people want him. His supporters often compare him to Nelson Mandela, who was also involved in an armed political movement and served a lengthy prison term but not everyone agrees.

          If Rivera has not been put in jail, then by now Puerto Rico would have become an independent nation, not a state under The US government. This might be the reason why they kept him in the US prison for the long 36 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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