Puerto Rican leader Oscar López Rivera, who was detained in the United States because of his struggle for the independence of his country, enjoyed freedom for the first time in 35 years today.
This morning, López Rivera left the apartment of his daughter in Santurce to take his first walk around the neighborhood, with a big smile on his face and emanating the same hope as always for the independentist struggle of Puerto Rico.
The first thing he did was thanking his people for fighting for his liberation. “I come to fight and to work,” said the 74-year-old activist, and added: “My spirit, my dignity and my honor are younger today than the day I entered prison”. During his imprisonment in the US, he spent 12 years in solitary confinement.
He said he’s happy to have a full agenda, which includes a press conference at 11 a.m. in the Escambrón beach, as well as a trip to Chicago tomorrow. Events are being organized in Chicago, New York and San Francisco to celebrate his release.
As he exited the apartment of his only daughter, Clarisa López, Oscar was greeted by a hundred people, who gave him white and yellow daisies, and red roses. He was dressed in black, and wore a Puerto Rican flag on his chest. He was no longer wearing the electronic shackle they put on him when they released him. They had removed it yesterday afternoon.
López Rivera was transported to Puerto Rico on February 9, and had been under domiciliary arrest at his daughter’s house after he was authorized to re-enter Puerto Rico.
Three hours after he signs a document that the US Prisoner Bureau requires, a “Oscar’s Party” will be held in the universitary sector of Río Piedras, with the presence of several artists. His lawyer, Jan Susler, has said he will meet some of his old comrades there.
The next day, he will be in Chicago, the US city where he lived since he was 15 until he was imprisoned. There, the Latino community will homage him and give his name to part of a street in the Humboldt Park area.
Afterwards, he will return to Puerto Rico and on Saturday he will be in the San Sebastián municipality, the mountainous center of the island where he was born and lived before moving to Chicago.
Oscar López Rivera also plans to travel to several countries like Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, to thank them for the solidarity they displayed in the struggle for his liberation.
This independentist, who was born on January 6, 1943, was accused of conspiring by the US justice for being a part of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), an organization that struggled for the independence of the island, which was colonized by the United States on 1898.