WASHINGTON -- Our Revolution on Thursday released a video calling for the release of Oscar López Rivera, the longest-held Puerto Rican political prisoner in history. Lopez Rivera, a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, has been in prison for over 35 years.
“The first question that often people say is, ‘What did he do?’ Well, he didn’t do anything,” Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, says in the video. “He didn’t steal anything, he didn’t bomb anything, he didn’t hurt anyone.”
López Rivera is a Puerto Rican nationalist who was convicted of seditious conspiracy for seeking Puerto Rican independence in 1981. López Rivera's release would be a significant victory for the island, which has been rocked by a decade-long recession and has limited political autonomy to address the situation as a U.S. territory.
“My dad always says, ‘For those that fight, victory will be the reward.’ And that has been my mantra for the past 46 years of my life,” López Rivera's daughter Clarisa says. “I have fought, I have grown, and resisted. And I keep fighting for my dad to come home.”
Prominent Puerto Rican rapper Residente, former vocalist for Calle 13, says López Rivera's liberation “is a fight that has united the nation, because it’s a fight for human rights.”
The video was released on January 5th, the day before López Rivera's 74th birthday and Puerto Rico’s Día de Reyes, or Three Kings Day holiday. The holiday celebrates the Three Wise Men’s visit to see the newborn Christ by exchanging gifts.
“We ask President Obama to give Clarisa and the people of Puerto Rico the gift of having Oscar Lopez back in Puerto Rico,” says Luis Vega Ramos, a Puerto Rican Representative.
López Rivera's release has been demanded by ten Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, as well as Coretta Scott King, the AFL-CIO, a coalition of religious and human rights organizations, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“All over the world, in the United States, in Puerto Rico, thousands of thousands of people are demanding he be released from jail,” Sanders says in the video. “I urge President Obama to do that. Free Oscar López Rivera.”
Our Revolution is encouraging supporters to call the White House every weekday until López Rivera is released.
To watch the full video, click here.