A TERRORIST by any Other Name

A TERRORIST by any Other Name

We believe in second chances. We don’t condone terrorism.
Yet recent words and actions have left us wondering just where City leadership stands. Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito have publically supported the decision of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board to honor convicted terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera at this year’s celebration of Puerto Rican pride in New York City.
Lopez Rivera is a Puerto Rican activist and the leader of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional Puertorriquena, a clandestine paramilitary organization responsible for more than 120 attacks on United States targets, including the bombing of downtown Manhattan’s Fraunces Tavern in 1975 that killed four people.
Lopez Rivera was arrested on May 29, 1981 and tried by the U.S. government for seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery, interstate transportation of firearms, and conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property. In August 1981, López Rivera was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in federal prison. On Jan 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted his sentenced, and Lopez Rivera was released from prison last month. He is set to be honored on June 11 by the parade board at the 60th annual celebration of Puerto Rican pride.
Many of the parade’s sponsors have pulled out of the event. And myriad City officials, including Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill, have vowed to skip the celebration due to Lopez Rivera’s presence.
“I believe he renounced terrorism. He was part of an organization that obviously did employ violence. He was not involved directly in that violence. He has renounced violence. Two Presidents of the United States came to the conclusion that he was worthy of commutation of his sentence – that’s fine, that’s all I need to know,” de Blasio said last Thursday, striking an unmistakably defiant tone.
Your own top cop calls Lopez Rivera a terrorist, but you won’t? Even if he didn’t plant the bomb inside the tavern – Lopez Rivera’s leadership of the FALN left a tacit fingerprint on the explosive, and the four death certificates it created.
And Mark-Viverito is certainly standing by her militant man. On May 22, the Council Speaker and 35 elected officials – including a shameful six from Queens – wrote a letter to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board commending them for their resolve and support of Lopez Rivera.
“As you know, June 11th is a day to come together as a community, and we are highly disappointed that one of the parade’s main sponsors has backed out of supporting this longstanding tradition, which as its primary purpose, has celebrated the advances and contributions of the Puerto Rican community. We march to honor our history and uplift our people – a message all of the parade’s sponsors should take to heart,” the letter reads, in part. “We stand in solidarity with Oscar and express our full support for the Board’s decision to recognize and uplift the legacy of Oscar Lopez Rivera.”
We believe in redemption. We believe in second chances. Even for Oscar Lopez Rivera.
But we simply cannot condone terrorism. And by honoring Lopez Rivera in New York City on June 11, the leadership of this great municipality that bounced back from the ravages of Sept. 11 is doing just that.


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