By North American Bureau of Resumen Latinoamericano on May 30, 2015
This past weekend marked the 34th anniversary of the incarceration of the Puerto Rican fighter for independence Oscar Lopez Rivera. The date was marked by demonstrations and events around the world calling for his freedom. Lopez Rivera was sentenced in 1981 making him the longest held political prisoner in the world. He spent 12 of those years in solitary confinement.
The largest of these protests took on a national character in the streets of New York City where over 5000 people came out demanding his freedom. According to longtime Puerto Rican activist Mickey Melendez, “The movement to free Oscar Lopez Rivera has reached a significant level where every sector and institutions of the Puerto Rican community is represented. This was evident in today’s mobilization in New York. Black and Latino elected political officials, Labor, activists, artists, the 33 women for Oscar campaign, Latin-Americanos for Oscar, and most surprisingly conservative religious organizations came out to support and all chanted together as one voice, “Obama listen to me, let Oscar go FREE”.
The recent victory of the release of the Cuban Five has demonstrated that a broad movement from the ground up is key in the struggle to free political prisoners in the United States. The mobilization of the Puerto Rican people is an essential component in this struggle as was the Cuban people who never wavered in their determination to free the Five. Organizers expressed that now is the most critical time to pressure Obama, as his time as president is ending, to do the right thing.