Things That Matter

People Are Pleading Obama To Pardon Oscar Lopez Rivera After 35 Years In Prison

You’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about Oscar López Rivera, but who is he? For one, he’s the longest-held political prisoner in Puerto Rico’s history. Second, he’s been in prison for more than 35 years for a nonviolent conviction, according to Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez.

Puerto Rican Oscar López Rivera has been a political prisoner for more than 35 years.


López Rivera was convicted of seditious conspiracy.

According to Cornell Law, seditious conspiracy is defined as “two or more persons” attempting to “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States.”

López Rivera is currently being held in prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

López Rivera is accused of being a part of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional or FALN).


According to Encyclopedia Britannica, FALN formed in the mid-1970s and its members were responsible for several bombings in the U.S. and Puerto Rico from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. One such bombing led to the death of four people in New York City.

Now that President Obama’s time left in the White House is coming to an end, there is a renewed push to have López Rivera pardoned.


“Do you think that if the U.S. government had any evidence against him of any involvement that they wouldn’t have prosecuted him? Of course they would have,” Jan Susler, López’s attorney, told NBC News. “Oscar had no victims. He was never part of any bombings.”

And the campaign to have López Rivera pardoned has drawn some big Puerto Rican names like Ricky Martin…


And most recently, Calle 13’s Residente.


“Oscar López didn’t kill anyone, he was a pacifist,” Residente said in a Facebook video. “His story has been taken out of context and they’ve even called him a terrorist but that’s false. He was only fighting for Puerto Rico’s independence, he even fought in Vietnam for the U.S.”

And the call for his release from prison is coming from more countries that just the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

@CubanitoEnCuba / Twitter
CREDIT: @CubanitoEnCuba / Twitter

“Mr. President, throughout your presidential term, the people of Puerto Rico have united behind one common cause; the freedom of Oscar López Rivera,” Swedish politicians told President Obama in a letter, according to Tele Sur TV. “As your administration is winding down you and only you have the opportunity to allow Oscar López Rivera to live out the final part of his life in his homeland with his family.”

A petition on the White House website has received enough signatures needed to prompt a response.

petitions.whitehouse.gov
CREDIT: petitions.whitehouse.gov

“Due to Mr. López’s age, health condition, and desire to return home, we believe he should be pardoned for the crimes he committed. Oscar López has already spent 35 years in federal prison for nonviolent offenses,” Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico’s Governor-elect, told President Obama in the letter, according to NBC News. “Although the charges against him are very serious, so are our compassion and mercy.”

Several politicians have started to pressure the president to make a decision.


“He [López Rivera] was not convicted of committing a violent crime,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez said on the House floor. “Rather, he was convicted of seditious conspiracy: espousing the belief that Puerto Rico are capable of, entitled to, and have the unalienable right to self-determination and freedom.”

Even everybody’s favorite grandpa, Bernie Sanders, has been campaigning for López Rivera’s release.

Con Senator Bernie Sanders #FreeOscarLopezRivera

Posted by Residente on Thursday, December 8, 2016


López Rivera was offered a deal by President Bill Clinton in 1999 but didn’t take it. According to The Guardian, López Rivera turned down the deal because it required an additional 10 years in prison and would leave two of his co-defendants behind.

“He refused to leave anyone behind,” Susler told The Guardian. “He is a Vietnam veteran, and still strongly believes that you do not leave your friends behind. However, since [López Rivera] is the last Puerto Rican political prisoner, those conditions no longer apply.”


READ: Monica Puig Won Puerto Rico’s First Olympic Gold Medal And People Went Nuts

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Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

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Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

John Piekos / Flickr

Hackers attempted to steal $4 million from the Puerto Rican government using a common phishing scam. The scams referred to as business email compromises, target public and private entities every year on the U.S. mainland. Here’s what we know so far.

A hacker attempted to steal millions of dollars from the Puerto Rican government.

Credit: @DavidBegnaud / Twitter

According to reports, hackers were able to infiltrate various agencies in the Puerto Rican government through phishing emails. The hackers attempted to access $4 million dollars by targeting Puerto Rico’s Industrial Development Company and the Tourism Company.

The Industrial Development Company sent around $2.6 million while the Tourism Company wired over $1.5 million. According to the AP, the agencies received emails from a fraudulent employee claiming there was a change of bank accounts.

Federal officials say they were about to freeze the money to prevent loss to Puerto Rico.

David Begnaud of CBS News took to Twitter to update people on the latest developments. According to Begnaud’s conversation with federal authorities, the hackers had not received the money from Puerto Rico and they were able to freeze it. They are working to send the money back to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is not the only victim in a phishing crime. During the same time as the hacking of Puerto Rico, a school district in Manor, Texas lost $2.3 million and another $800,000 were stolen from officials in Griffin, Georgia. More than 23,000 of these scams stole $1.7 billion from businesses and agencies in the U.S. mainland last year. The FBI was able to recover around $300 million.

The news is surprising people on social media.

Credit: @MilagsCon / Twitter

Corruption in Puerto Rico’s government has been a topic of discussion since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Puerto Rico was recently devastated by a series of earthquakes while still recovering from the 2017 hurricane that devastated the island. Missing relief funds and misplaced supplies have angered Puerto Ricans in recent months as it comes to light.

This latest financial and security shortcoming of Puerto Rico’s government is not helping its reputation.

Credit: @J_Fort47 / Twitter

Puerto Ricans have been showing their displeasure with the elected officials on the island for years. Recently, Puerto Ricans protested and marched until Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his office. The former governor was caught in a group chat scandal in which he made derogatory comments about the LGBTQ+ community and women. There were also allegations of corruption and misuse of funds within his admi9nistration that led to a series of investigations.

READ: The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

Mijente Issues First Presidential Endorsement Supporting Candidate Bernie Sanders

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Mijente Issues First Presidential Endorsement Supporting Candidate Bernie Sanders

berniesanders / Instagram

The Nevada caucus is right around the corner and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just picked up a major endorsement in the state. Mijente, an activist organization, offered a full-throated endorsement of the Vermont senator because of his values.

Mijente is putting their voice and support behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The organization, which was built and maintained by organizers and activists, released a video on YouTube endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. The organization has been active in politics with a focus on turning out Latino voters. They have seen success with their outreach strategy in 2016 in Arizona and 2018 in Georgia.

In 2016, Mijente played a pivotal role in getting Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio out of office. Arpaio, who was eventually pardoned by President Donald Trump, terrorized the Latino community by illegally detaining and harassing Latinos living in Arizona.

In 2018, Mijente turned their focus to Georgia’s gubernatorial race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams. Kemp was the Secretary of State for Georgia who oversaw the elections. During the race, Kemp’s department purged voting roles to disenfranchise Black voters to give him a victory. Mijente was able to mobilize Latino voters and double the number of Latino voters from the 2014 midterm election.

After the endorsement, Mijente started a website called Fuera Trump.

Credit: fueratrump.com

Mijente, according to the website, focused its endorsement on Sen. Sanders because of his record on specific issues that impact the Latino community. Specifically, the organization sides with Sen. Sanders on the issues of climate change, deportations, education, and health care.

“We know that in 2020, Trump’s potential re-election is a life-or-death threat for us, for our people, and for our planet. But we know that no one is coming to save us,” say the narrators of Mijente’s endorsement video. “This moment demands a historic mobilization. Our members agree that the best path to defeating Donald Trump is uniting with the movement to elect Bernie Sanders.”

People on social media are celebrating the endorsement.

It is the first time that Mijente has endorsed a presidential candidate. Sen. Sanders has a motivated and excited base of supporters and is leading in several polls. A new poll has Sen. Sanders leading the Democratic candidates in California by 32 points with Democratic voters. The decision to endorse the senator for the presidency is generating a lot of buzz from people who have been following the campaigns.

The endorsement is falling in line with the #NotMeUs movement.

The Not Me. Us. movement was born from Sen. Sanders’s campaign. According to the candidate, the campaign is not “about me, it’s about us.” Mijente’s endorsement citing the damage the Trump administration has done to minority communities and the U.S., in general, is being celebrated as following the senator’s example.

Mijente is putting their energy where their words are.

Mijente is currently getting people together to do the work to get Sen. Sanders nominated as the Democratic candidate for president. The organization is mobilizing people to man phones and knock on doors to get the senator to the front of the pack across the country.

READ: Artists Constructed A Massive Cage At Burning Man To Protest ICE And Some Folks Got Upset On Social Media