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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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

Things That Matter

Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

joebiden / Instagram

Florida’s Latino vote is a crucial part of a winning strategy in the Sunshine State. The demographic shifts in recent years because of natural, financial, and governmental disasters has led to a big Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida. President Trump’s handling of the Hurricane Maria recovery has left Puerto Ricans upset with the administration.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are battling for Florida’s Latino voters.

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees are making concerted efforts to shore up Latino support in Florida. There are 3.1 million eligible Latino voters in the swing state and make up a crucial voting bloc. While a large number are conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans, there are also other Latino communities representing different parts of Latin America.

The polling tells a story of two candidates locked in a heated race for the Latino vote in Florida.

Polls, like The Washington Post-ABC News poll, show Biden taking the lead with Latino voters in Florida. According to that poll, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 39 percent. However, Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida 62 percent to 35 percent in 2016. Clinton’s success with the Latino community of Florida shows that the Latino vote is not the only way to clinch the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, President Trump wants everyone to pay attention to one poll. President Trump is sharing a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows him leading in Florida. According to the poll, Trump leads in Florida by 4 points.

The Latino community in southern Florida is being bombarded by a disinformation campaign.

The disinformation is aimed at Florida’s Latino voters and is peddling conspiracy theories against Biden. One of the most prominent examples of this disinformation was the racist and anti-Semitic insert published in a recent edition of the Miami Herald. The insert compared BLM protesters to Nazis but argued that Nazis were nicer since they didn’t steal anything.

Both candidates are pouring money into their campaign efforts in Florida. Both are spending time and money trying to court the Latino vote in an effort to win the key state.

Critics of the president are pointing to the sudden relief package to Puerto Rico is a grab for votes.

President Trump was harshly and fairly criticized after he didn’t respond to the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The 2017 hurricane devastated the island and left millions without power for weeks. One of the most memorable moments of that time was President Trump throwing paper towels to Puerto Ricans recovering from the disaster.

President Trump, during an election, approved $13 billion in relief funds for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican voters have not forgotten the three years it took for the president to approve relief funds to help rebuild the island after a devastating storm.

READ: The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Things That Matter

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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