Negotiations Underway to Free Puerto Rico’s Oscar Lopez Rivera


The Puerto Rican independence activist could be liberated after spending 32 years in jail for political reasons.

The United States government could free Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera, as announced by a relative on Wednesday.

Negotiations to free the Puerto Rican are being held between the U.S. government and Uruguay, after Uruguayan president Jose Mujica requested U.S. president Barack Obama to free him.

The Puerto Rican governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said yesterday that his government is also urging the White House to free the political activist.

Marcia Rivera, a prominent academic relative of Lopez who lives in Uruguay, announced through her Facebook account that the liberation of the activist could come very soon.

“I have the feeling, and some information from Uruguayan authorities, that he will be here very soon,” she wrote.

The Puerto Rican singer Rene Perez, from the famous band Calle 13, also used social media in support of the liberation of Lopez on Wednesday, tweeting, “I would like to see artists or public figures from other countries supporting the liberation of Oscar Lopez. We need support.”

On Monday, relatives of Lopez Rivera held a press conference in support of the prisoner, which included a call from Lopez Rivera from jail, thanking his supporters for their efforts throughout this 33 years.

The relatives of the prisoner urged the U.S. government to free their loved one in time for Christmas.

Lopez was arrested and convicted in 1981 for 55 years, under charges of conspiracy against the state, after authorities found a bomb factory in an apartment allegedly belonging to him.

As Puerto Rican student activist Victor Torres Rodriguez explained to teleSUR, “The issue has been progressively understood as a human rights issues. Even people favoring the annexation of Puerto Rico from the U.S. are in favor of the liberation of Lopez.”

The Uruguayan President Mujica requested, in an open letter to President Obama earlier this month, the liberation of the Cuban Five and the end of the Cuban blockade, as well as the liberation of Lopez Rivera.

A week after Mujica’s plea, President Obama announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba and released the remaining two agents of the Cuban Five.

“Several Latin American media outlets have raised the issue of Lopez Rivera and have created awareness, thus pressuring the U.S. government … Many of them have also linked the case of the Cuban Five with Oscar Lopez Rivera, and some activists also linked the story of (Nelson) Mandela with the case of the Puerto Rican independence prisoner,” added Torres.

The president of the United States could decide to free Lopez Rivera, but it is not clear yet in what state the negotiations are in.

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