Yankees, Coca-Cola, AT&T and FDNY union pull out of Puerto Rican Day Parade as march honors militant tied to NYC bombings

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A report by Dennis Slattery for the New York Daily News.

The Yankees, Coca-Cola, AT&T and the union representing FDNY officers on Tuesday became the latest sponsors and supporters to pull out of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade over organizers’ decision to honor a militant linked to bombings in the city in the 1970s and ’80s.

The FDNY officers’ union and the FDNY Hispanic Society said they’d be boycotting the parade in protest of the “outrageous decision to honor a convicted felon in the very city where the attacks took place,” in reference to Oscar Lopez Rivera being named as the parade’s first National Freedom Hero.

Rivera, 74, served 35 years in prison for his role in the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN. President Obama commuted his sentence shortly before he left office in January.

“Oscar Lopez Rivera’s actions led to the death and serious injury of innocent civilians and Police Officers,” said Uniformed Fire Officers Association president Jake Lemonda. “He is a convicted felon, plain and simple, and one who has not apologized or repented for his cowardly attacks.”

The Yankees did not elaborate on the team’s decision to pull out of the Fifth Ave. parade, but said that they would continue to fund scholarships as they have in the past.

The union represents about 2,600 active and 4,600 retired FDNY lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs and deputy chiefs.

The groups joined fellow first responders, including police unions, the NYPD Hispanic Society and Police Commissioner James O’Neill in boycotting the June 11 march.

The Yankees did not elaborate on the team’s decision to pull out of the Fifth Ave. parade, but said that they would continue to fund scholarships as they have in the past.

Several groups, along with Police Commissioner James O’Neill, have said they will boycott the city’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The team has an afternoon home game the day of the parade.

Dallas-based AT&T said in a statement that it celebrates Puerto Ricans and “their rich heritage” but would be withdrawing support from the march this year.

The companies followed Goya Foods and JetBlue in cutting ties with the festivities.

Dallas-based AT&T said in a statement that it celebrates Puerto Ricans and “their rich heritage” but would be withdrawing support from the march this year.

FALN claimed responsibility for at least 100 bombings in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including an explosion that killed four people at New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern in 1975.

Lopez Rivera was not convicted for any of the bombings, but a former member of the group testified that he taught members how to make bombs.

“It is also important to note that he has not been pardoned for his crimes; he merely had his sentence shortened,” Lemonda added. “His conviction stands and the idea of honoring someone such as he should be rejected by all.”

O’Neill said on Monday he will not march.

Mayor de Blasio has said he will march in the annual event, as will City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The board of directors for the parade on Monday defended the decision to name Rivera a National Freedom Hero, or “Procer de la Libertad.”

“We understand that others may not be able to be with us,” the statement said. “However, we will continue to represent all voices, with an aim to spark dialogue and find common ground, so that we can help advance our community and build cultural legacy.”

2 thoughts on “Yankees, Coca-Cola, AT&T and FDNY union pull out of Puerto Rican Day Parade as march honors militant tied to NYC bombings

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    This man, Oscar López Rivera, is the longest held political prisoner in the USA. Before condemning him, read about him, read about how he was treated and while at that, read about Puerto Rico’s history … and the unequal, complicated relationship with its ‘master/owner’ … it shouldn’t be forgotten that Puerto Rico is a possession of the USA! 🇵🇷

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