By Contributor on June 02, 2013

By Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

This week marks the 32nd anniversary of the arrest of Lopez Rivera, who is currently serving a de facto life sentence for seditious conspiracy.

Lopez Rivera belonged to the Armed Forces of National Liberation of Puerto Rico, or FALN (the group’s Spanish acronym). The FALN set off several bombs in the United States in the 1970s.

But Lopez Rivera was never convicted of involvement in those acts. Instead, he was convicted of a thought crime: wanting to overthrow the U.S. government.

The conditions of his incarceration have been inhumane by any definition of the word. He spent 12 years in solitary confinement, during which he was not allowed to meet with his family. When his mother died, the authorities did not allow him to attend her funeral. Lopez Rivera is now 70 years old and has spent almost half his life in prison. He is not scheduled to have another parole hearing until 14 years from now. Most of the men and women captured along with Lopez Rivera on May 29, 1981, were released by the Clinton administration in 1999. President Clinton said their sentences were “out of proportion” and noted that they “were not convicted of crimes involving the killing or maiming of any individuals.” But Lopez Rivera refused the conditions of his release because not all of the convicted FALN members were offered a clemency deal, and he did not want to be a free man while a single one of his companions remained in prison. But in 2010 the last remaining fellow FALN prisoner was released, so Lopez Rivera is now the only one in prison. Puerto Rican civil society organizations, along with leaders of all political parties on the island, are calling on President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to release Oscar Lopez Rivera. His continued confinement serves no purpose. It was out of proportion to keep incarcerating him 14 years ago. Today, it is simply a disgrace. Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is a Puerto Rican author, journalist and environmental educator. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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Dear Partner, Now that the First Oscar – Mandela March in Puerto Rico is history, we can now begin to work on making an even bigger success of The First Oscar Mandela Protest in New York City. This year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City a week before our protest will be dedicated to our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. On Monday, June 23, 2014, the United Nations (UN) will be discussing again Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the United States. The UN is in its third decade trying to eradicate colonialism from the world, because of the belief that it constitutes a threat to world peace. Since this date is a week later than usual, our committee decided to have 2 protests this year. On the Monday, June 16, 2014, the day after Fathers’ Day, we will have our first protest in the park across from the UN on 46th Street and First Avenue from 8 AM to 5 PM to show the world that we too believe that colonialism is a crime against humanity. On the same day of the hearing, Monday June 23, we will have the second one. We will have a press conference in New York City to inform the public of the latest details of these event. We will need as many people at the protest as possible to make the government of the United States (US) comply with the 32 UN resolutions asking the US to decolonize immediately Puerto Rico. After this many resolutions, it is obvious that the US does not want to. President Obama recently showed the government of the United States’ hypocrisy about human rights. In his memorial ceremony speech, he had only praise for Nelson Mandela. He, however, has refused, despite the enormous pressure from Puerto Rico and the rest of the world, to release from prison Oscar López Rivera who is doing exactly what Mandela did. Oscar has already spent 6 more years in prison than the 27 that Mandela served. The US is happy when other countries decolonize their colonies, but the US wants to keep hers. What kind of democracy is this? Obviously, those who have colonies don’t believe in justice for all. Please tell your friends about this important protest for Oscar López Rivera’s release from prison, and to achieve what he has spent his life on, the decolonization of Puerto Rico. We will have a sheet of paper so that whoever who wants to get involved in the planning of this yearly permanent event in New York City can provide us with your contact information. If you wish, you can also email me right now at jlop28vislophis@yahoo.com. We look forward to greeting old and new partners in our struggle to provide real justice for all! Sincerely, José M López Sierra www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com Because, rights are not requested, they are demanded!

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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