The National Lawyers Guild has a long and proud history of calling for the release of Oscar López Rivera and others imprisoned for seeking the freedom of their people. We stand behind the National Puerto Rican Day Parade’s decision to honor him in the 2017 parade, just as we stand behind Oscar’s humble decision to confer that award on the people who labored for his release from prison and those who are confronting the fiscal, health care and human rights crisis Puerto Rico is facing at this historic juncture.
The Puerto Rican people and others who love justice and freedom came together, across ideological and political lines, to call for his release. This unity is needed now, more than ever, to confront the stranglehold of foreign debt; the cutting of essential public services such as education; and the human rights implications of the nefarious policies currently being implemented on the island.
The pro-statehood, corporate detractors, waging an orchestrated campaign to defame him and the Parade, cannot distract us from celebrating Mr. López Rivera’s message of unity and strength, or from working to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Puerto Rican people to determine their own destiny. Many of our members will proudly march in the parade, to celebrate with the Puerto Rican people their rich culture, complexity, and diversity, as well as to celebrate Oscar’s release after 35 years of prison for his commitment to the freedom of his people.