Why are major sponsors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 11 pulling out? In recent days, Goya Foods, Coca-Cola, the New York Yankees, Jet Blue, AT&T, and several police unions have pulled their support from the New York City parade. This development is not surprising given that the parade promoters want to honor convicted felon and FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional) terrorist Oscar López Rivera as their first “National Freedom Hero.”
For years, Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D., Ill.) and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito pushed for López’s early release from prison. In violation of Justice Department regulations, former President Barack Obama freed Lopez 34 years early. López’s supporters are not content to see him freed. Now they want to see him honored in the parade for his crimes. In support, they peddle the fiction that he was a political prisoner who was imprisoned by the United States for his ideas. Gutiérrez has gone so far as to liken him to George Washington and real Puerto Rican hero Roberto Clemente.
The conspiracy that López was convicted of participating in was the FALN conspiracy. In his conversations with Leavenworth inmates, López boasted that he was the Chicago leader of the FALN. The FALN was an armed, clandestine terrorist group dedicated to the violent overthrow of alleged U.S. rule over Puerto Rico. The FALN was responsible for over 120 bombings, five murders, and numerous injuries. The FALN murdered bankers having lunch in New York’s Fraunces Tavern, innocent bystanders, and law-enforcement officers. The FALN left victims maimed, deaf, and crippled. The FALN left women widowed and children fatherless. In Leavenworth, López urged his fellow inmates to begin their own campaign of “armed struggle.”
In Leavenworth, López urged his fellow inmates to begin their own campaign of ‘armed struggle.’
During this week of more terror-related deaths, this time in Manchester, England, we need to recognize that the nonsense has to stop. As the parade sponsors are just now realizing, for over 35 years Oscar López waged his war against the United States. He never fought to improve the lives of his fellow Puerto Ricans. He never sought to bring aid to the ailing island. Yet, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo still intend to march in the parade honoring López. If the New York Yankees and Coca-Cola can see the truth, why can’t the mayor and the governor?
— Deborah A. Devaney is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago.