WASHINGTON — At a demonstration in Farragut Square on Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York urged President Barack Obama to release terrorist Oscar López Rivera.
López Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist and one of the leaders of the terrorist group the FALN (Fuerza Armadas de Liberacion Nacional, Spanish for Armed Forces of National Liberation), has been imprisoned for the past 35 years of a 55-year sentence. He was sentenced to an additional 15 years for “conspiring to escape from Leavenworth federal prison,” by attempting to obtain weapons and explosives to free himself and his fellow inmates, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The FALN committed more than 100 violent crimes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including planting a bomb in Fraunces Tavern that killed four and injured many others. Townhall.com described the group as “the most active domestic terrorist organization in American history, and a precursor to modern terror.”
The terrorist group leader made headlines in 2016 when then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that López Rivera was a political prisoner and, if elected president, he would pardon him if Obama released him.
Rep. Espaillat was joined by the Speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito in Farragut Square, both of whom spoke about bringing together the Hispanic community to urge Obama to free López Rivera, all the while ignoring why López Rivera was in prison in the first place.
Espaillat was elected in 2016 in a heavily Democratic New York City district.
In January 2011 at a parole hearing for López Rivera, he expressed no remorse for the part he played in the many bombings and attacks conducted by FALN, which resulted in numerous deaths and serious injuries, as reported by Breitbart.com. Additionally, he “boasted about his leadership role in the FALN,” to his fellow inmates, the Department of Justice reported. His parole was denied.
A petition on We The People, an online petition platform, to Obama with just under 110,000 signatures states that, “Whatever your stance into [López Rivera’s] wrongdoing, we can safely conclude he has done his time. He does not pose a threat, and he deserves to be home with his family to live in peace the rest of his years.”
The petition goes on to urge Obama to “do what is right and release Oscar López Rivera before your term ends.” Again, no mention of López Rivera’s past involvement in terrorism is mentioned in the petition.
The response to the petition is that the White House “declines to comment,” on the case and the petition, saying that it will take any recommendations on granting clemency from the Department of Justice.