Oscar Lopez-Rivera, a leader of the Puerto Rican terrorist group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) who was pardoned by President Obama in January, is similar to George Washington.
That’s according to Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez. The Democrat made the claim in an interview with Jorge Ramos, the immigration activist who also works as an anchor for Univision.
“If this were the war for the independence of the United States, of the 13 colonies, Oscar Lopez-Rivera, in the London newspapers, they would have said the same of him that they said of George Washington,” Gutierrez said in a joint interview with Lopez-Rivera last week.
The website Newsbusters drew attention to the interview on Friday.
Lopez-Rivera was serving a 55-year sentence for seditious conspiracy, interstate transportation of explosives, and conspiracy to transport explosives when he was pardoned by Obama on Jan. 17.
The move was widely condemned, including by Joe Connor, the son of a man who was killed in a FALN bomb blast in New York City’s Fraunces Tavern in 1975. Four people were killed in that incident. FALN, which sought independence for Puerto Rico, set off more than 100 bombs from the mid-1970s to early-1980s.
Lopez-Rivera was not directly implicated in Fraunces Tavern case, though he was convicted in absentia after bomb making materials were found in his apartment. The 74-year-old felon was said to be one of FALN’s bomb makers. Lopez-Rivera also helped train other members of the group in bomb making, one witness testified at his trial.
Lopez-Rivera went on the run and was arrested as a fugitive in 1980. He was convicted the next year. In 1988, Lopez-Rivera attempted a prison escape and was given a 15-year extended sentence.
He was released from house arrest in Puerto Rico last week.
Left-wing politicians like Gutierrez and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio have rallied to Lopez-Rivera’s cause.
De Blasio will march in the upcoming National Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is honoring Lopez-Rivera. The New York Post editorial board slammed de Blasio for appearing at the event with the convict.