Former terrorist leader Oscar Lopez Rivera decided Thursday to turn down an award from New York City’s Puerto Rican Day parade organizers after a slew of sponsors and politicians pulled out of the event over the parade’s tribute to him.
Lopez Rivera, who once led the Puerto Rican Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) terrorist organization from the 70s through the early 80s, wrote in a New York Daily News op-ed, wrote that he will decline to accept the National Freedom Hero award but that he will still attend the march as a “humble” grandfather. The FALN was responsible for more than 100 bombings throughout the country.
“I will be on Fifth Ave. not as your honoree but as a humble Puerto Rican and grandfather who at 74 continues to be committed to helping raise awareness about the fiscal, health care and human rights crisis Puerto Rico is facing at this historic juncture,” he wrote.
“He declined the honorary title at the parade. We respect that decision,” parade spokesman Andres Chavez told The New York Post.
Lopez Rivera’s op-ed comes after three Democratic New York congressmen: Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, who represent districts in the city, decided not to march in the June 11 parade.