[Pnews] Freed Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Phones Maduro, Backs Venezuelan Sovereignty
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 19 12:24:25 EDT 2017
Freed Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Phones Maduro, Backs Venezuelan
By Lucas Koerner
Caracas, May 18, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/>) – Newly released Puerto Rican political
prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera held a televised phone conversation with
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday in which he voiced his
solidarity with the South American country.
“For many Puerto Ricans, the future of Venezuela is be decided by the
Venezuelan people and not by the United States or any other power,”
Lopez told the Venezuelan leader during a live broadcast on Latin
American multi-state network teleSUR.
The 74-year-old Puerto Rican independence fighter was released
early Wednesday after serving 35 years in a US prison on dubious
seditious conspiracy charges over his ties to the Puerto Rican Armed
Forces of National Liberation (FALN).
His 70-year sentence was commuted by outgoing US President Barack Obama
in January in response to a torrent of appeals by social movements and
international figures, including Pope Francis and President Maduro,
Following Lopez’s release, the Venezuelan head of state became the first
world leader to talk with the lifelong revolutionary.
“Long live free Puerto Rico!” Maduro exclaimed. “Long live Venezuela!
Long live President Maduro!” Lopez replied.
In addition to expressing his excitement at seeing Lopez walking free,
the Venezuelan leader offered his country’s diplomatic support to the
cause of Puerto Rican independence.
“Be assured that from all the trenches, from the Non-Aligned Movement
and the UN Committee for Decolonization which we [both] preside over, we
are at the service of the dignity and the future of Puerto Rico,” Maduro
In past years, the Venezuelan government has campaigned actively for
Lopez’s release alongside other regional governments and grassroots
movements throughout the world.
In 2015, Maduro offered to release jailed far-right opposition leader
Leopoldo Lopez – sentenced to over 13 years for leading 2014’s violent
anti-government protests – if President Obama granted the Puerto Rican
independence activist’s freedom.
Earlier Wednesday, Lopez Rivera held a press conference in which he
thanked all those who worked for his liberation, including Pope Francis,
Argentina’s Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Uruguayan ex-President Jose
“Pepe” Mujica, as well as the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
He also expressed solidarity with Venezuela as well as “those who defend
the Bolivarian Revolution” and urged an end to US intervention in the
South American country.
“I ask the US to stop interfering in Venezuela, to stop using people and
structures to reach countries and create a hostile environment with
violence,” he declared.
Following a visit to Chicago, where he spent part of his youth, Lopez
plans to return to Puerto Rico where he intends to tour the island’s 78
municipalities and put his skills to use as an organizer.
Published on May 19th 2017 at 11.07am
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