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14024Happy Birthday Oscar Lopez Rivera!!

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  • ProLibertad Campaign
    Jan 1, 2005
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      The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign
      http://www.ProLibertadWeb.com
      ProLibertad@...
      Bronx 718-601-4751
      Manhattan 212-927-9065
      New Jersey 201-435-3244

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA!! JANUARY 6TH, 2005 OSCAR WILL BE TURNING
      62 YEARS YOUNG!! Make sure to wish Oscar a great birthday by sending him a
      card or letter to:

      Oscar Lopez Rivera
      #87651-024
      P.O. Box 33
      Terre Haute, IN 47808

      and send him a commissary donation (MONEY ORDERS ONLY WITH HIS NAME AND
      PRISON NUMBER PRINTED ON IT) to:

      Federal Bureau of Prisons
      Oscar L�pez (#87651-024)
      PO Box 474701
      Des Moines IA 50947-0001


      Oscar Lopez Rivera: A Special Interview for Claridad
      Eduardo Villanueva/Special to Claridad Newspaper Translated by Frank Velgara
      of ProLibertad

      Today, October 15, 2004, Terre Haute, Indiana, in the U.S., I am visiting
      and conversing with Oscar Lopez Rivera, one of our political prisoners and a
      remnant of the days of The Cold War.

      He is 61 years old, small in build and has the stature of our traditional
      Puerto Rican peasant farmers. He has a strong complexion with black eyes
      that glitter sharply and seem to be deeply piercing like the scalpel of an
      experienced surgeon. He has a full mustache that he takes care of
      meticulously and a well combed pony tail in his hair that is barely
      noticeable in the scarce hair on his strikingly strong head.

      His innate timidity falls away after breaking the ice and he embarks on a
      profound conversation which is logical, coherent and ingenious and seems to
      negate the effects of 23 years of incarceration. During these 23 years, he
      served 12 years in Marion one of the cruelest and most inhumane prisons in
      the world. He has been deprived of physical contact, and limited in his
      phone calls and visits in an attempt to break an indomitable spirit that is
      always with him and is reflected in each action in his rich and complex
      life.

      He is a man of courage, self-taught, and disciplined. He is willing to
      methodically organize the oppressed masses that languish in the Diaspora in
      the United States and who are suffocated by racism and the hatred that
      imperialism unleashes against all those who challenge its hegemony.

      From the beginning you are impressed that throughout an extensive
      conversation that covers topics such as history, literature, sports,
      sociology and spiritual agnosticism, you seem to be with a Catholic
      Protestant, who is not interested in fishing for votes. You don�t hear
      complaints, pessimism, feelinga of hatred or resentment coming from the
      suffering he has had to endure because of his love of the homeland and his
      revolutionary vocation. Oscar never complains nor does he engage in long
      lamentations of all that he has had to suffer in prison because of his
      ideals.

      Few people know in detail the physical isolation and sensory deprivation
      that he was subjected to at Marion. Few also know what the jailers at
      Florence subjected Oscar to during his first 6 years of imprisonment there.
      For 58 days they woke him every 30 minutes with a bright light in order to
      deprive him of any rest and to prevent him from getting any uninterrupted
      sleep. These are barbaric acts that only a spirit who is committed to the
      highest ideals of freedom can endure in the name of the love for his people.

      Few people in the so-called free community are better informed than Oscar
      about the reality of his country. He is familiar with all the ideological
      tendencies in the independence movement, their views and leaders, their
      weaknesses and strengths. He recognizes the persistence, honesty,
      dedication and patriotism of leaders whose activity he has followed and
      carefully studied. He condemns that fact that some political movements
      have become so bureaucratized and sometimes to the point of risking
      disappearing altogether. But he recognizes that the diversity of the
      struggle and implementation of tactics and strategy have made it impossible
      for the empire to exterminate us despite all their repressive strategies and
      actions. They have been unleashed against us and are directed at violating
      our civil rights and our right to self-determination.

      By listening respectfully and reflecting on his thinking and views, you can
      clearly come to understand why his jailers and U.S. intelligence agencies
      fear him to the point that they fabricated a supposed escape attempt in
      order to lengthen his sentence to 78 years in jail which is what it is
      today.

      Oscar enjoys writing to the youth with whom he is in contact. They benefit
      from his teaching abilities and his self-taught knowledge. Some professors
      invite Oscar to contact their students so that they can deepen their
      understanding of the political process in Puerto Rico, colonialism, the
      anti-imperialist struggle, the need for revolutionary changes and the
      dialectical process that allows a political prisoner to transform his
      incarceration and his separation from his loved ones into an experience of
      liberation and personal growth.

      Oscar is very aware of his role as a patriotic role model although he
      doesn�t mention it or brag about it. That is why in his writings he is
      careful not to promote farfetched or irresponsible ideas and to reject ideas
      that promote any personality cult. He rejects this because he considers it
      pure vanity and because he has learned from the negative impact that it has
      had in the ongoing revolutionary struggle for social change as it pertains
      to other political leaders.

      In thinking about his role with youth I would dare say that Oscar believes
      as does Benedetti that: �the moral health and spiritual clarity of a young
      person will be the probable guarantee that the continuation of life will
      likely be clean and honest� (Benedetti, Memoria y Esperanza, P�g. 28).

      I reflect upon the experience of being in such intense proximity to the soul
      of an incarcerated patriot and I think of the inexorable and
      incomprehensible absurdity that the freedom of the homeland demands such
      painful steps in its movement forward -- the existence of political
      prisoners. I believe that today as always the people have a moral
      obligation to demand that they all return home.

      The author is a lawyer, President of the Human Rights Committee and a Member
      of the Civil Rights Commission of Puerto Rico.
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