Obama Frees Cuba-Backed Puerto Rican Terrorist 3

A painting of Oscar Lopez Rivera in Humboldt Park in Chicago in 2011. (Credit: Sally Ryan for The New York Times)

A painting of Oscar Lopez Rivera in Humboldt Park in Chicago in 2011.
(Credit: Sally Ryan for The New York Times)

Obama Commutes Sentence of F.A.L.N. Member Oscar Lopez Rivera

By CHRISTOPHER MELEJAN, New York Times

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of a man convicted for his role in a Puerto Rican nationalist group linked to more than 100 bombings in New York and other cities in the 1970s and 1980s.

The man, Oscar Lopez Rivera, was serving a 70-year sentence after being convicted of numerous charges, including seditious conspiracy, a charge used for those plotting to overthrow the United States government.

He was linked to the radical group known as the F.A.L.N., the Spanish acronym for the Armed Forces of National Liberation, and was one of more than a dozen group members convicted in the 1980s.

Under Mr. Obama’s commutation order, Mr. Lopez Rivera’s prison sentence will expire May 17. It was one of 209 grants of commutation by the president announced Tuesday.

The F.A.L.N., which waged a violent campaign for the independence of Puerto Rico, was considered by the authorities to be among the most elusive and resilient terrorist groups to operate in the United States. Among its notable attacks was a bombing at Fraunces Tavern in New York in 1975 that killed four people.

The group was known for its tight-knit membership, fanatical zeal and hit-and-run tactics, as exemplified by the bombings of four government buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve in 1982 that seriously wounded three police officers.

Mr. Lopez Rivera was not specifically charged in the Fraunces Tavern bombing but more broadly with, among other things, the interstate transportation of firearms with the intent to commit violent crimes, and transportation of explosives with intent to kill and injure people and to destroy government buildings and property.

President Bill Clinton offered Mr. Lopez Rivera and other members of the F.A.L.N. clemency in 1999, a decision that stirred an emotional debate. Mr. Clinton said their sentences were out of proportion with their offenses.

While 12 prisoners accepted the offer and were freed, Mr. Lopez Rivera rejected the chance to reduce his sentence because it did not include all of the group’s members, his lawyer, Jan Susler, said at the time. If he had accepted the agreement, she said, he would have been eligible for release in 2009.

Article continues here:  FALN  

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3 comments

  1. José Rivera is a member of the New York State Assembly, in representation of district 78. He is Puerto Rican born (1936).

    He, together with various Puerto Rican Congress persons; messieurs Luis Gutierrez from Chicago and José Serrano from the Bronx and also Congress woman Nydia Velazquez, from NYC, proposed to Hillary Clinton that she would receive the Puerto Rican vote from New York State in her first bid to the New York State senatorial candidacy, if her husband President Bill Clinton would pardon 16 Puerto Rican FALN terrorists, who were, at such time, serving life in prison after their previous convictions for setting-off approximately 120 bombs in New York, Chicago and Washington DC. Bill Clinton proceeded to pardon all 16 Puerto Rican FALN terrorists. Thereafter, Hillary Clinton was elected Senator with the support of the statistically indispensable Puerto Rican vote to win any New York state political race. However, Oscar Lopez Rivera refused to sign the condition of the pardon from President Bill Clinton, which condemned such past act of terrorism. The FALN had very close ties with Cuba. It is rather interesting to note, it was James Comey, the present Director of the FBI, who was charged with the investigation of Bill Clinton for providing such pardons, particularly, such investigation started, in view of the Congressional outrage (from all parties) for such pardon discretion as granted by Bill Clinton.

    To have pardoned those 16 Puerto Rican terrorists is equivalent to a pardon of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the convicted terrorists of the Oklahoma City bombing committed in 1995. The Oklahoma City bombing was a horrible domestic terrorist car bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, on April 19, 1995. It was carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The bombing destroyed one-third of the building, killed 168 people, and injured more than 680 others. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius, shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, and destroyed or burned 86 cars, causing an estimated $652 million worth of damage. Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death by lethal injection and Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

    As a result of the Oklahoma bombing, the U.S. Congress passed the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which tightened the standards for habeas corpus in the United States.

    Why President Obama has pardoned the Puerto Rican convicted terrorists, including Lopez Rivera, at a time our nation is under siege by terrorism, is beyond reasonable comprehension. It is an abhorrent act by a President of the United States of America.

    During this Presidential administration, the intelligence community leaks, as well as the actions of the President of the United States, have served to greatly damage the functioning processes of this great nation. This is just one more peg in this nation´s mismanagement.

  2. Obama free this Puerto Rican terrorist however he did not set free Arrocena the member of Omega 7 prosecuted and convicted for killing Castro communists? We must understand that Arrocena murdered communist spies and Cuban diplomats but Castro government was also murdering members of the Cuban exile in Puerto Rico and the US. We need understand both sides on this issue. Castro send his supporters to Florida and in most cases they operate with impunity, If any member of the US Intelligence community gets arrested in Cuba or any refugee from Miami gets arrested in Cuba, they are executed. Then if these refugees begin to execute these murderers, spies and former Cuban prison guards who murdered hundreds of Cubans these refugees are arrested for terrorism in US. To them is a no win situation, damn if you do and damn if you don’t.

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