November 14, 2017
Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar Lopez Rivera received on Tuesday in Havana the Solidarity Order conferred by the Council of State for his courage and resistance for almost 36 years in a US prison.
Vice President of the Council of State and First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party in Havana, Mercedes Lopez Acea placed the medal on the Puerto Rican leader during a ceremony held at the Jose Marti Memorial in Revolution Square.
Lopez Rivera, who is visiting the island for the first time, expressed gratitude to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Cuban people, and said that he can see the development of its human resources and capacity of solidarity.
Oscar said he is confident that Cuba’s example will continue and added that today the world has governments that promote wars and loot the most vulnerable.The Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Fernando Gonzalez Llort, President of the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) recognized the quality of the Puerto Rican leader: “a courageous, humble, educated man with great artistic sensibility”, in addition to being a “concerned father, thoughtful grandfather, defender of his island and its people”.
Fernando Gonzalez said that there are solid reasons in conferring the Solidarity Order to Oscar in just recognition to his struggle and the firmness that he has maintained for almost 36 years in prison, 12 of them in total isolation, solely for fighting for the independence of his country.
He recalled that Lopez Rivera, who he shared years in prison, was arrested on May 29th, 1981, accused of conspiracy, crime which is used against Puerto Rican independence activists that fight against colonialism.
With the presence of the member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and head of its International Relations Department, Jose Ramon Balaguer and Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Gerardo Hernandez, the ICAP President ratified the commitment to continue strengthening the ties that units both countries.
Oscar Lopez Rivera had previously paid tribute to National Hero Jose Marti placing a floral wreath to Monument located in Revolution Square.
The program of the Puerto Rican activist includes a tour through several central and eastern provinces where he will visit cultural and historic sites as well as the birthplace of the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro in Biran, Holguin and the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.