November 13, 2017
Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar Lopez has arrived in Cuba for the first time where he immediately thanked the Cuban people and their leaders for their support for his release from prison.
At the José Martí international airport Lopez Rivera was met by Fernando González Llort, Hero of the Republic of Cuba and president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), with whom the Puerto Rican patriot shared a cell for 4 years in the U.S prison in Terre Haute Indiana. Those years came in the midst of his almost 36 years of unjust imprisonment that finally ended when he was pardoned by Barack Obama in the final days of his presidency.
In a statement to the media, Lopez Rivera said he intends to enjoy as much of his time on the island as possible greeting the people of Cuba whom he feels so close to.
When referring to the current situation in Puerto Rico, he recalled that it is a country colonized for more than 100 years that on top of that is now suffering from the effects of hurricane Maria. Lopez Rivera stated that the recovery from the devastation of the storm is being hampered by neglect and a lack of interest and support from the US government.
As part of his visit López Rivera will spend time meeting with the Five Cuban Heroes who served long sentences in the United States as well, including Fernando. In a presentation on Tuesday he will be receiving the Order of Solidarity, conferred on him by the State Council, along with the affection and admiration of the entire population of Cuba.
Invited by ICAP, the independence leader will experience a full agenda of activities, which will include meetings with representatives of various sectors of society in various provinces, including a tribute to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, in Santiago de Cuba.
As part of the support for the case of López Rivera, during the more than three decades of his imprisonment, Cuba promoted before the United Nations Decolonization Committee a resolution in which it requested recognition of the right to independence and self-determination for Puerto Rico, and demanded Lopez Rivera´s release as well as the release of other political prisoners locked up in the United States.
The project, supported by Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua, was approved as a resolution by the committee in 2012, but the US ignored it.
Now, on a memorable day in the relations of brotherhood between Cuba and Puerto Rico, the island receives with open arms this Puerto Rican patriot.