Washington, DC.– On the night of Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) & The National Dominican American Council (NDAC) convened an extraordinary teleconference of leaders from across the United States and territories, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands upon hearing the news that President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera.
DANR & NDAC, alongside The National Boricua Human Rights Network, and the many advocacy organizations, leaders and activists who have been urging to commute the sentence of Puerto Rican Nationalist Oscar Lopez, commend President Obama for his decision to do so.
There were powerful reasons behind the request for commuting the Lopez Rivera’ sentence: it was for a non-violent crime; at the time of conviction, not even murderers received sentences as long as López Rivera did; his imprisonment was politically motivated; it would send the right message to Latin America and the Caribbean that the US is really ready and willing to realign its relationships with its Southern and Caribbean neighbors; most people were already advocating for López Rivera to be freed; López Rivera was the only co-defendant still serving time; and the U.S. needs to walk the talk when it comes to justice and liberty, and release a respected man whose love for his own soil was considered a crime punishable by 75 years.
Oscar Lopez Rivera has been behind bars for almost 36 years, making him among the longing-serving political prisoners in U.S. history.
With Obama’s commutation, Lopez Rivera will leave prison May 17, 2017.
President Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos
Dominican American National Roundtable
Chairman Nestor Montilla, Sr.
National Dominican American Counci