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Vol. 76/No. 45      December 10, 2012

Chicago meeting links Puerto Rican
political prisoners’ fight with Cuban 5
CHICAGO—More than 60 people attended a forum sponsored by the Chicago Cuba Coalition and the National Boricua Human Rights Network at DePaul University here Nov. 15 on the Cuban Five and Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.

Clarisa López, daughter of López Rivera, spoke about the fight to free her father, who has spent 31 years in prison in the U.S. John Hawkins spoke for the Chicago Cuba Coalition on the fight to free the Cuban Five.

López Rivera, 69, was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years on trumped-up charges of “seditious conspiracy.” He is among the longest held political prisoners in U.S. history and one of three Puerto Rican political prisoners in U.S. jails today. The other two are Avelino González Claudio and Norberto González Claudio.

“This meeting is building a bridge between the case of the Cuban Five and the imprisonment of Oscar López,” said Alejandro Luis Molina, coordinator of the National Boricua Human Rights Network, who chaired the event.

Molina pointed out that Fernando González, one of the Cuban Five, was in the same prison as López in Terre Haute, Ind., between September 2007 and May 2012. Before that González was incarcerated for five years in Oxford, Wis., together with Carlos Alberto Torres, a Puerto Rican independence fighter. Torres was released on parole in July 2010 after serving 30 years for “seditious conspiracy” and other frame-up charges.

“Washington hates the Cuban Five because they hate the example of the Cuban Revolution,” Hawkins told participants. He said their frame-up was similar to how workers are framed up every day in the U.S.

When asked, “Why is Oscar still in prison while others got out?” Clarisa López explained that when President Clinton offered to commute López Rivera’s sentence along with 11 others in 1999, López declined because it did not include all Puerto Rican political prisoners, among other reasons.
Related articles:
Howard University forum discusses case of Cuban 5
Who are the Cuban Five  
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