President Barack Obama’s pardoning spree continued this week when he commuted the sentence of Oscar López-Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist convicted of seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government.
López-Rivera, 74, functioned as a bomb maker for the Puerto Rican independence group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (the Armed Forces of National Liberation), a militant group known by the acronym FALN.
WLS reported that under López-Rivera, FALN’s headquarters were located in Chicago and New York City, and it planted more than 130 bombs in U.S. cities starting in 1974.
The Chicago Tribune reported that five deaths were connected to the to the bomb blasts and another 100 victims were seriously wounded by them.
FALN’s goal was to destabilize what it called the “Yankee capitalist monopoly,” for the sake of Puerto Rican independence, WLS reported.
López-Rivera, born in Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago, also proclaimed himself an enemy of the U.S. government, according to WLS.
Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison in 1981. He received an additional 15 years after being convicted in 1988 of attempting he attempted to escape, the Tribune reported.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton offered López-Rivera and 15 other FALN members conditional clemency if they would renounce violence and terrorism, according to a column by Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane. López-Rivera rejected the offer.
And as Lane noted, Obama’s commutation order this week contained no condition that López-Rivera renounce violence.
Throughout his sentence, Lopez-Rivera’s image of a terrorist morphed into that of a political prisoner wrongly convicted and incarcerated. He became something of a celebrity among politicians, entertainers and protesters working to have him released. Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, was one of those politicians, WLS reported.
López-Rivera is scheduled to leave prison by May 17.
Flags repeatedly waved in celebration at Chicago’s Puerto Rican Cultural Center since news of Lopez-Rivera’s release, the Tribune reported.
Actions like this should make Americans suspicious of Obama’s motives, which have always been open to question. They also do nothing but encourage terrorism.
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