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Bill de Blasio Honors a Puerto Rican Terrorist

A few days ago, a New York Times headline informed readers that the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade held in New York City  would honor Oscar Lopez Rivera, a person they described as a “long-jailed militant” and a “nationalist” -- certainly  a misleading description of the self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist and terrorist.

If you’re wondering how this could have happened, you should thank President Barack Obama, who paid off any debts he had to the far left by granting Lopez Rivera clemency in the last few days of his administration.

Rivera was a leader of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN, whose members pledged to wage war against the United States until Puerto Rico gained full independence. The group carried out more than 100 bombings, the most famous being the deadly 1975 one in Wall Street that targeted Fraunces Tavern, which served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolution. In 1991, Lopez Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison; after a botched escape attempt, the sentence was increased to 70 years.

Actually, when Bill Clinton left office and freed other Puerto Rican terrorists who were FALN members, he also offered amnesty to Lopez Rivera. The terrorist would not accept Clinton’s offer, however, unless all other FALN members still in prison were also freed. Those freed had pledged not to use violence, a pledge Lopez Rivera would not make at the time. Both the House and Senate passed resolutions condemning the pardons. Clinton ignored them.

Lopez Rivera was arrested in Chicago in 1981, with FBI agents finding over six pounds of dynamite in his apartment ready to be used in planned future bombings. He was convicted of transporting firearms and explosives with the intent to commit violent crimes, to kill and injure people, and to destroy government property. He wasn’t charged with carrying out acts of violence.

Denying that he was ever a terrorist, Lopez Rivera explained after his release that he did not “have blood on my hand…that’s why I can’t be a terrorist.” Evidently ordering others to do the actual bombing exonerates him because he only planned the attacks. He also explained that Puerto Ricans are “a colonized people” and that a reading of international law shows that “all colonized people have a right to struggle for independence using all methods within reach, including force." As he left prison, he thanked Cuba and Venezuela for the support they had given him and his cause.

Most egregious is the announcement that the parade organizers are presenting Lopez Rivera with a reward, officially designating him a “National Freedom Hero,” the first time they have given such an award to anyone.  This to a man who proclaimed at his trial, “I am an enemy of the United States Government,” a statement he has never repudiated.