Oscar Lopez Rivera is Free!
Oscar Lopez Rivera was born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico on January 6, 1943. At the age of 12, he moved to Chicago with his family. He was a well-respected community activist and a prominent independence leader for many years prior to his arrest. Oscar was one of the founders of the Rafael Cancel Miranda High School, now known as the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School and the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center. He was a community organizer for the Northwest Community Organization (NCO), ASSPA, ASPIRA and the 1st Congregational Church of Chicago. He helped to found FREE, (a half-way house for convicted drug addicts) and ALAS (an educational program for Latino prisoners at Stateville Prison in Illinois).
He was active in various community struggles, mainly in the area of health care, employment and police brutality. He also participated in the development of the Committee to Free the Five Puerto Rican Nationalists. In 1975, he was forced underground, along with other comrades in La Fuerza Armadas de La Liberacion Nacional (FALN). He was captured on May 29, 1981, after 5 years of being persecuted by the FBI as one of the most feared fugitives from US "justice".
Oscar, who has a daughter named Clarissa, is currently serving a 55-year sentence for seditious conspiracy and other charges. He was convicted of conspiracy to escape along with Jaime Delgado, (a veteran independence leader), Dora Garcia, (a prominent community activist) and Kojo Bomani-Sababu, a New Afrikan political prisoner.
Oscar was one of 12 Puerto Rican political prisoners offered some form of leniency by the Clinton Administration in the fall of 1999. According to the Chicago Sun Times, he "declined the president's offer, which still would have him left with 10 years to serve on conspiracy to escape charges. Now he faces at least 20 more years in prison. His sister, Zenaida Lopez, said he turned the offer down because he would be on parole. 'Accepting what they are offering him is like prison outside of prison,' she said. Zenaida Lopez said her brother 'was in total agreement' with the decision of the 11 others to take the conditional clemency." Oscar is presently in prison in Terre Haute, Indiana and his release date is 7/27/2027.