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36 years later, Oscar López returns to his hometown

oscar lopez pto ricoAfter serving 36 years in prison in the United States, Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera held an emotional encounter with residents of his hometown, San Sebastián del Pepino, a mountainous region located in the center of the island.

“I love this people, I love them with my entire heart, I am a pepiniano through and through,” stated López Rivera regarding the place he left when he was 15 years old, to go and live in the United States. Despite returning once following his move, his imprisonment for struggling to secure Puerto Rico’s independence in 1981 kept him away from his hometown for over 36 years.

The Puerto Rican activist, who arrived to San Sebastián del Pepino on May 20 with his daughter Clarisa, stated that it was there that he developed a sense of solidarity, which he continues to offer; calling on citizens to defend the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), under threat due to government budget cuts.

López Rivera condemned the closure of 179 public schools by the Ricardo Rosselló Nevares administration and reaffirmed his commitment to the country’s independence struggle.

“I know how to do two things in this world – I know how to work and I know how to struggle. At 74 years of age I hope to have enough energy to do the two things that I believe in,” he noted.

López Rivera arrived in Puerto Rico on February 9 to serve out the remainder of his sentence under house arrest in his daughter Clarisa’s home, before being officially released on May 17.


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