05/19/2017

Bill De Blasio Will March Behind A Terrorist

Kyle Smith, National Review

Why is the Puerto Rican Day Parade honoring Oscar López Rivera this year?

That the mayor of America’s largest city is planning to march with a convicted terrorist in next month’s Puerto Rican Day Parade illustrates a fundamental fact about the Left in America: From student activists all the way up to leading officials, not excluding the 44th president, they are willing to shrug off terrorism provided it has sufficient left-wing bona fides.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio says he will march behind Oscar López Rivera, the convicted Puerto Rican terrorist who served 35 years in prison before President Obama commuted his sentence. Organizers of the parade, to be held June 11 on Fifth Avenue, say that not only will López Rivera lead it, but he will in a sense be designated the hero of the entire history of the celebration: He’ll be granted the title of “National Freedom Hero,” a designation never before bestowed on anyone.

López Rivera, an admitted leader of the 1970s Marxist terror group FALN, which sought independence for Puerto Rico under Communist leadership, was in 1981 sentenced to 55 years in prison, later increased to 70 as punishment for an escape attempt. After being arrested with six pounds of dynamite in his Chicago apartment and declaring at trial, “I am an enemy of the United States government,” he served a bit more than half of his sentence before Obama released him. Puerto Ricans have repeatedly voted against independence in a series of referenda, so López Rivera’s terrorist career amounted to killing innocent civilians — FALN carried out more than 100 bombings, including one at Manhattan’s landmark Fraunces Tavern in 1975 that killed four — to pursue a political goal not supported even by his fellow Puerto Ricans. De Blasio this week shrugged at López Rivera’s hideous past. “The organization he was affiliated with did things I don’t agree with, obviously, and they were illegal,” the mayor said at a press conference this week. “I don’t agree with the way he did it. But he did serve his time,” adding that López Rivera “renounced violence.” He did? Here is what López Rivera, quoted in yesterday’s New York Times, said upon his release from a halfway house in Puerto Rico on Wednesday: “We are a colonized people, and according to international law, that says all colonized people have a right to struggle for its independence, using all methods within reach, including force.” (Emphasis mine.)

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