A Special Editorial by J. R. de Szigethy
All people regardless of race or national origin should boycott the 2017 Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City in regards to the honoring by the Parade’s organizers of Oscar Lopez Rivera as the recipient of it’s first “National Freedom Hero” Award. In August, 1981, Lopez Rivera was convicted in Chicago of seditious conspiracy, armed robbery, the interstate transportation of firearms, and conspiracy to transport bombs with intent to destroy government property. Lopez Rivera committed these Felonies acting in concert with members of a terrorist organization known as FALN, whose aim was to gain independence for Puerto Rico and establish a Communist regime there that would be aligned with Cuba and the Soviet Union.
Members of FALN fabricated over 100 bombs which were detonated in several U. S. cities as a means towards their goal. New York City Police Officer Angel Poggi lost an eye to a FALN bomb in Harlem in December, 1974. On January 24, 1975, a FALN bomb killed 4 people and injured 50 others at the Fraunces Tavern in Manhattan. FALN detonated 4 bombs in Manhattan on April 3, 1975, injuring 5 people. 2 bombs in August, 1977 were detonated in Manhattan, killing one man and injuring 8 people. On New Year’s Eve, 1982, four FALN bombs were detonated at New York City landmark buildings, including NYPD headquarters and the Federal Court House in lower Manhattan. Officer Rocco Pascarella lost his left leg. Officer Anthony Senft lost an eye, and Officer Richard Pastorella was blinded and lost the 5 fingers of his right hand.
When Lopez Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison, few following this case ever expected that he would ever walk free. In the final days of his Administration, President Bill Clinton offered convicted members of FALN Commutations of their sentences in exchange for renunciation of violence. Lopez Rivera refused to do so and remained in prison. Barack Obama would later Commute his sentence as one of his final acts as President.
To date, Corporate Sponsors of this year’s Parade have withdrawn their support, including AT&T, the Coca-Cola Company, JetBlue, Goya Foods, Corona Beer, Univision, WNBC, Telemundo, and the New York Yankees, among others. Although Lopez Rivera has received the support of New York City politicians and Labor Union officials who are avowed Communists, a Boycott of this year’s Parade has been advocated by several local Unions, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Local 94 of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, and Local 854 of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. Non-profit organizations such as the NYPD Hispanic Society, the FDNY Hispanic Society, and the Rafael Ramos Foundation, have also called for a boycott of this year’s Parade.
To be clear: this Boycott has nothing to do with race nor racism; terrorists emerge from all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and geography. On April 19, 1995, 2 Caucasion Domestic terrorists, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, detonated a truck-bomb outside the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 168 people were murdered, including 8 members of America’s law enforcement community, 6 members of the U. S. Military, and 19 children at a Day Care Center. Over 600 others were injured. Like Oscar Lopez Rivera, McVeigh and Nichols constructed bombs because of their mutual hatred of the United States Government. The influence of the dangerous drug “crystal meth,” as opposed to Communist Ideology, was later revealed to be the motivating factor that led both McVeigh and Nichols to terrorism.
McVeigh and Nichols financed the building of the bomb through what law enforcement terms “narco-terrorism,” whereby the proceeds of the trafficking of drugs are used to fund terrorist bombings. Such was the case of the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1994, funded in part by the trafficking of drugs and untaxed cigarettes sold in New York City area Bodegas operated by Islamic terrorists, many of them undocumented illegal aliens. Such activity has increased in the past 20 years and has been documented by the leadership of the National Police Defense Foundation even before it’s founding 22 years ago.
A report in April, 1979 in the Chicago Sun-Times linked members of FALN to Cuban drug traffickers, citing FBI and Chicago Police sources.
Terrorists continue to plague New York City and communities large and small across America. There will be a convicted terrorist marching up Fifth Avenue on Sunday, June 11 in the 60th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. Voice your opposition to this outrage by not attending what was originally intended to be a celebration of the enormous contribution people of Puerto Rican descent have made to the business and culture of America.
J.R. de Szigethy, June, 2017
J. R. de Szigethy is a Manhattan-based crime reporter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A related Editorial by this author can be found here: