June 3, 2020

A Gotham Baseball Editorial: Yankees Should Pull Support Of Puerto Rican Day Parade

FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera — whose sentence was commuted by President Obama — is going to be celebrated in the streets of New York City during this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.
 
Goya Foods — which has sponsored the Parade since its inception — has withdrawn its sponsorship. The New York Yankees should do the same.
 
Joe Conner in the NY Post:
 
On Jan. 24, 1975, the FALN launched its most deadly attack, the infamous lunchtime bombing of Fraunces Tavern — murdering my father and three other innocent men. It was supposed to be the day we would celebrate my brother’s 11th birthday, and my 9th.
 
An FALN communique that day took credit for the attack, calling it a blow against “reactionary corporate executives.” In fact, my dad was born to immigrants and raised in working-class Washington Heights, very near where several of the FALN members were from.
 
In the early ’80s, 11 FALN members were arrested, tried and convicted of (among other serious felonies) weapons possession and seditious conspiracy. Lopez was convicted in 1981 and sentenced for crimes including seditious conspiracy, interference with interstate commerce by threats or violence, carrying firearms during the commission of those two crimes and interstate transportation of stolen vehicles.
 
There was testimony by a cooperating FALN insider that Lopez was personally involved in bombing and incendiary attacks, trained members in bomb-making techniques and had been a prime recruiter for the FALN.
 
Some claim he is a “freedom fighter” for Puerto Rican independence against US colonialism of the island. But aside from being a terrorist, what has he done to support “freedom” in Puerto Rico?
 
The FALN’s first attack, in December 1974, targeted the NYPD, severely maiming Angel Poggi, a young NYPD officer of Puerto Rican descent on his first day on the job. Is this the act of a hero of the Puerto Rican people? Lopez has never represented Puerto Ricans. Never more than 5 percent of them have ever voted for independence from America, and in 2012 fully 60 percent voted for statehood.
 
Lopez never expressed regret nor sought forgiveness, not even in his 2013 autobiography. Nor did he ever cooperate with authorities to bring closure to unsolved.
 
“Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda advocated for Oscar Lopez Rivera’s release, “sobbing with gratitude” about the news Obama commuted Rivera’s sentence. He said he would play Alexander Hamilton at a Chicago performance for Lopez Rivera.  
 
I am sorry, but this is just plain wrong. On so many levels.
 
NBC had to publicly apologize for this:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/09/nyregion/nbc-apologizes-for-seinfeld-episode-on-the-puerto-rican-day-parade.html
 
In a city that has seen more than its share of terror, the New York Yankees should step up and refuse to support a parade that will celebrate a terrorist.