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National Lawyers Guild Convention held in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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The Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s Deputy Director, Militza M. Pagán attended the 76th Annual National Lawyers Guild Law for the People Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first National Lawyers Guild Convention held in Puerto Rico had an attendance of over 300 people. The event was held Thursday, October 24th-Sunday, October 30, 2013. The convention focused on Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the United States. Attendees learned about the history of US colonialism in Puerto Rico, the US’s repression of members of the Puerto Rican independence movement, and the NLG’s long-lasting support of Puerto Rican political prisoners and the Puerto Rican independence movement. Throughout the conventions, calls were made for the immediate release of Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera.

Rafael Cancel Miranda, a former Puerto Rican political prisoner who spent 25 years in jail, gave the NLG’s Keynote Address. Clarisa López, daughter of Oscar, spoke at a panel regarding the US’s use of prisoner isolation in policing radical politics. A number of former Puerto Rican political prisoners participated in panels throughout the Convention, including Alberto Rodríguez, Lucy Rodríguez, and Carlos Alberto Torres. Jan Susler, lawyer at the People’s Law Office and long-time lead counsel for many of the Puerto Rican political prisoners including Oscar, was awarded the “Law for the People Award” for her important work with the independence movement.

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