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With Oscar, my island breathes freedom

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Guest Tribune by Ricky Martin The commutation of sentence to our compatriot Oscar López Rivera by the outgoing President of the United States, Barack Obama, is cause for happiness for those who believe in human rights. My first contact with Oscar’s story was several years ago through the movement that rose in his favor. The 35 years of confinement, a large amount alone, her story, the drama of her family, especially her daughter Clarisa, her granddaughter Karina, her brothers and other relatives, but above all, the brotherhood that provoked in our town, I was inspired by a deep commitment to the goal of his release. Thus I joined the call for the liberation of Oscar, initiated from different sectors, citizens, politicians, literary, artistic and humanitarian. All convinced that the release of Oscar was to do justice, to attract the attention of the world to a history of human interest, rights, solidarity and hope. Oscar’s return home is in a way an act of liberation for each of us and a magnificent story to tell future generations. His case is historical because of its political nature, but also because of its human value. United we could, united the world heard us and extended our hand to facilitate what otherwise would not have been possible. It was a multiple hug to the cause. Oscar, whose name will be remembered as the Puerto Rican political prisoner who would have served more years in prison, is a living legend that moved us all. As a Puerto Rican, as a defender of human rights, to have contributed to his return home, in the way that was within my reach, today I leave a great satisfaction. His next release gives us a sense of relief, of peace, of reaffirmation that it is worthwhile to go after what we believe. Defending democratic values, facing discrimination, intolerance and fighting for the wealth of free thought and justice, as this defense has been, is an example of how powerful the truth is and the union of wills. Having Oscar back in his homeland motivates us to continue to dream of a more just, more supportive, more inclusive and also more combative world before what deserves to be defended. It also invites us to reflect on the values that move us as individuals and as a country. Puerto Rico, this is a great example of what we can achieve together. To you, Oscar, happy return home. Originally published Jan. 19 at endi.com

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