Oscar López Rivera: The Invisible Man and His Invisible Nation

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“Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs.”-President Barack Obama

“But one prisoner remains, now a vivid reminder of the ongoing inequality that colonialism and empire building inevitably bring forth. After more than 30 years, Oscar López Rivera is imprisoned for the ‘crime’ of seditious conspiracy: conspiracy to free his people from the shackles of imperial justice.”-Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu

If you ask any American what is the first thing they think of when they hear the term “political prisoner,” the vast majority will say Nelson Mandela. To the millions who witnessed Mandela leading the South African liberation struggle and those who were born in its aftermath, Mandela has become a symbol of resistance to the worst form of political repression. The 27 years he spent imprisoned in Robben Island are an almost unimaginable punishment to people in the West, who like to think that nothing remotely similar could happen at home. Meanwhile, in a prison cell in Terre Haute, Indiana, out of the media spotlight and the history books, Oscar López Rivera on May 29 will mark his 33rd year spent behind bars (almost half in solitary confinement) as a political prisoner of the U.S. government for a nearly identical “crime” and a nearly identical cause. Continue reading here…