With Eric Holder on his way out the door as Attorney General, many Puerto Ricans are stepping up their calls for President Barack Obama to pardon 71-year-old political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who has spent the last 33 years behind bars for seditious conspiracy. The holiday season is a common time for Presidents to use their power to grant clemency, but this was not to be in 2014 for the President who has granted the fewest pardons in modern times.
For Puerto Ricans, dismissal of their political demands is emblematic of their subjugation as colonial subjects.
In December, at a concert in San Juan, reggaeton singer René Pérez Joglar of the band Calle 13 brought López’s daughter Clarissa on stage to read a letter pleading for her father’s release. After winning the silver medal in judo in the Central American and Caribbean games in November, Augusto Miranda told the press: “I want to use this forum for all the people of Puerto Rico and the United States. It’s an abuse what they’ve done to Oscar López Rivera, political prisoner. It’s time to give him his freedom.”