from Oscar on his birthday On turning 70 years old
On turning 70 years
old, I celebrate and give thanks to life for all it’s given me and for all it’s taught me.
I celebrate and give thanks for it’s having taught me that life is about
never-ending struggle, and that if I want to live, I must struggle, and struggle if I want to live.
I celebrate and give thanks for having experienced extreme material poverty
and for daring to transcend it without envying or hating anyone. I celebrate and give thanks for having been exposed to experiencing
in the flesh prejudice, discrimination and racism for being Puerto Rican, for my dark skin, for my size, for not knowing how
to speak English, and even for speaking “broken” Spanish, so I could learn a gratifying lesson — that the
only race is the human race, and that all of us human beings are fallible and imperfect.
celebrate and give thanks for having been exposed to war, so that I could walk in the shadow of death, feel the death of others
as if it were mine, and without being conscious of it, become a sower of death, devastation and destruction of a people that
could be my own people.
I celebrate and give thanks
for having been permitted to survive war and dare to seek another path, a new way of thinking, and to find sublime ideals
and new goals.
I celebrate and give thanks
for being obligated to learn to think critically, to submerge myself in my people to understand that their marginalization,
invisibility and lack of voice were things I also suffered, and to appreciate and love my identity and not allow those who
hold the reins of power to define me.
and give thanks for being offered the opportunity to serve the most just and noble cause I know — the struggle for the
independence and sovereignty of my Homeland and for a better and more just world.
celebrate and give thanks for being permitted to serve this cause with much love and compassion for more than 4 decades. I
celebrate and give thanks for being permitted to survive more than 3 decades in the gulags without deviating from my chosen
path and with my spirit and will stronger than before going to prison.
celebrate and give thanks for being a member of a precious and valiant immediate and extended family, for putting me at the
side of those great human beings who are compañeros/as in the struggle, and for allowing me to have been born in beautiful
Boriken/Puerto Rico — that piece of the planet that has become the garden of Eden of America and the world.
I celebrate and give thanks because I can still fill my heart with love
and compassion every day.
Much love to all.
In resistance and struggle, Oscar López Rivera
la sentencia de Norberto González Claudio
14 de noviembre de 2012
En el día de hoy se cumplió el acuerdo
político escrito en el que el gobierno de Estados Unidos reconoce que la participación como dirigente que
tuviera Norberto González Claudio en la expropiación a la Wells Fargo, que realizara la organización
puertorriqueña Los Macheteros en el año 1983, fue para promover la Independencia de PR y no fue para beneficio
Norberto González Claudio ha sido
defensor de los derechos civiles, humanos y por la justicia social de los puertorriqueños desde su
adolescencia. Ha sido incansable defensor de los derechos de los estudiantes y los trabajadores puertorriqueños
y del mundo en general. Ha luchado contra el sistema colonial que tenemos en Puerto Rico y por su independencia
de Estados Unidos, la nación que lo coloniza. Hoy a sus 67 años ha sido sentenciado a encarcelamiento y probatoria
posterior a este por esta nación que luchó y tuvo sus luchadores por la independencia como él.
el 10 de mayo de 2011, cuando fue arrestado por el FBI en Puerto Rico y transportado a los Estados Unidos, ha estado
prisionero en Rhode Island sin derecho a fianza. En esta prisión privada Donald Wyatt ( DWWDF ) lo mantienen
en solitaria con un mínimo de horas para ejercitarse y comunicarse con sus familiares. Para el mes de enero de 2012 le diagnosticaron cáncer de piel y
no fué hasta mayo que le sometieron a cirugía para remoción de la lesión cancerosa. Nunca tuvo una visita de seguimiento
posterior a la cirugía y, al día de hoy, su condición de cáncer no ha sido reevaluada por un médico, por lo que se desconoce
su condición en este momento.
Norberto está feliz de poder
impulsar la libertad de su patria, de luchar contra la explotación del hombre por el hombre y por la unidad
patriótica. Para él esa es su misión en esta vida. Es defensor del pueblo puertorriqueño y de todos los pueblos
y naciones oprimidas. Por eso acepta su sentencia con una sonrisa.
a todas las personas que desean apoyar a Norberto en su decisión de aceptar encarcelamiento y probatoria por
defender a su nación del colonialismo estadounidense, del derecho de los puertorriqueños a su libertad y su soberanía.
Entendemos que cada persona individual o en asociación con otros escoge su mejor forma de dar su apoyo y solidaridad
y nosotros así lo aceptamos. Reconocemos a la Coordinadora de Solidaridad con la Diaspora Boricua (COSODIBO )
que hoy nos acompaña aquí en Hartford; a las organizaciones Pro Libertad, Freedom Campaign, The Ricanstruction Action Party,
El Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño-Nueva York, El Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores-NYC, IFCO/Pastors for
Peace, y La Fundacion Andres Figueroa Cordero, también a el Partido Workers
que están ofreciendo
su apoyo desde Nueva York, y en PR a el Comité de Apoyo a Avelino y Norberto González Claudio (CAANGC),
el Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), Comité de Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico (CDH), la Coordinadora
Caribeña y Latinoamericana de Puerto Rico (CCLPR), el Ejército Popular Boricua-Macheteros, el Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico Movimiento Libertador (PN-ML),
el Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH), el Frente Socialista (FS), el Movimiento
al Socialismo (MÁS), el Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores-Macheteros, el Partido Revolucionario de los
Trabajadores Puertorriqueños-Macheteros, La Nueva Escuela, el Partido Comunista (PC)
entre otras organizaciones que han dicho presente para acompañar a Norberto en el día de hoy . Norberto,
su familia y yo le damos nuestra más expresivas gracias por todo este apoyo.
For the American Studies
October 29, 2012
The U.S. government categorically
denies it has political prisoners in its gulags. It does it primarily to cover up the nefarious, barbaric and even criminal
acts and practices it carries out against us and other regular prisoners, and to do it with impunity. It uses the denial as
its license to violate our most basic human rights by subjecting us to isolation and sensory deprivation regimens that are
nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment. It uses it to hoodwink its own citizens to believe that it doesn’t criminalize
dissenters or opponents of its wars and other imperialistic practices. It does it to perpetuate the lie that it’s the
ultimate defender of freedom, justice, democracy and human rights in the world. And it uses it at times to further criminalize
the political prisoners and/or our families and to disconnect us from our families, communities, supporters and the just and
noble causes we served and try to continue serving.
During the many years I’ve
been in the gulags, I’ve met and shared ideas, time and space with different political prisoners who struggle for just
and noble causes like the one I’ve chosen to serve. Some were with me at USP Leavenworth, where we were labeled “notorious
and incorrigible criminals” and targeted by the FBI, jailers and informants/provocateurs in their attempts to criminalize
us further. In my case the same evil forces even used my medical condition as fodder for the escape conspiracy plot they hatched
that added fifteen more years to my sentence.
There were political prisoners
with me at USP Marion, where we were subjected to isolation and sensory deprivation regimens, and labeled “predators,
the worst of the worst,” and even “animals” by Dr. Urban, the head of the psychology department of USP Marion.
Amnesty International went as far as defining the barbaric conditions in that gulag as a “legal crime.” Sensory
deprivation and isolation regimens cause a plethora of mental illness/problems, including PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
— the same mental disorder war veterans suffer.
And there were political prisoners
with me in the gulag known as ADX Florence. There some of us were subjected to a sleep deprivation regimen that was pure and
simple torture. I experienced it for 58 days and my sleeping patterns were so badly damaged that I still have serious problems
sleeping. In these two gulags political prisoners were also the targets of constant harassment such as cell searches, confiscation
of reading and art materials and placement in hot cells where there was contraband in order to issue us infractions, send
us to the hole, and force us to start the “step-down” program all over again.
Since I have been in the gulags
all of my communication has been intercepted and monitored, including my legal mail. My family has been persecuted and criminalized.
Three days after I was sentenced my brother José was fired from his job at Northeastern Illinois University, and before that
sent to prison for 11 months for refusing to testify before a grand jury. My mother, at age 70, was made my co-conspirator.
Anyone who knew my mother knows she would rather have died than to engage in any criminal activity. The FBI has even tried
to destroy good community programs that at one point and time I was associated with. The last 14 years I have spent in this
gulag, Terre Haute. And the harassment has not stopped. Several times my art materials have been confiscated or lost, art
work destroyed, family visits stopped, and I still have to report to the jailers every two hours. In those 14 years, in spite
of all the provocations and harassment, the jailers haven’t been able to accuse me of committing any infractions. But
that doesn’t stop them from doing what they’ve been doing to me for the past 31 years. And I’m fairly certain
the other political prisoners continue experiencing the same treatment and conditions.
It could be argued that government’s
denial of our existence has worked. But our wills and spirits are strong enough to continue resisting and struggling.
En resistencia y lucha [in resistance
Oscar López Rivera
LOPEZ RIVERA FROM PRISON:
MESSAGE ON THE HIS 31ST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ARREST!
with Much Respect and Love.
to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Puerto Rican people in PR and in the diaspora for the support you have given me during
the past 31 years. I also want to express the same gratitude to the freedom and justice loving people in the U.S. and
in different parts of the world for the solidarity they’ve shared with me. The support I’ve received has been
a fountain of strength that has helped me face and deal with the difficult challenges I’ve experienced in prison during
the past 31 years, and to remain morally and spiritually strong to continue struggling and resisting.
years seem to have passed fleetingly. Many radical changes have occurred all over the world during this period of time. In
Latin America progressive presidents rule in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil and Argentina.
In the last two countries the presidents are progressive women. And in Puerto Rico the US navy is no longer present in Vieques.
Unfortunately, the most important change Puerto Ricans need has not taken place. Because colonialism seems to be more entrenched
now than ever.
José Martí who said that for a people to be free they needed to be cultured. I believe Puerto Ricans are a cultured people.
Yet we still are a colonized people. We are also a morally, mentally, spiritually strong people. But we haven’t
been able to make Puerto Rico a free and sovereign nation.
Albert Einstein who said that by repeating the same experiment the results were always going to be the same. Doing that is
nothing else than an exercise in futility. And Puerto Rican independentists have been repeating the same experiment for decades
and obtaining the same results without being able to achieve their goal of an independent and sovereign nation. The celebration
of plebiscites has been such an experiment. So why do we continue engaging in Sisyphean tasks? What should we do? Let’s
pay heed to Einstein’s wise warning.
is a simple one. Let’s work on the problems we can resolve with the means and resources we have at our disposal. For
example, let’s take one problem related to the health issue we are facing – obesity. To resolve this problem a
simple change in lifestyle will do. Eat a healthy diet, exercise and create a support network. We can also start programs
of urban gardening. There’s space for such a program in the 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico. And in those spaces we
can grow healthy products that can help with a nutritional diet. We can look for alternative sources of energy and of transportation.
Let’s start thinking of changes we can make in our lifestyles and we can resolve some of the difficult problems we face.
Problems shouldn’t intimidate or scare us. They should produce ideas in our heads and challenge us to find solutions.
Finding solutions to problems give us confidence, and help us transcend our colonized mentality. And that transcendence
gets us closer to our goal of achieving an independent and sovereign nation and a better and more just world. We are intelligent
enough to know what needs to be done. We can change lifestyles in Puerto Rico and in the Puerto Rican diaspora and by doing
so we will grow stronger morally, physically, spiritually and mentally. We can make Puerto Rico a free and sovereign nation.
Why We Celebrate Three Kings
Day by Oscar López Rivera
We often hear the comment that Puerto Ricans are up for celebrating
just about anything. There are celebrations upon celebrations. The celebration of Three Kings Day is part of our culture and
traditions – so it is not just another festive moment in lieu of nothing better to celebrate. For Christians, it’s
the day of the Epiphany – the day commemorating the manifestation of the infant Jesus to the Gentiles by the Magi (the
Three Wise Men) – but in the Puerto Rican tradition, it has become a day to celebrate the sharing spirit manifested
by parents sharing with their children. That sharing spirit also manifests itself in the community. The sharing can take the
form of gifts or special treats. At the community level, it can take the form of music and food.
It’s the spirit of sharing that’s the most fundamental
element of the tradition of celebrating Three Kings Day, because such a spirit cannot be commodified. We can look at the way
a group of Puerto Ricans decided to share that spirit with the children of Vieques during the campaign to get the Navy out
of Vieques. It decided to provide the children with a very festive day including giving them non-violent and non-military
gifts. The children, every year since the group started the project, have been provided with gifts and with activities that
are true expressions of the sharing spirit. It’s becoming a tradition. The same could be said about the Puerto Rican
community in Chicago. A group of people have been celebrating Three Kings Day by sharing with the children gifts and by involving
the community in this important and significant celebration.
By Puerto Ricans celebrating Three Kings Day in the Diaspora, we are
being shown that we can observe and celebrate our traditions wherever we are. Let’s keep celebrating Three Kings Day
and passing the tradition down to future generations. It’s always good to maintain a celebratory spirit, even when conditions
are hard. Enjoy this holiday.
En resistencia y lucha, OLR.
¡NOS VEMOS PRONTO!
Letter from prison by Norberto González Claudio
A Fathers’ Day Visit:
“And grandfather, why can’t I be there with you?
The visit by some of my children, grandchildren and my wife should have been one of beautiful sharing,
of beautiful family sharing. And it was that way, to some extent . . .
My girlfriend, wife, lover and comrade (my favorite young person) and more to my daughters
and sons, arrived from the Puerto Rican Nation, to visit a husband, father and grandfather to an imperialist prison: Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility. And, do you know what happened? That already the grandfather, father, husband,
comrade, Political Prisoner, has been condemned – without trial, without due legal process and without committing any
infractions in that prison – in fact I arrived to go directly to solitary confinement – and treated like a complete
“criminal” that has to be shut away and isolated for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a solitary jail cell. In absolute solitude! In absolute solitude!
But I am strong and combative even under these conditions. Long live love! Long live life! Long live the class and freedom struggle of our Puerto Rican
In a solitary cell, in solitude and combative.
We talked about Fathers’ Day.
Between 9:30 and 10:00 in the morning, the prison guards came to tell me that I had visitors – in fact, they congratulated
me for being a father – they handcuffed me and we went to another cell where they removed my handcuffs and shackled
my feet. I sit in a chair, pick
up the telephone and in a small computer monitor my family appears. They have to take turns to be able to see me and for me to be able to see them and speak with them.
“And grandfather, why can’t I be there with you?” This is the question that my small grandson asks me in his
pure and childlike innocence. It
is likely that this question reflects the dehumanizing and cruel nature that characterizes the current system in the United
Sates. A visit that should have
been one to raise the spirits of a prisoner – that hasn’t been tried or condemned – can become another form
of torture. And that’s
the way it is, yet another form of torture, cruelty and insensitivity. It is this type of behavior that one is referring to
when you explain or say that the U.S. Empire is cruel, brutal, bloody and dehumanizing.
It is clear that we do so without forgetting the invasions, deadly bombings against
other nations and the looting and ransacking of these.
“And grandfather, why can’t I be there with you?” This points out clearly the insensibility and cruelty of these
invaders and abusive imperialists.
I informed my “counselor” Devonis that on the weekend my family would come to visit and asked if something could
be done for me to be able to see my family more closely, the response – cutting and clear – was that nothing could
That it how you live and die in the nation of supposed great democracy and civil and
human rights of the first order. Or,
who knows, if it’s second or third order . . . Democracy or the falsehood of democracy? Civil and human rights or the falsehood of civil and human
A human being that is accused but not convicted is in solitary or as we say out there,
in the hole. Without being convicted
but being simply accused. YES,
SIMPLY FOR BEING ACCUSED! For
being a POLITICAL PRISONER! FOR
BEING A PO-LI-TI-CAL PRI-SO-NER!
It’s astounding! THE EMPIRE’S
STENCH! IT STINKS AND SEEKS TO MAKE US INSIGNIFICANT AND SMALL . . . IT BRUTALIZES AND TRIES TO DRIVE US
That is how you live and die in a dehumanizing empire at its hands and at all costs.
An empire of terror, of lies and deceit. An empire whose days are already numbered to the benefit
of all human beings and for the benefit of humanity and the good of the Planet Earth, OUR LARGER HOME!
May peace, love and wisdom always accompany us!
Norberto González Claudio, 09864-000Husband, father, grandfather, comrade to many men and women workers and POLITICAL PRISONER.
WILL SEE ONE ANOTHER SOON!
English Translation by Frank Velgara, ProLibertad Freedom Campaign