Puerto Rican activist Oscar López Rivera, author of Oscar López Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance (PM Press, 9781604866858) had his 70-year prison sentence commuted by President Obama just before he left office. He is set to be released in early May 2017. The story was covered by all major news networks, including The New York Times. Amidst the celebrations happening in Puerto Rican and activist communities around the country, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda also noted his plans to honor López Rivera: by playing the role of Alexander Hamilton at a special Chicago performance of the show attended by the activist.
López Rivera was convicted for his role in a Puerto Rican nationalist group, F.A.L.N., which fought for Puerto Rican independence with a series of violent tactics. Previous efforts to free him, on behalf of various human rights networks, had been fruitless—and in 1999, López Rivera himself turned down President Bill Clinton’s offer of clemency, because it was not extended to each imprisoned F.A.L.N. member. Now 74 years old, López Rivera has spent nearly half of his life in prison. He’s since recorded his story in different formats—from letters to renowned lawyer, sociologist, educator, and activist Luis Nieves Falcón to photographs and paintings. Oscar López Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance recounts his incredible journey, illustrating the awful reality of human rights abuses endured by America’s political prisoners along with the hopeful message at the heart of his struggle for freedom. As the United States becomes an increasingly contentious home for activists and organizers, López Rivera’s memoir will offer a uniquely relevant perspective.