Published February 6, 2018
“There were resolutions of the United Nations pointing out very, very clearly that colonialism was a crime against humanity and that colonized people have the right to self-determination and to independence and to achieve it by any means necessary — including the use of force,” Oscar Lopez Rivera, phone interview from prison in October 2016 with National Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS – On Monday, February 5, 2018, the American Indian Movement wrote a Letter of Endorsement and Solidarity for Oscar López Rivera. The letter is below:
The Grand Governing Council of the National office of the American Indian Movement publicly endorses, and with deep respect, stands in solidarity with Oscar Lopez Rivera, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, imprisoned by the United States for 36 years for his struggle to free Puerto Rico from U.S. colonial rule.
Leonard Peltier, a political prisoner still incarcerated by the United States government and Oscar Lopez have survived isolation, torture, and humiliation while imprisoned. The arrogance and narrow mindedness of their captors believed Lopez Rivera and Peltier would be forgotten an end to the movements that they helped to create would end. In fact, the integrity both of these fighters exemplify uplifts the dignity of all oppressed peoples, which has made our joint struggle stronger for First Nation Peoples of this land.
In the span of 30 years, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI counterintelligence program intentionally targeted common people and families that were organizing within our communities to demand an end to racism and police brutality. Community defense was deployed by and for our people as a matter of life and death. The American Indian Movement (AIM) and Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional Puertorriquena (FALN) were built to empower our peoples to demand and end to colonial oppression and recognize Puerto Rican and indigenous sovereignty.
Due to the effective strategy and tactics to fight by any means necessary, our respective leaders came to be branded as “terrorists” by the State and most of them were either assassinated or imprisoned.
The heroic resistance that both Oscar Lopez Rivera and Leonard Peltier maintained in prison, is a story of resiliency and human perseverance. Both Lopez Rivera and Peltier show that the human spirit can endure, survive and prevail when our oppressors attempt to annihilate our leadership and our movements towards self-determination, and liberation. With their story we find uncommon valor, sacrifice, and tenacity to endure unimaginable obstacles and tribulations. Yes, this is what the human spirit can do, yet few people have the integrity to persevere.
Oscar Lopez Rivera’s story does not end with his release from prison; he is still a freedom fighter and a leader on a international scale. For all of these reasons and more, The American Indian Movement writes this public acknowledgement of endorsement.
In Struggle and Solidarity with Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Puerta Rican people, and all political prisoners.
FREE LEONARD PELTIER!