Nicaragua honored Puerto Rican independence fighter and former U.S. political prisoner, Oscar Rivera Lopez, with the Order of Augusto C. Sandino, the highest honor of the Nicaraguan Government.
Reading from the statement honoring Lopez, the Nicaraguan Vice-President Rosario Murillo said that the Puerto Rican independence movement hero is an inspiration for his “unspeakable struggle” for the independence of Puerto Rico.
Murillo said that Lopez has inspired militants and revolutionaries around the world.
"Thank you Oscar! Long live Puerto Rican freedom!" Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said at the ceremony.
Lopez himself is currently in Nicaragua to participate in the celebration of the 38 anniversary of the “Sandinista” revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle on July 19th, 1979.
Arriving in the country earlier this week, he has praised both the leadership of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, and the Nicaragua people for their revolutionary struggle and commitment in the face of U.S. aggression.
“We celebrate with much love and pride the triumph of the Nicaraguan Revolution on its 38 anniversary,” Lopez said in an interview with the Nicaraguan publication El 19 Digital.
“I am happy to be in the land of Sandino, and I want to express my gratitude, with much love to the people of Nicaragua, one of the places where there has been a revolution, has been victory in spite of all that the United States has tried to do, Nicaragua continues onward,” Rivera said,
He also praised Nicaragua's fight against United States interference. The FSLN led a struggle against U.S.-backed right-wing militias known as the “Contras” in the 1980s.
“Since the introduction of the Monroe Doctrine, until the present, the U.S. government has believed that it can control and dominate all of Latin America and Caribbean,” Lopez continued. He added that “during the last twenty and thirty years, we have seen in Latin America a spirit of struggle, a spirit of resistance.”
Oscar Lopez Rivera spent 36 years in U.S. prisons on alleged "conspiracy" charges for his involvement in militant Puerto Rican independence struggles. The remainder of his sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama, after years of calls from activists for his release. Since his release, he has promised to continue struggling for the right to self-determination of Puerto Rico.