Prison Radio
Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall

Oscar Lopez Rivera is revered by many as a former political prisoner, hero, and freedom fighter for Puerto Rican independence and human rights. Mr. Lopez Rivera allegedly belonged to the Puerto Rican nationalist group, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, and was accused of being behind a series of bombings in the 1970s in Chicago and New York. Mr. Lopez Rivera spent 35 years in federal prison until former President Barack Obama commuted his sentence. Oscar Lopez Rivera, at age 75, was finally released from prison in May 2017. Organizers of New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade decided to honor Mr. Lopez Rivera at this year’s parade on June 11th.

So why all of a sudden do Coca-Cola, Goya, JetBlue and several other corporations have the nerve to try and dictate to organizers of the parade, using the withdrawal of sponsorships, to force organizers not to honor Puerto Rican hero Oscar Lopez Rivera? Who are these corporations to be telling Puerto Ricans — or any ethnic group for that matter — who they should honor as their heroes and patriots?

Corporations are such hypocrites! They have no problem withdrawing their corporate sponsorships from New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade because organizers want to honor Oscar Lopez Rivera, but corporations have yet to economically withdraw corporate sponsorships from New York’s annual Columbus Day Parade. Although the entire world knows that Christopher Columbus was nothing but a scumbag, human-kidnapping, mercenary, genocidal terrorist, Columbus is honored as a hero by White America.

Good riddance to corporations. Who needs them anyway? Certainly not the working class Puerto Ricans and their small businesses that built the New York Puerto Rican Day Parade that we’ve come to love so dearly. The New York Puerto Rican Day Parade was thriving long before Coca-Cola, Goya, JetBlue and other corporations came in with their sponsorships, and New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade will continue to thrive long after those corporations leave with their sponsorships. This is because the Puerto Rican Day Parade was built ‘for the people, by the people.’

So, my Puerto Rican brothers and sisters, honor your hero and patriot, Oscar Lopez Rivera, on June 11, 2017. I, too, will be honoring him with you.

From the Belly of the Beast, at Prison Radio, I am Shakaboona.