Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that he is not marching in next month’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, but he did not directly address the controversy surrounding parade organizers’ decision to honor a Puerto Rican terrorist recently freed from prison.
“The governor’s support and long-term affection for the Puerto Rican community remains unwavering; unfortunately he will not be marching in this year’s parade,” said spokeswoman Dani Lever in a statement. The statement did not mention parade honoree Oscar Lopez Rivera, a member of a terrorist nationalist group whose sentence was commuted by former president Barack Obama.
The decision by Puerto Rican Day Parade organizers to honor Lopez Rivera has prompted sponsors including Coca-Cola, JetBlue and AT&T to pull out of the June 11 march up Fifth Avenue.
Parade organizers have said they stand by their decision to honor Lopez Rivera as “Procer de la Libertad” — National Freedom Hero.
The 74-year-old Lopez Rivera has thousands of supporters who see him as a political prisoner, jailed for seeking independence for Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, both Democrats, are still marching.