Mayor: Puerto Rican Militant to Step Aside From Parade Role

Mayor, Puerto Rican, Militant, Step Aside, Parade
Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera arrives to give a press conference on El Escambron Beach following his release from house arrest after decades in custody, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

New York City’s mayor says a Puerto Rican nationalist recently freed from prison has agreed to step aside from any formal role in the city’s Puerto Rican Day parade.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday released a statement calling it a critical step forward in refocusing the city’s attention on the more important issues facing Puerto Rico.

Parade organizers had planned to honor Oscar Lopez Rivera, a member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in the 1970s and 1980s.

He served more than 35 years in prison before his sentence was commuted by Democratic President Barack Obama.

The parade’s decision to honor Lopez prompted sponsors including Coca-Cola, JetBlue and AT&T to drop out of the parade.

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