New York's National Puerto Rican Day Parade delivered a stunning slap to terror victims by honoring a jailed felon who led the F.A.L.N., says Joe Connor, whose father was killed in the infamous Fraunces Tavern bombing.
Connor, now an anti-terrorism activist, says the parade feted Oscar Lopez-Rivera, now behind bars for seditious conspiracy, force to commit robbery, and interstate transportation of firearms and ammunition to aid in the commission of a felony in an unrelated case.
His father, Frank Connor, was killed in a January 1975 explosion which the F.A.L.N. — the Armed Forces of Puerto Rican National Liberation — took credit for. Lopez, who headed the group, was never prosecuted in the bombing.
"Oscar Lopez [is] considered now some sort of cause célèbre by the left. He is a terrorist … the leader of the FALN, who blew up about 120 bombs in the U.S.,'' Connor told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"He was honored as a freedom fighter, as … a Puerto Rican patriot [in the parade].''
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Adding insult to injury, according to Connor, was New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Puerto Rican to hold a citywide elected position.
"[She's] praising him [as an] inspiration, he's freedom fighting,'' Connor said.
In 2010 Mark-Viverito urged her council colleagues to sign a petition supporting Lopez-Rivera’s parole bid because, she claimed, he was a political prisoner.
"My father … was at Fraunces Tavern having lunch and the F.A.L.N. placed a bomb in there and knowingly and willfully blew [it] up.... Lopez was the leader.''
"To see them marching up a parade ground, [with] a bobble head of [Lopez] … reminded me of when they used to call Stalin 'Uncle Joe,' this kindly old gentleman, a kindly old terrorist.''
Lopez was one of the 16 Puerto Rican nationalists offered conditional clemency by President Bill Clinton in 1999, but he rejected the offer.
Connor fears President Barack Obama might offer him clemency as well, but hopes to keep publicizing the issue enough so that "even this president would be too ashamed to do something like that.''
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