Prolific Puerto Rican terrorist Óscar López Rivera, responsible for placing over 130 bombs throughout the United States and causing millions in property damage, landed in Cuba this week to receive the nation’s “Order of Solidarity” and honor dead tyrant Fidel Castro.
López Rivera, who served 36 years in prison, was due to be released in 2051 until President Barack Obama freed him via commutation of his sentence shortly before the end of his presidency. He has since returned to far-left political advocacy. Hours after being released from prison, the Spanish newswire service EFE notes, he reached out to Cuban officials to request a trip to the island.
Granma, Cuba’s state-run propaganda outlet, stated Tuesday that López Rivera will receive the “Order of Solidarity” in Havana before meeting with Cuban students at the University of Havana and then traveling east to Santiago, where Fidel Castro is buried, for “an homage to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution.” He will also stop halfway in Santa Clara to honor communist mass murderer Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
“I feel like I am at home, this is a dream come true, really, so many years that I have been wanting to come to Cuba and today, for the first time, I arrive in Cuba,” López Rivera told Cuban agents upon landing in Havana, according to the Cuban Foreign Ministry (MINREX).
“I am very hopeful to be able to enjoy all the time that I can with the Cuban people,” he added. “I am alive and kicking, at my age I think I can work about 14 to 15 hours a day, I feel good.”
López Rivera is 74 years old.
Telesur, another far-left outlet, reported that the Cuban government sent a member of the “Cuban Five” to greet him at the airport on Sunday: Fernando Gonzalez Llort, who shared a cell with López Rivera for over four years, according to Granma. The Cuban newspaper describes the spies as “the Five Heroes of Cuba, as the anti-terrorist fighters are known.”
Obama also released the “Cuban Five” without having completed their prison sentence in exchange for American citizen Alan Gross in 2014. The five men had infiltrated the pro-American Cuban community in Miami and provided Cuba with the intelligence used to kill five American citizens of Cuban dissent in 1996, all four members of the group Brothers to the Rescue, which engaged in rescue operations to help Cuban refugees attempting to reach America on rafts. Cuba does not recognize American citizens of Cuban descent as U.S. citizens.
Prior to his arrest, López Rivera was among the leaders of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), a Puerto Rican terrorist group whose string of bombings, mostly in Chicago and New York, killed five people and caused over $3 million in property damage in the 1970s. He was arrested and convicted on “seditious conspiracy” charges.
Cuba remained for years on the State Department’s state sponsor of terrorism list for its alliances with figures like López Rivera, as well as support for terrorist organizations such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Hezbollah. Following their defeat by a joint Colombian-U.S. counter-terrorism effort in the Colombian countryside, leaders of the FARC fled to Havana, where they enjoyed safe haven until dictator Raúl Castro brokered their return to Colombia. “Timochenko,” the terrorist organization’s leader and 2018 presidential candidate, remains in Havana recovering from a medical condition.
Various reports have also tied the Castro regime to Hezbollah through the Venezuelan narco-state, in particular reportedly funding a scheme to grant Middle Eastern Hezbollah members Venezuelan passports.
A minority of leftist Puerto Rican communities in the United States mainland have embraced López Rivera’s liberation. The terrorist made a guest appearance at New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade after major parade sponsors backed out and parade organizers were forced to rescind an award they were to give him at the event. Parade-goers booed López Rivera.