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Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) got news late today that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera was granted clemency by President Barack Obama today and it will take effect, unconditionally, in 120 days. Mr. López of Chicago has spent 35 years in federal prison for seditious conspiracy in conjunction with his role in the Puerto Rico independence movement, but was neither charged with nor convicted of any crime harming anyone. Congressman Gutiérrez, a Puerto Rican born in Chicago, has been fighting for Mr. López’s release for as long as he has been in the U.S. Congress (he was first elected in 1992). The following is a statement from Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez:

I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with emotion. Oscar is a friend, a mentor, and family to me and he and his brother José have been friends and mentors for my entire adult life. There were times when hope was hard to find but my wife Soraida always had faith that this day would come. Now it is clear that Oscar will rejoin his family and be able to walk free among the Puerto Rican people.

Thank you, President Obama, thank you on behalf of millions of Puerto Ricans on the Island and around the world. Thank you from Oscar's family and friends in Chicago. The international campaign of religious leaders, elected officials, Nobel Prize winners, and ordinary people of faith and good conscience has led to this day. We have had our prayers answered.

Releasing Oscar Lopez Rivera back to his homeland and his people is a step towards peace and reconciliation and is being celebrated by Puerto Ricans of all political stripes, classes, colors and geographies. He is a national hero no less significant than Roberto Clemente or any leader we have ever had. It will be a blessed day when I can walk and talk with my friend in the fresh air, far from prison walls, and I am so looking forward to that day.

Rep. Gutiérrez is beginning his 13th term representing the Fourth District of Illinois. He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the Co-Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
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El Congresista Luis V. Gutiérrez sobre la liberación de Oscar López Rivera

Estoy lleno de alegría y emoción. Oscar es un gran amigo, mentor, y miembro de mi familia; durante toda mi vida adulta, él y su hermano José han sido mis amigos y mentores. Tuve momentos en que ya no tenía esperanza, pero mi esposa Soraida siempre tuvo fe que este día llegaría. Hoy, está más claro que nunca que Oscar se podrá reunir con su familia y podrá caminar libremente entre la gente Puertorriqueña.

Gracias, Presidente Obama, gracias de parte de millones de Puertorriqueños en la isla y por todo el mundo. Gracias de parte de la familia de Oscar y sus amigos en Chicago. La campaña internacional formada por líderes religiosos, oficiales electos, ganadores del Premio Nobel y de gente ordinaria de fe y buena conciencia nos ha traído a este momento. Nuestras oraciones han sido escuchadas.

Liberar a Oscar López Rivera a su patria y a su pueblo es un paso hacia la paz y la reconciliación, la cual se está celebrando por Puertorriqueños de todas las opiniones políticas, clases, colores y geografías. Es un héroe nacional no menos significativo que Roberto Clemente o cualquier líder que hemos tenido. El día que pueda caminar y hablar con mi amigo al aire libre, lejos de las paredes de una prisión será para mí un día bendito. Un día bendito que he anhelado con todo mi corazón por mucho tiempo, y que por fin se hará realidad este mayo

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