Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  June 8, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

3:00 pm
06/08/17 06/08/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is demomocracy now! thing, tot important bring our people to dignity that they d deserve, to bring our people the love that they deserve. amy: today we spend the hour in studio with recently freed, longtime puerto rican independence activist oscar lopez rivera.
3:01 pm
he was imprisoned for 35 years, much of that time in solitary confinement, for president obama commuted his sentence in january. on may 17, 2017, less than a month ago, oscar lopez rivera was released. >> i would you think president jimmy carter, bill clinton, and barack obama because they responded to become planes and domains of our people and commuted the sentences of all of our political prisoners. amy: oscar lopez rivera was convicted on federal charges , including seditious conspiracy -- conspiring to oppose u.s. authority over puerto rico by force. it is the same charge nelson mandela faced in south africa. 's firstlopez rivera visit to new york city since his release and his first global
3:02 pm
broadcast interview well here. it coincncides with new york's longtime puerto rican parade. this year's organizers chose to honor lopez rivera as the parade's first "national freedom hero." but after a boycott campaign was organized by a right-wing group funded by donors close to both president trump and to breitbart news, the city's police chief and several corporate sponsors said they would boycott the event. oscar lopez rivera says s he wil still march, but not as an official hononoree, but a humble puerto ricanan and a grandfathe. all thatat and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. former fbi director james comey will tell a senate panel today that president trump repeatedly demanded his loyalty and pressured comey to end a probe into former national security adviser michael flynn.
3:03 pm
comey, who was fired by president trump last month amid a growing fbi investigation into russia's role in the 2016 u.s. election, released his planned opening remarks to lawmakers on wednesday, ahead of today's highly anticipated appearance before the senate intelligence committee. in his statement, comey reveals he was summoned to the white house for a one-on-one dinner with the president on january 27, where trump asked whether comey wished to keep hisis job, before declaring, "i need loyalty, i expect loyalty." comey states trump later asked him to lift the cloud of the fbi's investigation into ties between russia and top trump officials. comey also states that during a valentine's day meeting in the oval office, trump asked other top officials to leave the room before asking comey to drop the investigation into michael flynn, saying -- "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy."
3:04 pm
comey's prepared remarks directly contradict president trump's denial at a may 18 news conference that he pressured comey to back down on the fbi's investigation. >> did you edit he tempered james comey in any way, shape or form to back down on the investigation into michael flynn? pres. trump: no. no. simple step amy:, secure time cacapitol hill l comes a day afr senior national security officials repeatedly ducked questions by senate intelligence committee members over whether president trump asked them to try to influence former fbi director comey's investigation. national security adviser dan coats repeatedly declined to comment when asked about a "washington post" report that trump asked him to pressure then fbi-director comey to ease up on the investigation into michael flynn. and maine independent senator angus king pressed unsuccessfully for nsa director mike rogers to answer questions
3:05 pm
about the report. >> i don't understand why you're not answering our questions. confirmed before the armed services committee, you took beeeen both. do you solemnly swear to give the committee the truth, the full truth, nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. i have answered those conserves -- conversations were classified and not able to discuss in an open form. amy: meanwhile, a pair of house democrats have drafted articles of impeachment against president trump. congress members brad sherman of california and al green of texas say trump is guilty of obstruction of justice for firing the fbi director during an investigation into alleged ties between russia and top administration officials. this is representative al green. >> the question really is not whether the president has obstructed justice. whether the is
3:06 pm
presidenent can obstruct justice with impunity. the question is whether the house of representatives will allow and obstruction of justice with impunity. the president, like all others, is not above the law. amy: congress member brad sherman said he joined green's call for impeachment in part because his colleague, who is african n american, receiveded a deluge of death threats and racist slurs after he called for trump's impeachment from the hohouse floor last month. president trump on thursday formally announced named dish he will name christopher wray to replace james comey as fbi director. wray served as assistantnt attorney general u under george. bush from 2003 to 2005, at a time when the justice department's office of legal counsel signed off on the use of torture against detainees in cia and military custody. in a statement, aclu political director faiz shakir questioned
3:07 pm
whether wray could lead the fbi independently, and said -- "given that wray touts his deep involvement in the bush administration's response to the 9/11 attacks, which includes his connections to some of the most unlawful legal memos on bush-era torture programs, the senate should press wray to come clean about his role in the programs." on capitol hill, the white house is pressuring senators for a vote on a bill to repeal and replace the affordable care act ahead of a congressional recess in july. speaking from ohio wednesday, president trump praised the house healthcare bill, passed in may, which would bring billions of dollars in tax breaks to wealthy americans while adding an estimated 23 million people to the ranks of the uninsured. pres. trump: the house of representatives has done its job. senate andan to the the senators are woworking it over. we s spent a lot of time yestery with mitch mcconnenell and a lot of the great senators, they
3:08 pm
happen to be republicans because we are having no help -- it is only obstruction from the democrats. amy: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said he's confident he'll deliver a a vote on health care before the july 4 recess. north korea has coconducted another missile test, firing several missiles off its east coast in what south korea's military called a new land-to-ship weapon. the test-firings came less than a week after the u.n. security council voted to ratchet up sanctions against t north h kora over its nuclear weaponsns program. in nigeria, , fighters with h te boko haram movement launched an assault on the city of thursday, sending thousands of residents fleeing in panic. one eyewitness said three children were struck by bullets during the failed assault. the raid came six months after nigeria's president claimed the militant group had been largely defeated. the continuing violence has hampered relief efforts in northeastern nigeria, where the u.n. warns nearly 1.5 million people are on the brink of famine. in climate news, a new study predicts coastal u u.s. cities will be deluged by frequent and massive floods unless greenhouse
3:09 pm
gas emissions are slashed dramatically. researchers at princeton a and rutgers s universityty estimatet so-called once in a century floods could become e commonplae by 2050, witith the risk of majr flooding events increasing forty-fold. in the united kingdom, polls are open today in an election that pits conservative prime minister theresa may against a resurgent labour party led by anti-austerity and anti-war candidate jeremy corbyn. on the final day of campaigning, may told voters she's the only candidate to lead britain out of the european union -- the so-called brexit. >> the question is, who do you trust that the strongest stable leadership to get the best deals for britain in europe? because brexit matters. yes, we need to get the brexit deal right. bring back control of our money, our laws, and our borders. amy: labour leader jeremy corbyn spent wednesday making a final push for his party's platform of taxing the wealthiest five% of -- wealthiest 5% of britons to
3:10 pm
pay for universal health care, free university tuition, free child care, expanded workers rights, and other programs. >> that austerity can be ended, that we can stand up to the elites hope that we can get our health, schools, police, our social care. the money they need and deserve and need it now. amy: prime minister theresa may and her tory party are widely expected to win, but the race has tightened dramatically since may called for snap elections in april. a federal grand jury has indicted a journalist from new mexico on charges that he participated in a riot while he covered protests against donald trump on inauguration day in washington, d.c. aaron cantu, a staff writer at the santa fe reporter, faces eight felonies, including inciting a riot, participating in a riot, and criminal conspiracy. cantu previously said he will plead not guilty. he's one of two journalists who continue to face charges over the january 20 protests, wherere more than 200 people were arrested. the legal support group defend
3:11 pm
j20 resistance says some protesters face up to 75 years in prison. in montana, the republican commerce member elect has apologized and will donate $50,000 to the c committee to protect journalists after he was accused of body slamming a guardian reporter the d day befe he was elected to congress last month. i may 24, he slammed reporter beben jacobs to the floor and them.edly punched junene 4 they still fafaces a mimisdemeanor assaultt charge. in st. paul, minnesosota, a pole use-of-force expert said from the witness stand wednesday there was absolutely no reason for officer jeronimo yanez to open fire on philando castile during a traffic stop last year, as yanez's trial on manslaughter charges entered its third day of testimony. prosecutors opened the trial by playing a police dash cam video of castille's killing.
3:12 pm
it shows officer yanez opening fire on castile seven times. a medical expert testified castile was struck with five of the rounds, including two which pierced his heart. castile's death was live streamed on facebook by his girlfriend, diamond reynolds, in an extraordinary video, in which she narrated t the aftermath of the shooting while she was still in the car with h a officer yanz pointing a gun a at her r and hr four-yeaear-old dadaughter. in north, miami florida, the family of a highly autistic man who was shot at by police has filed suit in federal court cleaning officers endangered his life, interrogated him without a with them,. video shows charles kinsey lylyg on his back when he wasas shot y nortrth miami police who were aiming at rios. at the time ofof the shooting, e was helpining to calm rios o had wandndered away frfrom his
3:13 pm
republican in n the video, trols can see i is lying on his bacack withth his hands in the e air, tellining p police "all he has a toy truck." and the black lives matter movemement has won thehe 2017 sy peacace foundation pzeze. whoaward sites leaders -- the blackcknizing underer lives matttter campaign in 2 203 when whitete neighborhood watch vigilante geororge zimmermrman s acquitted in florida o of murdering unarmed african-american teenager trayvon martin. past winners of the prize include former irish president mary robinson, south africa's archbishop desmond tutu, and renowned activist noam chomsky. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i am juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. today we spend the hour with longtime puerto rican independence activist oscar lopez rivera, who was imprisoned
3:14 pm
for more than 35 years, much of the time in solitary confinement, b before presidedet obama commuted his sentence in january. on may 17, 2017, less than a month ago, lopez rivera was released. today he joins us in our new york studio. oscar lopez rivera was born in san sebastian, puerto rico, and moved with his family to chicago when he was a boy. he was drafted into the army at age 18 and served in vietnam, for which he was awarded the bronze star. upon his return in 1967, he became a community organizer who fought for bilingual education, jobs, and better housing. during the 1970's and 1980's, he was a leader of the pro-independence group faln. forcesed liberation -- armed national liberation. its members set more than 100 bombs, including one attack on fraunces tavern in new york city that killed four people. he was never charged, however, with setting those bombs. instead, in 1981, lopez rivera
3:15 pm
was convicted on federal charges including seditious conspiracy -- conspiring to oppose u.s. authority over puerto rico by force. in fact, this is the same charge nelson mandela faced. lopez rivera described his charges in a rare prison interview in 2006. >> i thinknk the fact i was charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the united states big for itself, but the charge in reference to puerto ricansns, has always been used for political purposes. because back in 1936, the first time thahat a group of puerto ricans was putn prison was by using the seditious conspiracy charge. this has been strictly legal charge used against puerto ricans. juan: in 1999, president bill clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the faln, but lopez rivera refused to accept the deal at that time because it did not include two fellow activists, who have since been released.
3:16 pm
amy: this is lopezez rivera's first visit to new york city since his release last month, and it coincides with new york's long-standing puerto rican day parade which always takes place on the second sunday of june. this year's organizers chose to honor lopez rivera as the parade's first "national freedom hero." this prompted the city's police chief and a number of corporate sponsors to boycott the event, including goya foods, coca-cola, univision, and telemundo. as juan reported in his column for "the daily news," a "boycott campaign to condemn lopez rivera as a terrorist was quietly organized by a right-wing conservative group in washington, d.c., the media research center, that receives major funding from donors close to both president trump and to breitbart news." says he willivera still march, but not as an officicial honoree, simply as a humble puerto rican and
3:17 pm
grandfather. over the years, one of his strongest supporters has been archbishop desmond tutu. on wednesday, tutu issued a statement in support of his participation in the parade, noting -- "had south africans and people of the african diaspora allowed others to determine who we would embrace, mandela would still be in prison and have been stripped of the stature we gave him and that he deserved." all of this comes as puerto rico is in the midst of a bankruptcy process and is preparing to hold a referendum on its political future. on sunday come the same day as the parade. for more, we are joined in studio by oscar lopez riverara. while in prison he wrote two books, "between torture and resistance" and "letters to karina." we are also joined by juan cartagena, president and general counsel l of latino justice. we welcome you both to democracy now! oscar lopez rivera, how does it feel to be free? >> it feels wonderful.
3:18 pm
it feels completely, completely different than being in prison. for the first time i can hear the roosters seeing early in the morning. i can see my family. i can see my friends. i can see my granddaughter. i recently went to california to spend a few days with her. i can move around puerto rico. so it feels wonderful. completely,orld completely different than the world of prisons. juan: and all of these years you were not only in prison, but in solitary for a gooood portion of that time, i am wondering, did you have an expectation that you would eventually be freed? was it a surprise when early this year you finally got the war that president obama had commuted your center? >> one of the things i never allowed myself to do was to lucianin what i call
3:19 pm
your optimism. i try my best to keep my hope that i would come out of prison but at the same time, prepare for the worst. on january 71 president obama commuted my sentence and i was told my sentence had been commuted, my reaction was not one that was expected because i was prepared for the worst. it took me about four days to really, really realize that i was on my way out of prison. but it was not -- a very, very exciting moment when i told president obama had commuted my sentence. amy: this was not the first commutation. bill clinton also did this along with a number of your compatriots. steen ford reagan independence activists. but you chose not to leave at that time. you could have left more than a
3:20 pm
decade ago, two decades ago. >> i believe in principles. i had never left anyone behind. whether it was in vietnam, the state of chicago, or puerto rico . for me it was important to stay in prison while two of my codefendants were in prison. both of them came out by 2010. both of them were out of prison. may 17, i was finally, finally out of prison. the sentence commuted the 17th of january, but i had to be under home confinement until may 17. so it was may 17 when i started to walk on the streets of puerto rico. juan: juan cartagena, i would ask about the campaign to free oscar lopez rivera. it really included across section of all political persuasions, religious groups in puerto rico, and lasted for a long time. i remember when we were covering
3:21 pm
the democratic convention in philadelelphia, it was a strong contingent from chicago and other cities that i come to demonstrate at the democratic convention about the issue of finally freeing him. your sense of the importance of the campaign? >> critically important. many of us thought that one last hope would have been the obama administration, hoping for a long time the president would commute his sentence. i was following how president obama was eulogizing nelson mandela when he went to the wake and south africa, talking about how by freeing mandela come the system also freed itself. we kept using that kind of quote. we realize the incredible unity that happens in puerto rico is hardly seen. in my lifetime, i've seen it does really have a seen so many political parties, faiths, activists of all persuasions and all caps really line up to make sure that oscar lopez rivera was
3:22 pm
freed. the happiness, the joy, and the pride we had that we were able to achieve that because, as he said, he is a man of principle. and to work on behalf of a man of principle has always been an honor. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to our discussion with juan cartagena, president and general counsel of latino justice, and oscar lopez rivera, porter get and defenses activists, freed last month after serving 35 years in prison. this is democracy now! we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
3:23 pm
amy: "and a bird the two wings" by pablo milanes. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez.
3:24 pm
our guest is oscar lopez rivera reporter reagan independence activist, freed last month after serving 35 years in prison. we're also joined by juan cartagena, president and general counsel of latino justice. is the time here in new york city that the puerto rican day parade is taking place on sunday.. it is also the day, sunday, that the puerto rican referendum will take place in puerto rico. juan: oscar, i would like to ask you about how you see puerto rico now, having come out of prison -- the last time you were there was over 35 years ago. and now you are seeing a situation with total economic collapse and banankruptcy. what do you see as the situation on the island right now and how it could possibly get out of its enormous crisis? >> puerto rico is suffering an
3:25 pm
enormous crisis. puerto rico, as i see it, has been set up in a way that there is no way for puerto rico to lift itself up economically. first of all, the junta, the physical control board, has already spent a lot of money without offering order rico any remedy to resolve it economic problem. what it has done thus far is suchct money from programs as the university of puerto rico, such as the public education system, and other -- pensions from workers, that would definitely, definitely make puerto rico's economy worse, much worse than it was last year or the a before. -- or the year before.
3:26 pm
puerto rico cannot pay that debt. it is impossible for puerto rico to pay the debt except if every dollar come every last dollar that the puerto rican worker has in his pocket is taken out of his pocket. that is the reality from the economic point of view. besides that, we have a government in puerto rico governing puerto rico that has no way of any incentives toto te puerto rican people. on the conontrary, it offers incentives to foreigners. whoever invests in puerto rico, not a puerto rican, what happens is the money that his native puerto rico is taken out of puerto rico. the money does not stay in puerto rico. he does that help the economy of puerto rico. my way of lookining at it is puerto rico is in trouble economically, and the junta, the t that is imposed or has been i imposed on puerto ri, , ireally a detrimental
3:27 pm
daresay a criminal act, on the puerto rican people. now, there other people -- things in puerto rico i see being positive. i see the students of the university struggling, the students at the university trying to do something to preserve or at least protect the university. that is positive. the puerto rican youth represent the future of puerto rico. as long as they're struggling and doing something foror the economy, foror themselves, for puerto rico, there is hope. there is also another element i see. puerto rico, as we mentioned, is aing into or celebrating colonial act. to justify what? puerto rico is not going to become a state. definitely not. one political party in puerto rico is participating in this. the rest of puerto rico is
3:28 pm
boycotting. million, could go into at least the education system. we could preserve some of those schools being closed. 169 public schools will be closed. why not use the money to help those schools? that will be one of the questions i would ask the governor of puerto rico. he has been asked. he has don't answers. amy: i was wondering if we could go back in time to your history, what politicized you, where you were born, how you came to head up the faln, and then you're 35 years in prison, how you survivedthere? >> i was born in a very small farm in puerto rico. at age 14, a listen to chicago to live with my sister. livewas sent to chicago to with my sister. i entered high school. i'm going to make a little story here, so you will probably see
3:29 pm
my politics. when i was in high school in chicago, the teacher asked the students to define a hero and why that person was a hero. entered been, when i elementary school in puerto rico at age 5, every day we would sing a song that would say george washington was to be celebrated because he never, never said a lie. , ion that particular day said that george washington was my hero because he had never said a lie. the students started laughing. i thought it was because of my english accent. when the class was over, a fellow student pulled me to the side and said "don't you know that george washington was a liar? you shouldn't have said that." indoctrination was taking place
3:30 pm
in puerto rico and a sophisticated, subtle way. i was deeply and profoundly indoctrinated into believing that puerto rico would never be an independent country, that it could not be still sufficient, that we will starve to death if the u.s. walked out of puerto rico. that is how i was influenced for the first 14 years of my life. in chicago, i found myself facing things i never thought i would face. for example, discrimination for the first time. finding racism for the first time. a real, blatant racism. and discrimination when i was trying to find a job. in the military, i also found the same practice. there was racism. there was discrimination. so when i came back home from vietnam, for some reason, vietnam changed my way of life come of my way of thinking.
3:31 pm
i came back from vietnam and i found myself obligated to find out what was the reason for being the war in vietnam. i found myself more sympathetic with the vietnamese people than i thought that i would ever be. and little by little, i was starting to discover what vietnam had done. for example, i discovered how the vietnamese fought against the french, how they colonized themselves. i came back to chicago and i found it -- amy: you gotot a bronze star. >> i got a bronze star for that. amy: what was your brother doing during this time? >> i brother studied. but when i came back from vietnam, i found a community, a puerto rican community, that was , to demando wake up to be seen and heard. i started organizing in the community.
3:32 pm
at that time, the young lords were coming up out of chicago. it was a street gang that became political. a lot of things were happening in 1967. it was when dr. martin luther king pronounced himself against the war in vietnam and called it a criminal war. it was when mom and ali refused -- muhammad ali refuse to be drafted. paid a big price. i was invited to go to a puerto rican nationalist house and listen to some tapes of the nationalists. the persontapes was who got to washington in 1954. she set an the interview that she came to washington not to kill anyone, but to give her life for puerto rico. when i heard that woman say that, i was amazed. i was amazed. from that moment on, we started working on the campaign to free the five.
3:33 pm
there were five puerto rico political prisoners. in chicago, we started to organize a campaign for their release. they had been imprisoned for 13 years and one have been imprisoned for 17 years. we believed we should do win their release. finally in 1979, they were released from prison. juan: when you are in chicago, you helped to start a school, didn't you? do i have itit right? luis gutierrez was a student at the school? >> luis gutierrez was a tutor. amy: now a congressman. >> yes. in 1972, we started an alternative high school for high school dropouts. education involved in since 1967. we fought against goals built in -- we fought to get schools
3:34 pm
built, fought to bring in a legal education, open the doors to the universities where programs were implemented to allow latino students. because it was not only puerto ricans, we were also involved in helping the latino population in general. those programs still exist, the programs that the university of illinois at northeastern university and our high school. our high school is a really, really interesting project. it was based on -- we were ,oping we would get dropouts put them through a very rigorous educational system, and do it without any funds. we asked college professors to
3:35 pm
give us three hours for a class. the students that were at the university that we had helped to get into the university, we asked them to be tutors. that is how commerce make iteris got to be a tutor of the high school -- congress member iteris got to be a tutor at the high school. amy: talk about what it meant for you in prison. you are in solitary confinement for over 12 years? >> i was in solitary confinement for 12 years, four months. 1986, june 1986 in illinois , up to 1994, and then from 1994 to november 1996 in adx. in adx for the first 58 days, i every half-hour.
3:36 pm
of the reasons for your being imprisoned, clearly, the big narrative in the commercial media is this is a terrorist, person unrepentant, this is a person who never should be allowed to be free again, certainly not celebrated as a euro. the issue of the faln' is campaign of bombings that occurred in that feeling of time, looking back at that, how you viewed that campaign and that you feel about it now? also, the criticism some people have that the organization participated in the killing of many innocent people? first of all, i want to make this point clear, i have never life ise, human precious. i was in vietnam. i hohope and pray i never killed anyone. have shoten you somebody because there is a
3:37 pm
field of range you are covering. i might have to, i never saw anyone being wounded or killed. been say i came home from them without blood on my hands. i hope so. for me, the issue of human life is precious. i have been asked over and over about the bombings. i have been asked over and over what took place. i can guarantee you one thing. i never participated in an act where human life, where we knew a human life was going to be put in jeopardy, ok? that i want to make a very, very clear, puerto rico -- puerto rico as a colony has every right to its independence. it has every right. and by international law, puerto rico -- puerto ricans who want
3:38 pm
to be colonized can use all of the means at their disposal, including the use of force. i'm not advocating for that. let's make that clear. us who were in prison, in a position that we would not promote violence, that we were not going to be active in violence. in 1999, mostltly all of my codefendants were released. up to this time, almost 20 years later, there has not been a minute, not a single act -- any kind of violation committed by my codefendants. the really should be measuring point for anything. that should be the way we should be seen. we left prison. we committed ourselves not to act violently. and thus far, no one can accuse
3:39 pm
-- now, had there been any evidence against any of us, i guarantee i would not be here today. because the federal judge -- the federal judge we faced, he told us that if the law would allow it, he would sentence us all to death. is nevernarrative talked about. but there is a narrative. colonialism is a crime against humanity. we have to be clear on that. and puerto ricans, to tolerate colonialism, we're tolerating a crime. i think it is importrtant to understand that we love puerto rico. i love my homeland. that is my promise land. and the way i see it is that we have to -- the issue of violence is no longer, one, that we will ever promote. and let's be clear on that because i think it is important
3:40 pm
,or people to know who we are who we are as people, as human beings, because we love our homeland. we also love justice and freedom for the whole world. , along want to ask you with that, the controversy now that we've had over the last few weeks, which i believe he will don't realize, is all over the united states -- parades are all over the united states. chicago, philadelphia, boston. so there could be conceivably this same controversy arriving in every city if all of these parades decide to honor you or have you participate. i'm wondering what your senses of the corporations -- it is not just coca-cola and goya j andetblue, nbc, telemundo pulled out of the brakes. your sense of how these corporations are trying to impose a perspective on what is perspective -- acceptable in
3:41 pm
these when reagan decorates? >> every committee that is in has the rightrade to do whatever it deems necessary to do. we have to respect that. it is their power to do so. for me, corporations can do whatever they want to do with their money. that is their prerogative. but the prerogative of the puerto rican day parade in new york city to choose whomever it wants to choose to participate in the parade, it should not be determined by corporations. we cannot accept that. community,rto rican notittee, make its decision to be imposed by anyone, not to be accepted -- because if we accept and positions, we wilill never move. we will never feel empowered to do the things we need to do for our community and our people.
3:42 pm
it is a question of interment. that is fundamental in this issue. i think people are overlooking that. who can take the power away from this committee, the particular committee that chose or decided to honor me? i do not need the honor. definitely not. i will march in the parade as a very humble puerto rican. that is who i am. i love participating in the will detestwhat i very, very much is corporations imposing their values or their ideals on a committee that has every power to decide for the puerto rican community what it's parade should be. if they were t to do that to the irish dayy p parade, i believe e atsh would be awfully angry -- it has happened in the past.
3:43 pm
it has happened in the past. we should not -- puerto ricans should not allow in any parade to be dictated who to participate or what to do with the parade. amy:y: governor cuomo also saide would not participate. mayor to blasio is marching in the parade. he said "i very happy mr. lopez rivera has declined the honor. i don't think it should have been offered to him. i think it is good he declined it because it was entirely diststracting frfrom the issue t .and, whicich is puerto rico this is one of those things were you watch and recognize the most important thing is getting lost. 3.5 million people are being mistreated by their own government, the u.s. government." what is your response to mayor deblasio saying he will march, but he is happy that you declined the honor? >> if you savvy, that's great. i believe people should be happy. if he is happy doing that -- so long as he does not tell the committee what to do.
3:44 pm
he is not telling the parade committee what to do. if he is happy, great for hemphill some amy: did you declined the honor? >> one thing. for me, the issue became something that would make the parade less functional. it would divide people. there is no reason for that. offor me, it was a question who to be honored. i think the puerto rican people should be honored. i believe it should be a day of celebration for all puerto ricans. something that we can enjoy, something that we can really, really celebrate. for me, that is what matters the most. i will be marching in the parade. juan: are you welcoming others to join you as well? >> i've asked many, many people. they're coming from puerto rico, chicago, pennsylvania. even from orlando, there will be
3:45 pm
some puerto ricans coming that we have invited. hopefully, more and more puerto ricans will participate this year than last year. amy: what do you want to see for puerto rico now? should be puerto rico seen as a place where colonization can take place. rico at a moment when the united states government has finally admitted the puerto rico is a colony. so for us, it is not a problem that we had before. for us, the colonization is popossible. one of the things i had talked denominator common among puerto ricans love puerto rico is the love for puerto rico. and the colonization could be all call -- could be all puerto ricans together just based on the fact we love order rico.
3:46 pm
that puerto rico is our promised land. that we need puerto rico to be decolonize. colonialism is a crime. we should allow that and allow it. amy: we want to thank you very much, oscar lopez rivera, for taking this time on your time in new york as you march in the puerto rican day paradade to mae this your first interview in this visit. thank you, oscar lopez rivera, puerto rican independence activist freed last month after serving more than 35 years in prison. we want to ask juan cartagena president and general counsel of tuesday, latino justice. i know you have many official visit to make and must leave the studioio now. we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
3:47 pm
3:48 pm
amy: "always with puerto rico" by amuary perez vidal. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. before we talk about the testimony of james,, we want to and our conversation with juan cartagena, president and general counsel of latino justice. juan: i want to ask you about the situation with the parade and the enormous controversy, firestorm that has resulted in how many leaders in the border can community are reacting because there is that a lot of attention on the corporations that have pulled out, but there are hundreds of community organizations that regularly participate in the parades, to my knowledge, none of them have pulled out.
3:49 pm
thent to get your sense of impact on the community of this enormous firestorm over lopez rivera being there. more h has galvanized many people to show up for the parade. it is one of the things that everyone recognizes, with the corporations tell us to recognize and honor. i want to flip this around. can you imagine having this a raid in june of 2017 and not inviting oscar lopez rivera? the criticism on the parade committee would have been just as big. we understand that he is a symbol of so many things, including resistance. that having them in the parade is just another way to elevate not onlyly his persosonal storyt elevate all we arere as people. amy: didn't the committee for years call for his release? >> of course. amy: the puerto rican day parade committee. >> they applauded and dedicated the parade to another activist. inoculation of individuals for
3:50 pm
the status of the island have that ability to be recognized by parade. amy: and for young people who do not know who don pedro was? >> a famous attorney a dedicated centerleft to the independence of puerto rico and was, by the look of a convicted of sedition. ---- and was, by the way, convicted of sedition. it was only launched against puerto ricans for years. an amazing place to be now that he is finally free and able to talk about these things. juan: and the reactions of the politicians, mayoror deblasio, governor cuomo, chuck schumer? amy: that won't be marching? >> chuck schumer is not marching. amy: mayor to blasio is. so many others -- juan: she welcomed oscar at the
3:51 pm
airport last night. >> i'm sure she would and she did because that is who she is. i understand the foxpro president will be there. there will be many people. of the a celebration aspera and the people will stop there many honorees. from basebeball, up-and-down . i look for to marching and will ward to be porter can for the day. amy: the yankees pulled out? juan: yes, one of the first. not unexpected. amy: i want to thank you, juan cartagena, and your final comments, this significant day, not only the day of the new york review desperately can decorate, but the day of the dust several of the parties are boycotting. >> the ironies are e ermous. we're celebrating a day in which
3:52 pm
we as a country try to celebrate yearly. elevatea chance to puerto ricans. the chance i get to see oscar lopez rivera free after i visited him in prison also the president of the national lawyers guild, we both went with his attorney, whose name needs to be elevated, jasmine, an amazing attorney, and what she's commutationre his is something to be applauded. oscar to see the day that can live and breathe as freely as anyone can in a colonial regime. juan: this is the 100th anniversary of the imposition of u.s. citizenship by the u.s. congress in 1917. imposednship that was despite the complete opposition of the elected leaders of puerto rico who voted against it.
3:53 pm
it was still imposed on puerto rico. >> a level of contradiction. amy: and puerto ricans still cannot vote for president of the united states. >> correct. thank you both for doing this. amy: juan cartagena, president and general counsel of latino justice. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we go to another top story of the day. juan: former fbi director james comey will tell a senate panel today that president trump repeatedly demanded his loyalty and pressured comey two and the probe into former national security adviser michael flynn. comey, who was fired by trump last month amidst growing fbi investigation into russia's role in november u.s. election, released his planned opening remarks to lawmakers on wednesday ahead of his highly anticipated appearance today before the senate intelligence committee. amy: in a statement, he reveals he was summoned to the white house for a one-on-one dinner with the president on january 27, a week after president trump
3:54 pm
-- trump wasated, integrated where trump asked , whether comey wished to keep his job, before declaring, "i need loyalty, i expect loyalty." comey states trump later asked him to lift the cloud of the fbi's investigation into ties between russia and top trump officials. comey also states that during a valentine's day meeting in the oval office, trump asked other top officials to leave the room before asking comey to drop the investigation into general michael flynn, the national security adviser who was fired, saying -- "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy." he had been fired -- trump fired him, flynn, the day before. for more, we go to video stream with marcy wheeler who covers national security and civil liberties, speaking to us from her home in michigan. talk about the statement that
3:55 pm
was released -- we are about to see the actual testimony -- but what you are most struck by and what comey has to say. >> i was particularly struck by details of the meeting that you asked allwhere trump of his top national secured officials to leave the room and then asked, to drop the investigation into michael flynn. the details are interesting because he describes sessions kind of lurking and then he jared kushnerbes is the last one to leave. trump asks him to leave as well. there is this sense, comey is great drama, there is this sense that he is inviting questions about those two who have been implicated in this investigation as if they wanted to be part of the request to drop the investigation into mikesell in. as they might be, because i pointed out and others have that
3:56 pm
flynn would have testimony against jared kushner, against the son-in-law and so this all seems to invite questions that will be dramatically revealed just in an hour. juan: it is also unusual for someone who is going to testify, especially a former top official, to release the testimony a day beforehand. almost setting up the coverage that is going to ococcur today. >> r rht. i mean, this was covered internationally. it showed up in the irish press in full form. but i also think that comey -- again, the man knows drama. he knows how to get headlines. i think he was trained undercut the kind of pathetic effort by the republicans to smear him. as i understand it, he did ask for this to be released himself. he is sort of orchestrating this grand release so as to i guess,
3:57 pm
get enough attention to push back against any of the counter narrative that the republicans are trying. amy: and ultimately, what this will feed into, what the testimony of comey will feed into? and do you think it could lead to, oh, perhaps an obstruction of justice charge against the sitting president of the united states? >> it is clear gets pretty close to that. and we don't even know all of the details about how trump might be exposed or how kushner might be exposed. it is a first step. we also have the testimony or the non-testimony from yesterday, admiral rogers and coats refused to say that trump had not asked them about this. it is quite clear he did and they kind of gave soft executive privilege to the president so that they did not have to declare that in the testimony, and the open testimony
3:58 pm
yesterday. so they are kind of complicit. sessions seems complicit. kushner seems involved. it gets really messy really quickly. amy: marcy wheeler, we want to thank you for being with us, independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties and runs the website that does it for our show. i will be speaking tonight at 6:00 at the walter reade theater at lincoln center. democracy now! is lookg for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
laura: production or prediction? are the implications of the society based along the lines of wall street? ivan ascher:r and pamela brown: join me. and we hear about why someone turned down day $100 million buyout deal for her company, dance co. shoes. or the people who say it can be done take a backseat to the people who are doing it.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on