The Latest: Puerto Rico militant promotes 'unity'

AP News
Posted: May 17, 2017 11:47 AM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The Latest on the release of Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

Newly freed Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera says independence militants didn't hate Americans but sought justice and full sovereignty for Puerto Rico.

He's expressing gratitude to the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua — as well as U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for commuting the sentences of Puerto Rican "political prisoners" over the years.

Lopez held a news conference Wednesday hours after being released from house arrest after decades in custody.

He vowed to travel the island to "share ideas and promote unity." But he also blasted local elites he says have "helped Washington and Wall Street" run the island for over a century.


8:15 a.m.

Puerto Rico nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera has been freed from house arrest after decades in custody. It's a case that transformed him into a martyr with supporters but outraged those who lost loved ones in a string of deadly bombings.

The 74-year-old grinned broadly and waved to supporters through a fence at his daughter's San Juan home before getting into a white jeep. He's scheduled to stop at a federal building to return electronic tags that monitored his movements during his home confinement.

Roughly 50 people congregated in the streets outside the apartment building in San Juan's Santurce district holding flowers and Puerto Rican flags. Some chanted:"Free at last!" And a group of singers from University of Puerto Rico's choir harmonized as Lopez drove past.

A street celebration was expected to draw thousands of supporters later in the day.