Bay Ridge

Malliotakis to boycott Puerto Rican Day Parade

Mayoral candidate opposes Oscar Lopez Rivera tribute

May 23, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio marches up Fifth Ave during the 59th National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Sunday, June 12, 2016. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, who is traveling all over the city trying to win over voters, has decided that there is one group of people she will not visit: the organizers of the 60th National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Malliotakis has announced that she will boycott the parade this year due to the decision by the organizers to honor Oscar Lopez Rivera, a political extremist who was implicated in the bombing at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan in 1975 that killed four people.

Lopez Rivera, who headed the FALN organization, spent 35 years in prison for participating in more than 100 bombings in the name of independence for Puerto Rico. He was pardoned by former President Barack Obama in the last days of Obama’s term in office.

Malliotakis, an assemblymember representing parts of Bay Ridge and Staten Island, said she is outraged over the selection of Lopez Rivera as the subject of a tribute by parade organizers.

“As a Latina of Cuban descent with relatives residing in Puerto Rico, I was excited about marching in this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade as a candidate for mayor of New York City. I share a love for this beautiful island, its people and its culture with nearly 725,000 Puerto Ricans in our city. Unfortunately, this year’s parade has been politicized by the parade committee and its choice to honor Oscar Lopez Rivera; a controversial figure who was a leader of the FALN, which claimed responsibility for the 1975 bombing in New York City that killed 4 people and injured more than 60. There are many Puerto Rican entertainers, athletes and business leaders who have contributed greatly to our city and nation and would have been a more appropriate and less divisive choice,” Malliotakis said in a statement. 

Malliotakis’ mother Vera is Cuban. Her father George is Greek.

Malliotakis joins a growing list of officials and protesters who will not be marching in the parade. The big march is set for Sunday, June 11, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

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Police commissioner James O’Neill recently announced that while he will visit with police officers assigned to protect the parade route, he is refusing to march.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the NYPD Hispanic Society have also pulled out, citing the Lopez Rivera tribute as the reason.

Goya Food, a Latino food company, JetBlue and the New York Yankees have all withdrawn from participating in the parade, although leaders of Goya stated that it was a business decision rather than a political one.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will march. “All things considered, I understand why so many Puerto Ricans — that’s almost 700,000 people in this city — respect that he fought for Puerto Rico in their eyes. I don’t agree with the way he did it. But he did serve his time. He was pardoned appropriately. So I’m going to do everything I would normally do with the parade,” DNAinfo quoted the mayor as saying.

The choice of Lopez Rivera was also strongly defended by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Puerto Rican.

 

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