Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also rapped corporate sponsors for bailing out, calling it an “incredibly disheartening” slap at the Puerto Rican community.
“This parade is not about any particular individual, but the pride — orgullo — of the Puerto Rican people,” Diaz said in a statement.
“To remove financial resources that foster this celebration sends an awful signal to a loyal customer base. Are we not wanted?”
The corporate sponsors that pulled out include AT&T, Coca-Cola, Corona, Goya Foods, Jet Blue, the New York Yankees and Univision.
Diaz was referring to the parade board’s decision to give convicted felon Oscar Lopez Rivera its “National Freedom Award” at the June 11 march.
“Reasonable people can disagree on the actions and impact of Oscar Lopez Rivera. Many in our city have invoked the specter of terrorism, especially in the wake of the tragedy of 9/11, as a reason why Rivera should not be honored by the parade, and I understand the passion of that argument,” he said.
Lopez Rivera was convicted of sedition and transporting explosives.
FALN, claimed responsibility for 70 attacks in its quest to promote Puerto Rico’s independence from the U.S., including the 1975 bombing of Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan that killed four people and a blast that maimed a cop at Police headquarters in 1982.
But Diaz noted Lopez Rivera served 35 years in prison before his sentence was commuted in January by outgoing President Barack Obama.
“He served his time, and he was released legally,” Diaz said.
“I will not let the controversy surrounding one man become bigger that the hearts of millions of Puerto Ricans,” he said.
Diaz said unfortunately the Lopez Rivara controversy has diverted attention from Rico’s debt crisis, which has led to school…