Puerto Rican pro-independence fighter Oscar Lopez was awarded, in a solemn ceremony, the Order of Solidarity given by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.
At the request of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), the Order of Solidarity recognizes 'the integrity, courage and solidarity implicit in the resistance shown by our dear friend during the years he was imprisoned', said Fernando Gonzalez, ICAP president.
At the ceremony, held at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana, Gonzalez said that almost 36 years of imprisonment, torture and repression failed to wipe out Oscar's identification with his people and his commitment to his ideals of freedom and social justice.
'The long-lasting imprisonment and the attempts to wipe out or weaken his willingness to be free also failed,' said Gonzalez, Hero of the Republic of Cuba.
Gonzalez said that the important Order of Solidarity praises also the actions of 'a responsible father, attentive grandfather, a fighting comrade, a determined lover of his island, his people, the sea and monarch butterflies, and a humble and cultured man with great artistic sensibility.'
'But particularly, it is a fair recognition of the attitude kept during decades imprisoned for the sole reason of fighting for the independence of his country', said Gonzalez.
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