Puerto Rican independence fighter, Oscar López Rivera, was greeted at José Martí International Airport by Fernando González, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples (ICAP).
Upon his arrival in Havana during the dawn hours today, November 13, the Puerto Rican patriot expressed his gratitude and affection for the Cuban people and government.
"I feel at home, this is a dream come true; for many, many years, I have wanted to come to Cuba and today for the first time I have arrived," he said after receiving a warm embrace from decorated Hero of the Republic Fernando González, with whom he shared a cell for several years, when they were both unjustly incarcerated in the United States.
López, who was imprisoned for almost 36 years, convicted of "seditious conspiracy," before being released May 17 this year, said he wished Cubans much strength, adding that the Puerto Rican people will always stand with Cuba.
"I am very encouraged to be able to enjoy some time with the Cuban people. I'm alive and kicking; at my age I believe I can work 14 or 15 hours a day. I feel good."
Commenting on the extremely difficult situation in Puerto Rico, he said, "No Puerto Rican can say we govern in Puerto Rico, it is Washington and Wall Street who give orders."
He added that the U.S. government and Donald Trump have shown they have no respect, or consideration for the suffering people.
"After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was left devastated and is now showing the world the poverty that existed and was hidden; the world is being shown what colonialism is, because it is perhaps the best example of what becomes of a country that has been colonized for 119 years by the U.S. government, and how the U.S. government has behaved toward Puerto Rico for these 119 years. If there is a huge debt, it is the one the U.S. owes Puerto Rico," he emphasized.
López Rivera commented that there are more Puerto Ricans living abroad than on the island, and that many more have left since Maria struck, September 20.
He noted that the U.S. did not allow aid from countries like Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, or México to enter Puerto Rico.
During this first visit, López Rivera will be awarded the Solidarity Order by the Council of State; visit the Che Guevara Memorial in Santa Clara; as well as Santiago de Cuba, where the remains of national hero José Martí and Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz rest.
Also present to greet the Puerto Rican patriot were Silvia Matute, from the Party Central Committee's International Relations Department; Yolanda Ferrer, president of the National Assembly of People's Power International Relations Committee; and Edwin González, from the Puerto Rican mission in Cuba.