Bernie Sanders Gives Rousing Speech in PR, Vows to Release Political Prisoner Óscar López Rivera

Lead Photo: Alvin Baez/Reuters

Ahead of the June 5 Puerto Rican primary, Bernie Sanders headed to San Juan to speak about the importance of restructuring the island’s $70 billion debt. “They cannot have it all… It is morally unacceptable that billionaire hedge fund managers have been calling for even more austerity in Puerto Rico,” he said, according to NPR. “The people of Puerto Rico should not be forced to suffer even more.” He added that if the Federal Reserve bailed out Wall Street, then it can definitely help the “3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico improve its economy and lift its children out of poverty.”

Sanders touched a wide range of topics, such as the Zika virus, fossil fuel projects that are hurting the Puerto Rican economy, and the end of the U.S.’ “colonial-type relationship” with PR. Sanders – just like Residente at a recent Bernie rally – also spoke about political prisoner Óscar López Rivera. The Vermont senator called on President Barack Obama to release López Rivera.

“He has been in prison for more than 34 years – longer than Nelson Mandela,” he said, according to Latino Rebels. “He is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana, in solitary confinement. The main is 73 years old and his health is deteriorating rapidly… I say to President Obama: Let him out! Free Óscar López Rivera. He has done his time. He must be given a chance to enjoy his freedom as we enjoy our own. And if you do not do this, I will.”

Check out the full speech above.