The decision to honor convicted FALN terrorist Oscar López Rivera in next month’s Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City is really blowing up in the organizers’ faces. Just last week we talked about the lengthy list of sponsors (including the New York Yankees) who have pulled out of the annual event in protest. And now, in addition to some other big corporate names, the one media outlet you would expect to be all over the festivities more than anyone else is bailing out as a sponsor as as well. Univision has parted company with the parade rather than be associated this public relations disaster in the making. (NY Daily News)
Univision is the latest major sponsor to yank its support from next month’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Daily News has learned.
The New York-based Spanish-language network joins a long list of major brands that have bailed on the popular event, due to the controversial decision by organizers to honor recently released FALN nationalist Oscar López Rivera, whose group has been connected to more than 100 bombings in the 1970s and 1980s.
Outraged sponsors have been dropping like flies since López Rivera will participate and be named the parade’s first-ever National Freedom Hero. Others who have dropped in what has become a cascading boycott include Goya, Jet Blue, the Daily News, the Yankees, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Corona and the FDNY officers’ union.
You’ll notice that Coca-Cola, Goya and Corona have joined the list. They’re going to be out of major sponsors before the first balloon is inflated at this rate. After all, the residents of Puerto Rico might not object quite so much to naming this guy as the parades first “National Freedom Hero” but those who remember the buildings exploding and the bodies in the streets of American cities thanks to his handiwork aren’t quiet so impressed to say the least. As a side note, Univision will still be covering the parade as a news event, but they will not be contributing as a sponsor. Rather than doing that they are “redirecting” their contributions to a scholarship fund for Puerto Rican students.
You know things are bad when Governor Cuomo pulls out, which he did yesterday according to the NY Post. (Cuomo marched in the parade as an honored guest last year.) To get that guy to risk ticking off an active voting block requires something truly stunning.
But you know who isn’t pulling out? According to Gothamist, Mayor Bill de Blasio is doubling down on his support for the feting of Rivera, though the language he’s using is beginning to shift in tone.
At an unrelated press conference in the Bronx Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated his intention to participate in the parade, alongside City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is herself Puerto Rican and a longtime supporter of Rivera.
“I believe this parade is a very, very important part of the life of our city,” the de Blasio said. “The parade committee made a choice this year on someone to honor, [and] that does not change the basic nature of the parade. Whether you agree with that choice or not, it is still the Puerto Rican parade, and my point is that I will be there to honor the Puerto Rican people. I intend on marching, it’s as simple as that.”
Huh. Notice how the mayor’s message and explanation is being to morph just a bit. Here’s a reminder of how he explained himself when this fist came up.
“The organization he was affiliated with did things I don’t agree with, obviously, and they were illegal,” he said at a press conference. “All things considered, I understand why so many Puerto Ricans in this city respect that he fought for Puerto Rico, in their eyes.”
Notice that he previously said that he “disagreed” with Rivera on the apparently controversial subject of blowing up buildings and killing people, but he also “understood” how so many people respect him. Now he’s acting as if Rivera doesn’t even exist in his eyes and he’s just doing it because the parade itself is such a tradition.
Can Mayor de Blasio hold out until the 11th of June? Or will he cave before then when he realizes what an awful debacle this is turning into? Stay tuned.