Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Puerto Rican independence fighter freed from prison earlier this year, has addressed the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi, Russia, telling the audience it is up to the young to “fight against imperialism.”
Remarking on the fact that Puerto Rico has been colonized by the United States for 119 years, Lopez Rivera said "a government represented by Mr. Donald Trump only demonstrates where imperialism is today, what it intends to do, especially with Cuba and Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and all Latin American countries.”
“That is why it is up to all, but especially the young, to take this fight against imperialism," he added.
Lopez Rivera also chided U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the island, after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria last month.
Trump threw donation supplies at crowds and Lopez Rivera said he “came to Puerto Rico as a clown to speak to its inhabitants in the most outrageous and insensitive way we can imagine.”
One youth from Cuba thanked the former political prisoner, saying he had sent Lopez Rivera letters while he was in prison.
The activist thanked the young man and added, "the whole world depends on youth, it is the future of every society."
"All the countries of Latin America have to do everything possible to remove the common enemy from our people, for imperialism cannot function without the help of those elites that benefit from it,” Lopez Rivera said. “You are here denouncing with meridian clarity what is imperialism, for example, the blockade imposed on Cuba, the colonialism faced by Puerto Ricans, which seeks to eradicate the face of the planet, because colonialism destroys, dehumanizes."
In #Sochi Oscar Lopez Rivera @radio_cubana: the whole world depends on youth, the youth is the future of the society @PensarAmericas"
More than 20,000 young people from 150 countries are attending the week long event in Sochi to discuss global political issues, ranging from the fight against xenophobia in the United States to student movements, as well as health and education.
The World Federation of Democratic Youth founded the gathering to combat fascism and imperialism after World War II.
A day earlier, the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly's President, Delcy Rodriguez, had praised the forum’s efforts toward world peace and equality for the future.
“You are victims of an unequal world which fosters war, terrorism, exclusion and all kinds of warfare intended to annihilate humanity," Rodriguez said, later offering more optimistic advice.
“You are the creative vanguard for a world based on solidarity, cooperation, friendship and brotherhood.”
“In light of serious imperial threats against our homeland, President Maduro asked the Venezuelan people to defend peace and sovereignty and our people responded. We are proud to count on President Nicolas Maduro, who was a young revolutionary, just like you,” she had added.