New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem) said "ultra right-wing forces" in Puerto Rico are trying to undermine this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade. The city's parade made national headlines with its decision to designate Oscar Lopez Rivera, a convicted terrorist, as its marshal. Lopez Rivera led the FALN, a left-wing liberation movement in Puerto Rico, which bombed several sites across the United States - including NYPD barracks. "A lot of the campaign putting pressure on the sponsors to withdraw... is being manipulated and organized and orchestrated from an ultra-right wing element on the island [of Puerto Rico]," Mark-Viverito said.
Mark-Viverito said pro-statehood forces feel "threatened" by Lopez Rivera's platform and are in turn trying to force companies to drop sponsorship. The right wing in Puerto Rico generally opposes statehood, but Gov. Ricardo Rossello (P) told the New York Post he is confident the protectorate will win statehood in its June 11 vote. Mark-Viverito successfully urged President Obama to commute the sentence of Lopez Rivera, who was released from prison during his administration. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) recently joined a slew of supporters and sponsors in disavowing their involvement in the parade. Coca-Cola, Goya, the New York Yankees, JetBlue airlines, AT&T and WNBC-4 all dropped their sponsorship of the parade. Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), however, has voiced relative ambivalence to Lopez Rivera leading the popular parade.