NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced he will not be marching in the Puerto Rican Day parade, amid controversy over event honoree Oscar López Rivera.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed that he will still march in the parade, but will not march alongside López Rivera – whom some call a political prisoner, others a practitioner of terrorism.
De Blasio has joyously marched in the parade in past years. But after weeks of controversy over his own decision to participate in parade honoring López Rivera, he spoke about the issue.
“I’m not marching with this individual,” de Blasio said. “I was never going to march with him.”
The mayor said in years past, he walked down Fifth Avenue with other elected officials. When Kramer asked whom de Blasio would be marching with this year, de Blasio said he didn’t know.
Joe Connor’s father, Frank, was killed when a bomb placed by the Armed Forces of National Liberation – or FALN – exploded at Fraunces Tavern in the Financial District in 1975. Connor said the mayor – the chief executive of a city attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, should renounce López Rivera and the FALN and should not march in the parade at all.
“It sounds to me like the mayor is just trying to avoid a really bad photo op,” Connor said. “The optics were very clear to him that he didn’t see himself photographed sending next to a terrorist.”
State Assemblywoman and Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis (R-Brooklyn) – the first official to refuse to march in the parade – said of the mayor, “He should be exemplifying leadership and getting the committee to change the honoree.”
López Rivera was pardoned by President Barack Obama and recently released after serving 36 years for sedition, armed robbery, and conspiracy to transport explosives.
Kramer asked de Blasio what he had to say to Connor about his decision to march.
“I say to him that I am very sorry for what he went through, and I think violence is wrong in all its forms,” de Blasio said.
Meanwhile, López Rivera’s top champion in New York, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is now refusing to say if she will march with him. Mark-Viverito is “still finalizing logistics,” according to her spokeswoman.
Several sponsors, including JetBlue and Goya, have pulled their support as well.