Trying to put an end to a controversy, Mayor Bill de Blasio says Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera will no longer be officially honored at the Puerto Rican Day parade.
The Thursday night announcement comes after Rivera wrote a column published in the Daily News, saying, "I will be on Fifth Avenue not as your honoree but as a humble Puerto Rican."
Organizers sparked a firestorm after deciding to honor Rivera. He spent 35 years in prison for ties to a group behind more than 100 bombings around the country, including one that killed four people in Manhattan in 1975.
Several major companies have dropped their sponsorship of the march, including Coca-Cola, AT&T and Goya, and some officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Police Commissioner James O'Neill, are skipping the June 11 parade because of Rivera’s announced role.
City Hall on Thursday night said Rivera won’t be honored. They released a statement that reads, in part, "Oscar Lopez Rivera agreeing to step aside from any formal role in the parade is a critical step forward in refocusing our city's attention on the more important issues facing Puerto Rico."
In his Daily News column, Rivera never directly addressed his role in the controversy, adding that he hoped all New Yorkers would attend the parade.
In a statement, the parade's board said, "We are looking forward to marching with Oscar López Rivera and respect his decision to walk up Fifth Avenue, "not as an honoree but as a humble Puerto Rican and grandfather". Now we can focus again on important issues and the plight of Puerto Rico."