During the 1970s and 80s, López Rivera’s FALN placed more than 130 bombs in American cities. Their goal was to destabilize what they called the “Yanki capitalist monopoly” and achieve Puerto Rican independence. Their method was terrorism.In 1974, the FALN began planting booby-trap bombs around New York. While most of these early explosions caused only property damage, the group’s clear intention was to kill and maim. In December 1974, an NYPD officer responding to a report of a dead body in an abandoned building on 110th St. was seriously injured by an FALN incendiary device.In January 1975, a 10-pound dynamite bomb killed four people and injured dozens at Fraunces Tavern. The powerful blast was felt blocks away. In an eerie foreshadowing of 9/11, dust-covered victims staggered through downtown streets. The FALN quickly took responsibility for the deadly deed…On Aug. 3, 1977, the FALN struck again in a coordinated attack in Midtown. An alert office worker at 342 Madison Ave., near 43rd St., noticed a suspicious package and evacuated the building. No one was hurt in the subsequent blast.Workers at the Mobil Building at 150 East 42nd St. weren’t so lucky. An FALN bomb planted there killed 26-year-old Charles Steinberg. The building’s ground-floor windows blew out and several New Yorkers were critically injured by a shower of glass…When López Rivera was arrested in 1981, the FBI found six pounds of dynamite and four blasting caps in his Chicago apartment along with numerous fake IDs. He was convicted in federal court of seditious conspiracy, violation of the Hobbs Act, illegal weapons possession, and interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles.In 1988, his original sentence was extended 15 years after authorities disrupted an escape plot that included a plan to murder prison guards.In 1999, President Bill Clinton offered to commute the sentences of 16 imprisoned FALN members. Most accepted, but López Rivera choked on the condition that he renounce his terrorist past.In 1998, he’d told a reporter, “The whole thing of contrition, atonement, I have problems with that.”
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