After over two weeks of mounting pressure from elected officials, advocates and members of the Puerto Rican community both here and on the island, Osvaldo Rios announced today that he will no longer serve as Padrino Internacional in this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Six Puerto Rican and Latina elected officials released the following response to today’s developments and to the statement issued by Mr. Rios (which can be read here, in Spanish):
Statement by Council Members Melissa Mark Viverito, Julissa Ferreras, Diana Reyna, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Annabel Palma, and Assembly Member Carmen Arroyo
Re: Osvaldo Rios Withdrawing From the Puerto Rican Day Parade
Today, Osvaldo Rios declined the invitation to serve as Padrino Internacional of this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. We would like to thank Mr. Rios for coming to his senses and making the right decision on this matter. In particular, we would like to thank Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who encouraged Mr. Rios to pull out of the parade as well as Congressman Luis Gutierrez for having previously declined the invitation to participate due to Mr. Rios’ selection.
In reading Mr. Rios’ statement, we remain both disappointed and disturbed by his complete unwillingness to self-reflect and demonstrate a real sense of regret for the acts that he has committed.
Mr. Rios’ statement represents yet another wasted opportunity to convey to domestic abusers in the Puerto Rican community and in all communities that domestic violence is a serious crime that has serious repercussions and is not easily forgotten.
Rather than taking advantage of this teachable moment, Mr. Rios has resorted to personal attacks, in an effort to deflect the criticism he has received since his selection as Padrino Internacional. In doing so, he is only further proving the point we have been making all along: that he is not at all a remorseful individual, and instead is only seeking to discredit those of us who have raised concerns about his selection. His history of domestic violence cannot be erased nor ignored, and that is ultimately what this has been about.
In this statement, Mr. Rios poses that his major concern in coming to this decision has been an effort to maintain unity within the Puerto Rican community as we head into this year’s parade. We are pleased that after over two weeks of publicly expressing these concerns, he has finally come to that conclusion. However, unfortunately, Mr. Rios is continuing to use language in his statement that is highly divisive and retaliatory.
This is an important day in the history of Puerto Ricans and Latinas, survivors of domestic violence and all women. We would like to thank all of our colleagues in government and the members of the Puerto Rican community, here and on the island, who stood with us on this important issue, as well as members of the press for their attentiveness to this matter.