Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has backed out of next month’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, his office confirmed yesterday, joining several other high-profile politicians who have pulled out of the event.
“The Governor’s support and long term affection for the Puerto Rican community remains unwavering,” Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said in a statement, adding: “Unfortunately he will not be marching in this year’s parade.”
Lever did not elaborate on why the governor pulled out of the parade, but the move came amid a growing tide of criticism of the parade’s organizers, who decided this year to honor Oscar López Rivera as its “National Freedom Hero.”
The Puerto Rican nationalist, freed this month after spending 35 years in prison, was a leader of FALN, an organization that officials said committed dozens of bombings — some fatal — in New York City and other cities in a campaign for independence.
Cuomo’s announcement came as NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 also said they will not participate in the parade, scheduled for June 11, which marches up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan from 44th Street to 79th Street.
Other politicians and leaders, though, are staying the course and intend to march in the popular event, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. said he would be marching.
Among those who have said they would not participate are NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and state Sen. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), the NYPD’s Hispanic Society and sponsors Goya Foods, JetBlue, Corona, Univision, AT&T, Coca-Cola and the Yankees.
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade’s board of directors said in a statement this week: “While we are saddened and disappointed by certain sponsors pulling out of our Parade, we respect their views and decision to do so.”