NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - In 1975, a bombing at Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan killed four people, including Alex Berger. At the time, his wife Diana was six months pregnant with their first child. The Puerto Rican independence group FALN claimed responsibility for the attack.
The U.S. government plans to release Oscar Lopez Rivera, one of that group's leaders, from federal prison on Wednesday.
"He's not a hero. He's a bad man and I just can't imagine that the people who are supporting him have any idea as to what his complete background is," Diana Berger Ettenson said. "He turned my life and my in-law's, Alex's parents, who were Holocaust survivors, totally upside down."
Now 74, Rivera never faced any charges for the Fraunces Tavern bombing or the New Year's Day bombings that wounded three NYPD officers including Det. Anthony Senft or any of the other more than 100 attacks or six deaths for which the FALN claimed responsibility.
"My brother went to prison charged with seditious conspiracy for exposing the fact that the U.S. is a colonial power in Puerto Rico," Jose Lopez Rivera said.
The government also charged Rivera with the interstate transportation of both explosives with the intent to kill and injure people and firearms to commit violent crimes.
Forty-two years later, not only did President Obama commute Rivera's sentence but New York City's Puerto Rican Day Parade plans to honor Rivera.
"I really can't find the logic in any of this support," Berger Ettenson said. "Oscar is a bad man."
"I'm kind of disgusted," Senft said. I'm disappointed in my country for a second time because they're just pandering to terrorists."
Jose Lopez Rivera said, "I think it's a historic moment for the Puerto Rican people."
Goya, which sponsored every parade in the Puerto Rican Day Parade's 59-year history, retracted its sponsorship this year citing only "a business decision."
"Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others applauded Rivera's release and the man's commitment to Puerto Rican independence while those who suffered from the actions of FALN express bafflement and outrage.
"He terrorized your city, your people," Berger Ettenson said.
Goya Foods has decided not to sponsor New York City's annual Puerto Rican Day parade for the first time in its 60 year history but claims the move is not related to Rivera's involvement with the event.