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bird-letterMarius continues to receive very little mail, and we are trying to figure it out. If you have written Marius but have not heard back from him, please send him a letter or postcard saying you have written but not heard back. If you haven’t written him recently, please do so now, even a postcard or brief card makes a world of difference.

Marie (Marius) Mason, #04672-061

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Pangolin: new painting by Marius

pangolin

The new 17th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is addressing the endangered status of pangolins by banning the trade that is driving their extinction. They’re an amazing animal with a fantastical appearance like something out of primordial time. As a kid, I was fascinated by dinosaurs and one of my favorites was Ankylosaurus, which was like an armored tank, covered in spikes and scales. The pangolin’s scales and claws remind me of that dinosaur.
Because parts of the pangolin are used in traditional medicines, there is a market for their bodies. Hopefully, this new agreement will provide them with some protection. Unfortunately, the new treaty is weaker on protections for elephants and lions whose numbers have plummeted in the last decade. So much more work has to be done and so little time in which to do it. As long as markets drive extinction, there is so little room for compassion and reason.

Free Oscar Lopez Rivera painting by Marius Mason

freeoscar

Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera has served almost 35 years in prison, convicted of seditious conspiracy for his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico, though he was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life. Serving a sentence of 70 years, he is the longest held political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico and one of the longest held in the world. He is 73 years old, and will be 80 by the time of his release date in 2023. No other country keeps its political prisoners behind bars for as many decades as does the United States. -The fight to free Lopez has been expanding. The deepening economic crisis in Puerto Rico with the colonial government bankrupt, has bettered working people. Many have left, coming the U.S. “In Puerto Rico there is a borad consensus in favor of freeing Oscar,” Eduardo Villanueva, spokesperson of the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico said by phone from San Juan Aug 26. “We are ororganzing…to show that in the heart of the U.S, in teh belly of the beast… there is also broad support. We want Obama to excercise his constitutional powers and release Oscar.” (from website and newspaper article)

Along with a number of other groups and individuals, the National Lawyers Guild is making a formal request to the current administration to consider releasing a number of political prisoners as an act of executive clemency. Many of these prisoners have spent decades in prison, and have become elders facing extreme health problems… the intention of this portrait is to honor Mr. Lopez Rivera and to join Marius’ voice to the many who are asking for his release.