Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is the Swine Flu Really That Serious ?

I'll refrain from giving the latest update on the swine flu but rather what I think about this whole pandemic situation.

The Mexican government- what were they thinking when the first cases popped up and did they initially downplay the seriousness of the virus? Whoa, let's not play the blame game here but realize that government is usually slow to react when it comes to the little people. Little people? Well, let's take a look at La Gloria, Mexico where the possible cause of the virus has been narrowed down to for some clarity here. La Gloria is a small town of about 3,000 people where earlier this year roughly 60 percent of the town fell sick. That's a large percentage for a town of that size (1,800 cases). All the little people in La Gloria have also been have been fighting for years to force the improvement in pig waste management at a nearby breeding farm. For years, they have complained of foul smells and possible air and water contamination. Of course, they are ignored because big corporate cash flow is more important. Reports state that the town was sealed off and sprayed with chemicals. Sprayed with chemicals for symptoms including fever, severe cough, and large amounts of phlegm? Now that doesn't seem to make sense to me.

Smithfield Foods co-owns the farm, Granjas Carroll de Mexico, about 5 miles from the town. Recently, a journalist was allowed to enter one of the farms to get a closer look but let's be for real now, a clean-up could have easily been accomplished to cover anything up. I'd like to know how stringent inspections are in Mexico. The company had previously been fined in the U.S. by the EPA for polluting Virginia's Pagan River. I could see them trying to get away with more in Mexico.

Pandemic? Oh, I use that word all the time. Yea right! The average person doesn't probable know what the word means. As with anything else, it doesn't seem that important or serious enough until it actually happens to you or someone you know. You must be living in a bubble if you never heard of the AIDS Pandemic, one of the worst in recorded history. The problem is we begin to almost accept it as a norm and take the "it can't happen to me" attitude. I'm not one to panic but I say this is serious enough to make me want to adhere to some precautions. The CDC states that roughly 36,000 people die in the U.S. from the flu each year. Now, how serious do you think it is or do you prefer to stay in your bubble? Check out the WHO website for real updates and answers to some questions.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images) Courtesy about college at Flickr

Monday, April 27, 2009

U.S. hates Cuba...Likes Puerto Rico?

This whole politics thing can get pretty complicated. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega stated during the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago on April 17-19, "“there are two major absentees”. He was referring to Cuba and Puerto Rico. We are all too familiar with how these stories go. Nonetheless, the following article about Cuba is still a good read..Why the US still hates Cuba.

On the bright side of things, Puerto Rico to compete in Miss America Pageant. I'm sure this gives the pro-statehood side of the political spectrum another notch under their belts. It has been about 48 years since Puerto Rico competed and this opportunity will provide scholarship awards to the participants. Buena suerte a todas las bellas damas. It's going to be tough on the judges.

Miss America P.R. Contestant

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Latinos and Racism In the South

Here is something that really irks me and I'll vent by writing about it. I'll say it like my mother used to say, " Yo no tengo pelos en la lengua".

I started to read this article about low-income latinos in the south at us-puerto that really doesn't surprise me. This is probably nothing new to many of us Latinos/as (mi gente negra). I have personally been a victim of and/or felt some of this racist and stereotype crap too many times. After having served for so long in the U.S military and always being a hard working citizen, I have a right to be annoyed by this. These are the very same people who, I along with so many other latinos/as, have served (many have given their lives, Fallen Boricuas) to protect? I have probably served WITH some of them.

What a disgrace...I ask, Why is it, When I am at the local Home Depot, I get asked if I work there? (always by white people; don't get me wrong, I've met good folks of all nationalities), Why is it when I am at some department store the eyes seem to follow me like their glued to me? Is it a lack cultural understanding or just disrespect? Do you want me to go on? Books have been written about this very same crap?

Basta Ya!!
Enough already!!
Read the report at Southern Poverty Law Center.

A special thank you to us-puerto for the posting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Puerto Rico and Cuba Business

With the current economic situation in Puerto Rico being much worse than that of the U.S., it seems that doing business with Cuba, if allowed, may just be the boost Puerto Rico needs. Puerto Rico's Economic Development and Commerce Secretary, José Pérez Riera, believes that they are in a position to do just that...Economic Develop..... Now, are they really?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tito Puente Remembered

On Monday April 20, with little fanfare, came and went the birthday of a bandleader, percussionist, composer, arranger and military veteran. Ernesto Antonio Puente, Jr. , born April 20th, 1923 in New York's Spanish Harlem (El Barrio), know to all as Tito Puente, "El Rey" de los timbales and "The King of Latin Jazz".

Tito Puente, Grammy Award winner and world wide performer, recipient of numerous awards, a musical legend. He died on May 31, 2000, in New York.

Tito Puente
(1923- 2000)

Walk of Fame Star photo by
Breban @

Ricardo E. Alegria

Ricardo E. Alegria , born April, 14 1921 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a cultural anthropologist and archeologist. He obtained a Bachelors of Science Degree in Archeology from the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Masters in Anthropology and History from the University of Chicago and a PhD. in Anthropology from Harvard University.
In 1947, he founded the Center of Investigative Archaeology and Ethnology and in 1955 was named, by Luis Muñoz Marín, Puerto Rico’s first elected governor, director of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. In 1976, he founded the Center for Advanced Puerto Rican and Caribbean Studies (Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe).
Alegria, author of over 20 books, pioneer in the study of Taino culture and a Puerto Rican scholar has dedicated his life to preserving Puerto Rican history and culture.

“If we know ourselves better, then we will be prouder of who we are, what we have, and what we want to preserve.” - Ricardo E. Alegría


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Time Management

I have been quite busy lately. Busy enough so that it seems as if time is not on my side. I wonder where is the time going and will I have time to do all the things I would like to do. If you noticed, I just mentioned time three times, not included this fourth mention. Yes, the subject here refers to time. Let's face it, we're in the middle (hopefully closer to the end) of a recession and what better time (again!) than now to get back to basics and improve on our time management skills. Aside from all the social networking and job hunting for the unfortunate, the time is now to organize and manage time wisely.

One of the things that I find to be helpful is the calender feature on my cellphone. We all carry one so why not put it to good use. If you prefer you can always go out and purchase an inexpensive weekly planner. The key word there is weekly. You don't really want to plan too much on a daily basis because you may tend to cram too much into one day. You want to leave room for the inevitable crises, deadline or last minute meeting. You may also want to steer clear of monthly planning unless it's something that can't be change such as a birthday,anniversary other important date. I find the best planning to be on a weekly basis, taking care of the more important tasks early on in the week. Put first things first leaving all those wasteful, unimportant things for times when there is absolutely nothing else (if ever). Each week, select those goals that will help you achieve those things that are really important to you, not just the typical to-do's.

If you would like, feel free to comment and add any ideas or thoughts you may have. I'll leave you with a quote:

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, April 17, 2009

U.S.- Cuba Relations

This week has turned out to be quite interesting in U.S.- Cuba Relations. Several changes to U.S. policy towards Cuba have made headlines.

On April 13, the Obama Administration announced the lifting of travel restrictions for Cuban Americans visiting Cuba and greater telecommunications links to the Cuban island. It is definitely interesting to see how all of this will turn out. As the Obama administration moves forward in communicating with the Cuban government, "towards renewed ties", one does have to wonder what comes next.

This article asks the question, 'What Are the Real US Aims in 'Bringing Freedom' to Cuba?'. Can all this also be a step towards more light on the Puerto Rico status debate issue that has gone on for what seems like forever? If Obama wants to present a more caring face to Latin America then this is another issue that should not be ignored. For now, I'm taking the let's see what happens approach. Much still remains to be seen here.

Summit hints at historic U.S.-Cuba thaw

Sunday, April 12, 2009

National Puerto Rican Day Parade

It may be a little premature but by this time next month you will begin to see the Puerto Ricans flags hanging out of windows, attached to cars and emblazoned on clothing. That's a sign that the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC is near, along with the many celebrations that surround it.

Why now? Because it was on April 12, 1958 that the first Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in NYC. In 1995, the parade became incorporated and became the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.. There are many events that take place and culminate into the actual parade. Events such as conferences, banquets, festivals, awards ceremonies and exhibits are held and many are open to the public while others are by invite only. Then there are, of course, the many other parades and celebrations that go on nationally in many cities across the country celebrating Puerto Rican culture and heritage.

And mi gente, these are just a few. This years New York National Puerto Rican Day Parade, (save the date!):

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 11:00 am
2009 National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Along Fifth Avenue (from 44th Street to 86th Street) New York, NY

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ramon Emeterio Betances Y Alacan

Born April 8, 1827 in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Ramon Emeterio Betances dedicated his life to the independence of Puerto Rico from Spanish rule. A physician, literate and politician with liberal views, Betances also struggled for the abolition of slavery.

At an early age, Betances was sent to school in France eventually earning a High School Diploma in Toulouse and medicine in the Universidad de La Sorbona in Paris.
Upon his return to Puerto Rico, he became involved with the struggle to end slavery and the seperation of Puerto Rico from Spanish rule. For his liberal views and actions, he was expelled from the island on several occasions ( Saint Thomas, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Venezuela, Curacao and New York).
He died on September 16, 1898 in France and his remains were brought back to his birthplace on August 5, 1920.
For more on Ramon Emeterio Betances, a few resources :

Monday, April 6, 2009

Puerto Ricans Falling Behind

In a study of second- and later-generation immigrants between the ages of 24 and 32, for example, 24 percent of the Puerto Ricans were high school dropouts, compared to 16 percent of the Dominicans and 13 percent of the South Americans, who were from Colombia, Ecuador and the full article here...

It's not just about stressing the importance of education to our own children but to our entire families. I've been surfing the net, looking at the various social networks and looking at latino news to keep abreast with what's going on. While there are many doing positive and uplifting things it disturbs me to read and find out that Puerto Ricans are still falling behind.

Friday, April 3, 2009


On Tuesday I signed up on Twitter. On Wednesday and Thursday I did the research and now on Friday I am convinced. I am a tweeter. What is all the buzz about? Well, you'll just have to sign up and see for yourself. Combined with my blackberry, I now have twitterberry.

Read this posting " Twitter Milestones or How Twitter is not Email by sean808080 ohmbase. I don't use the status updates on Facebook much and I see Facebook as a way to stay connected with family and friends. Twitter on the other hand, allows me to update about anything to anyone throughout the day, not just friends but other tweeters. By the way, there is also twitpic for sharing photos and twitwall (embed videos and widgets, upload your photos, mp3 music or podcasts) for those times when a tweet is just not enough. You can easily sign in using the same userid for all.

Hasta luego!! to twitter.

I'm at

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MTV Stereotype II: Update

This is an update to my earlier post on 3/26/09: An update on MTV's "True Life: I'm a Nuyorican".....Meeting this week between hispanic media coalition, MTV and Nuyoricans Against MTV's True Life. Stand up, mi gente!!! Let's get MTV to showcase some positive Nuyoricans. Sign the petition.....firme la petición.

Katilia Vélez, on 4/1/09, in Facebook message writes:





UPDATE!! As of 4/15/09.....
MTV pulls 'Nuyorican'.......