Monday, December 27, 2010

Ignorance becomes YOU!

As I usually do, I was recently reading the various posts at several other blogs around the blogosphere. What caught my attention the most was something written, in reference to the failure of Congress to pass the Dream Act, by Joe Vilson at, he wrote:

"They can cook up your favorite soup or prepare your sushi, but their children can’t sit in the same seats that your children can in school. They can make the parts of your favorite electronics and slice up your cured meats, but they can’t serve next to your brethren in war. They can build the penthouse in that trendy neighborhood you’re about to move into and clean up the chambers of the Congress you’ve been selected / elected to serve in for the next few years of your life, but they can’t have the same opportunity for uplift in their community as in your community. Because their intellect is different than yours; it’s more … foreign."

Of course, given the content within this blog, I began to think about Puerto Ricans in the same light. The ignorance of many and how they lump Latinos as all the same is, unfortunately, something shared by far too many within Congressional chambers.

Earlier this year, during a debate, republican candidate Vaughn Ward (R-Idaho) was answering a question in reference to support of Puerto Rico statehood, "The problem with extending statehood to some, to any other country, is that then, the infrastructure requirements ...."  at which, his opponent, Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), corrected him with, " Puerto Rico's not a country. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It's about time that we take some civics lesson and we learned what Puerto Rico is." Bravo! Now, the response by Ward did not surprise me. If you clicked on his name then you know that Ward didn't win. That does leave me to many like him have made it to Congress?
His response, "I really don’t care what it is. It doesn't matter."

If it's all just the same, then when referring to Latinos, it would be, " I really don't care what they are. It doesn't matter."

Then came the news that NYC council member Dan Halloran, in an email exchange begun by council member Melissa Mark-Viverito ((D-East Harlem)to her colleagues, had stated, "This terrorist, like all terrorists, should rot in jail forever...I guess the 9-11 bombers could make the same argument. They were merely responding to the 'evils' of the U.S. Will you be asking for them to be pardoned too?"  The email exchange was in reference to Mark-Viverito's support of Oscar Lopez-Rivera's upcoming parole hearing. Lopez-Rivera, whom has spent 29 years in federal prison for seditious conspiracy, was never charged with causing harm or the taking of a life.  A comparison to the 9-11 terrorists?...c'mon, we all know, too well, the atrocious acts committed by them. In this day and age, when convicted murderers and rapists can serve much lesser terms, we find a man, who has paid the price for loving a 'nation' which he feels has been wronged, serving a sentence of 70 plus years.

Personally, I don't condone violence but neither do I agree with the sentence imposed on Lopez-Rivera. Halloran's statement therefore borders on an ignorance and lack of understanding in regards to the Puerto Rico colonial dilemma. History speaks for itself when those who choose to learn about it listen carefully. Maybe, Halloran needs to begin here, with George Washington. Hoorah!!

Republicano denuncia esfuerzos pro liberación de Oscar López

Friday, December 24, 2010

Solidarity and 102 Words

There are many things that strike me as funny (or rather deceitful and odd) when reading about the events surrounding the student strike in Puerto Rico. One thing stands out more then others and that is the statement, "there is really no support for the students." I beg to differ....the solidarity is far and wide. From as far as London, Germany and Spain to here in the U.S., there is plenty of support for the students of the University of Puerto Rico. The real problem is the lack of mainstream media coverage, as always...shame on them and shame on the naysayers.

Letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder from Puerto Rican Academics

Cuban National Assembly Expressed its Solidarity with Puerto Rican Students

Organización de Solidaridad de los Pueblos de África, Asia y América Latina (OSPAAAL)

You can also read some stories on how the tuition hikes will affect the various students. These stories are written by students themselves in a maximum of 102 Words.

**Solidarity Update**

UPR supporters swell the ranks of fee protest

Masivo apoyo a la Huelga en la UPR

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


PARTIDO NACIONALISTA DE PUERTO RICO MOVIMIENTO LIBERTADOR: MENSAJE AL PUEBLO DE PUERTO RICO DE JÓVENES EN LUC...: "Querido pueblo de Puerto Rico: En los pasados meses hemos escuchado estridente e insistentemente al señor Luis Fortuño y a algunos de los ..."

Petición al Representante Antonio (Toñito) Silva

Friday, December 17, 2010

Puerto Rico Student Strike Intensifies, Public Education and Civil Rights at Stake

BY Maritza Stanchich, Ph.D.

Coincident with massive, at times explosive, student protests in Rome and London, University of Puerto Rico has again become a flash point with a student strike beginning Tuesday that turned the main campus into a militarized zone of police, riot squads, and SWAT teams, complete with low-flying helicopters and snipers. What began as a conflict over a steep student fee hike is now seen as a larger struggle to preserve public education against privatization.

Read the full article here.

The above excerpt is from an article which was first published in the Huffington Post on 15 December 2010 by Maritza Stanchich, Ph.D. , an Associate Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The un-STATE-ly Behavior of the P.R. Government continues....

Back in April of this year, students at the University of Puerto Rico went on strike. The strike was over proposals by the University to cut back on its deficit by eliminating vital programs, limiting scholarships and increasing tuition fees. The universities history is one not without its political struggles, such as in a 1970 protest in which students were beat down by SWAT teams. The present has proven to be entirely different in that the protesting students have displayed a discipline, unyielding and mature approach to the issues.

Unlike the students, the Universities administration and the current Government administration have shown a somewhat rancid demeanor. A rally on May 20 at the San Juan mall, Plaza de las Americas, ended with injuries, arrests and pepper spray. Another at a Sheraton Hotel, where the Governor, Luis Fortuño, was attending a conference, ended with the same results.  Many contested the strike as more of an unnecessary stoppage by the students but what it really reflected was the social crisis facing the island. A high unemployment rate, a financial crisis and you add in increases to tuition and decreases to services and an education becomes an even more unattainable goal.  Throughout it all, the Governor seems out of touch, sending in the police force is like the easiest of responses.

Let's fast forward to the now and we have, yet, another student strike. With tuition hikes still looming, as Ed Morales reported, a private contracted security firms operatives were threatening students. This smelled of an administration which was hoping for a confrontation which never occurred but rather turned on them. And so, after a more than 30 year absence (a non-confrontational policy) from the Universities campuses, the Puerto Rico police force has entered onto campus grounds. Based on protesting student demeanor, this is an unnecessary move, one that equates to want of provocation by both University and Government administrations. It is they, whom clearly overreact.  The un-State-ly behavior of the current fascist-leaning Government continues as the student struggle continues.

PIP exige destitución del Presidente de la UPR

Lunes, 13 de Diciembre de 2010 16:01

San Juan, Puerto Rico. 13 de diciembre de 2010. – El Secretario General del Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), Juan Dalmau Ramírez, exigió hoy la destitución o renuncia del presidente de la Universidad de Puerto Rico (UPR), José Ramón De la Torre, ante la imposibilidad de este poder brindar una respuesta a los reclamos de la comunidad universitaria y la prensa del país del porqué se debe imponer la cuota de $800.

“Quién no puede explicar claramente la razón de una cuota que mantiene en crisis y al borde de una huelga al principal centro docente y universitario del país, merece ser destituido fulminantemente. Si la Junta de Síndicos no toma las acciones necesarias para destituirlo son tan responsable como este de la ineptitud administrativa y deberían también renunciar a sus posiciones” puntualizó Dalmau.

Hoy el Presidente de la UPR compareció a distintos medios de comunicación y a la pregunta de si había evidencia o documentos en el que explícitamente se requiriera la imposición de una cuota de $800 para solucionar los problemas fiscales del sistema y asegurar la acreditación de la universidad, este no tuvo respuesta.

“Hay que recordar que la Middle State mantiene en probatoria a 10 de los 11 recintos, entre otras causas por falta de gobernanza, liderazgo y mal manejo presupuestario. Todos estos señalamientos están dirigidos a la mala administración universitaria, por lo tanto la amenaza de acreditación que actualmente enfrenta la UPR no es por las acciones estudiantiles sino por la incompetencia administrativa de sus dirigentes. El paso a seguir es destituir a quienes la Middle State señala como los responsables de la crisis, la administración universitaria”, concluyó el también Comisionado Electoral del PIP y ex alumno de la UPR

Courtesy/Cortesía -

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WikiLeaks everywhere...the walls eventually talk.

 I've been a spectator of sorts. Silently watching and reading the news and various other social and media platforms. From it all, I've gathered that from the evil that men do, or rather governments, came the birth of WikiLeaks. Is evil a bit harsh? What goes on behind closed doors within governments? Doors which WikiLeaks is trying to keep open. WikiLeaks seems to have unveiled what many have been saying for years. And so, no religious reference intended, in who do we trust?

A recent FaceBook note ends with these words "Reporters from influential national new media organizations have already begun to receive private warnings that they should be careful not to produce writings that would unleash the government’s fury." The note is in reference to student protests against tuition hikes at University of Puerto Rico campuses.  University administration, which is nothing more than another body of ggovernmental puppets which have their own skeletons in the closet, along with the current Governor, only exacerbate the situation. The message is a stark reminder to what extent some will go to silence others (of which this is only a minor example). In this case, the mouth of media organizations. The government has already unleashed some of its fury...Riot Police Seize the University of Puerto Rico, after 31 years of staying out of those very campuses.

The Government of Puerto Rico is no different than any other. In its push to convince the population of the island that statehood is the only way, it has conducted itself  like many of those that WikiLeaks exposes. The administration, being quite the dutiful subjects and conducting themselves like the masters, may continue to smile and whisper behind closed doors but the walls have ears.....and they eventually talk.

I recently tweeted, "Never bite the hand that feeds you...but then again, depends on what your being fed." Over 112 years of being it really any better? Maybe it's time to use the machete to cut the umbilical cord.

More WikiLeaks welcome......

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Manuel Fernández Juncos

Born in Tresmonte, Spain on December 11, 1846 Manuel Fernandez Juncos was a poet and journalist. He was raised in Puerto Rico from early age , where he remained his entire life.

From an early age, he dedicated himself to journalism. He read and studied languages. He began writing for various newspapers and in 1877 he founded the newspaper ," El Buscapié". The weekly newspaper venture became so pupular, promoting education and well being, that he went on to found "Revista Puertorriqueña". Juncos also founded the Institución de Enseñanza Popular y la Biblioteca Municipal de San Juan (Popular Education and the Municipal Library of San Juan).

Fernandez Juncos joined and then became the secretary for the Autonomist Party, founded by Ramon Baldorioty de Castro. When Puerto Rico gained its short lived autonomy from Spain, Juncos became the first Secretary of State.

As a writer, he studied and wrote extensively about Puerto Rican roots. He wrote the lyrics to the Puerto Rican national anthem that is known today; written because the earlier lyrics were considered unfavorable. While not considered the best, this version was adopted into law by the Puerto Rican Legislature in 1952. In 1977, it was approved as the official lyrics to "La Borinqueña."

Fernandez Juncos died on August 18, 1928 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

La Borinqueña
Palabras por Manuel Fernández Juncos

La tierra de Borinquen
donde he nacido yo
es un jardín florido
de mágico primor.
Un cielo siempre nítido
le sirve de dosel
y dan arrullos plácidos
las olas a sus pies.
Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón
Exclamó lleno de admiración:
"Oh!, oh!, oh!, esta es la linda tierra
que busco yo".
Es Borinquen la hija, la hija
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

4th Annual Pa'l Pueblo Charity Event

It's that time of year when a child's smile can make a heart put a smile on a child's face.

George 'Urban Jibaro' Torres and Papo 'Swiggity' bring you....

Capicu Poetry in association with Notice Lounge has partnered together once more to host the 4th Annual"Pa'L Pueblo" Charity Holiday Drive. Toy donations and proceeds from the door will benefit children of Brooklyn's Bushwick United Head Start "Toys For Head Start" program founded by Capicu Poetry.
This event will be hosted by co-founder Papo Swiggity and will feature "Parranda" style music, a delicious Latino holiday buffet, Nuyorican/Urban poetry, conscious hip hop, comedy and community.

Migente, your $10 donation will help our Christmas toy drive survive the current economic recession- we aim to get toys for nearly 100 kids in Bushwick Brooklyn, like we have for the last 3 years!

This year, our Capicu Open Mic & parranda features the music of San Juan Hill- the Afro Latin Soul Band Collective from El Barrio! This live band combines innovative, original material with intense crowd moving performances, poured carefully into a pot of ingredients which include: Funk/ Soul, Latino Caribeno, Jazz, Brazilian, Hip Hop and House. All served with a side dish of Soultry vocals sung in Spanish, English, and Portuguese- Music for Struggle, Love and Life!

San Juan Hill


Proceeds from the door will benefit children of Brooklyn's Bushwick United Head Start school, located at 153 Johnson Avenue in Brooklyn NY.

Adonde (Where @?)
Notice Lounge & Cafe
198 Union Ave (between B'way and Montrose)
Williamsburg Brooklyn NY 11211
Doors open at 7 PM- Open Mic list closes at 8pm
**SHOWTIME at 8PM!**
Right across from the 90th Precinct
$10 Cover
21 & Over

Pictures from last years event..


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


By Vagabond Beaumont

"Agitation, organization, resistance, struggle and love are the ingredients that will guarantee us victory!"
- Oscar Lopez Rivera

Oscar Lopez Rivera is a Puerto Rican political prisoner and prisoner of war. He has been in US prisons since 1980. He was sentenced to serve 70 years for the charge of seditious conspiracy to overthrow the US government as a member of the Puerto Rican armed underground resistance the FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional - Armed Forces of National Liberation). The distinction of being a prisoner of war is important. Oscar and the other FALN members who were also arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy identified themselves as combatants in an anti-colonial war with the US government and refused to recognize the US government as having any jurisdiction over them. Not recognizing the US government’s authority over them meant refusing to participate in the trial proceedings outside of issuing an opening statement. Oscar and the other arrested members of the FALN asked that their trials be argued before an international court but the US courts denied those appeals.

Oscar was born in Puerto Rico in San Sebastián and moved to the US as a child. He was drafted into the Vietnam war and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. When he came back from his tour in Vietnam he found the Puerto Rican community in Chicago in shambles and worked as a community organizer in an effort to make things better for his people. He helped create a Puerto Rican High School and Community Center in Chicago that exist to this very day. He also helped found a free halfway-house for convicted drug addicts. Oscar actively worked on the campaign to free the five Puerto Rican Nationalists Lolita Lebron, Raphael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Oscar Collazo who won a presidential pardon from Jimmy Carter in 1979.

For more than half the time that Oscar has been in prison he has been in solitary confinement and there have been times that the US Bureau of Prisons has denied Oscar emergency medical attention. Amnesty International has criticized these conditions in an effort to bring some justice to Oscar’s situation.

Prolibertad is a grass roots organization working towards the freedom of Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war. They have started a petition to free Oscar Lopez Rivera in which they are trying to get ten thousand signatures. You can help free Oscar Lopez Rivera by signing the petition and passing the word on to friends and family and asking them to sign the petition.

On another note Oscar Lopez Rivera was a source of inspiration that became an influence on MACHETERO because of the strength of his belief in the independence of Puerto Rico and the sacrifice that he’s made and continues to make for that cause. His impact can be especially felt in Not4Prophet’s portrayal of Pedro Taino. On more than one occasion those who knew Oscar personally have felt the influence of Oscar in Not4Prophet’s performance. Oscar has sacrificed more than anyone can comprehend for OUR freedom. He has sacrificed being a father to his daughter and a grandfather to his grandchildren to see that WE are free. The onus is on us to see him free. As a result we feel a responsibility to see that Oscar is freed, so please sign the petition and pass it on to others to sign.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Check Engine Light and Colonial Status...

Your cars check engine light comes on. What do you do? As long as you can drive, you can grab a marker and cover it up, better yet, if you can easily get to the bulb you can just remove it. While your at it, go buy some new tires, rims and a few other accessories. Give the car a complete wash, wax and deep interior clean. Pretty? Now everyone is happy and the car looks absolutely fabulous. The underlying truth is that you still have a check engine light, you have a problem, which if it continues to be ignored, will lead to greater problems. The good thing here is that you can have a diagnostics check done and hopefully the problem can be easily corrected.

Like the check engine light, Puerto Rico's colonial dilemma  has been ignored. At times it may seem like attempts to really check on that problem have been made. A times even a temporary fix is made in the form of accessories but the real problem is never corrected. What you can't see  doesn't really affect or bother you but what you really have is an engine that is close to failure. There are serious problems which may require an engine change.

Now, my analogy here may seem awkward or way off but, you see, I know about check engine lights. Puerto Rico's colonial dilemma is that check engine light. The marker is the cloak that covers the problem and the removal of the light is equivalent to the removal of those ideas that may lead to a resolution. Everything else is merely an attempt to satisfy mentally. If it looks good then everything else is good, it must be good.

This has lead to a chain reaction, not to be an excuse for pity, from one generation to the next. We speak about generation gaps but somewhere within, there continues to be a stymie. Puerto Ricans, the first Latino group to settle in New York in great numbers and their children are still faring worse than other Latino groups. That check engine light has remained on and the engine is headed for failure due to it. The colonial dilemma has gone on from one generation to the next and nothing can mask it. All the accessories and money put into it can not cover the real underlying problems that continue.

The cry that Puerto Ricans should have been better off by now because of U.S. citizenship and their knowledge of the english language goes without mentioning the obstacles earlier generations had to face. Through it all, today's young Puerto Ricans finds themselves asking, where do we fit in this society? Where does our Puerto Ricanese fit in this society? Are we Puerto Rican? American? And where does our history come into play in all this? That colonial dilemma, while it may seem a long distance to the island, is actually a lot closer than you think.

...the colonial status of PUERTO RICANS...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Veterans Day..opinons and decisions

On this Veteran's Day, I sit back and reflect. Reflect on days gone by, some that seem so long ago and others that seem like they were only yesterday. Some may stop in and read through the posts in this blog and assume that there may be some anti-American sentiment. There have been some comments that are so far fetched and racist that I have had to delete them. I simply didn't feel a need to cater to such nonsense.

It is through these posts that I have been able to share my opinions, thoughts and ideas on something that I merely culture. It isn't about being anti-American but rather disappointed with decisions made by those whom have been in positions to make change (politicians). They have walked blindly and ignored a nation of millions for a long time. Unfortunately, we can't erase all the negatives that have occurred in the past. What we can do is learn from them and commit to making a change. The real beauty is that we can disagree, agree, like or dislike. I respect that in all that come through and visit here.

Now a question may come to some...What does this have to do with Veteran's Day? Well,  I sit back and reflect on all my days of military service. The good, the bad and then it occurs to me....all that I have earned. Not looking for special treatment, not looking to tell my military story, not looking to brag.

People join the military for many different reasons while knowing the many possibilities of being in harm's way. Some may not agree with the decisions made by elected officials but know full well the commitment that they have made. So it is, that veterans come from all walks of life. It is through their experiences that a mold is created. I carry mine experiences everyday just like I carry my pride in being Puerto Rican.

On this Veterans Day, I commend those who have made the sacrifice, taken on the commitment and faced the adversities head on. Whether your from the smallest rural town in the middle of America or the smallest town in Puerto Rico, it really doesn't matter. Whether your decisions in life may or may not be those agreed upon by others,  you have at least earned the right to have them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

When Boricua Pride isn't Enough

Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz recently wrote an article that caught my attention over at La Voz del Paseo Boricua, "In Times When Boricua ‘Pride’ Isn’t Enough." I could only add, the one thing I believe that is missing is that of misplaced pride. There are those who wear the badge as a medal won in a battle, profess to be so proud, yet , if asked, would not even be able to find Puerto Rico on a map. Tsk! True Boricua...... let's not question that but rather take the challenge. Feed your mind at least a little.....

"Puerto Rico, how ironic is our love for you? We never cease to profess our sincere pride. We display it everywhere and in any way possible; from tattoos, t-shirts, to temperaments, we declare our profound orgullo.

Yet our love and pride – as deep as it goes – has limits, lines we won’t cross, fears we won’t face. Far too often, there is much we refuse to say, acts we won’t do, and beliefs we refuse to hold. Everyday, we simultaneously affirm our identity as Puerto Ricans, yet we often collectively dare not fight for Puerto Rico".

....................continue reading this article here and begin to make a change.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pledge, economy......Potential?

In a recent report, President Obama reiterated on his pledge to help Puerto Rico's economy. Funnel more funds to the island while continuing to leave the status dilemma in the air. The pledge may include a reference to resolving the dilemma that is the status but it may eventually fall short. Status aside, at this point, all the support is needed to help the weak economic situation on the island but this is nothing new. While at times it may have seemed that the economy was on an uphill swing it was all merely smoke and mirrors. The funding has always really been a means to quell the mindset of the population and make the relationship seem more passive. Like a child that is physically grown but kept mentally in a childish state, the people are left believing that there is no other remedy.

The President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status is scheduled to release a report at the end of this year. The report focuses on several issues that affect the island but the focus seemed to revolve heavily on the economy during a meeting held in San Juan earlier this year. Yes, the old revolving door always leads back to the same song and dance.

Can the true potential (either way) of the islands survival ever really be realized? The comfort zone is only as long as the chains that keep it in the line of sight. Just some thoughts to ponder.....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Doña Isabel Rosado Morales....long-time Nationalist

I recently had the privelege of learning about Doña Isabel Rosado Morales. An ardent and long time nationalist, at 103 years old, her steadfast commitment to Puerto Rican independence is a symbol of identity, nationhood and patriotism. Read and learn more about Doña Isabel via filmaker Melissa Montero who is currently working on a film documentary about her.

Isabel Rosado: Nationalist

Saturday, October 30, 2010

El Grito de.....1950

Jayuya, Puerto Rico. Located in the center of the island was officially declared a municipality in 1911(occupied as a village prior to that date). It is named after the Taino cacique, Hayuya who governed the same region.

It is know for its skilled wood carvers, wood caverns and its Indian heritage.

The Festival Indígena is one of its most widely known festivals.

While 'El Grito de Lares' is widely known, it was in 1950 that Jayuya had its own uprising. Known simply as 'El Grito de Jayuya', it was not the only uprising to occur on that 30th day of October in 1950. Other smaller uprisings occurred in Ponce, Mayagüez, Naranjito, Utuado, San Juan and Arecibo.

A brief recap of events that led to these uprisings included the approval of Public Law 600 (authorized drafting of P.R. Constitution), the forthcoming (1952) approval of the creation of the political status, Free Associated State ("Estado Libre Associado") or rather bill of goods. Harsh measures imposed against the Nationalist Party, arrest and jailings of its members, the Ponce Massacre, and the passing of Law 53 were some of the events that led to the uprisings. Law 53, known as "Ley de la Mordaza" (Gag Law), made it illegal to display the Puerto Rican flag, talk about independence, sing patriotic songs or to act out in the liberation of Puerto Rico.

Blanca Canales Torresola, a nationalist leader from Jayuya, raised the banned Puerto Rican flag and declared Puerto Rico independent. National  guard troops were dispatched to end the uprisings. In the end, Law 53 was used against the nationalists as a means of discrimination and persecution for advocating independence.

Puerto Rican Nationalist Uprising - The Puerto Rican Commonwealth Act, The Start of the Insurrection, Government Response, Legacy of the Uprising 

DemocracyNow!: Puerto Rico Marks 60th Anniversary of Jayuya Uprising
co-host Juan Gonzalez, who’s written extensively on the uprising, discusses its significance.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Really? Tell the truth about Christopher Columbus!

Some time ago I wrote...

How ironic is it that we celebrate a man who historically supported the enslavement of natives for economic reasons, was accused of governing tyrannically and used barbaric acts of torture to govern Hispaniola. His discoveries, which were preceded by the various cultures and civilizations of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, make all the negatives disappear.
It is apparent that Columbus' voyages set a chain reaction. His voyages opened the door to the Atlantic slave trade and to the near genocide of indigenous peoples.

Quite simply, his supposed discoveries may be seen to some as celebratory. Some celebrate with a breath of racism and others with ignorance due to faults not of their own. The truths about Columbus that are not taught include the the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous peoples. These truths set the stage for the near extermination of the indigenous peoples and the transatlantic slave trade. Unfortunately, history is told from the victors point of view and so what we learn about Columbus is always conveyed as favorable. What I do know is that the past cannot be changed but what we learn from it can help determine our futures but only if we learn the truths.

Follow these links to some historical truths:

  • The Truth About Columbus: "Examining the reputation of Christopher Columbus" By Jack Weatherford......Christopher Columbus' reputation has not survived the scrutiny of history, and today we know that he was no more the discoverer of America than Pocahontas was the discoverer of Great Britain.....Cont.
  • The Truth About Columbus...Christopher Columbus, whose real name is Cristobol Colon, of course did not discover America in 1492. In fact, he never claimed to have done so; white historians did it for him. Indigenous people and Afrikans were already living in the western hemisphere, thousands of years before his expedition...Cont.
  • America Before Columbus By Rixon Stewart...It may sound a little over the top but it’s really no overstatement to say that much in our modern world is based on falsehood and fabrication. We are told, for example, that Columbus ‘discovered’ America in 1492, yet there is plenty of evidence to suggest that others had visited America before Columbus.... Cont.
  • Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery By Eric Kasum....Once again, it's time to celebrate Columbus Day. Yet, the stunning truth is: If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity....Cont.

Friday, October 8, 2010

To the shelf goes H.R. 2499

Like a roaring lion it was introduced and gained some attention; now with a mere huff and puff it is shelved. H.R. 2499 was introduced  on May 19, 2009 with much debate from all political parties in Puerto Rico and some discussion in the U.S. mainland as well. All the attention seemed to have awakened some to the colonial dilemma that hangs over the island. There seemed like there was some movement when the U.S. Congress acted on the bill. This, I'm sure, brought some smiles to the pro-statehooders who so much wanted this bill to get passed as it leaned heavily in their favor. As the saying goes, "Don't hold your breath".

This past week, news that the U.S. Senate shelved H.R. 2499 should be of no surprise. After 112 years of colonialism, why should this year be any different? Where is the importance? Referendum after referendum, bill after bill and no change has come to the worlds oldest colony. To state that much has been gained is to be pleased with the crumb offerings while still crawling.

Today, the colonial situation remains, the call is that the time is now to move forward on the status issue. The time to move forward was set into motion a long time ago (When the Taino's drowned Diego Salcedo, when the cries for independence were heard in Lares, when nationalist entered the U.S. House of Representatives.....) What you have now is a dilemma and, to some, a social stigma that survival is dependent on the continuance of its current status or statehood.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apology to Guatemala and then some... why am I not surprised?

Yes, an apology to Guatemala for syphilis experiments conducted by the U.S. on Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and hospital patients during the 1940's. Guatemalan authorities... " a crime against humanity" and may take the case to an international court. This leads me right into the involuntary female sterilization in Puerto Rico just after WWI. Will there ever be an apology, too little/too late, and maybe that should be taken to an international court as well. I'll leave it to those with knowledge in that field. This does not surprise me one bit.


Friday, October 1, 2010

No Apologies, We don't Live in a Vacuum

For those who stop in on a regular basis, I thank you. You have an idea of where I stand on issues related to Puerto Rico and it political dilemma. I will not make any apologies.
As a blogger, I am well aware that this is a medium that can reach many so I am always prepared to respond to comments (one should be). Should I respond to all? Not necessarily, especially if the context is too demeaning. I have that choice here.

This is not about that is more about the following is for all to watch and consider what is happening in America. Whether small or not, it is there. The growing white supremacist movement (the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States-DOJ)... the real chant in this video, "no n**gers, no Jews, the Mexicans must go too"..... a little something for my pro-statehooders to think about... Get out of your colonial mentality, we don't live in a vacuum..

Héctor Campos Parsi

Héctor Campos Parsi, composer, was born on October 1, 1922. A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) with a bachelor's degree in Humanities, he went on to enroll at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico) to pursue a degree in medicine. Due to his falling ill he was unable to continue his studies. He later obtained a Masters degree in Humanities at Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y El Caribe (Center for Advanced Studies on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean).

His musical training includes a scholarship from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Instruction to the New England Conservatory of  Music in Boston, studying with Paul Hindemith at Yale University and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.  He also trained with composers Aaron Copland and Sergei Koussevitzky.

Campos Parsi also wrote articles for several newspapers, contributed short stories, articles and poems to two weekly magazines and published essays on Puerto Rican music. As an advisor to the Administración para el Fomento de las Artes y la Cultura (Administration for the Encouragement of Arts and Culture now Institute of Puerto Rican Culture) and director at Centro Iberoamericano de Documentación Musical del Colegio Universitario de Cayey (Latin American Musical Documentation Centre at UPR, Cayey), he immersed himself in intense cultural promotional work. He was also resident composer at UPR, Cayey and a member of the prestigious Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Humanities.
Héctor Campos Parsi died in Cayey, Puerto Rico on January 30, 1998.

Thursday, September 30, 2010



Oprima aquí para seguir leyendo/Click here to continue reading.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

El Grito still resonates.....El Grito de Lares

It was 142 years ago when the first major revolt against Spanish rule and a call for independence was born. Born out of frustration from lack of political representation, and economic freedom.

During the mid 1800's, due to increasing tariffs and taxes imposed by Spain, Puerto Rico was suffering a severe economic crisis. Obviously, there was a growing discontent with the colonial rule. Those who called for independence from Spain or liberal reforms were either jailed or exiled. To appease some of the discontent,  in 1865, Spain allowed for the creation of a board of review (Junta Informativa de Reformas de Ultramar). This board was made up of mostly Spanish-born representatives which, of course, voted nearly all suggestions down.

Ramón Emeterio Betances, a staunch believer in the abolition of slavery, had for many years sought out to liberate as many slaves as possible by buying out their freedom. The Spanish government, which ruled over Puerto Rico, did not look upon Betances and company very kindly. Threatened with exile, Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis fled Puerto Rico for the Dominican Republic. A change in government, 1862, allowed for Betances to return to Puerto Rico. His return, the eventual creation of the review board and the voting down of almost every measure that was suggested were the seeds for revolt.

Betances would again be exiled in 1867, leaving for New York then the Domincan Republic and eventually the U.S. Virgin Islands. From exile, Betances organized revolutionary cells in Puerto Rico. The stage had been set for revolution on September 29, 1868. Unfortunately, authorities on the island discovered the plan so the date of the planned revolution had to be moved up.

Thus, on September 23, 1868, the town of Lares was taken over, authorities taken prisoner and the town church served as the place for rising the revolutionary flag knitted by Mariana Bracetti. It was then, that the Republic of Puerto Rico was proclaimed. With this proclamation, the revolutionaries departed for the next town, San Sebastián del Pepino (San Sebastián).  There they met up with strong resistance and retreated back to Lares. Eventually, the Spanish Militia surrounded the town of Lares and ended what is known as "El Grito de Lares."

Today, El Grito still resonates.... "Lares es Tierra Santa, y como tal, debe entrarse a ella de rodillas" - Pedro Albizu Campos

Sunday, September 19, 2010

El Grito de Poetas @ el Museo del Barrio...

(El Grito de Poetas W/Emanuel Xavier @ El Museo del Barrio 9/18/10)
(l to r: Tito, Emanuel Xavier, Majestik Originality, Chance, Advocate of Wordz, Chilo)
(Frt: Simply Rob, True)

There comes a time when just one word isn't enough to describe an event. In this case, it is a combination of several words. Words such as powerful, energetic, passionate, creative, profound and intense are just a few that can be combined when describing the performance of El Grito de Poetas.

They set the stage on fire, setting off Hispanic Heritage Month with a boom at El Museo Del Barrio's first feature for the new Speak Up/Speak Out Spoken Word Series (with host Emanuel Xavier). Performing to a standing room only crowd (the crowd was so deep some had to get turned away), the words of this diverse group of latino and latina poets enveloped the crowd with a sense of family, culture and tradition.  I am sure that those who truly appreciate this creative platform were enthralled and would agree with the same.
From the beginning, El Grito de Poetas kept the momentum smoothly flowing from one to the next. In the end, El Grito was definitely heard.

The creative poetic genius of El Grito de Poetas are:
Advocate of Wordz
Majestik Originality
Simply Rob

El Grito de Poetas on their 5 year anniversary

Friday, September 17, 2010

Michael Torres with a brief overview on Albizu: The Documentary

The following is a brief overview by producer and director Michael Torres on his film project Albizu: The Documentary...

The project started in the summer of 2007 when I took my first trip to Puerto Rico armed with a mini dv camera and a microphone, there I met Alfredo Robles who I hired as a camera man and has since become a great friend and valuable contributor to the production.

My intention was to shoot as many interviews as possible and assemble them into a sample reel. We were able to interview: Nationalist; Rafael Cancel Miranda, Antonio Cruz Colon, Tato Torres and Juan Mari Bras, UPR Professors Amilcar Tirado and Juan Manuel Carrion, Luis Angel Ferrao and Albizus granddaughter and Nationalist Party president Rosa Albizu Meneses.

Those interview became the trailer for the project – Since posting the trailer, we’ve made a lot of exciting progress, the project has received development grants from Latino Public Broadcasting and ITVS; these grants have allowed us to do extensive research in Puerto Rico, New York and Harvard this past year. In the research phase I’ve uncovered an abundance of original, never before seen photos and footage, and never before published audio recordings and speeches.

On my most recent trip to Puerto Rico I had the honor of finally meeting 2 of Albizus surviving children, Dona Laura Albizu Meneses and Pedro Albizu Meneses and Albizu’s Granddaughter Cristina Meneses. In addition to the family I met Carlos Padilla, a former nationalist who shared a cell with Don Pedro in the 1950’s, and 103-year-old Isabel Rosado who was one of Albizu’s closest comrades and the subject of Melissa Montero’s: Our Women Our Struggle.

In August 2009 I had the honor of being part of NALIP’s Latino Producers Academy 2009 – Basically they select 10 projects at different stages of production, and invite the producers to spend 10 days in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Over the 10 days, professional documentary filmmakers and mentors from PBS, HBO, Sundance, ITVS, Latino Public Broadcasting, and CPB workshop your projects and help you improve them.

Being a first time documentary filmmaker the hardest thing to figure out sometimes is knowing what you don’t know. The academy and its mentors created a safe place for filmmakers to ask questions and explore their projects with fresh perspectives. I arrived at the academy still unsure what direction to take my project in and suffering from severe writers block, after a series of one on one and group sessions with mentors I had a creative breakthrough and am well on my way to a successful production – I can honestly say it was the best 10 days of my professional life.

Since the workshop, I’ve completed a new treatment, and I’m working on the final script and preparing applications for the next round of production grants in January.

Michael Torres

Donation info:

Official Merchandise:

An excerpt from an interview with Dr. Anthony Stevens Arroyo....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rosa o Linda, Decide by Rosalinda Vargas

Rosa o Linda, Decide

Mi nombre me lo dieron, no es lo que soy

Usted no tiene derecho de cambiarlo y mas

No me diga algo que me haga dudar quien soy

Ahora si puedo pensar y renegar y mas

No le perdono lo que me dijo años atrás

Eres Rosa o Linda nomas

Mejor Linda que Rosa porque Rosa

Me recuerda de una sirvienta común

Así en dos por tres marcas en mi mente una cosa

Que una pequeña e inocente aun

No sabe de prejuicio y de maestras mal educadas

En años atrás eran y quizás sigan siendo aun
- Rosalinda Vargas

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Valor y Sacrificio

Thinking of valor and sacrifice can conjure up thoughts of giving of oneself as of in life and limb. There have been many who have given of themselves in such a way. Hence, Pedro Albizu Campos' words, "la patria es valor y sacrificio" resonate of deep patriotic sentiment. How one carries that sentiment is what makes the individual. In the case of Puerto Rico, it requires a person to want to learn about the injustices under colonial rule and the price paid by those who stood up against it.

It is not that one should drown themselves in solely seeking the knowledge of the history of Puerto Rico. It is though that one should seek the correct knowledge and convey it in the same. I repeatedly hear of preservation of culture but instead witness far too many letting it slip through their fingers.

To learn of ones history is not to be interpreted as being un-American but rather as being a part of the whole. Far too many accept the status-quo, without condition nor question. Knowledge is knowing, not understanding, so to understand the history of Puerto Rico is to understand why those who have valiantly sacrificed so much, have done so.

'Lo que bien se aprende nunca se olvida.'

Friday, September 10, 2010

Juan Mari Brás (12/2/1925 - 9/10/2010)

It was in July of 1994 when Juan Mari Brás committed an act that inspired many Puerto Rican independistas. It was then that Mari Brás renounced his U.S. citizenship while claiming the right to live in the country of his birth, Puerto Rico.

Born on December 2, 1925 in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Juan Mari Brás became involved in politics at an early age. His father, active in the independence movement, took him along to political events frequently.  It was during his time at the University of Puerto Rico that Mari Brás marched, during a student strike, with a Puerto Rican flag in protest against the Universities refusal to allow Pedro Albizu Campos to visit. Albizu Campos had been invited as a guest speaker by the university's pro-independence student body.  Mari Brás was expelled for his actions.

Mari Brás was an exemplary model of the Puerto Rican independista. In 1946, he became one of the founding members of the Puerto Rican Independence Party along with Gilberto Concepción de Gracia.  He served as the president of the party's "Puerto Rican Independence Youth". In 1959, he founded the "Pro-Independence Movement" and he also founded the newspaper Claridad, along César Andreu Iglesias. In 1973, he spoke before the United Nations becoming the first Puerto Rican to raise the issue of Puerto Rico's colonial dilemma.

Juan Mari Brás never so much as gave an inch when it it came to unending devotion to his patria...Puerto Rico. May he rest in peace.

Juan Mari Brás (12/2/1925 - 9/10/2010)

"Only through a great unified movement looking beyond political and ideological differences, can the prevalent fears of hunger and persecution be overcome for the eventual liberation of Puerto Rico, breaking through domination by the greatest imperialist power of our age." -Mari Brás

Biografía de Juan Mari Brás

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Producer/Director... Michael Torres

Last year I posted a short bio, with a link, of producer and director Michael Torres. I have recently had the pleasure of communicating with him and he has provided me with his full bio. Michael is currently working on his first documentary film, Albizu.

Producer/Director Michael Torres
Born in and inspired by The Bronx. Michael began his filmmaking journey in 1998 at a local public access station. Inspired by Robert Rodriguez’ Rebel Without a Crew, he saved his pennies for 2 years so he could buy a Mac and a DV camera to learn filmmaking first hand and tell his stories. Mike worked as a production assistant on dozens of student films, independent features, and television shows and was an intern at socially conscious networks Paper Tiger TV and Deep Dish TV. In 2000 Michael was accepted into Third World Newsreels film and television production workshop. It was there he shot, directed and edited his first 2 shorts Apollo Kids (2000) a social commentary on systematic racism and it effects on our youth and Super Jesus (2001) a dark comedy revolving around gangs and a homeless superhero.

In 2002 Michael headed west to Los Angeles to pursue his filmmaking aspirations while working full time as an editor. Presently he works as a documentary editor at The Halo Group where he is editing Cradle of Rock a documentary chronicling the Asbury Park music scene and the race riots that destroyed a thriving community.

Mike was a participant in Film Independents Project;Involve, a mentorship program that brings young filmmakers of color together with industry professionals. Michael is fortunate enough to have an accomplished documentary filmmaker and former IDA president Lisa Leeman as his mentor. Lisa is also serving as a consultant on the documentary film Albizu.

Currently Michael is in production on his first documentary film, Albizu, which received development grants from Latino Public Broadcasting and ITVS. Albizu is a historical biography on Puerto Rican revolutionary Pedro Albizu Campos, and the strange and violent relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico between 1898 and 1965.and a brief history of the project.

Michael Torres

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oscar López-Rivera

Oscar López-Rivera was born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico on January 6, 1943. His family moved to Chicago when he was twelve years old. In later years he beacame a respected community activist and one of the founding members of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (formerly Rafael Cancel Miranda High School) and the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

Oscar was very active in many community struggles in Chicago and a Puerto Rican independence leader. Arrested in 1981, he was charged with seditious conspiracy and various other charges. 'Described' as a leader of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional-FALN). Oscar was eventually convicted on the charge of seditious conspiracy, armed robbery and some lesser offenses.

Seditious conspiracy can be defined as overt conduct towards an established order. In this case the established order being the U.S. The conduct can be either written, via speech or organizational. The act in this case was of attempting to overthrow the U.S. government from Puerto Rico, which the U.S. invaded in 1898.

For the charge of seditious conspiracy, armed robbery and some lesser offenses, Oscar was given a sentence of 55 years. A sentence that is out of proportion when compared to other crimes committed during the same time period. Some of the conditions under which he has spent his prison term were found to be in violation of the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. (ref.)

The National Boricua Human Rights Network's (NBHRN) new campaign to ask for parole for Oscar Lopez Rivera is well under way, ProLibertad has started an online petition to get President Barack Obama to give Oscar parole or to commute his sentence.

In the words of Congressman Vito Marcantonio, U.S. Congressman, in a speech given by him on August 5, 1939 before Congress titled 'Five Years of Tyranny.' (Recorded in the Congressional Record, August 14, 1939)  "There is no place in America for political prisoners...When we ask ourselves, 'Can it happen here?' the Puerto Rican people can answer, 'It has happened in Puerto Rico.' as he spoke about the treatment of Puerto Rican Nationalist and U.S. prisoner Pedro Albizu Campos.

Click on the image above to sign the petition

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some thoughts after taking a break....

To take a break is so refreshing....

On the Mosque Nonsense
Some time ago, I wrote about the fear of a Latino U.S.A. Some may laugh and merely consider it preposterous. The obvious truth is that when you add fuel to the fire, you're not looking for a solution but rather making it worse. Clarity? Well, take a listen to the current arguments over the proposed mosque near "Ground Zero." The rhetoric surrounding this proposal, which is fueled by some of our elected officials, is hateful nonsense. This hateful nonsense, the same nonsense which is displayed when debating immigration, is taken by some as a sign that it is acceptable to hate.

The notion that all Muslims must be terrorist is like saying that all Latinos must be immigrants. There is no crime in being a Muslim and being able to freely practice too a mosque near "Ground Zero"....

On the Violence against P.R. Women
Yes, none are immune from the violence against women. Unfortunately, for Puerto Rican women living in Puerto Rico there seems to be no escape from the violence. Puerto Rico suffers one of the world's worst rates and it's government seems to consider this to not be important enough to maintain funding for.

The Office of the Women's Advocate, which was formed in 2001, is another weak spot within the goverment. No matter how dire the economic situation, there are some things that need all the funding possible and this is one. Another 'shame on you' for that FARTuño administration.

And on Lolita
The passing of Lolita Lebrón brings about thoughts of a courageous life. A life full of strength, one that need be admired and remembered. I recently read an article in which a statement read (in reference to the 1954 attack in Congress), " she set us back" ... I guess from a pro-statehood point of view that would be the case. I prefer to look at it as an act of courage and love for country. Not to condone the act itself or any act of violence as a means to obtaining or making ones point but rather the courage behind the act. To understand her actions, one needs to truly understand the U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship and what was occurring at the time. Also understand, if you are in a position where someone strikes then standing up and striking back as a means of self defense is acceptable. Lolita would later renounce violence herself but her courage was undying.

What strikes me is the lack of media coverage in Puerto Rico on Lolita's death. The quietness about it is equivalent to labeling her life as a negative. The underlying truth is that many feel shame...but what they don't realize is that if they are ashamed of the courageous life of Lolita Lebrón then they are ashamed of being Puerto Ricans.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

RIP Lolita Lebrón

Life has a way of taking one places based on their actions. For Lolita Lebrón, born and raised in Lares, Puerto Rico, her actions would take her to the United States House of Representatives on March 1, 1954. That day, 56 years ago, stamped Lolita and her compatriots as heroes of the Puerto Rican Nationalist movement.
Serving 25 years of a 70 year sentence before being pardoned in 1979 by then President Jimmy Carter. She remained steadfast in her nationalistic views. It was one her compatriots, Don Rafael Cancel Miranda, who said it perfectly, “When you are real, there is no power in the world that can make you change, or bow your heads.” This is exactly the way she lived her life.

Dolores "Lolita" Lebrón Sotomayor (November 19, 1919 – August 1, 2010)

Another quote that exemplifies her life is that of Don Pedro Albizu Campos, "La Patria es valor y sacrificio." To those who cherish all that is Puerto Rico, she will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Lolita Lebrón.

  • "There is no victory without pain"

  • "I am not sorry for fighting for the freedom of my country"

  • "Yo no vine a matar, yo vine a morir."

Friday, July 30, 2010

From History to a Statue

History is usually one-sided. Written by those (the victors) who claim it as their own. Prior to 1492, before Christopher Columbus sailed the vast oceans, the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the Caribbeans were making their own history. Unfortunate for them, that history went undocumented (written by them). They were inhabitants of lands that were supposedly then discovered and written about. Thus, the victors told their story and made it history.

How ironic is it that we celebrate a man who historically supported the enslavement of natives for economic reasons, was accused of governing tyrannically and used barbaric acts of torture to govern Hispaniola. His discoveries, which were preceded by the various cultures and civilizations of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, make all the negatives disappear.

It is apparent that Columbus' voyages set a chain reaction. His voyages opened the door to the Atlantic slave trade and to the near genocide of indigenous peoples.

A recent report states that a statue of Columbus might be erected in Puerto Rico. One of the many islands where his voyages took him and where the indigenous population was enslaved, brutalized and brought to near extinction. It is not enough to constantly remind the people that without an outside support structure they cannot survive that they now want to display the early colonizer.

Puerto Rico's government estimates it would cost more than $20 million to erect the statue. Another obvious attempt to show the extent to which the administration there will go in their attempt to kiss ***.

It's also obvious that dependence has become the norm.... Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi asking feds for help.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vergonzoso celebrar el ELA a estas alturas/ Embarrassing to celebrate the Commonwealth at this point

Comunicado de prensa
San Juan, Puerto Rico - 24 de julio de 2010

El secretario general del Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), Juan Dalmau Ramírez, señaló hoy que cualquier celebración o conmemoración del Estado Libre Asociado a esta altura de nuestra historia debe provocar vergüenza y bochorno entre los puertorriqueños que aspiran realmente a erradicar el colonialismo en nuestro país.

“Constituye un monumental acto de cinismo derrochar tiempo dinero y esfuerzo en la celebración de un sistema político colonial que manifiesta cada día más su descrédito y la bancarrota económica, política y social en la que ha sumido al país”, puntualizó Dalmau. cont...


Press release
San Juan, Puerto Rico - July 24, 2010

The secretary general of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Juan Dalmau Ramírez, said today that any celebration or commemoration of the Commonwealth (Free Associated State) at this point in its history should cause shame and embarrassment among Puerto Ricans who really aspire to the eradication of colonialism in our country .

"It is a monumental act of cynicism, wasting time, money and effort in celebrating a colonial political system that daily manifests its discredited and bankrupt economic and social policy which has plunged the country," said Dalmau. cont...

Enter on the Shores of Guánica

When General Nelson A. Miles, in 1898, set foot on the shores of Guánica, Puerto Rico, the promise of change from 400 years of Spanish colonialism seemed hopeful. An opportunity for freedom, prosperity and protection; with time, an opportunity to become a part of the U.S. or an independent nation.

What is General Miles importance to Puerto Rican history? A little background on this General reveals that he defeated Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. How fitting that a General who played a leading role in many campaigns against American Indians (Indigenous peoples) and who believed that the US should have authority over the Indians, would come in peace to Puerto Rico. Not the case, for prior to the invasion spies were already in place and plans for an invasion had been drawn, resistance to the invasion there would be but the promise for em-betterment seemed greater. Some would welcome the coming troops with open arms and would be afforded positions in the invaded town. Such is the case of one, Agustín Barrenechea, who was appointed mayor of Guánica shortly after the first skirmish. Another campaign under the belt for General Miles and another opportunity at more authority. Now the case here is not to belittle General Miles for as one looks over his military career it is clear that from a military point of view he was an outstanding soldier.

There are always at least two sides to any story, such is the same in history. In the case of Puerto Rico, there were at least three battles fought prior to the invasion on the island but it was the capture of a Spanish freighter that set precedence. The capture of this freighter on May 8, 1898 set off a campaign which would lead to the invasion and many battles fought in Puerto Rico until the end of all military actions on August 13, 1898.
Simply believing that liberators were setting foot on the shores of Guánica and that the U.S was going to grant the island its independence made the campaign all that much easier. Unlike the battles fought against the indigenous peoples of the Americas for American expansion, Puerto Rico was not intended to be a part of this expansion. Unfortunately for Puerto Rico, the era of manifest destiny had come to a point which would not include it.
Change was to come, not in the form of independence but rather in the form of the "Americanization" process. From the establishment of a military government headed by General Miles to a change in currency the process had begun. The military government changed the name of Puerto Rico to Porto Rico and it remained that way until 1932 when the U.S. Congress changed it back. Schools became the tool of Americanization with classes, initially, being taught entirely in English.
The shores of Guánica opened the door to what has become a state of dependence that continues to cripple Puerto Rico. Four hundred years under Spanish rule plus 112 more under U.S. control has amounted to nothing more than a colonial mentality by far too many.

Uncle Sam watches as the "Goddess of Liberty" heralds freedom for Cuba,
Puerto Rico and the Philippines

"uneducated, simple-minded and harmless people who are only interested in wine, women, music and dancing" - U.S. Senator George Frisbie Hoar describing Puerto Ricans c. 1899¹

1. See New York Times article, published on 2/22/1899, Americanizing Puerto Rico & Puerto Rican Campaign, pg.11

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not just with your morning café...

A few tid bits from El Diario- La Prensa that I received today via e-mail which I would like to share.

El Diario- La Prensa responded to a Wall Street Journal article which consisted of many inaccuracies related to an article about Peruvian-born journalist Vicky Pelaez whom was one of 10 people who pleaded guilty of spying for Russia.

Several weeks ago, news that the personal data of 1,300 people, mostly Latinos, was leaked to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by Utah state employees, quietly made some headline. What I find interesting here is that a group calling themselves 'Concerned Citizens of the United States' is responsible for leaking information such as social security numbers, home addresses, workplaces and private health information. Let's reverse this scenario and see how these "concerned citizens" feel if the same were to happen to them.

This was a blatant disregard for the privacy of others sacrificed by committing an act that is clearly a security issue. Does this leave the door open for other information to be leaked? Where will this anti-immigrant sentiment take a country which was clearly built on the backs of immigrants?
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...allow me to provide them with those jobs that we, Americans, feel are below us or no longer feel like paying high prices for...then at the end of the day we'll just kick 'em out"!

Note: This was meant to be read with your morning café but a real coffee drinker can do that any time of the day. Enjoy!