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.