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 love....my 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