Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Jayuya Revolt of 1950 – A talk with Dr. Olga J. Wagenheim

The co-editor of “The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History” commemorates the 1950 uprising in Jayuya, Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, October 30, 6pm

at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural
1680 Lexington Avenue (at East 106th Street)
New York, NY 10029

We are honored to host Dr. Olga Jimenez Wagenheim who will be giving a talk on Blanca Canales. The segment she is reading is part of a recently published revised/updated edition of a book she and Kal Wagenheim compiled years ago, entitled: The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History.

Sponsored by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and Taller Boricua.

Serrano Denounces Vote Stripping of Territories, D.C. by House Republicans

January 5, 2011 –Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano today announced his strong disapproval of the decision by House Republicans to take away the territorial and D.C. delegates’ right to vote on the House floor. Along with the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, delegates from D.C., Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands will not be allowed to vote in the Committee of the Whole, a right the Democrats gave them four years ago.

“This is a shameful step backwards that House Republicans took today, and it is a slap in the face of the millions of citizens and people living under the U.S. flag in these territories. They have had the ability to have their voices heard in the U.S. House of Representatives for only four short years, and there is no excuse for taking that right away from these duly elected leaders.

“I have spent much of my career here in Washington seeking equality for those living in the territories. Had my parents not left Puerto Rico, I would certainly have been in the situation that these people find themselves in through no choice or fault of their own. I have worked to give them dignity and a say in matters that affect them. House Republicans have taken away civil liberties through their decision and I find it outrageous.

“On behalf of the millions living under the American flag in D.C. and the territories, I call on Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans to reconsider this terrible decision and restore their voice in the House of Representatives.”


Congressman José E. Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990.

Puerto Ricans Stampede to the U.S.

Puerto Ricans Stampede to the U.S., according to the Census Population of the island decreases by 2.2% in the last decade
By José A. Delgado | jdelgado@elnuevodia.com
El Nueva Día (December 22, 2010)
translated from Spanish by NiLP

WASHINGTON – Massive emigration to the United States and the reduction in birth rate have caused a drop of 2.2% in the population of Puerto Rico during the last decade, according to the new 2010 federal Census.

On April 1, 2010 Puerto Rico’s population was 3,725,789, or 82,821 less than in April 2000. This is the first time since the Federal Census has been conducted in Puerto Rico that the Puerto Rican population decreased from one decade to another.

Just one another federal jurisdiction, the state of Michigan, which has one of the three highest unemployment rates in the U.S. (12.4%), had a decline in their population during the last decade. The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico was in more than 16% in 2010.

“There is no doubt that in the case of Puerto Rico there has been a major migration pattern,” said Raul Cisneros, spokesman for the Federal Census, after announcing yesterday the first results from Census 2010.

According to the Census, 489.509 people moved from Puerto Rico to the United States between 2000 and 2008. “This does not include the number of people who returned to Puerto Rico during the same period,” said Professor Jorge Duany, an expert at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

In terms of the birth rate, statistics from the Department of Health of Puerto Rico in 2000 indicate that 15.6 children were born per 1,000 people. But in 2009, Duany stressed, the rate was 11.6 per 1,000 persons.

“The mortality rate, however, remained stable, around 7.4 deaths per 1,000 people,” said Duany.

The economic hardships of the past five years, the high rate in crime, low wages in comparison with the United States and low entry of foreign immigrants are other factors that may have caused the reduction in the population of the island

For example, data from the Planning Board indicate that between October 2000 and October 2010 Puerto Rico had 46,000 fewer employees (1.094 million), said Sergio Marxuach, an economic researcher for the Center of a New Economy (CNE).

In no other decade has there been as many murders as in the most recent. Since 2000, the total exceeds 8,600.

Foreign migration appears to have declined. Duany said Interior Department data indicate that between 2000 and 2009, 35.063 foreigners were admitted as immigrants in Puerto Rico, almost half of the total between 1990 and 1999.

Over Estimate

The first Federal Census estimates made between 2005 and 2009 overestimated the total number of residents of the Island.

Last week, preliminary calculations of the Puerto Rico Community Service placed the population of Puerto Rico at 3.94 million, about 200,000 more than the more accurate analysis presented yesterday from the 2010 Census.

The most recent estimate of the total of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. by the American Community Survey Federal Census was 4.16 million. The count of this population will be announced officially in February 2011, when announcing the next data release from the 2010 Census.

9.7% Increase in the U.S.

In the U.S., the population had an increase of 9.7%. Of the 281.4 million it had in 2000, now the total is estimated at 308.7 million (308,745, 538). In this release of the population count, the Federal Census does not include residents of Puerto Rico.

According to Cisneros, 53% of the residents of Puerto Rico completed and returned the federal census by mail, a 2% increase compared to 2000. Census officials competed the collection of this information through house to house visits. In the U.S., the mail delivery rate was 74%, virtually the same percentage of a decade ago.

The 2010 Census data determine redistricting in the United States and the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.

Having had an increase of almost three million people, Florida, home to about 725,000 people of Puerto Rican origin, will gain two seats before the 2012 election. This will also represent an increase of votes in the U.S. Electoral College, through which the U.S. President is elected.

New York, home to more than a million Puerto Ricans, will lose two seats in the Federal lower house and two U.S. Electoral College votes.

Most of the states that gained seats and representation in the Electoral College voted in 2008 for Republican John McCain.

New York State Senator Bill Perkins honors Judith Escalona, Executive Director of PRdream.com

March 26, 2010 – New York State Senator Bill Perkins and the Caribbean Cultural Center recognized Judith Escalona, filmmaker, writer, critic, curator, producer and executive director of PRdream.com as one of New York’s accomplished women in the arts.

For her work in new media and film, Escalona has received grants from New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affaris, New York Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, North Star Fund and Chase/SMART. Escalona is a El Diario/La Prensa Destacada Latina (Distinguished Latina (2000) and a Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College Awardee (2003). She is currently in postproduction on a new film entitled Bx3M which she wrote and directed.

PRdream.com which Escalona founded in 1998 changed the cultural landscape of Northern Manhattan with its new media gallery MediaNoche, Uptown’s only art and technology gallery presenting a roster of local and international new media artists. PRdream.com has been recognized by AOL, About.com, and DMOZ Open Directory Project.

Her work has been featured in WCBS-TV, WNBC-TV, CUNY-TV, the NY Times, Daily News, NY Post, and the Village Voice. Escalona also produces television segments for Independent Sources, a magazine show presenting the views of ethnic and alternative media on CUNY-TV. She is the original creator and curator of Nuyorican Cinema and the Handball Court Summer Film Festival (now known as PRdream Summer Film Fest). Escalona teaches filmmaking at The City College of the City University of New York.

The award ceremony took place on March 26, 2010.

Puerto Rico’s Labor Leaders Stage Sit-in at the Islands’ Office of Management and Budget

AFSCME News (Dec. 15, 2009)

Washington, D.C. – Top union officials affiliated with AFSCME, SEIU, UAW and UFCW are currently occupying the Office of Management and Budget offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, protesting Gov. Luis Fortuño’s proposed layoff of more than 20,000 workers.
Riot police have surrounded the OMB offices.

AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee issued the following statement:

“AFSCME joins other unions in supporting our brothers and sisters in San Juan who are fighting during this serious economic crisis to protect Puerto Rico’s vital public services. We are very concerned that riot police have surrounded the building. We urge restraint on the part of law enforcement officials during this peaceful protest.”

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations – from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers – AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.
For further information:
Cheryl Kelly
American Federation of State, County and Municipa Employees

Halt to Puerto Rico’s Northeastern Nature Preserve

Published: November 1, 2009

SAN JUAN, P.R. (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor on Friday canceled the designation of part of the island’s northeastern coastline as a nature reserve, opening the door to large-scale development along a white-sand beach where proposals for hotel resorts have sparked bitter protests.

The order signed by the governor, Luis G. Fortuño, directs environmental authorities to evaluate 3,240 acres of public and private land and identify the most ecologically sensitive areas. Those sections would be preserved, while others could be opened to developers.

Currently, only small, eco-friendly projects are allowed in the reserve.

“There should not be any doubt that a nature reserve will be established here,” the planning board president, Hector Morales, said at a news conference.

Conservation groups have fought to keep hotel projects out of the Northeast Ecological Corridor, which includes a beach fringed with tropical forest used by endangered leatherback sea turtles as a nesting area. Proposals for resorts rallied opposition from celebrities including the actor Benicio Del Toro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer.

Mr. Fortuño’s predecessor, Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, ordered the preservation of the corridor in 2007, and his administration had begun seeking financing to buy private parcels from their owners.

But Mr. Fortuño faced pressure from officials, including the mayor of Luquillo, José González Ortiz, to open the region to development that would create jobs.



Screening and discussion

Saturday, September 9, 8PM

White Park
East 106th Street
between Lexington and Third Avenues

Filiberto: Entrevista Clandestina is an interview with Filiberto Ojeda Rios by Puerto Rican reporter Daisy Sanchez. The screening marks the first anniversary of his death at the hands of the FBI last year on September 23, a date that also commemorates El Grito de Lares.

The interview was conducted while he was in clandestine, after cutting off an electronic ankle shackle. Ojeda was on trial for his alleged involvement in the Macheteros’ Wells Fargo armored truck robbery in Hartford Connecticut. Filiberto speaks for himself and the Macheteros on the colonial issues confronting Puerto Rico.

The interview aired uncut on Puerto Rican television and was the most watched television program in the history of Puerto Rico. This film is an excerpted version of that television program.

If it rains, the screening will take place at PRdream / MediaNoche, across the street from White Park, 161 East 106th Street, First Floor.

2 Heroes at Hostos — A screening

2 Heroes
a documentary by Dylcia Pagan

U.S. Premiere Screening
Thursday, September 14, 6PM

Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture

450 Grand Concourse @149th Street

The Bronx


For more information or to purchase advance tickets: 718-518-4455

Oscar Lopez Rivera and Carlos Alberto Torres are Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoner Of War who have served over 25 years in US prisons for trying to liberate their country Puerto Rico from US colonial rule. “DOS HEROES” is a new documentary, directed by former Political Prisoner and Prisoner Of War, Dylcia Pagan, that reviews the historical development of the campaign for the release of Puerto Rican Political Prisoners from 1991 to the present. You will witness testimony of prominent leaders, religious supporters, family members of both Carlos and Oscar as well as an opportunity to learn about their lives and commitments of struggle.  “DOS HEROES” is presently in Spanish. Your entrance donations will enable AVANZA PRODUCTIONS to create a narrative in English so that all freedom loving people can become enlightened about the struggle for Puerto Rican Independence and its Freedom Fighters incarcerated over 25 years……

” Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!”

2 Heroes

PRDream mourns the passing of Little Ray Romero

Little Ray Romero:
Master Rumbero
June 18, 1923 – August 16, 2006

A percussionists’ percussionist, this master rumbero lived a life of music spanning more than six decades. Born Hernan Romero in Ponce, Puerto Rico on June 18, 1923, Little Ray played with legendary bandleaders and musicians in both the Latin music and American music scene. His percussion solos have become standard rhythmic patterns for young percussionists today. Little Ray passed away peacefully in Florida surrounded by his family on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 at 10 p.m.

Kicking off his career in the late 30s with Puerto Rico’s leading songstress, Ruth Fernandez, Little Ray began playing bongos before picking up the congas. His conga playing was influenced by Chano Pozo whom he met while Chano was performing with Dizzy Gillespie. During the 40s, Little Ray performed with the legendary Xavier Cugat Ochestra before joining the U.S. Army. After his army tour, he played with Noro Morales, Joe Locco, Jose Curbelo, and Miguelito Valdes. By the 50s, he was performing in Puerto Rico and composed part of the percussion section for Cortijo y su Combo when the great Puerto Rican percussionist Rafael Cortijo organized his first band in the early ‘50s.

He went on to become an essential part of the legendary percussion section organized and fronted by Tito Rodríguez. However, he was noticed by Eartha Kitt and recruited to play with her orchestra from 1952 to 1956.

Little Ray Romero went on to back up Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin. By the late 60s and early 70s, Little Ray could be heard with the orchestras of Eddie Palmieri (on the Live in Sing Sing recording), Frankie Dante and Orchesta Flamboyan, Ray Baretto (on the Lps: Indestructible, Guarare, The Other Road, & Baretto Live Tomorrow where he plays the bata drums), and Machito just to name a few.

The 80s saw Little Ray give back to the younger generation through education. He taught at the Drummer’s Collective, the Johnny Colon Music School and Boy’s & Girls Harbor Conservatory for the performing Arts.

An exemplary family man, a good musician and a great percussionist are the three things Little Ray Romero embraced in his long road through life.

He was the recipient of the first Living Legends tribute at The Point CDC in the Bronx under the direction of Angel Rodriguez in New York in 1997. On Thursday, October 2nd, 2003 the community in East Harlem that saw Little Ray grow up honored him with a tribute at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center that was formerly P.S. 107 where Ray went to elementary school. Ray Barretto, Rene Lopez, Jimmy Delgado and many others were present. Little Ray was presented with a proclamation from the City of New York that recognized the many important contributions made to the cultural soul of this nation through the music of Little Ray Romero.

Ray Romero is survived by his wife Lucia Romero, his sister Irma Rosen, his four children Stephanie Soffi, Elaine Romero, Little Ray Romero, Jr., and Isabel Santiago, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

He will be flown to New York to be viewed in the neighborhood where he was raised in East Harlem known as El Barrio on Sunday, August 20, 2006 at the Ortiz Funeral Home, 141 East 103rd Street
Between Lex. and Park Ave. 212-876-1913 from 2 to 10 p.m.

Elaine Romero who was with her father and prepared him for the transition has asked all who knew Ray to bring the gift of music and that in lieu of flowers, donations to defray the cost of the funeral should be sent to:

Lucia Romero
35 East 10th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Aurora Flores

Little Ray Romero