35 thoughts on “Should politics be kept out of the Puerto Rican Day Parade?

  1. Of course not….
    The world is our stage come Sunday, June 11. This is an opportunity for Puerto Ricans to express their political views. It would be foolish of us not to take advantage of the chance.


  2. RE: Of course not….– I agree
    I would say the parade by its nature is political, however latent the politics may be. This year the parade is highly charged politically because of the events this past year and those this year leading up to the date of the parade. The political prisoners are out–but for six who must not be forgotten. Congressman Serrano has pushed for an investigation of the exposure of Albizu Campos to radiation while in U.S. Federal prison, David Sanes was killed during a practice maneuver in Vieques and the protesters have been forcibly removed from that island. Congressman Serrano is also investigating the disruption of political activities on the island by the FBI and COINTELPRO. Our present is so politically charged that a nonpolitical parade would seem out of touch with reality.

  3. RE: RE: Of course not….– I agree
    K Smit,

    Well said. Also, I think Puerto Ricans owe Congressman Serrano the biggest “thank you” for pushing the U.S. Gov’t into revealing some of its true activities in Puerto Rico.

  4. it’s so commercial it could use some good politics
    I just came from the parade and let me tell you, the level of commercialism is shocking. I saw palmolive, univision, la mega, latino.com, colgate and others I just can’t remember and they were all blowing their horn–at least today–for the Puerto Rican people. I didn’t see anything political–except that this in fact is a political statement. There was nothing I saw on Vieques, Albizu Campos or the Puerto Rican political prisoners! If they were present, they were drowned out by the normal goings-on. And talk about level of ignorance! Mi gente, I’m sorry, we have not been teaching our youth well! No one I spoke to knew who Albizu Campos was.

  5. RE: it — agree & disagree

    I, too, attended the parade. And yes, it was very commercial. However, I did see many banners and groups addressing the issue of Vieques. As for Albizu Campos, there was one float that erected a statue of him; and I saw some banners mentioning the dedication of the parade in his honor.

    Standing close to the 5th Avenue railings, I received many handouts regarding Vieques. In fact, some ignorant Puerto Ricans standing besides me were grumbling about “too much stuff on Vieques” and not enough music. Go figure……..

    What bothered me most was the lack of knowledge regarding Puerto Rican historical/political figures (dead and/or alive). As I point out Ruben Berrios, who was walking by with Congressman Serrano, to my niece, a man standing behind me asks “what has he done?” Two women standing in front of me had no clue that the “Dominican-looking” flag was the Grito de Lares flag.

    Culturally, the parade was lacking. Now, as a career marketing person, I understand that parades are an excellent opportunity to advertise your goods, services, and brand. However, there were all these rap music floats that, quite frankly, bothered me. At least Colgate-Palmolive and the other commercial floats made an attempt to capture the essence of the Puerto Rican culture. (Let me mention that I could care less about Colgate-Palmolive and the other business floats because as you said Clara, they haven’t done anything for our community.) What does rap music have to do with Puerto Rico?!? This parade was more Nuyorican than Puerto Rican!

    Where were was the bomba dancing? Plena musicians? What about recalling what makes each Puerto Rican pueblo unique? (Yauco — El pueblo de cafe!!!) Get the point.

    My BIGGEST disappointment was seeing the Latin Kings & Queens marching. What do those thugs have anything to do with Puerto Rican culture?!!!??? Shame on the parade organizers for allowing that “reformed” gang in our parade. Imagine what the cops were thinking………

    I can go on and on. But I won’t. I want to know what everyone else thought about the parade.


  6. RE: RE: it — agree & disagree
    I see your point in saying the parade was more Nuyorican than Puerto Rican. However, I believe that it is necessary to reflect all of our history as well as our two presents and possibly futures. This is really critical. Yes, there are very clear differences and yes, the Nuyorican, many of whom are poor and undereducated/uneducated do not know the history of the island or how they came to be in New York. But even if he/she were to know, he/she would still be different from those of the island of past generations and also of present generations. I believe this really needs to be addressed and dealt with on a regular basis–that is, we need to reflect on this regularly in order to deepen and clarify what we mean by being Puerto Rican (those of us stateside) and how that relates to the mainland–that is, Puerto Rico. I do not believe that island Puerto Ricans ever take up this issue and I believe it would be quite fruitful for all of us if they did. Have any artists or writers or filmmakers really examined this? I think not. But perhaps you know of some.

    Further, I guess La Gran Parada was like the proverbial snake: People saw or felt what they wanted to see or feel.

    I for one felt that so much energy and power was present and yet it was either undirected or misdirected. And of course, for me like you, this relates back to education. That really was driven home to me that our community is just not informed.

    I don’t really mind seeing the Latin Kings and Queens present. But I would like to see more of our NASA scientists present and scholars. They should have floats. Perhaps our theatres too. But before I go astray, I truly feel that education is our biggest hurdle. Hand in hand with this, we need jobs. Our people need jobs. We are a community that is divided economically and we need to see this. But what is our role in Puerto Rico’s future, and what is Puerto Rico’s role in ours? We need to look at this question really hard and come to terms with it.

  7. politics
    Politics is in everything, why not the Puerto Rican Parade. Afterall it is a good way of showing the people who you are besides the regular political debates. Puerto Rico has always been very political therefore to show the political parties is emphasizing our differences which ultimately makes the people.

  8. New York Post Editorial of June 13, 2000
    Pedro Albizu Campos & New York


    Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade was dedicated, in part, to the late Pedro

    Albizu Campos, who sought independence for his island homeland through the

    application of violence. In other words, a terrorist.

    Albizu isn’t the first gunman to be honored by organizers of an ethnic parade in New York City – and therein lies a tale of contemporary significance.

    Albizu once led Puerto Rico’s Nationalist Party. In 1936, he was convicted of trying forcibly to overthrow the American government.

    Then, in 1950, he attempted to assassinate Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Munoz

    Marin. He was convicted and imprisoned for attempted murder and possession

    of arms and explosives.

    Albizu was deeply involved both in an attempted assassination of President

    Harry S. Truman and a shooting spree at the U.S. Capitol that wounded

    congressmen; again, he went to prison.

    He died, unrepentant, in 1965 – yet he remains an icon of the “by any means

    necessary” caucus of the Puerto Rican independence movement.

    In this respect, Albizu was not dissimilar to Irish Republican Army

    gunrunner Michael Flannery, the terrorist who served as grand marshal of the 1983 St. Patrick’s Day Parade here.

    Flannery saw a united Ireland emanating from the barrel of an assault rifle

    – a notion which appealed to many, but which appalled men of conscience such

    as Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

    The senator refused to march that year, explaining that “The parade’s grand

    marshal has said, “This will be a pro-IRA parade.’ As I reject without qualification the violence of the provisional IRA … I cannot participate

    in such a parade.”

    On Sunday, however, both Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rick Lazio were enthusiastic participants in a parade dedicated to – there’s no nice way to put this – a practitioner of political violence.

    Clinton and Lazio, of course, seek to replace Moynihan in the Senate.

    Talk about defining deviancy down.


    Post Opinion | Editorial | Home

  9. Upper East Siders and the PR parade
    A friend of mine who lives on the Upper East Side said that his neighbors don’t really mind the parades on Fifth Avenue, but they do dread or despise–I’m not sure what his words were–the Puerto Rican Day Parade because of all the Parades, we leave the streets most dirty. He wasn’t attacking, he was just trying to explain the perspective of his neighbors who he also said really couldn’t care less for Latinos or African Americans. Something to this effect.

    I stated that firstly the City does not have or is not turning out sufficient resources to cope with the aftermath of the parade. Just in terms of size, the PR parade really dwarfs all others. Parades of 20,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 people do not create the debris or garbage that a parade of over 1 million people do. And this definitely has to be factored in to any discussion of the garbage left behind. I’ve seen baskets in the street overflowing in capacity. There just aren’t enough of them.

    Secondly, I thought the attitudes of the Upper East Siders reflected both class and racial issues.

    Thirdly, I thought it was important to realize that most of the Puerto Ricans in attendance are products of American schools and society in general, not Puerto Rican schools and society. This is usually glossed over but should be acknowledged.

  10. Obviously this guy didn’t read “La Mordaza”.
    I would draw an important point to the fore: The Nationalists never killed civilians.

    More importantly, Albizu’s movement would never have had to turn to violence if it had not been pushed out of the electoral realm. This guy needs a history lesson. (But don’t most newspaper editorialists? To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, its not hard to imagine this being churned out by some PRAVDA hack.)


    Statement by the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights

    June 16, 2000

    These are the reasons we say that the young men who carried out the sexual assaults in East Harlem on Saturday (6/10/00) and in Central Park on Sunday (6/11/00) are enemies of the Latino and Black communities:

    1. Anyone who forces themselves on women in any way is an oppressor. Our

    communities can only rise with the active participation and leadership of women and the broad acceptance of values which emphasize respect for all members of the community, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. We cannot tolerate any form of abuse or disrespect that intimidates,

    violates, or reduces the participation of women in our communities’ lives.

    2. Anyone who adds to the fear and instability of the community is an enemy. Just as we fight racist politicians, greedy slum landlords,

    uncaring educators and brutal cops whose actions terrorize and hurt our people, so too must we must denounce those among us who perpetuate these actions and frighten us into accepting second-class citizenship.

    3. This year’s National Puerto Rican Parade and the celebrations leading

    up to it told the world that the Puerto Rican people are coming together for progress and are united in our demand that the U.S. Government stop the bombing of Vieques, Puerto Rico. However, the actions of a few at the 116th St. Festival and after the Parade, undermined these positive messages and the honoring of Don Pedro Albizu Campos and Tito Puente — and gave ammunition to those who profit from keeping us down. Two

    million Puerto Ricans, young and old, celebrated our culture and our

    contributions at the parade; but now sex attacks by mobs of about 50 young men is the only story considered newsworthy.

    We call on all Latinos and African Americans to pass this message on. The youth who committed these sex crimes come from our communities. We must make them and others understand the seriousness of attacks on women and that their people reject these actions. For us, this has to be part of a larger campaign to educate young men about respecting boundaries and raising their consciousness that “being a man” is not

    about dominating women; it is about serving and protecting the community.

    We are also clear that condemning the behavior of a group of sexist men

    in no way implies that all men in our community are criminals. Given the

    NYPD’s history of racial profiling and indiscriminate “sweeps” of young men of color, we should remain vigilant against innocent men being railroaded in this case and against the Mayor using this to justify increased police harrassment of young men of color.

    Men should be punished for abusing women. This is another critical aspect of our overall fight for justice and advancement.

    When it comes to sex crimes against women, don’t expect justice from the


    The NYPD had 4,000 cops assigned to the parade. They very actively policed the parade. 2,500 cans of beer and 100 bottles of liquor were confiscated. They gave out 700 summonses. (Daily News,

    6/14/2000, p.3) Yet, they didn’t defend or protect dozens of women who were the victims of sexual assaults. This should not come as a surprise, since the NYPD

    doesn’t protect women within the police department itself.

    Just as the NYPD tolerates racism and discrimination within its ranks, so

    does it tolerate and cover up sexual discrimination and harassment within

    its ranks. This is part of the police culture. Take the example of Daisy Boria, the cop who broke the “blue wall of silence” in the Anthony Baez case. In 1995, she filed, and later won, a federal discrimination suit that charged that she and other female officers in the Bronx’s 46th Precinct were routinely sexually harassed by their male colleagues, and that the senior officers did nothing to stop it. (NY Times, 10/3/95, p.B6)

    Or the sexual discrimination suit that was filed against Chief of Dept.

    Luis Anemone, after Officer Maria Perhaes Wise objected to cops under Anemone’s command viewing porno magazines in the 34th Precinct. (NY Post, 10/8/95) There are many other examples. Sexual discrimination is part of the police culture, as are domestic abuse and alcoholism. The NYPD, overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male, does not train its officers to view race or sex crimes with the seriousness they deserve. We saw that once again in Central Park.

    (To contact the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights Justice Committee: 212 353-7825 or mailto:rperez@boricuanet.org)



    Please tell me what the Black community has to do with this?

    Alot! In case you haven’t notice, some of the Central Park perpetrators were black. And, aside from that unfortunate event, many Latinos live side-by-side with blacks. Thus, the youth of these two groups are inextricably a part of the same community and therefore, each others lives.



    Once again, we need to education young men about the unacceptable behavior that developed June 10th and June 11th. As a member of the Puerto Rican community,

    the New Yorican arts movement and the National Congress For Puerto Rican Rights – NYC Chapter, I ask everyone to support our position and forward this attachment to any and all young men of color in order to begin (or renew)the dialogue on sexism and violence in general.

    When I was a younger man, I left the world of drugs and street dealing because I had the honor of meeting Malcolm X as I nodded on Lenox Avenue and 125 Street.

    He whispered to me, with that smile of his, “Hey little brother, you need to straighten up a bit…” Not knowing who this tall gentleman was, I kept on with my nod. Several months after, having gone through my fourth overdose, hearing the “angel feathers” and sick to my bones, I decided to find away to beat this monkey on my back. After coming clean, I dipped

    (relapsed), caught Hepatitis. I got help and joined YLP. I decided to rebel and rebel hard. In short, I decided to fight back, but fight back for a cause not

    just because.

    Today, youth are still rebelling just because, rather than for a cause. You, the young men in my community, think hating cops and talking, reciting, Hip Hopping political rhetoric is being political. While in the same breath, you won’t hesitate to a) disrespect you

    parents (especially moms), b) devise, as my generation did, new forms to superficially assert your manhood by devising new ways of abusing sisters and c) get bent out of shape when your coats are pulled for being so superficial.

    An old piece of rhetoric for you to remember: “The greatest revolutionaries are guided by great feelings of love.” While I use this quote, lets not get overly romantic, and keep in mind that some of the “great revolutionaries” were among the biggest sexists in the world.

    Today, many young bloods are realizing what this email is alluding to. For example, this past Tuesday, at Cafe Largo, at a poetry marathon in support of

    Vieques, I witnessed a young hip hop poet pronounce to the world he realization of what struggle was really about. He spoke of participating in the demonstrations

    for Vieques at the UN. He, as I expected, announced how he took a bust for the cause, part of a planned action. He continued by informing the audience of his observations while in the precinct jail. Mainly, that almost all the young men in jail were there for drugs

    and/or violence. He then proclaimed that the experience changed his way of looking at things and that since then he had stopped smoking reefer and doing other things. This is real “revolutionary

    struggle”. I then noticed how he had also changed in his interaction with the women at the activity. In the past, he was his typical sexist self.

    This second action suggested that, for now, there appears to be a sincere attempt to change. This what everyone should be doing-namely looking at yourself internally and saying “what about me? What must I change to go forward in life?”

    It is the only real rite of passage for all born in the abyss we were born in.

    We need to understand what change really means and that youth has a role in the move towards our empowerment, but that role isn’t just self defined.

    I urge all of you to come out and join the National Congress For Puerrto Rican Rights and NOW-NYC Chapter in a demonstration against the violance the occurred this past weekend. Sunday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m. @ Central Park.

    gracias, Americo.

  15. The black community has plenty to do with this
    I believe half if not more of the attackers were African American–that is what the black community has to do with this. Although your question isn’t really clear. The black community should be involved. Al Sharpton recognizes this. That is why he has stepped in and is holding a closed meeting for African American male youth. He should also have one for female youth. Beyond race, there is of course, the class issue which is not being addressed at all. But what occurred late Sunday was definitely an urban American phenomenon. Not Puerto Rican by any means. As someone related to me, if this parade had been held in P.R. a lot of the behavior that went on would not have taken place. And, certainly, there would have been a lot of cracked heads for what is being called by the media a “wilding.”

  16. Should we even dignify this editorial
    Should we even dignify this editorial with a comment? Albizu is a hero of the Puerto Rican because he and the Nationalist alone stood up to the American colonial presence in Puerto Rico. We wave our flag so freely now but ironically to wave it 60 years ago would have meant being locked up. Albizu alone would go about at Nationalist rallies setting up flags all around. It’s really amazing that the U.S. banned Puerto Ricans from having their flag. Further, the liberalization of colonial rule came as a direct result of the Nationalist agitation–without it who knows where Puerto Rico would be today? The ignorance of the editorial really keeps me from knowing how to respond to it. It is as the great German poet Heinrich Heine once said: “Before stupidity even the gods are helpless.”

  17. RE: politics or politricks
    I agree and I really only wish that we could harness all that energy and spirit and really do something about our country and people here. It all seems so misdirected. There is for me endless irony in this parade–such as the flag history. But also, I feel, that while there is so much pride, there is also so much buffoonery–almost a self-mockery of patriotism. I don’t know whose conning who though.

  18. RE: The black community has plenty to do with this
    K Smit,

    I definitely agree that this disgusting and deplorable incident is more a by product of the American way of life as opposed to a reflection on Puerto Ricans. Woodstock ’99 is a good example of American youth at its best. Moreover, misogyny must really be explored and addressed in this country. This perhaps explains some of this behavior. [But, that’s another topic…..]


  19. RE: RE: The black community has plenty to do with this
    OK, you guys, thanks, I see that is true. Especially watching the footage on Dateline. In a sense, I feel embarassed, because I am Black and I don’t understand why particularly the Black young men would go to someone else’s cultural pride parade and act a fool. I’m also wondering if that is an issue among the Puerto Rican community in regards to the parade.

    I agree, its a class thing and an American thing. They say that European-Americans allow their children to behave any kind of way in public and that they do not discipline them. And I guess because we have been more assimilated into American society, we are behaving the same way. The last generation knew how to act like they had some “hometraining”; you would get a whipping just for acting a fool at home, but to do it at someone else’s house, you would get a beating. Obviously, these young men didn’t grow up that way.

    I think the perpetrator’s faces should be all over the news, the internet, in the city of New York, their faces will be plastered everywhere, even in subway stations. They will be embarassed and ashamed and probably won’t be able to get the time of day from any female once she recognizes his face. Then we’ll show society what happens to losers that disrespect women.

  20. RE: RE: RE: The black community has plenty to do with this
    Nika —

    There’s nothing wrong with non-Puerto Ricans attending the parade. And, who’s to say that the young Black men are not Puerto Rican? But that’s beside the point.

    What should ultimately be dealt with is the attitude that young men (REGARDLESS of race, ethnic background, social standing, etc…)have towards women. It seems somewhat “cool” amongst boys and men to be misogynistic. And, this is worse than the fact the hoodlums were young Black and Latino men from our community.

    Having not seen the Dateline episode that covered the tragic event (even if I had the chance to see it, I wouldn’t bear to watch), I wonder if any of the young men tried to defend some of these women?


    The balck community has a lot to do with it. If you saw the video tapes on the Central Park Attacks you will find MANY African Americans and Dominicans disrespecting women. I am not excusing Puerto Rican Men.. they should be doubled ashamed of themselves. Especially living in NYC we all know that Puerto Ricans and Blacks live among each other. Although, we have our own culture and they have their own …

    These young men ( of my generation) are very disrespectful.. Black, white, Puerto Rican, purple, blue.. Whatever the color…

    These men are the enemies…. especially for women who accept their behavior as Cool and Cute.

    Just look at how the Hip Hop culture portraits women..

    Could you go into more detail about Hip Hop culture and how women are portrayed. I’ve seen some music videos and find them offensive and actually was quite shocked that women would even allow themselves to be protrayed this way since some women in Hip Hop look pretty tough themselves. But women like TLC or Queen Latifa or Mary J. Blige are probably the exception than the rule. But I would really like to hear more on how women are portrayed with examples of bands. I could then try to see their videos.

    Being in Colorado, I only saw the newspaper accounts of the story. The broader point, however, is that we in the Latino/Black community have no sense of respect for our women. This does NOT include everyone. However, in the music our children listen to, women are “bitches” and “hos”. We but this crap, we allow it to be played in our homes, then we are shocked when some men go out and attack women. BTW, the role of the police in ignoring this nonsense is also something that needs to be examined (I’m going by the NY Times story). However, this is a symptom of the disease–we women advertising cars (in bikinis? What’s that all about?) we have images of beauty that seem anorexic, women still make 75% what men make, are not represented anywhere near their proportion of the population, we don’t consider raising children a “job”, so mothers don’t get social support, etc. The Central Park attacks, though offensive and disgusting, are in a sense, perfectly predictable. Until we begin to instill some respect in our men (and our society) towards women these incidents will occur.

  24. RE: RE: RE: Of course not….– I agree
    This would include recent revelations of the PR govt and FBI keeping dossiers on all sorts of islanders and thus keeping them from promotions, better jobs, etc. Lots of folks now know why they had a hard time in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s getting ahead–they were spied on based on the flimsiest of rumors, innuendos, etc. BTW, the best single volume examination of COINTELPRO, is by Ward Churchill. The book’s name is” The COINTELPRO Papers. A worthy addition to any library.

    So what are the politics here Victor, as you see it? Let’s take this topic by the balls–as it were. I think it started out as a question about having the parade dedicated to so many radical personages of our history. For example, Albizu Campos. Although, ironically or perhaps not so ironically, the parade is so nakedly commercial relative to others. Now, as a result of this “wilding” incident, we are confronted by a different politic. What say you on it?

    A few things: it’s disgusting how a few hoodlums have now overshadowed the Campos dedication–a few years from now, when we talk about the PR Parade of 2000, most of what will be said will go along the lines of, “Isn’t that the parade where those guys went wilding?” not, “Yes, that was the year Pedro Albizu Campos was honored.” So in a sense, all the hard work to get this dedication done has been wiped out (try the experiment: in 2005, talk about this parade and see what people talk about first).

    The second political point is (as mentioned in another post) is that our sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, etc. still have to put up with/live among men who have an impoverished view of them–this, in a country where slightly more than half of the population is female, and where (though pathetically few go on to college) women are already the majority on college campuses–setting up (I hope I’m wrong) a situation where these educated women will look around their ‘hoods and confront the same slim pickings African-American women have confronted: lack of educated, working, stable men.

    So, we have taught our men that women are to be “ladies,” the weaker sex in need of protection, not quite equal to men, “bitches” and “hos” coming out of our music, and then we’re surprised when some of these men actually take us seriously. Albizu Campos must be turning in his grave.

  27. RE: Should we even dignify this editorial
    I am not offended by this editorial,I
    do believe that it does show that we
    are a nationalistic people,with our own
    national heros who may not conform to
    what the U.S. may like,but most of all
    it shows the american people what a mistake it would be to make Puerto Rico
    a state of the union,and thus have their own Northern Ireland.

  28. RE: it
    Yup, I believe I made similar points on another post. It’s all part of corporate propoganda–just ask black folks every February when McDonald’s (and others) all of a sudden “support” the late Dr. King–ignoring of course his critique of capitalism (after all, wasn’t he leading a Poor People’s Campaign?).

  29. WOODSTOCK was marred by rapes and molestation
    People should keep in mind that Woodstock, which was a white, middleclass event, was marred by rape and violence against women. They didn’t call it a wilding but it was and, actually, a more extreme abuse of male prerogative. The point is this:

    Race and ethnic prejudice obscure the real issue of crimes against women.

    That’s why NOW turned out and demonstrated. But they really didn’t go all the way in articulating this point.

  30. RE: WOODSTOCK was marred by rapes and molestation

    You are so right. But minority groups can’t afford to make the same mistakes that European-Americans make.

  31. RE: RE: WOODSTOCK was marred by rapes and molestation
    I don’t know about you, Nika. But I am not a minority. People of color are the majority in this world–and in many parts of this country–and in a few decades will be the majority in this country period! The responsibility we have, as I see it, is in training our boys and girls to live better lives for themselves and for each other. Justice belongs to everyone. Our boys and men must respect our girls and women and vice versa or everything becomes meaningless. I know this sounds like an old cliche but we don’t really live this way–as this outrageously stupid “wilding” points to. Some of the “boys” involved look quite old to be behaving like “boys.” They are silly men who somehow failed to grow up or who nature bypassed in the evolutionary process. That is to say, I’m not here to impress anyone about how I conduct myself or how my people conduct themselves. I believe we have to build from within.

  32. RE: RE: Should we even dignify this editorial

    You’re absolutely right! In addition to Northern Ireland, Puerto Rico would be the second Quebec. The U.S. should talk to its northern neighbor and find out if it was worth keeping Quebec as a part of Canada.


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