El Sol Latino | May 2017 | 13.7

Page 1

May 2017

Volume 13 No. 7

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Puerto Rico at a Crossroads Highlights of the UMass-Amherst CLACLS Conference




Puerto Rico at a Crossroads Hundreds of panelists and attendees gathered for a two-day conference titled Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism held at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on April 13 and 14. The event, organized by The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at UMass-Amherst, and the Puerto Rican Studies Research Working Group (PRSRWG), brought together an impressive and diverse group of first-rate panelists and speakers. Conference topics centered around the current crisis in Puerto Rico, placing it in a historical context, discussing its causes and implications, as well as talking about possible strategies and alternatives to face it. The group of panelists and speakers represented a wide range of backgrounds - scholars, doctoral students, politicians, community activists, researchers, and journalists. We had participants from the Pioneer Valley as well as from New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Their varied viewpoints made for interesting and eye-opening discussions about the topic. Even when the main topic of the presentations was the dire economic situation and the humanitarian crisis on the island, the audience was also exposed to some new and refreshing viable alternative strategies to tackle the crisis. Some of the conference participants view the crisis as a historic moment that may present strategic opportunities for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. Many thought that this is the moment to begin the process of de-colonizing the island. Others view this moment as one that could spearhead a new agricultural model yielding more

cost effective results. In addition, some panelists emphasized the importance of strengthening the vital link between the residents of the island and the Puerto Rican diaspora. The importance of community organizations, social movements, and the strengthening of the civil society as the new motor for social change and economic development were additional topics mentioned within the context of opportunities brought about by the crisis. The issue of the high level of corruption that exists in many sectors of the government was interwoven in many of the topics presented due to its continuing impact on the island’s finances. For decades, both political parties that have governed the island have created and perpetuated a culture of corruption. Progressive journalist Juan González, the keynote speaker, closed the conference eloquently highlighting the impossibility of Puerto Rico meeting its debt responsibilities. The island is facing a May 1 deadline to restructure its $70 billion debt. At that time, a freeze on lawsuits against Puerto Rico will expire. González believes that it is time to change the narrative regarding who is at fault for the debt crisis. In addition, he thinks that Puerto Ricans should oppose debt rstructuring that seeks greater austerity and lower wages and wokinrg conditions, among other things. Note of the editor - In this edition, we are publishing abstracts of some of the papers presented at the conference. We encouge our readers to visit the youtube channel at UMass CLACLS where you may find the presentations in their entirety.

Foto del Mes/ Photo of the Month

Successful Teamwork at the UMass-Amherst CLACLS Conference

L to R: Carolyn Parker (CLACLS), and student assistants Joel Flores, David Ruymen, and Mabel Celestino

2 Editorial / Editorial Puerto Rico at a Crossroads 3 Portada / Front Page A Long History Of Wall Street’s Bailouts: Puerto Rico Will Not Be Different 4 Puerto Rican Needleworkers: A Laboratory for Neoliberalism 5 ESSA PROMESA! Cuál Promesa? Public Education in Puerto Rico Tinta Caliente / Hot Ink 6 Puerto Rico’s economic hardships and high crime rates 7 Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism 8 La Política /Politics Watched by the FBI 9 ¿Qué Pasa en...? 11 Opinión / Opinion Affordable Care Act: Still the law of the land 12 Puerto Rican Government Declares War on Dissent Arte / Art Cuba In Transition: Narrative & Perspective 13 Libros / Books Huracán 14 Arte / Art Loss, heritage and the artist’s life of Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría 15 Historia / History Nuestros Senderos Project documents Latino family stories Science / Ciencia MMR Vaccine and Autism

Cita del Mes/ Quote of the Month But PROMESA is bringing more problems than solutions. Recently, the Board—seemingly lacking both any understanding of basic economics and democratic accountability to provide checks against its incompetence – published its demands for the next fiscal year. The Board actually predicted that its proposals would turn Puerto Rico’s recession into a depression of a magnitude seldom seen anywhere: a 16.2% decline in GNP in the next fiscal year (and a further decline the year after), which is comparable to the experience of countries undergoing civil wars, or that of crisis-ridden Venezuela. Joseph E. Stiglitz, and Martin Guzman, “From Bad to Worse for Puerto Rico” in Project Syndicate February 28. 2017

Founded in 2004 n Volume 13, No. 7 n May 2017 Editor Manuel Frau Ramos manuelfrau@gmail.com 413-320-3826 Assistant Editor Ingrid Estrany-Frau Managing Editor Diosdado López Art Director Tennessee Media Design Business Address El Sol Latino P.O Box 572 Amherst, MA 01004-0572

Editorial Policy El Sol Latino acepta colaboraciones tanto en español como en inglés. Nos comprometemos a examinarlas, pero no necesariamente a publicarlas. Nos reservamos el derecho de editar los textos y hacer correcciones por razones de espacio y/o estilo. Las colaboraciones pueden ser enviadas a nuestra dirección postal o a través de correo electrónico a: info@elsollatino.net. El Sol Latino welcomes submissions in either English or Spanish. We consider and review all submissions but reserve the right to not publish them. We reserve the right to edit texts and make corrections for reasons of space and/or style. Submissions may be sent to our postal address or via electronic mail to: info@elsollatino.net. El Sol Latino is published monthly by Coquí Media Group. El Sol Latino es publicado mensualmente por Coquí Media Group, P.O Box 572, Amherst, MA 01004-0572.

El Sol Latino May 2017


A Long History Of Wall Street’s Bailouts: Puerto Rico Will Not Be Different by DR. MAYRA VÉLEZ SERRANO Assistant Professor, University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras This is a summary of a paper presented by the author at the Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism Conference @ UMass Amherst, April 13-14. To contact the author: mayra.velez3@upr.edu For the past years, whenever the case of Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis is discussed in the American media, the analysis automatically lands the following logic: “Puerto Ricans spent themselves into a fiscal crisis and now have to pay for what they borrowed; American’s taxpayers will not bail Puerto Ricans out, otherwise they will never learn.” This statement is problematic for several reasons. First it assumes that the debt crisis is solely the debtor’s responsibility and is only due to the demand for loans. Secondly, it assumes that collective the “Puerto Ricans” was the ones borrowing and spending, instead of those who were making the decisions and in many cases profiting from the crisis. Finally, it assumes that any possible bailout is to help Puerto Ricans, and not what I argue is the actual case, to help Wall Street to recover their risky bets. For years, I have been studying debt crises in different historical moments since the 1970s. Specifically, I have looked into the causes, the actions of mayor hedge funds and banks during the years previous the explosion of the crises and the actions of the United States and International Financial Institutions thereafter. I noticed a very clear pattern during 1980’s Latin America’s Crisis, 1994 Mexico’s Pesos Crisis, the 1997 Asian Crisis, the 1998 Russia crisis and the 2008 Mortgage Subprime Crisis: All of them were caused by speculation and risky lending by mayor private banks and hedge funds. Most striking yet, is that every single one of these crises, was followed by billions of dollars in bailouts. The case of Puerto Rico By 2012, it was clear that Puerto Rico’s debt was unpayable. Publications like Morning Stars were advising investors to “Watch Out for Puerto Rico”, yet by 2013 and 2014 Wall Street was frenetically buying up Puerto Rican’s bonds. According to the Roosevelt Institute, an American Think Tank, “$33.5 billion of the island’s so-called debt is actually interest on capital appreciation bonds (CABs) — the municipal version of a payday loan.” It is clear indebtedness is a two-sided relationship. It depends not only on a willing borrower, but equally on a willing lender. Yet, when the government of the Commonwealth clearly signaled a default on their payments, it wasn’t long enough when different Wall Street players started to take matters in their own hands. They ganged up into working on three fronts: Manipulation of public-opinion, lawsuits, and lobbying. Their efforts and the pressure from the Puerto Rican government lead to the creation of the Fiscal Oversight Board under the law P.R.O.M.E.S.A. Whether PROMESA itself is a bailout or not, will ultimately depend on the actions of the Fiscal Board’s 7 members. Just take a look at one of its member, Carlos García. He moved from being President of Santander Bank to become the head of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, the entity in charged of issuing the PR’s bonds. Under Garcia’s leadership, Banco Santander functioned as an underwriter for Island’s debt. Santander structured and purchased the bonds from Puerto Rico, and then sold them to investors. Santander was in charge of underwriting $61.2 billion in debt and received issuance fees of about $1 billion. It’s in his own interest getting paid for the loans he issued and also underwrote. Now this same Fiscal Board is implementing a series of draconian austerity policies. Even right-wing economists are predicting a more severe economic decline due to these policies. It is clear that Wall Street and other Bond Holders are trying to get their risky loans paid by the Government of Puerto Rico by enforcing these austerity measures. However, when these measures inevitably fail, they will turn, once again, to pressure the Treasury of United States for another bailout.

Now my question is: How long the Island will have to suffer through the waves of higher taxes and cuts on social services before Washington bails them out? Latin American Debt Crisis 1980’s

Mexico’s Peso Crisis Asian Crisis 1997 1994

Russia’s Crisis 1998

Causes of the debt crisis

Banks wanted to lend the money deposited by the OPEC.

Thought crisis was over. NAFTA was about to be signed. Mexico had very high interest rates.

Rapid capitalization of their manufacture industries using loans. Highest interest rates in the market

Russia opened its economy to foreign capital. Untapped potential. Oil exports was a great source of revenue.

Signals of impending bankruptcy

In 9 years, the debt quintuple in a decade long economic recession.

Current account deficit (means country is borrowing instead of lending) ballooned from $6 billion in 1989 to $20 billion in 1992

All these loans were invested but they all have low profitability.

Underwent a “borrowing spree”, with the help USA and IMF.

Their currency was pegged to the US Dollar.

These were short term (a month) bonds, known as GKO’s. Interest rates reached 150%

Loans to subsidize growth due to structural economic problems

Mexico accumulated $30 billion in dollar dominated bonds, with a failing peso Bailout

Baker Plan included a series of debt buybacks, debt rollovers, low-interest bonds and debt swaps Banking regulators (OCC) allowed banks to delay recognizing the full extent of their losses USA created $50 billion of Brady Bonds, fully collateralized by US Treasury IMF finally created the “Debt Relief” program so countries consisted of these countries using the Funds resources to finance operations such as repurchases of their own debt.

USA got $20 billion to save Mexico. It also was able to find $50 billion of internationally financed loans, disbursed by the IMF.

Created a bubble where investment and profit wasn’t matching.

South Korea alone got $57 billion the largest bailout in history. Other countries got another $14.5 billion

Barely collected taxes. USA Treasure pressured the IMF to dispersed an Emergency loan of $4.8 billion. It also injected $3.5 billion to Long Term Capital Management (larges Hedge Fund (who lost in 4 months over $4.6 billion, caused mainly to amount of Russian bonds it had.

Desde Puerto Rico para el mundo— "la primera y única emisora de tv con licencia para la historia"


Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino May 2017

Puerto Rican Needleworkers: A Laboratory for Neoliberalism by AIMEE LOISELLE Adjunct Professor of History, Holyoke Community College This is a summary of the paper “A Laboratory for Neoliberalism: Puerto Rican Needleworkers, Flexible Labor Markets, and Rationales for Exemptions and Incentives” presented by the author at the Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism Conference @ UMass Amherst, April 13-14 The U.S. textile and garment industry set patterns that fuel the current economic crisis. Occupation of Puerto Rico in 1898 provided public offices and private enterprises with opportunities to experiment with imperialism. They relied on the military but also trade, offshore manufacturing, and labor market manipulation. U.S. officials, industry executives, and island contractors recognized Puerto Rican needleworkers as a pool of labor easily calibrated to fluctuating needs. Those needs derived from constantly changing circumstances in many locations. Gender, race, sovereignty, and citizenship contoured the ways enterprises could respond. Puerto Rico opened possibilities because the Treaty of Paris did not address territorial incorporation, and the island had a tradition of women’s needlework. Needleworkers became flexible manufacturing labor: skilled women at lowest-wage on the island and lower-wage on the mainland.

In a needlework factory in San Juan Puerto Rico in 1942. Jack Delano, photographer. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Linking Puerto Rican needleworkers to the history of the textile and garment industry makes the women visible. It shows immigrant Northeast mill workers, Southern mill hands, and Puerto Rican needleworkers were interconnected but not interchangeable labor markets. The labels fostered separation and discrimination at the local level among workers, while generating an interconnected catalogue of labor options at the transnational level for managers. Decades of such manipulations went hand-in-hand with tariff, tax, and investment policies that established rationales for exemptions and inequities. When we study needleworkers, we also notice early scaffolding on which late-twentieth century neoliberal projects relied. The pragmatic scaffolding of work sites and bureaucracies was crucial to later “free trade” agreements. Neoliberalism also has cultural aspects, and a narrative for Puerto Rico represented the island as “the Other” in need of labor exemptions and investor incentives, which developed around needleworkers in particular. The 1900 Foraker Act drew Puerto Rican needleworkers into the U.S. and global capitalism as mobile, low-wage employees and nonincorporated insular residents. The act challenged previous precedents, and the 1901 case Downes v. Bidwell upheld the act. The resulting tariff fueled a rationale for lower industrial wages on Puerto Rico just as U.S. manufacturers increased their use of needleworkers. Companies bought island embroidery and began subcontracting garment designs. The U.S. government partnered with industry in 1908 to establish sewing programs, and sweatshops appeared in Mayagüez and Ponce. At the same time, the 1917 Jones Act accelerated the migration of needleworkers to the Northeast, establishing a fluid, dual labor force. The U.S. government fostered that dual labor force. It worked with island politicians to establish offices of the Puerto Rican government in the Northeast. The Bureau of Employment & Identification opened in New York in 1930 to issue English-language citizenship documents. On the island, the 1934 Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (PRRA) justified both lowest wages for textile and garment work and the migration of poor needleworkers to the mainland. The PRRA also supported Act No. 40 of 1930 that exempted new manufacturing facilities from taxes. In addition to the 1942 Compañía de Fomento Industrial and 1947 Operación Manos a la Obra, the Bureau of Employment & Identification became the Migration Division. Expanded offices served as an employment agency until 1989, assisting companies requesting needleworkers. Regional offices operated in Hartford, Boston, and Philadelphia, similar to current job fairs in Florida and Texas recruiting from the island.

International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union float in Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York, 1961. Courtesy New York State Archives, Digital Collection, from Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College-CUNY

Integration of Puerto Rico into the global economy as a laboratory for U.S. offshore manufacturing did not lead to stability or improved wages. Policies and practices entrenched the island as a site of exemptions and a source of flexible labor. The narrative of Puerto Rico’s desperation works to camouflage its vital role. If policymakers want to address the fiscal crisis, they must understand this history. Constituents have accepted “creating jobs” as a rationale for exemptions and incentives with cumulative benefits for managers, corporations, and investors. We have to ask, “How are jobs created?” A new approach should correct the narrative of the island as needing exemptions and propose policies that link employment, wages, finance, and investment in a package benefiting workers. Instead Marco Rubio proposed EMPLEO, more neoliberal legislation. Behind its promise of “jobs” lies the expected knot of labor, tax, and finance propositions. A pay raise comes at the expense of taxpayers who subsidize employers. The backend of EMPLEO further lowers the island’s minimum wage. The Manhattan Institute said, “Reducing the minimum wage should create many more entry-level job openings.” We recognize the persistence of that failed rationale, which goes back to needleworkers. Such policies have led to lowest wages on the island—which benefit elites while spurring migration to the mainland, in a labor market manipulation that undercuts mainland pay and benefits.

Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino May 2017


ESSA PROMESA! Cuál Promesa? Public Education in Puerto Rico by ISMAEL RAMÍREZ SOTO, UMass Dartmouth - & EDUARDO APONTE HERNÁNDEZ , UPR Rio Piedras This is a summary of the paper “ESSA PROMESA! Cuál Promesa? Transforming Public Education in Puerto Rico from Outside” prepared by the authors for the Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism Conference @ UMass Amherst, April 13-14. On June 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle, a case about double-jeopardy protections for Puerto Ricans, ruled that Puerto Rico’s ultimate sovereignty and right to self-govern derives solely from Congress. Thus, the so called 1950’s “compact” theory that for decades had dominated Puerto Rican politics had been nothing more than a sorry delusion. The status question of Puerto Rico is for now settled. Puerto Rico remains a colony, until Congress decides otherwise. It cannot grant itself privileges equivalent to those afforded to states, without expressed Congressional approval. This was confirmed in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust where the Court upheld Congress’ exclusion of the island in 1984 from the normal bankruptcy protections granted to municipalities in states while clarifying that Puerto Rico could not create its own bankruptcy law to reduce the $70 billion debt it carries over the objections of its creditors. Faced without a legal recourse to resolve the impending crisis, Puerto Rico petitioned Congress to derogate its 1984 amendment to the federal bankruptcy code. Congress refused and instead approved in July 2016 a debt-relief bill, PROMESA, stripping away any pretenses of Puerto Rico having self-governing authority. PROMESA imposed an independent fiscal board with absolute powers to carry out what Congress promised Puerto Rico: to restructure the Commonwealth’s debts; but in doing so it also empowered the Board to set financial priorities for the Island and intervene in any governmental acts that did not conform to those priorities. With financial ruin imminent, and the local government disempowered, the only path for debt relief rests now on the fiscal board, relegating the island’s government to a role equivalent to a “foreman.” The Board has shown a preference for extreme austerity measures reminiscent of the much debated Washington Consensus policies, except the ones recommending further investments in education, health, and infrastructure. In fact, the Board has done, with respect to education, quite the opposite. Of special note has been the exaggerated reduction of the UPR budget allocation of almost $600 million, approximately half of its annual budget. Such a cut amounts to inducing a deep reform from the outside, so deep that current university administrators, faculty and students agree would radically cripple the university as we know it, seriously compromise access to affordable public higher education, and substantially reduce its institutional capacity to continue offering graduate and professional education in the island. The National Democratic Party ... snubbing Puerto Ricans again? In April, The Democratic National Committee (DNC) E T Chair, Tom Pérez, announced N E I L A C r INGRID ESTRANY-FRAU the final list of people that po would be part of the so-called Unity Reform Commission. This Commission will come up with a plan to reform the Party. They will discuss topics such as the party’s presidential nominating process, the role of the super-delegates, and the caucuses. This Commission was a last-minute compromise between supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and those of Sen. Bernie Sanders during the party’s National Convention in July 2016.


The 21 members of the Commission were picked by Clinton, Sanders, and Pérez. Only 3 of the 21 members (14 percent) are Latinos. It is unclear if any of the three Latino members is Puerto Rican.

Ironically, this is happening at a time when Puerto Rico stands to benefit in the K-12 sector from Congress passage in December 2015 of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) through which it is devolving to the states and Puerto Rico political and fiscal authority to design anew their educational systems so that these can be more responsive to their needs and interests rather than to the directives the US DoE had made in their activist quest to lead and act as a national school board. The federal call to action embedded in ESSA is a call for transforming the current local education systems into ones that can turn out in great numbers highly and deeply educated people at a price the public can afford. This involves expanding access and affordability rather than constricting it; updating its educational facilities to meet new safety and digital technology standards; developing new socially relevant curricula that are more college and career ready; and improving the equitable allocation of fiscal and human resources. The latter implies states and Puerto Rico investing in education and working to staff schools with highly educated and well-trained, compensated and supported teachers and administrators who are respected as true professionals. The congressional call is for states and Puerto Rico to invest rather than disinvest strategically in the K-20 system of public education. For Puerto Rico, this represents a historical opportunity to transform its educational system from within in light of its new political and economic reality taking into account that until now what we have been doing for at least since 2002 has been the US DoE disciplining the system into compliance with federal directives under the NCLB. Many of these directives ‘effectiveness have been increasingly questioned and discarded. These have done little, if anything, to improve the island’s capacity to empower our student body to take charge of their future, to exercise their inalienable right to selfdetermination, and to put an end to the colonial relationship once and for all. The Fiscal Board through PROMESA is again thwarting this, with the consent of Congress and the federal government, forcing the island to disinvest in K-20, optimizing conditions to introduce again austerity and privatization schemes, promoting them as the most appropriate solution, embracing strategic performance management and risk assumption in educational policymaking and administration, and in the process dismantling the government, impoverishing the population, and making the island seriously co-dependent of its colonial master. The reform of the Puerto Rico’s fundamental institutions are to be induced from the outside through neoliberal fiscal reform initiatives that require us to do “more and better with less” for at least a decade. What should remain standing would be copies of what exists in the United States, nothing more. This might very well be part of the Mephistophelian pact Puerto Rico may have contracted with the 114th Congress in exchange for what amounted to a “promise’ of a better future: to create a mechanism to eventually repair the credit worthiness and keep the Island indebted ‘per secula seculorum.

El Partido Demócrata Nacional… ¿ignorando a los puertorriqueños otra vez? En abril, el Director del Comité del Partido Demócrata Nacional, Tom Pérez, anunció la lista final de las personas que formarían parte del Unity Reform Commission. Esta Comisión desarrollará un plan para reformar el partido. Discutirán temas tales como el proceso de nominación del candidato presidencial del partido, el rol de los super-delegados, y los caucus. Esta Comisión fue un compromiso de última hora entre los que apoyaban a la candidata demócrata Hillary Clinton y los del Senador Bernie Sanders durante la Convención Nacional del partido en julio de 2016. Los 21 miembros de la Comisión fueron seleccionados por Clinton, Sanders y Pérez. Solamente 3 de los 21 miembros (14 porciento) son Latinos. No está claro si alguno de estos tres miembros es puertorriqueño.


Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino May 2017

Puerto Rico’s economic hardships and high crime rates by JOSÉ RAÚL CEPEDA BORRERO, JD Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Inter American University of Puerto- Ponce This is a summary of the paper “How Puerto Rico’s political and economic challenges may have influenced social violence, criminal trends and policies” presented by the author at the Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism Conference @ UMass Amherst, April 13-14. To contact the author: jrcepeda@ponce.inter.edu or on Facebook, Temprano en la tarde por WPAB 550. This is an attempt to use critical criminology theoretical tools on the study of the relationship between both economic hardships and high crime rates. I would argue that Puerto Rico’s criminal violence can be attributed to three factors that are both violent and generators of violence. First, “machismo” a consequence of the hetero-patriarchal rule, could be understood as a perversion of the Bible’s cannon of patriarchy. Another factor, neoliberal capitalism, that required financial and industrial deregulation but at the same time, according to Naomi Klein’s famed book “The Shock Doctrine”, expected the government to control the workers, consumers and communities to serve their financial interests. Finally, colonialism and the resulting “colonized mind” as describe by Fannon and Memmi, is the process through which colonized people adopt the ideologies and values of their masters, but at the same time perceive themselves as inferiors or unfit to solve their problems on their own. The perception of colonialism in Puerto Rico took a dramatic turn in 2016 due to the decisions of the U.S. judicial and legislative branch that changed the legal frame of the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. from this point forward. On July of 2016, Puerto Rico v Sanchez del Valle 579 U. S. ____ (2016) put the Puerto Rican constitution to test when it stated: “the dual-sovereignty test focuses not on the fact of self-rule, but on where it first came from.” Put simply, Congress conferred the authority to create the Puerto Rico Constitution…” and end with the lapidary phrase: “The island’s Constitution, significant though it is, does not break the chain.” But nothing likes the PROMESA Act of 2016. The Federal law created a Financial Oversight Board for the government of Puerto Rico. The main problem is that this Act ignores the basic principles of democracy, especially those related to the

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participation of the citizens in the decisions that affect them. The U.S. shows us that after the 2nd WW, the solution to the 1930’s great depression was the Keynesian measures enforced that created the welfare state. Also as history shows us, austerity measures have never worked anywhere. Instead evidence seems to indicate that same strategies that worked for the U.S. may also work for Puerto Rico. That present great challenges, since Puerto Rico’s economy is peripheral to the United States. Due to our colonial relationship, the Island’s government lacks the resources to start an aggressive reform program as needed to restart our economy and eventually even repay the legal debt. It will require, a restructuring of the debt, but that only can be done fairly after a thorough auditing process. Also, it will require that the U.S. recognize its fiduciary duty to Puerto Rico as an occupied territory. As economist Luis Rey Quiñones has explained several times in the pages of Claridad newspaper and other media, colonies build debt in order to develop infrastructure attending to the needs of the metropolis (both military and economic) and not the colony’s needs, but people are made to think otherwise. The infrastructure has to be paid by the people of the colony which is part of the oppressive conditions that make colonialism a form of political violence. So while we know that the austerity measures will increase poverty and inequalities, it has also been proven that violence and social instability will increase wherever those measures are imposed. Corruption is another of the criminal activities that may increase and perhaps be covered up as a result of the work of the Financial Oversight Board. Curiously, some members of the Oversight Board come from the financial elite that designed, advised, and managed money from Puerto Rico’s retirement funds and other sources, as well as sold these plans. And, Congress facilitated the cover up preventing the Security and Exchange Commission from exercising jurisdiction. History has documented a lot of repressive measures against the protesters or those who exercise their freedom of speech and peaceful assembly protected under the 1st Amendment. Violence and social unrest follows in places where austerity measures, typical in savage neoliberalism, is in use. There’s no reason to believe it will be any different in Puerto Rico.

Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino May 2017


Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism CLACLS – UMASS Amherst • April 13-14, 2017

Opening Remarks

Panel - Labor, Human Rights, and the Colonial Crisis

Sonia Álvarez (Director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies)

Panel - Debt, Privatization, and Diaspora L-R: Solsireé del Moral (Amherst College), Aimee Loiselle (University of Connecticut- Storrs), José Raúl Cepeda (Interamerican University- Ponce), Ashley Ortiz-Chico (University of Connecticut –Storrs) and Jorell Meléndez Badillo (University of Connecticut- Storrs)

Keynote Speaker

L-R: Laura Briggs (UMass Amherst). Miguel Alvelo-Rivera (University of Illinois-Chicago), Francisco Fortuño Bernier, (City University of New York) and Marcos Marrero (Holyoke Department of Planning and Economic Development)

Panel - Dependence and Resistance

Juan González (Journalist and co-host of the radio and television program Democracy Now! Author of the acclaimed book A History of Latinos in America- Harvestof Empire “ )

Panel - Crisis: Analysis and Solutions L-R: Ann Zulawski (Smith College), Mayra Vélez Serrano (UPR Río -Piedras) and Sarah Molinari (City University of New York Graduate Center)

Panel - Puerto Rico: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism and Financial Despotism

L-R: Roberto Alejandro (UMass -Amherst), Agustin Laó-Montes (UMass -Amherst) María de Lourdes Santiago (Member of the Puerto Rican Senate - Puerto Rican Pro-Independence Party) and Rafael Bernabe (UPR -Río Piedras and member of the Puerto Rican Working People’s Party)

L-R. Roberto Márquez, (Mount Holyoke College), Liliana Cotto Morales (UPR Río Piedras), Jorge Duany (Cuban Research Institute -Florida International University), José Caraballo (UPR Cayey) and Emilio Pantojas García (Center for Social Research- UPR Río Piedras)


La política / Politcs

El Sol Latino May 2017

Watched by the FBI

Torres made his FOI request when writing a family memoir. The reams of documents included redacted sections, photos, leaflets, and names of attendees from longforgotten small meetings and large public events.

by LEHMAN COLLEGE NEWS CENTER | April 12, 2017 As a member of the radical Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) in the 1970s and 80s, Professor Andres Torres always suspected that he was under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his political activities. Yet, the extent of how much he was being monitored didn’t become clear until he made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in 2006. Torres acquired 1,100 pages of FBI documents that tracked the minute details of his life and whereabouts during those decades, including meetings, marches, pickets, rent parties—and even picnics. Torres, today a lecturer in Latin American, Latino and Puerto Rican Studies at Lehman, was reminded of the events of his past after the New York Times published a story in June on the New York Police Department’s extensive surveillance of high profile radical groups including The Black Panthers and The Young Lords during the same era. While not as famous as those groups, the PSP was involved in the struggle to end colonialism in Puerto Rico. The party was demanding an independent Puerto Rico and achieved their greatest successes, according to Torres, when they attracted 20,000 people to Madison Square Garden in 1974 for a pro-independence rally. Two years later, in 1976, they held a mass mobilization rally with 40,000 attendees in Philadelphia as a counterpoint to the Bicentennial celebration. Torres acknowledges that even with their successes and a legacy that produced changes in Puerto Rican culture, the group suffered from “excesses of ideology” and “extremes of doctrinism.” Like the Young Lords, the PSP was largely made up of radicalized young people whose parents had come to the mainland from Puerto Rico in the 1930s and 1940s. The organization’s roots date back to the 1959 Movimiento Pro-Independencia in Puerto Rico, a group of dissidents, university students, and militants that were influenced by the recent revolution in Cuba. Torres admits that the Young Lords were more successful at organizing and getting media attention than the PSP. “They absolutely had a greater understanding of how to make an impact on the media and on television,” he said. Perhaps not surprisingly, several of the Young Lords later became well-known journalists themselves including Felipe Luciano, Juan Gonzalez, and Pablo Guzman.

“The scope of their activities wasn’t a surprise,” said Torres about the FBI surveillance. “The assumption was that our phones had been tapped. They perceived us as a political threat.” In one FBI document dated October 6, 1975, the agency wrote: “Since November 1971, Andres Torres has attended approximately 210 functions of the Partido Socialista Puertoriqueno (PSP). These functions included meetings, demonstrations, conferences and social gatherings.” Torres notes that the FOI request yielded no information from other agencies that the PSP suspected were also spying on them. After the June 2016 New York Times story revealed the discovery of decades-old NYPD documents—records that a civil rights lawyer called “the whole mother lode”—Torres contacted the newspaper “Young people ask me what can you tell me about social change and it’s very difficult to find a formula or an overarching strategy that will answer that question perfectly,” he said. “I think we’re making progress. Each generation responds differently to how they will change society.” Andrés Torres teaches in the Latin American, Latino and Puerto Rican Studies Department. (Credit: Lehman Collge News Center).

Dr. Torres’ past publications include Latinos in New England (2006, editor); The Puerto Rican Movement (1998, co-editor), and Between Melting Pot and Mosaic: African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the New York Political Economy (1995). His most recent book is Signing in Puerto Rican: A Hearing Son and His Deaf Parents, a memoir about his growing up in an extended deaf family, “Puerto Ricans” and “Puerto Rican Civil Rights Movement”, entries in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Politics, Law, and Social Movements; and “Where Have All the Puerto Ricans Gone? Outmigration from New York City: 1985-2000” (co-author), in Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition, (Notre Dame Press), Second Edition, (2015/16).

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Matricule a su niño/a en programas gratuitos de Pre-Escolar y Kindergarten. ¡Son bloques esenciales para el éxito!

TRES MANERAS PARA MATRICULARSE 1. Asista a un evento de matrícula en nuestras escuelas

Explore programas, conozca al personal y la escuela, y complete pasos de matrícula y evaluaciones (incluye programas Pre-K en nuestros edificios operados por Escuelas Públicas de Holyoke, Head Start y VOC). Llame al 413-534-2000, ext. 1102 o 1103 para citas en estas fechas: 3 mayo (miércoles) 11 mayo (jueves) 17 mayo (miércoles) 18 mayo (jueves) 24 mayo (miércoles) 25 mayo (jueves) 30 mayo (jueves) 31 mayo (miércoles)

Metcalf School McMahon School Lawrence School EN White School Kelly School Donahue School Sullivan School Morgan School

8:30 am - 2:30 pm 4:00 pm -6:00 pm 8:30 am -2:30 pm 4:00 pm -6:00 pm 8:30 am -12:30 pm 8:30 am - 12:30 pm 8:30 am -11:30 am 7:30 am—5:00 pm

Niños deben tener 3 ó 4 años para 1-sept-2017 para matricularse en Pre-K. Espacios limitados en Pre-K. Los programas tienen diferentes requisitos de eligibilidad. Niños deben tener 5 años para 1-sept-2017 para matricularse en Kindergarten. Estudiantes serán asignados a la escuela de su zona de asistencia escolar.

2. Explore el Programa de Dos Idiomas en las Escuelas Metcalf o EN White El innovador Programa de Dos Idiomas ofrece educación bilingüe con oportunidades para aprender destrezas de lenguaje en inglés y español. La Escuela Metcalf ofrece el programa de PreK a 3er grado para estudiantes de toda la ciudad, mientras que EN White ofrece el programa para estudiantes en PreK y Kindergarten en su zona escolar. Llame a Amy Burke, Principal de la Escuela Metcalf, al 413-534-2104 para más información. Fecha límite para solicitar: 24-abril-2017.

3. Llame o visite el Centro de Matrícula de Estudiantes Busque una solicitud con la lista de documentos necesarios y programe una cita para matrícula: Calle Suffolk #57, Primer Piso, Holyoke | Lunes-Viernes 8am-4pm (413) 534-2000, ext. 1102, 1103 | www.hps.holyoke.ma.us

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El Sol Latino May 2017



If you answered yes to any of these questions, then join us for a Creative Writing Course focused on Women’s Experiences at Wistariahurst. Drop-ins will be welcome throughout the course which runs from from January to June, but pre-registering is encouraged! Facilitated by: Angela Sweeney M. Ed., a former Holyoke High School English and Creative Writing teacher as well as Drama Club advisor who now teaches English and Film at Western New England University.

Wistariahurst Museum: May 2017 Events Annual Plant Sale Saturday, May 13, 2017 • 9:00 am - 1:00 pm The Annual Wistariahurst Plant Sale is back! With the best bargains on all kinds of plants, carefully cultivated by our incredible team of volunteer gardeners, you won’t want to miss it!

Any Questions? Please contact Cheryl O’Connell at Wistariahurst Phone: 413-322-5660 x. 5166 Email: oconnellc@holyoke.org

Container Gardening Workshop Monday, May 22, 2017 • 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Welcome guests to your home with a container garden for your front entry or create your own private garden for a deck or patio. Participants will learn the basics of container design, pot selection, potting media and will plant their own container to take home.

Stock up for the season on all of your favorite perennials and annuals, while supporting the on-going care and maintenance of our historically-inspired grounds.

Women’s Experiences Creative Writing Workshop Tuesday May 16, 2017 • 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2017 • 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Do you like to read? Do you want to write your own poetry? Short stories? Short scenes? Your own memoir? Do you want to strengthen your skills in the English language while also having the opportunity to write about what matters to you?

Garden Workshops are presented by Wistariahurst Museum Gardeners & the Western Massachusetts Gardeners Association Wistariahurst Museum Contact Information: Phone: (413) 322-5660 • info@wistariahurst.or

Holyoke Public Library: May 2017 Events Learn in Motion! Wednesday, May 10, 2017 • 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm / Community Room Contact - Jason Lefebvre 413-420-8105 / jlefebvre@holyokelibrary.org COME PLAY! LEARN IN MOTION is a preschool age sports group that nurtures, challenges, and engages your child in a fun and secure environment. We believe physical activity plays the most important role in your child’s academic success. Our classroom is the field.

Publish your bilingual ad in El Sol Latino! Call us today at (413) 320-3826

Author Carol A. Leary

Author Samuel E. Abrams

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm / Community Room Contact – María Pagán 413-420-8101 paganm@holyokelibrary.org

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 • 6:30 pm / Community Room Contact – María Pagán 413-420-8101 paganm@holyokelibrary.org

The Holyoke Creative Arts Center Children of the Wild presenta The Wastelands Viernes, 5 de mayo, a las 5:30pm Sábado, 6 de mayo a las 5:30pm Domingo, 7 de mayo a las 3:30pm The Holyoke Creative Arts Center - 384 Dwight Street, Holyoke Children of the Wild, un grupo de teatro y filmación anteriormente en residencia con Double Edge Theatre, presenta su espectáculo gratuito, la ópera folclórica original The Wastelands. Una exploración del poema épico de Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, The Wastelands lleva el público en un viaje visceral al aire libre por las siete etapas del duelo, entretejiendo la música, el movimiento, los imágenes, y testimonio local vinculado con luchas locales para proteger nuestras comunidades de las fuerzas de opresión. Esta presentación es el nuevo montaje de The Wastelands en el oeste de Massachusetts donde estrenó en mayo del 2016. Después de la presentación

el año pasado en Holyoke, Children of the Wild viajaba de junio a octubre del mismo año, atravesando la cuenca de los Grandes Lagos desde Buffalo, NY hasta Minneapolis, MN presentando su espectáculo en sitios pos-industriales y zonas de sacrificio. Están encantadísimos de completar el círculo al regresar a Holyoke, MA este año. El espectáculo dura 75 minutos con una recepción y diálogo a continuación. La presentación es gratuita y abierta al público y cumple con los reglamentos de accesibilidad de la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA). El espectáculo será al aire libre y requiere caminar menos de .2 millas. Si llueve o hace sol, el espectáculo continuará igual. Por favor traigan un paraguas en el caso de lluvia. Visiten childrenofthewild.org/thewastelands para más información sobre The Wastelands. El evento se hace posible con el apoyo del Holyoke Creative Arts Center, el Wauregan, El Mercado, y el MiFA Victory Theatre; y también con los compañeros de la comunidad Nathalie Vicencio, Activista de derechos de vivienda y Nelson Román, Concejal de la ciudad.


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El Sol Latino May 2017


Holyoke Senior Center Ms. Senior Latina 2017 Jueves, 20 de abril a las 3:30 pm / Thursday, April 20 at 3:30 pm El certamen Ms. Senior Latina del 2017 se llevó a cabo en el Holyoke Senior Center el pasado 20 de abril. La maestra de ceremonias fué Carmen Morales. El jurado estuvo compuesto por Millie Rivas, Natalie Rodríguez y Darwin Jerry Cruz.

Foto suministrada. De izquierda a derecha. Ana Fines - Ms. Fotogénica, Blanca Ortíz - Ms. Personalidad, María Negrón - 4ta Finalista, Carmen Velázquez – 2nda Finalista, Millie Lozadaganadora Senior Latina 2017. Mary Arroyo –Ms. Simpatía, Gloria Urbina- Ms. Creatividad, Virginia De Jesús- Ms. Elegancia, Minerva García -1ra Finalista y Margarita Arona- 3ra Finalista.

Foto suministrada. Participantes del certamen frente al público en el Holyoke Senior Center

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Opinión / Opinion

El Sol Latino May 2017


Affordable Care Act: Still the law of the land Miguel Arce, MSW and Walter Mullin, PhD On March 16, President Trump outlined the $1.5 trillion federal budget for 2018. His budget proposal included a $54 billion increase in defense spending, the largest increase since the 1980s and one of the priorities of his presidency. In it, vital programs promoting community development, affordable housing and anti-poverty are proposed to be eliminated. This original draft budget was based on the assumption that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be repealed. This vote never occurred, leading to the possibility that other essential social programs might be also be cut.

Priorities set in a federal budget reflect politician’s beliefs about who should benefit from the government policies. Over the past seven years, the Republican Party has continuously attacked the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare. Assumptions built into the ACA are that all people, regardless of income, deserve access to quality health care, that a prior medical condition should not exclude a person from being insured and that all health insurance providers must offer “essential health benefits” (outpatient care, emergency services hospitalization, pregnancy/ maternity/ newborn care, mental health/substance abuse services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services/devices, laboratory services, preventive/wellness services and pediatric service). The real effect of the ACA is that it provides insurance benefits to low income adults. As a result of the ACA about 22 million people have gained coverage through Medicaid and government sponsored health private health insurance. An act such as the ACA affirms the connection between the government and the people. During his election campaign, President Trump said that once he was elected, his proposal for healthcare would result in more coverage, to more people, offering more choices that would be cheaper. He never disclosed how he would accomplish all this. None of the details of his plan became clear in the debate that occurred recently in the House of Representative. Beginning immediately after becoming president, Donald Trump and the Republican Party began work on dismantling the ACA. They focused on cost saving as more important than guaranteeing that people have a right to live healthy lives. They continued to work on this in spite of intense citizen, agency, and state government reactions. For example, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office assessed the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA) and found that 14 million people would have lost coverage next year under the House Republican bill. The Congressional Budget Office predicted an increase of 24 million people without health insurance by 2026. In Massachusetts, where 97 percent of residents are covered by insurance (the highest rate of insured residents in the country), Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, said “It’s not just bad for Massachusetts; it’s bad for the country” (The Republican, March 17,

2017). The Republican Massachusetts Governor had urged the Democratic Congressional delegation to fight the Republican health care bill. The withdrawal of the new health care bill occurred on March 23, after it was clear that there were not enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass it. This served as a defeat to President Trump who had made intensive efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Several days after the bill’s demise, President Trump stated “Obamacare will unfortunately explode…It’s going to have a very bad year”. A statement like this betrays the people who rely on government supported healthcare benefits. It does not assert any efforts on his part to address ways the ACA could be made better so that it does not lose its effectiveness. Statements such this one made by President Trump place some US citizens in the position of living with a government that does not view them as important enough to have a healthcare benefit that other Americans are entitled to have. If the Republican bill had passed, what would the new health care law have meant? Hundreds of thousands of individuals and families would have gone without medical care. Health care clinics, who served poor Americans, would have been crippled sending patients to urgent care or emergency rooms. With the ACA, however, people living in poverty have gained insurance including dental, dermatological, podiatry, mental health services and on and on. Quality and accessible healthcare is good for all citizens and the ACA puts the country on the road to accomplishing this. Walter Mullin, PhD (wmullin@springfieldcollege.edu) is a Professor at the School of Social Work at Springfield College. Miguel Arce MSW (marce@ springfieldcollege.edu) is an Associate Professor at the School of Social work at Springfield College.


Opinión / Opinion

El Sol Latino May 2017

Puerto Rican Government Declares War on Dissent by WILLIAM RAMIREZ • ACLU-Puerto Rico

This new development marks the beginning of a campaign of repression against dissent not seen in Puerto Rico since the 1970’s. What distinguishes this action from previous events that helped pave the way for an agreement to reform the Puerto Rico Police Department is the outright brazenness of the taking of a citizen from a public street by unidentified “officers of the law.” In the 1970s other countries engaging in these policing tactics escalated to what we now know as a Dirty War against leftists or “enemies of the state.”


Foto / Yolanda Pastrana Fuentes

Yesterday (April 23, 2019), the Puerto Rico Police Department began a campaign to arrest protesters; unidentified plain-clothed police officers (known after the fact), driving a private civilian car, arrested a college protester under the guise that she had incurred in an infraction of the law while at a prior protest. This arrest marks the start of an announced campaign against escalating protests, in which students and workers have been demanding that Puerto Rico’s crippling public debt be audited and that persons responsible for the financial debacle be held accountable.

JAMÁS Artículo II, Sec. 4, Constitución de Puerto Rico 1ra Enmienda, Constitución de Estados Unidos Artículo 19, Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos

It is now up to the Puerto Rican judiciary to make this right; the judiciary must uphold the Constitution and demand to see arrest warrants. Contrary to government actions, in particular, those of the President of Puerto Rico’s Senate, arrest warrants are not an inconvenience, they are the law. Unidentified cops in civilian clothing, driving private vehicles, cannot snatch students off Puerto Rico’s streets. If PRPD has reason to believe that a person incurred an infraction of the law while attending a prior protest - GET A WARRANT. We have from the start differentiated civilian constitutional policing from military policing, which was the basis for our initial opposition to the appointment of a military colonel to the post of Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department, which is the second largest police force in a United States jurisdiction. However, we were willing to work with our new police chief to push forward a sustainable reform of PRPD. We now remind the Governor of Puerto Rico, federal judge Hon. Gustavo Gelpi, and the Technical Compliance Advisor, that this is the reason why military colonels cannot be civilian police chiefs. Military policing is simply not compatible with civilian constitutional policing. Ultimately, it is the police chief who must be held accountable for these actions, regardless of whether she is acting under pressure and threats from Puerto Rico’s Senate President.

(April 24, 2017)

We call on Puerto Rico’s judiciary to hold the Governor, Secretary of Justice and the Superintendent of PRPD accountable and not allow them to continue down this slippery slope, from which recovery would be costly and painful. In 2017, dirty wars are supposed to be a thing of the past, a remnant of the cold war era. Let’s not take that road. It is now becoming more apparent that the Senate’s use of private security to do what a police department under a reform agreement cannot do; and, having unidentified cops in civilian clothes snatch citizens off the streets, are violating the police reform agreement, which would not tolerate these police tactics. Had it not been for the many witnesses, this encounter with unidentified agents would not have been known to the people. It would have been the student’s claim against denials by the government. The people will not stand for this, and the ACLU of Puerto Rico will not remain silent nor docile.

Shame on our government and heads of our security agencies; in a civilian society ruled by the constitution citizens participating in protest do not get snatched off the streets. That is nothing short of government-sanctioned kidnapping. To remain silent is to become an accomplice of this very serious violation of fundamental rights and the start of the chipping away at our Constitution. In the United States, the federal judiciary has fast become the safe keepers of the Constitution, not allowing President Trump to rule by unconstitutional decree. It is now up to the Puerto Rican judiciary to uphold our constitution. Because our judges are not lifetime appointments, the Senate President has also chosen to threaten Judges with the loss of job, as it did the “Secretary of Justice” and Police Chief. However, any judge that is fearful of losing her job for upholding Constitutional principles is no judge at all. Judiciary, do not allow the Constitution to be highjacked by the new political order. Stop this administration’s war on dissent. As this administration frequently points out - we are a society of law and order; to which we add, in a society of law and order the constitution is supreme. William Ramirez, Esq is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Puerto Rico National Chapter. He can be reached at aclupr@prtc.net.

Arte /Art Cuba In Transition: Narrative & Perspective Cuba in Transition: Narrative & Perspective is a new exhibition of large-scale photocollages and interviews by Northampton-based artist Mark Guglielmo running from June 1—25, 2017 at A.P.E. Gallery, 126 Main St, Northampton, MA. Each collage measures 5 to 15 feet long and is handmade by taping together hundreds, sometimes thousands, of individual 4x6” photographs. Neither a computer nor Photoshop are used. Culled from dozens of audio interviews Guglielmo recorded and conducted in Spanish, diverse Cuban voices and perspectives are presented on portable mp3 players. It is the New York-born artist’s second exhibition with the gallery. A bilingual community conversation “Narratives & Perspectives from the Cuban Diaspora” on Saturday June 17 at 2pm will include four local Cubans: Smith College Dance Professor Dr. Lester Tomé, Brattleboro-based percussionist William Rodríguez, Maricel Lucero, an ESL teacher at Holyoke’s Paulo Freire Charter School whose father is a celebrated martyr of the Cuban revolution, and Springfield resident Aristides Lima (80), who spent his first 50 years in Cuba.

An “Artist & Curator Talk” will take place on Thursday June 22 at 6pm. Both events will be held in the gallery, free and open to the public. Curator for the exhibit is Waleska Santiago-Centeno. Guglielmo received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Haverford College, Pennsylvania in 1992. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, The Sun, Rolling Stone, Spin, Il Manifesto (Rome), Valley Advocate, Preview Massachusetts, and Daily Hampshire Gazette. A former rapper and hip-hop producer, he has collaborated with ‪Eminem, Cut Chemist, Evelyn Harris, and Young@Heart Chorus, helping to launch their Prison Project and still participates in weekly rehearsals with the incarcerated at Chicopee Women’s Prison and Che Remix, 54x42” Northampton Men’s Prison. His instrumentals are

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Libros / Books


El Sol Latino May 2017


por SOFÍA SEGOVIA • Vintage Español (Octubre 2016) • reseña por CATHLEEN C. ROBINSON Después del éxito de El murmullo de las abejas en 2015, la autora mexicana Sofía Segovia trabajó de nuevo su primera novela Noche de huracán (2010), y así salió el octubre pasado Huracán, que traza la vida de Aniceto Mora y, a la vez, la historia de la isla mexicana Cozumel.

para borrarle al otro la arrogancia.” Desafortunadamente resulta que no puede borrarle el fantasma del joven muerto que le atormenta el resto de sus días. Los viejos revolucionarios le gritan “--¡Ya nos mandaste al demonio!...Tú te vas pa otro lado.” Una vez más se encuentra solito en el mundo; regresa a la isla Cozumel y se fija en la hija menor de los Nayuc, La Gorda: “no era bonita, pero era mujer…¿Sería que una mujer podía salvarlo, darle momentos de descanso, ahuyentar el miedo?”

Nace Aniceto en 1938 bastante antes que la isla se convirtiera en un paraíso de playas y sol al cual acuden muchos turistas extranjeros. Tiene la mala suerte de nacer en la pobre familia Mora que ya tiene demasiados hijos; por eso, su padre lo regala a los señores Nayuc, familia que tiene solamente hijas. El niñito se conoce como el Regalado. Pero la fortuna de Aniceto no mejora. Su nueva familia lo manda a vivir con sus cerdos exigiéndole que cuide de ellos; el pobrecito “anda en harapos porque es regalado, nadie lo ayuda, nadie habla con él, nadie lo oye…” Crece imaginando que su primera familia “se había arrepentido de haberlo regalado y que.. sus padres correrían a abrazarlo y a darle la bienvenida de nuevo al seno familiar.” Cuando esto no pasa, Aniceto “podía ver que había más mundo donde vivir”; huye, miente que sabe navegar, sale de la isla en barco, y “Los años siguientes deambuló sin meta ni objetivo.” Se convierte en ladrón: “Era robar o morirse de hambre.” Se junta con un grupo de viejos revolucionarios que siguen luchando a pesar de que la guerra revolucionara mexicana ya se había resuelto años atrás. Es la primera vez que goza del compañerismo.

Mientras pasan los años cambian las fortunas de la isla. Se construyen hoteles en las hermosas playas y acuden los turistas a gastar su dinero. Viene el rico reciclista Paul Doogan con plan de deshacerse de su tercera esposa Lorna quien lo acompaña: “ahí la depositaría. Como basura. Y en ese país de mierda poco interés tenían en la basura.” Otro turista Roberto lleva a su esposa Marcela que “ya empezaba a pagar el precio de intentar ser la madre perfecta: desaparecía como mujer, como pareja.” Roberto piensa recuperar la felicidad con ella de hace tantos años.

Pasa tres años con los viejos cuando un día tropiezan con el hijo del rico dueño de una hacienda “de todas las tierras alrededor.” Piensan que “Ese desgraciado tenía demasiado…por lo que decidieron adueñarse de la propiedad, porque ahora eran agraristas, querían tierra y La Revolución les debía lo que nunca les había dado a pesar de tanto servicio.” Pero es la actitud del joven hijo del dueño que enfurece a Aniceto: “tan seguro de lo que era propio, tan arrogante, tan confiado en que su padre vendría en camino a apoyarlo contra el ataque…frente a [Aniceto] estaba alguien que claramente le gritaba al oído y a la tripa: ¡truéname! Truéname si te atreves. Truéname si de verdad eres hombre.” Y Aniceto “tiró del gatillo

Y entonces llega Roxanne.

Los huéspedes y los residentes de la isla reciben noticias que pronto va a aterrizar el horrible huracán Roxanne. El conserje Manuel se ocupa de cumplir todas las solicitudes de los clientes mientras se preocupa por su propia familia afuera en una casa que no resistirá tal tormenta feroz. Aniceto Mora reaparece; con La Gorda, su mujer muy trabajadora y muy “calladita”, ha tenido varias hijas y un hijo que, de adulto, resulta ser el conserje Manuel. Aniceto se encargaba de uno de los dos faros en la isla y lo “atendío como nunca atendió a su mujer ni a sus hijas.” Pero vive perseguido por el fantasma del muerto y los remordimientos de todos los “hubieras” de su vida: “si hubiera hecho esto, si hubiera dicho aquello, si hubiera, si hubiera.” Al fin “Era sólo un pedazo de hombre…quería acabar consigo mismo, pero hasta el mar lo rechazaba, como si supiera que Aniceto Mora no merecía tal honor.” Segovia crea personajes inolvidables aunque a veces lindan con ser caricaturas; los perfila con toques de humor irónico. Sin embargo al lector le interesan y quiere saber qué les va a pasar. Entreteje las vidas de estos personajes ficticios con la verdadera historia de México de aquella época, en específico de la isla caribeña Cozumel, y del huracán que hizo tanta destrucción en 1995. *Reseña de Cathleen C. Robinson, profesora jubilada del español y de la historia de la América Latina quien ahora se dedica a escribir.

Arte /Art continued the soundtrack to hundreds of TV shows including Pimp My Ride and The Real World while his paintings and photo-collages are in private collections around the world. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, curator Waleska Santiago-Centeno, a graduate of Harvard University’s Museum Studies master’s program, has mounted more than 20 critically acclaimed Caribbean art exhibits in New England, including “Nuestras Abuelas / Our Grandmothers” at UMASS, Wheaton College, Westfield Athenaeum and the Wistariahurst Museum and “Madamas: Women, Madonnas and Mothers“ at Westfield Athenaeum and The University of Rhode Island. A.P.E. Exhibition: June 1 – 25, 2017 • Opening Reception: Friday, June 9th, 5-9pm • A bilingual community on Saturday June 17 at 2pm • An “Artist & Curator Talk” will take place on Thursday June 22 at 6pm. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. For more information, please contact Mark Guglielmo, 917-655-5719, info@ markguglielmo.com.

La Familia Lucero, 48x86”


Arte /Art

El Sol Latino May 2017

Loss, heritage and the artist’s life of Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría by JACKSON COTE This article was originally published on the Amherst Wire | March 29, 2017 The dining room of Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría’s home is littered with stacks of milk crates filled with over 500 books on Latin American, Japanese, German and Russian art, on artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, on the poetry of Pablo Neruda, on music and literature and on macro and micro economics. Her eclectic book collection, her personal artwork, which also lies in the dining room, her potted plants lining the entirety of her living room wall — the walls of which are painted bright shades of yellow, green and red — reflect Anaya-Alegría’s personal history as a native of Guayama, Puerto Rico, and her career at community development corporations and the Housing and Urban Development Department of the United States. Now she lives the life of an unapologetic artist. Anaya-Alegría is a retired professor of economics and fine art at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she now lives. She holds an associate degree in business administration from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, a bachelor of science degree in human service and a master’s degree in economics from the Southern New Hampshire University. Although Anaya-Alegría is retired, she still plays an active role in the arts community of Western Massachusetts, frequently holding artistic workshops and festivals as well as creating murals, watercolors and paintings. Anaya-Alegría started painting when she was 9 years old after moving from Southbridge to southern Puerto Rico, taking painting classes until age 15. As the eldest child of seven, Anaya-Alegría would take the bus to get groceries. These seemingly adult experiences enabled her to see a “different world” than that of her brothers and sisters, she said. She was exposed to her community and culture, as well as the art museums and open studios of the artists in her area. Anaya-Alegría’s mother was a major artistic influence in her life as well, painting murals regularly on the walls of their house. She noted how she would constantly observe her mother’s art. “I was always in her face,” said Anaya-Alegría. “When you look at Puerto Rican art, you can tell it’s Puerto Rican art because of the swirls and the color, because the sun hits us directly from above,” said AnayaAlegría. “We as Latinos tend to paint the colors that represent not who we are, but where we live,” she added. Much of the artwork created by Anaya-Alegría is composed of these same swirls and vibrant colors. A statement on Anaya-Alegría’s website notes her work is influenced by “the philosophy of the people, the history never told of our nation, in communion with the earth, the waters and the spirit, with life itself, with the shine of Puerto Rican being and feeling.”

She then decided to move to Northampton in 1995, from Lawrence where she had lived for 20 years. Anaya-Alegría had always been intimidated by painting until then. “I started to say ‘This is me. I have to do it.’ Otherwise, I’m going to die without being a painter,” she said. But she did not pursue art immediately. She taught in the English Department at UMass to ESL (English as a Second Language) students at first. She noted she came to UMass with other interests too, though, specifically a yearning to learn how to paint people of color and Caribbean people. “I go to my first class, and I’m going, ‘I don’t want to paint onions and fruits and fine shadows,’” said Anaya-Alegría in her home a few weeks after the Fine Arts Department’s gala. After asking around in the fine arts department, Anaya-Alegría was referred to Yarde, who expressed interest in working one-on-one with her. She attended his watercolor and oil portrait classes and stayed after class for an hour as she worked on her pieces and Yarde taught her individually. Over the course of the four years she spent at UMass, she developed a deep friendship with him. “I miss him,” she said. According to Anaya-Alegría, Yarde was a great colorist. He taught her how to “paint with movement,” “how pigments work” and how to handle the mixing of colors. “Use the white of the paper. That was a constant of his,” said Anaya-Alegría. She still uses Yarde’s advice, looking for white space to use in her paintings, sometimes creating symbolic shapes with the blank area. As far as learning how to paint black people, Anaya-Alegría found Yarde’s advice and artistic practices both helpful and unusual, mentioning his peculiar habit of painting his black subjects with blue. Anaya-Alegría said many people in the United States paint black people with the color black. Yarde’s work reminded her of the art she used to see in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean where using bright, primary colors, like blue, is more common. “He brought in a lot of blue turquoise, and that is a color we use a lot in the Caribbean, and I used to say to him all the time, ‘But teacher, you’ve got to have some Puerto Rican in you,” said Anaya-Alegría. She was excited when she heard his response: “He used to smile, and one day he told me he was from Bermuda.” Yarde’s teaching had the unintended consequence of helping her return to her roots. She was initially nervous to start and paint the “right way,” but Anaya-Alegría found confidence in learning how to paint in accordance with her Puerto Rican ancestry. “Letting me paint all that history, that kept me strong,” said Anaya-Alegría. Email Jackson at jkcote@umass.edu, or follow him on Twitter @Jackson_K_Cote.

Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría holds up and describes one of her paintings on Feb. 17. Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría’s dining room on Feb. 17, 2017. (Jackson Cote/ Amherst Wire) “As I was driving here, I kept thinking, ‘Art makes me happy. Art is happiness,’” said Anaya-Alegría at a recent art gala, held by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Department, to which she donated one of her paintings for auction. The proceeds were put toward the department’s “Arts/Access” program that gives children in the Pioneer Valley more access to performing arts, allowing them to see theatrical shows held on the UMass campus.

Alvilda Sophia AnayaAlegría’s dining room on Feb. 17, 2017. (Jackson Cote/Amherst Wire)

This practice of donating artwork is recent for Anaya-Alegría. She does it in honor of her late professor Richard Yarde, a faculty member in the Fine Arts Department at UMass, who died in 2012. “Every year he used to donate work here,” she said. “Of course, his work was worth $10,000 or more,” she added, comparing it to her painting which was going for $3,000. Anaya-Alegría came to UMass shortly after the abrupt death of her husband Julio Cezar, who she found dead in her home after suffering a heart attack. Cezar was a fellow artist, a guitarist and a singer, who she described as “serene,” “humble” and “sort of like a priest.” Anaya-Alegría lost some of her memory due to the trauma of the incident. His death served as a wake-up call for her. “What is it that you want to do when life is so short? And he was only 33,” said Anaya-Alegría. “This could be me tomorrow.” So, Anaya-Alegría decided to abandon her prior career to pursue one in art. “I’m not doing anything in my life except for art,” she said.

Alvilda Sophia AnayaAlegría holds up and describes one of her paintings on Feb. 17, 2017. (Jackson Cote/ Amherst Wire)

Historia / History

El Sol Latino May 2017


Nuestros Senderos Project documents Latino family stories The Holyoke History Room of the Holyoke Public Library will celebrate the first year of its Nuestros Senderos Project with a special event on Saturday, June 10, from 2:00 – 5:00 PM in the library’s Community Room. ‘Every Family has a Story (Cada Familia tiene su Historia)’ will feature an exhibit of local family histories, speakers, and a discussion of how communities can work to preserve their own histories.

At the June 10th event, six family histories will be highlighted and a blank storyboard will allow visitors to share a fragment of their own stories. Speakers will place the stories of the featured Holyoke families in broader context, and Joel Blanco-Rivera, Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, will initiate and lead a discussion on building and sustaining an archive of community life.

With the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Holyoke History Room has been collecting personal histories and photographs from families who migrated to Holyoke in the last 50-60 years. While something is known about earlier migrations of people of Irish, Canadian, Polish, and German descent, much less is known about the experience of migration to Holyoke from Puerto Rico and Latin America in recent decades. Many current residents of Holyoke are living sources of that history.

Special guests, Representative Aaron Vega and Manuel Frau-Ramos, will provide introductions.

Family photograph shared by Michelle Falcón

Last year, the Director of the project, Holyoke Public Library Archivist Eileen Crosby, notes that much of city’s history over the last 30-50 years can be told through the experiences of families and individuals. “But in the case of Holyoke’s Hispanic residents, little of this experience has been collected or preserved. Future generations will know their own family stories, but if these are not collected, much of the larger story will be lost.”

The Nuestros Senderos Project, whose title is meant to capture the ideas of both a physical journey and a life’s path, has been making digital scans of photographs and collecting memories from people since September. A key component of the Common Heritage Grant that funds the project is that participants only give permission for their photographs and memorabilia to be digitally scanned and shared with the public; all participants retain their original materials.

Science / Ciencia MMR Vaccine and Autism by BRYAN SALAS-SANTIAGO | bryansalas0815@gmail.com A very big and sensitive subject that exists in our society is the one about vaccines, that is why I will discuss what researchers have found, in addition to a bit of the history about this matter. I will start by introducing Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a former gastroenterologist, and the first person to publish a scientific paper showing a possible correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism (1998). This created a new field in science that tried understanding this novel and very important discovery. Scientists started researching this claim, many trying to confirm Wakefield’s finding and others trying to improve vaccines. In 1999, a year after Dr. Wakefield’s publication, a second paper was published, this one completely contradicting the initial findings (Taylor, B., et al. 1999). Scientists continued working throughout the years and different studies started coming out, many done domestically in the USA, others in Denmark, Australia, and India, even a study that included half a million people as a sample. In conclusion, no correlation was found between the MMR vaccine and autism (Ball, L. K et al 2001; Offit, B. P. A 2002; England, T. N 2002; Hviid, A 2008; Rao, T. S. S., & Andrade, C. 2011; Taylor, L. E 2014). With such astonishing consistency over the years, the scientific community decided to investigate why in Dr. Wakefield’s paper, a correlation was suggested. When reviewing the data more intensively, mistakes were rapidly found, including misleading conclusions, no control group, etc. Long story short, Dr. Wakefield’s paper was retracted in 2010. He was also accused of being given funding by groups with interests against vaccination production companies. Because he failed to disclose financial interests (every publication must show funding sources), his doctor’s license was also invalidated. Scientists and organizations across the world spent a great deal of time and money to disprove Wakefield’s claim. Yet, more surprising is how a single fraudulent publication can mislead big masses of people. This is not a controversy among scientists, it is very well established that a link between vaccinations and autism

This project is collaboration between the Holyoke History Room of the Holyoke Public Library and the Puerto Rican Cultural Project with the support of The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CENTRO). While this marks the end of the grantfunded portion of the project, the Holyoke History Room aims to continue to build Family photograph shared by Michelle Falcón the digital archive started with the Nuestros Senderos Project. Those with an interest in contributing their stories or memories, or volunteering on the project, should contact Holyoke History Room Archivist Eileen Crosby: ecrosby@ holyokelibrary.org, (413) 420-8107, or in person at the library. https://www. facebook.com/nuestrossenderosholyoke/ http://www.holyokelibrary.org/historynews. asp The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Photograph shared by the Fernández family

doesn’t exist. Even though scientists know this, there is a lot of information that in my opinion misleads what it is already proven and established about vaccines. The truth is that nobody really knows what causes autism. Some scientists have found a genetic component: they can track genes and see how they are different when compared with someone who doesn’t have autism. Many suggest it can happen during the fetal development. Others suggest environmental causes, but no one is sure about the straight answer. This is one of the main reasons I am a big supporter for doing more, better science, and it is a big part of my interest to try keep people updated with the most recent data available. Because vaccines are submitted into babies typically at the age when autism can be detected, it makes perfect sense why the fear of vaccines exists. Humans are adapted to recognize patterns, and if they affect our progeny it becomes our top priority. So, it makes perfect sense why many parents have noticed this pattern and conclude that vaccines are the cause. Something I want to remind everyone, correlation does not prove causation and based on the evidence provided by research we can prove that there is no link between the two. This debate over this subject might be happening for two main reasons. In my opinion the first reason is the Big Pharma (I think this is self-explanatory). Our current health system is designed in a way so that pharmaceutical companies make money when we become sick. When the day comes that our health care becomes a basic human right, maybe our health system will improve to higher standards. The second reason in my opinion is that it is related to our babies. It is in our instinct to always protect our kids and autism is something that every parent fears their kid will develop. So, if you know that something might affect your kid, it is only natural that anyone would do anything to protect him or her from anything that might be in his or her path. As a father of a 5-month-old baby, this topic is one that I take very personally and seriously. Therefore, my wife and I decided to completely vaccinate our baby, using as a basis for our decision the overwhelmingly clear data that the MMR vaccine is not linked to autism. I am not expecting anyone to change their mind on this topic. My goal is for everyone reading this to know the facts before making a personal decision. It is the least that I can do for my community.


El Sol Latino May 2017

HAGA VALER SU VERANO ¡Obtenga créditos adicionales, cumpla los requisitos del título, salga adelante! en línea en el recinto transferibles Las clases comienzan el 5 de junio www.hcc.edu

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