Trying to write some nonfiction for workshop about visiting Puerto Rico for the first time.

I did not anticipate how often I would feel like crying.

Puerto Rico No Longer Home?

beholdtheboricua:

According to this article in El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest daily, 76% of islanders want to leave, about 50% of those say they wouldn’t return, and 76,000 have left in 2011 alone. As unfortunate as it is, my concern is not so much about what happens to the island in their absence but more so what is (and will) happening to our Diaspora communities. What will become of our future and how can a dialogue spring from this? FYI, a Boricua diaspora magazine is coming….

I’ve never lived in PR but I would go back and stay there if I could.

Yuzia-Taino Cacique

boricuasbond:

image

Above: Detail of artist Samuel Lind’s ‘Yuiza’, Indian Cacique Chief.

The Legends of Loiza are many but perhaps the most popular one is about the only female Taino Cacique ( chief) named Yuiza ( Yuisa, Loaiza, Luisa, Loiza). Of all the Taino Chiefs of the Caribbean there were only two who were women, only one in Boriken ( Puerto Rico).

When the Spanish Conquistadores invaded Puerto Rico and enslaved the Taino Indians the indians resisted. They never adapted to slavery, most of the Taino men were killed. Many of the women lived on as wives of the spanish sailors.

Legend has it (that to protect her people) Yuiza became the lover of mixed conquistador Pedro Mejias and because of this she was killed by other Taino Caciques ( who felt she was a traitor to have been with a spaniard). She actually was a hero and greatly admired by her own tribal people, even today. This may be the legend that gives meaning to the mix in Loiza of black Africans and Taino Indian, or it may, in fact be a historical truth. In actual fact, there are no historical documents to prove this, her marriage with Mejias.

History records show that the colonial government of Puerto Rico, by a crown decree from Spain in the 1600’s, was instructed to place runaway slaves from the British colonies in what is today Loiza Aldea. This area was chosen by the Crown because it was the weakest flank of defense of the island, and they hoped that the freed slaves would help defend the island against British invaders. It is said that the majority of these Africans were from Nigeria.

Somewhat inexplicable would be the great quantity of fishermen among the people of Loiza Aldea. Fishing by escaped slaves was considered an aberration because slaves were traditionally taught a fear of the sea as a way to keep them enslaved. Historians argue that the Africans of Loiza developed their fishing skills through direct contact with the Tainos of Puerto Rico. The presence of Amerindian mtDNA in Loiza, supports this hypothesis. Loiza is populated by the largest community of African descendents on the island of Puerto Rico

” . . The legend is that the name Loiza was that of a Taino woman, Chief Loiza or Yuisa, who governed a territory called Jaymanio in the margins of the Cayrabon river now named the Rio Grande de Loiza.”

… let us stick to the legend of this stately Taino Chief, Yuiza. In 1972 an artist from Loiza had a vision in which Loaiza came to her. She ( Lolita Cuevas) painted her vision in the dark at 2 am. Loaiza spoke to her and asked her to paint her but said she would not return. This drawing now hangs in City Hall in Loiza.

Below is the drawing made by Lolita Cuevas, from her vision.

image

Source:http://elyunque.com/loiza.htm

Afro-Puerto Ricans and US rule

bellavidaletty:

Afro-Puerto Ricans continued to be in the forefront of the struggle for civil rights in Puerto Rico even after the abolition of slavery.

Puerto Rico was granted autonomy in 1897 and following the Spanish-American War (1898), the island was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris, on 10 December 1898. The United States established military rule installed a governor, appointed by the president of the United States and limited local political activity.

Local political leaders demanded participation and change. Some like the Afro-Puerto Rican Pedro Albizu Campos who initiated the nationalist movement in favour of Puerto Rican independence was accused of conspiring to overthrow the US Government and imprisoned. Campos who created The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party was motivated to denounce the American imperial presence by the racism he experienced as an officer in an all black unit of the United States Army.

Likewise another Afro-Puerto Rican politician José Celso Barbosa (1857-1921) who is known as the ‘Father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico’ founded the pro-statehood Puerto Rican Republican Party in 1899.

The fact that the independence movement was deeply rooted in Afro Puerto Rican anti-slavery sentiments and the search for dignity and respect as ‘people of colour’ is exemplified in the work of the well-known Afro-Puerto Rican political thinker and advocate for the island’s independence: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938).

Schomburg became known in the United States as the ‘Father of Black History’ and his collection of historical documents and writings are housed in the New York Museum that bears his name. Among other actions, Schomburg coined the term ‘Afroborincano’ which simultaneously acknowledged the indigenous name of the country as well as the African presence.

The granting of citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1917 allowed many Afro-Puerto Ricans to live in the US and move freely back and forth and especially enabled them to place their reality into a larger context. Having to confront US style segregation and racism helped put their own prejudices and self-perceptions into perspective. For some this has led to greater efforts to seek out information and promote the African part of their ancestry. This includes an increased interest in African history and efforts to establish greater linkages with other Afro descendants in the Diaspora especially in the United States and the Caribbean.”

READ MORE HERE

Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Puerto Rico : Afro-Puerto Ricans, 2008, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/49749cc73c.html [accessed 29 November 2012]

triguenaista:

discipleofkreia:

Above is a more accurate picture of a modern Taino. XD
For those of you who don’t know, the Tainos were the first Native Americans ever encountered by European colonists. They were friendly, peaceful islanders whose only real problems were raids from the more savage Carib tribe. Columbus described them as tall and slender, in contrast to the mainland central tribes who were short and stocky.
The Tainos were fishermen and hunters of small game. My ancestors in particular, the Classical Tainos, were more organized and advanced and were very good farmers that could very well have rivaled American farmers before the Dust Bowl. Their villages were usually circular grass huts with the chief, or cacique, living in a rectangular hut with a porch. They had an aristocracy that was called the nitaino class, and the commoners were called naborios.
Unlike the very advanced societies of the Central and South Americas, my ancestors did not practice human sacrifice or cannibalism. They were ancestors worshippers and had gods for their cash crops. They had priests who were used for divine communication and healing.
Their language is an Arawakan dialect that was spoken by many of the islanders, including the enemy Carib women due to the Carib tribesmen capturing Taino women for their wives. Columbus described the language as beautiful with a laugh at the end of every sentence. Their language is still conserved in some aspects, and the names of the former villages still live on (Mayaguez, for example). Some of their names live on as well, although they have gone out of style due to American influence. My personal favorite is Akiyu.
Music-wise, they were the ones who created the güiro and the maracas. That’s right, maracas are Puerto Rican, not Mexican.
Taino art usually consisted of white-on-red pottery paintings, statues, and glyphs. Their art was simplistic in comparison to the art of the mainlanders. Clothing was made of cotton and was usually in the form of skirts, headbands, and stone jewelry. Gold was not mined, but found in gravel and used for jewelry and piercings.
Today, there are no full blood Tainos left. The people who weren’t killed the epidemics of European disease assimilated into the society of the Spanish colonies. Many married into the Spanish or had relationships with fellow African slaves. In Puerto Rico, you may still find some islanders that have the thick straight hair, dark skin, and hooked noses of the natives. My own grandfather on my mother’s side appears the most native in my family and I myself stand apart my more Spanish-looking family members with my native nose. Native blood doesn’t always run as thick with most islanders having 10-15% of native genes.
There are some people who embrace their native heritage by dressing up and performing some rituals that were recorded. While I support this conservation of culture, I don’t approve of Puerto Ricans claiming that they are the Tainos and aren’t extinct. I appreciate it even less when they encourage other Puerto Ricans to forsake their Spanish and African heritages. You want to find a pure Taino? Look at the picture because that’s as close as you’re going to get.

Excuse you, but, who the fuck are you to police our heritage? 
For one, you’re wrong and not even just a wee bit, but COMPLETELY wrong. No islander from PR “forsakes” their African or Spanish heritages, but we do value our Taino heritages as well. Yes, it’s a complicated heratige, to be proud of our Taino and african roots and the Spainish who imprisoned and killed them. But it’s ours.
You must not read a whole lot or keep up with the news, because it’s been PROVEN that more than 61% of Islanders have STRONG native roots (there are family lines that have up to 50 to 65% native blood). Sorry that science and DNA has proven your whiteness wrong. 
We may not have 100% tainos left (big thanks to genocide for that), but we’re still there and you have no right to belittle what’s left. 
You have some serious internalized racist, xenophobic and neocolonial problems, you should get them checked.

I kinda wanted to bold it all, because your commentary is on point.

triguenaista:

discipleofkreia:

Above is a more accurate picture of a modern Taino. XD

For those of you who don’t know, the Tainos were the first Native Americans ever encountered by European colonists. They were friendly, peaceful islanders whose only real problems were raids from the more savage Carib tribe. Columbus described them as tall and slender, in contrast to the mainland central tribes who were short and stocky.

The Tainos were fishermen and hunters of small game. My ancestors in particular, the Classical Tainos, were more organized and advanced and were very good farmers that could very well have rivaled American farmers before the Dust Bowl. Their villages were usually circular grass huts with the chief, or cacique, living in a rectangular hut with a porch. They had an aristocracy that was called the nitaino class, and the commoners were called naborios.

Unlike the very advanced societies of the Central and South Americas, my ancestors did not practice human sacrifice or cannibalism. They were ancestors worshippers and had gods for their cash crops. They had priests who were used for divine communication and healing.

Their language is an Arawakan dialect that was spoken by many of the islanders, including the enemy Carib women due to the Carib tribesmen capturing Taino women for their wives. Columbus described the language as beautiful with a laugh at the end of every sentence. Their language is still conserved in some aspects, and the names of the former villages still live on (Mayaguez, for example). Some of their names live on as well, although they have gone out of style due to American influence. My personal favorite is Akiyu.

Music-wise, they were the ones who created the güiro and the maracas. That’s right, maracas are Puerto Rican, not Mexican.

Taino art usually consisted of white-on-red pottery paintings, statues, and glyphs. Their art was simplistic in comparison to the art of the mainlanders. Clothing was made of cotton and was usually in the form of skirts, headbands, and stone jewelry. Gold was not mined, but found in gravel and used for jewelry and piercings.

Today, there are no full blood Tainos left. The people who weren’t killed the epidemics of European disease assimilated into the society of the Spanish colonies. Many married into the Spanish or had relationships with fellow African slaves. In Puerto Rico, you may still find some islanders that have the thick straight hair, dark skin, and hooked noses of the natives. My own grandfather on my mother’s side appears the most native in my family and I myself stand apart my more Spanish-looking family members with my native nose. Native blood doesn’t always run as thick with most islanders having 10-15% of native genes.

There are some people who embrace their native heritage by dressing up and performing some rituals that were recorded. While I support this conservation of culture, I don’t approve of Puerto Ricans claiming that they are the Tainos and aren’t extinct. I appreciate it even less when they encourage other Puerto Ricans to forsake their Spanish and African heritages. You want to find a pure Taino? Look at the picture because that’s as close as you’re going to get.

Excuse you, but, who the fuck are you to police our heritage? 

For one, you’re wrong and not even just a wee bit, but COMPLETELY wrong. No islander from PR “forsakes” their African or Spanish heritages, but we do value our Taino heritages as well. Yes, it’s a complicated heratige, to be proud of our Taino and african roots and the Spainish who imprisoned and killed them. But it’s ours.

You must not read a whole lot or keep up with the news, because it’s been PROVEN that more than 61% of Islanders have STRONG native roots (there are family lines that have up to 50 to 65% native blood). Sorry that science and DNA has proven your whiteness wrong. 

We may not have 100% tainos left (big thanks to genocide for that), but we’re still there and you have no right to belittle what’s left. 

You have some serious internalized racist, xenophobic and neocolonial problems, you should get them checked.

I kinda wanted to bold it all, because your commentary is on point.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

A US postage stamp commemorating the inauguration of the first democratically-elected governor of Puerto Rico on January 2, 1949 was released in April of that same year.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

A US postage stamp commemorating the inauguration of the first democratically-elected governor of Puerto Rico on January 2, 1949 was released in April of that same year.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Today In Latin American History
Pioneering Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player Roberto Clemente died in an airplane accident on December 31, 1972 while en route to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame the following year.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Today In Latin American History

Pioneering Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player Roberto Clemente died in an airplane accident on December 31, 1972 while en route to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame the following year.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Roberto Clemente (standing, fourth from right) was part of the Puerto Rican team (Cangrejeros de Santurce) at the 1958 Caribbean Series.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Roberto Clemente (standing, fourth from right) was part of the Puerto Rican team (Cangrejeros de Santurce) at the 1958 Caribbean Series.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Nicaraguan postage stamp honoring the late Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente, who died in an airplane accident while delivering emergency supplies to the country after an earthquake in 1972.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Nicaraguan postage stamp honoring the late Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente, who died in an airplane accident while delivering emergency supplies to the country after an earthquake in 1972.

Roots of Racism in Puerto Rico

bellavidaletty:

In order to limit the possibility of a rebellion or local independence the Spanish government imposed draconian racist laws, such as ‘El Bando contra La Raza Africana’, to control the behavior of all Puerto Ricans of African origin whether slave or free.

With European settlers having official sanction, instances of cruelty towards the African workforce were routine. This helped to establish relationships in the society such as the low regard for African ancestry and African culture in general including devaluing dark skin colour and attendant hair texture.

Plantation conditions led to a number of uprisings from the early 1820s until 1868 including El Grito de Lares of September 1868, when enslaved Africans who were promised their freedom rebelled against Spain. Although the uprisings were all quickly suppressed they helped to hasten the eventual abolition of slavery on Puerto Rico in 1873 some fifty years after it had ended almost every where else in the Caribbean.

The majority of the freed slaves continued working on the same plantations, however they did get paid for their labour This arrangement was made considerably easier for the owners who were financially compensated for the loss of their chattel labour.”

READ MORE HERE

Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Puerto Rico : Afro-Puerto Ricans, 2008, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/49749cc73c.html [accessed 29 November 2012]

reclaimingthelatinatag:

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Isabel Rosado Morales is a militant of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party who turned 105 years old on November 5. She became active in the Puerto Rican independence movement following the 1937 Ponce Massacre. She was arrested, fired from her job as a school social worker, and jailed for 15 months after the 1950 Jayuya uprising, although she was not a participant. Following the 1954 Nationalist armed action in the U.S. Capitol, police raided the party’s San Juan headquarters. Rosado was arrested and thrown in prison for another 11 years. Unable to get work because of her imprisonment, Rosado today makes her living sewing and crocheting while remaining active in the Puerto Rican anti-colonial struggle.

Our hats off to Doña Isabel Rosado Morales!

reclaimingthelatinatag:

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Isabel Rosado Morales is a militant of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party who turned 105 years old on November 5. She became active in the Puerto Rican independence movement following the 1937 Ponce Massacre. She was arrested, fired from her job as a school social worker, and jailed for 15 months after the 1950 Jayuya uprising, although she was not a participant. Following the 1954 Nationalist armed action in the U.S. Capitol, police raided the party’s San Juan headquarters. Rosado was arrested and thrown in prison for another 11 years. Unable to get work because of her imprisonment, Rosado today makes her living sewing and crocheting while remaining active in the Puerto Rican anti-colonial struggle.

Our hats off to Doña Isabel Rosado Morales!

iiamfreebitches:

El q no quiere su patria,
no quiere a su madre.

iiamfreebitches:

El q no quiere su patria,

no quiere a su madre.

The Taiwanese Explain Puerto Rico’s Status Plebiscite

univisionnews:

Puerto Ricans rejoice! We made it!

By NURIA NET

You know you’ve made news when the Taiwanese make a virtual telenovela news segment out of you.

Read More

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Detail showing Puerto Rico (marked with its Taíno name, Boriquen) as well as the island of Hispaniola (Spagnolla Insvla) and the Virgin Islands, from German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map, Universalis Cosmographia. The fleet of Christopher Columbus became the first group of Europeans to set foot on the island of Puerto Rico on November 19, 1493.

That don’t even look like PR.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Detail showing Puerto Rico (marked with its Taíno name, Boriquen) as well as the island of Hispaniola (Spagnolla Insvla) and the Virgin Islands, from German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map, Universalis Cosmographia. The fleet of Christopher Columbus became the first group of Europeans to set foot on the island of Puerto Rico on November 19, 1493.

That don’t even look like PR.

comoelfilodelmachete:

Javier Culson se expresa en contra de la estadidad

El destacado atleta boricua realizó las expresiones en Twitter

 
Culson está en contra de que Puerto Rico sea estado.(Archivo)

Por ELNUEVODIA.COM

A solo horas de las elecciones en las cuales se tendrá la oportunidad de elegir si se quiere o no cambiar estatus actual, el medallista olímpico Javier Culson se expresó en contra de la estadidad a través de las redes sociales.

¿Quieres ser estado? ¿Quieres estadidad? Ya existen 50 para elegir”, escribió el vallista ponceño en Twitter. “No quiero que mi monoestrellada se pierda entre 50 más. Quiero seguir llevando a PUR en mi pecho y mi bandera seguir poniendola en lo alto”, añadió .

Culson, quien fue el abanderado de la Delegación Olímpica en  los pasados Juegos Olímpicos Londres 2012,  ganó medalla de bronce en los 400 metros con valla. Fue la primera presea para la Isla en unas olimpiadas desde Atlanta  1996.

Tras su desempeño en las Olimpiadas, la alcaldesa de Ponce, María “Mayita” Meléndez, quien buscará revalidar por segundo término consecutivo por el Partido Nuevo Progresista,  anunció que planifica construir un monumento en su honor en los predios del estadio Paquito Montaner.