Saturday, October 11, 2014

Noticias de Prensa Latina - Puerto Rico Activates Ebola Protocols

Shields and Brooks on same-sex marriage sea change - YouTube

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Published on Oct 10, 2014
Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the Supreme Court decision not to hear cases on gay marriage bans, criticism for the government’s handling of and response to the Ebola epidemic, plus a tribute to former White House press secretary and gun control activist James Brady.

Why July 25 Is a Tragic Date in Puerto Rican History · Global Voices

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July 25 is a day full of meaning for Puerto Ricans. Officially, the government celebrates Constitution Day to commemorate when that document was adopted in 1952. But there are two other historical events remembered on this day. One is the United States invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898. The other is the murder of two young pro-independence activists at the hands of the police, designed and concealed by the highest levels of the government in 1978. 
July 25, 1898: The invasion 
Although the United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, its interest in acquiring a stronghold in the Caribbean dates back much earlier, to at least the early 19th century. The intent behind the decision to take Puerto Rico was to establish naval bases that would maintain access to the proposed interoceanic canal, which would eventually be built by the United States in Panama. 
July 25, 1952: The Constitution of the Commonwealth
This is the official anniversary celebrated by the government of Puerto Rico, and one that holds great importance for the People's Democratic Party (PPD) for being closely linked to its origins, to the point of being one of its founding pillars. The PPD was the party in power during the drafting of the Constitution and the establishment of the Commonwealth. 
The date chosen to proclaim “the end of colonialism” in Puerto Rico was not chosen randomly, but was rather a conscious attempt to change the meaning of the date that marked the beginning of the U.S. colonial period in the country. With much fanfare, it was announced that Puerto Rico had achieved a form of non-colonial government, and this was presented to the international community as a “pact” or “agreement” between Puerto Rico and the U.S.  
Nonetheless, Puerto Rico's sovereignty still remained in the hands of the U.S. Congress and thePuerto Rican Constitution only entered into force after being approved by the U.S. Congress. Among the conditions imposed by the U.S. Congress were the elimination of Article II, Section 20, which established the right to work and to obtain higher education, among other rights; the requirement that any amendment to the Constitution be subject to approval by the U.S. Congress, and that no future amendment could alter the relationship with the U.S., as defined in the Federal Relations Act. 
The ratification of the Constitution occurred in an atmosphere of state repression. Act 53 of 1948, better known as the Gag Law, was enforced during this period. The law penalized any public expression in favor of overthrowing the government of Puerto Rico with a sentence equivalent to that of committing murder. 
The Gag Law suppressed two fundamental rights of any democracy: freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. As Dr. Ivonne Acosta Lespier, a blogger and scholar of the Gag Law, explained in a podcast for La Voz del Centro:
Having written something or selling a book where the revolution was encouraged was more terrible than actually sparking the revolution itself.  
Más terrible era haber escrito, vendido algún libro donde se fomentara la revolución, que hacer la misma revolución. 
As such, the pro-independence sector was criminalized with the intent to prevent it from massively participating in elections. This marked the beginning of the weakening of the independence movement as an electoral force, and it has not been able to recover to this day. For these reasons, many Twitter users, like Vivien Mattei, a communications professor at the Universidad Interamericana in Ponce, posted these comments on July 25: 
Today is a day to remember, not to celebrate #PuertoRico. Invaded, sold, murdered. 
July 25, 1978: The case of Cerro Maravilla
The reference to murder in Professor Mattei's tweet alludes to the assassination of two young pro-independence activists, Arnaldo Darío Rosado and Carlos Soto Arriví, at the hands of the police in Cerro Maravilla in the town of Villalba, south of the central highlands of Puerto Rico. The police claimed they fired shots in self-defense, and the official version of the events labeled the young men as terrorists. 
The Puerto Rican Senate's investigation, however, found that the young men had been executed. This investigation also found that there was suggestive evidence of a cover-up by the Puerto Rican police, the Department of Justice, and the executive branch. The FBI and the federal government's Department of Justice, who also investigated the case, were guilty of negligence, according to the report.  
Then-Governor Carlos Romero Barceló, a member of the New Progressive Party (PNP in Spanish), called the police responsible for the murders “heroes”, something that Romero Barceló now denies. Nonetheless, he agreed earlier that he had in fact said it, when questioned by the press.  
To remember one of the darkest chapters of Puerto Rico's history, the digital magazine Latino Rebels gathered a few videos that provide a good summary of the events in an article published on July 25. 
The Senate hearings were broadcast on television nationally. This made the Cerro Maravilla case one of the biggest media events in Puerto Rico with a profound impact on the future of television, journalism, and the public sphere. The radio program “Te cuento,” aired on Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico, dedicated a program on the importance of the televised hearings of the Cerro Maravilla case: 
So, is there something to celebrate on July 25? Perhaps the answer to this question comes from the lawyer, blogger, and LGBT activist Amárilis Pagán: 
The more they continue to dress it up, July 25 continues to be a day during which we must denounce infamy.
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Telling Puerto Rican Stories on the Web · Global Voices

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Esta Vida Boricua [This Boricua Life] is a digital storytelling project which explores the past and present of Puerto Rico through the collection of experiences of people from all walks of life and all ages. At its most basic level, it is “a place to share stories,” as explained in their “About” section. Elaborating on that thought, they write:
Thus, the stories herein are a journey. They offer splashes of color and texture, shades of shadow and light as well as fragments of shape and depth to the existing Puerto Rican mosaic. They unravel the stereotypes and biased images of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican culture presented in the media and beyond. They speak of a generation of young people struggling under the uncertainty of colonialism —and a backlash from the slow cultural genocide that has taken place since US occupation after the Spanish-American War and the advent of modernism.
The content, which can take the form of writing (in either Spanish or English), video or audio recordings, is entirely produced by volunteers, most of whom are students from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, on the western coast of the main island. Poets, musicians and writers are also welcome to contribute original content.

La Respuesta, an Online Magazine by and for the Millions of Puerto Ricans Living in the US · Global Voices

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La Respuesta
Puerto Rican presence in the United States is growing, be it because of Puerto Rico’s current economic situation or the demographic growth of Puerto Ricans in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas. The truth is that we are finding ourselves before a new wave of immigration, perhaps greater than those of the 20th century.
Many factors can shed light on current migration patterns. The economic downturn plaguing Puerto Rico over the past decade (symptoms of larger problems) has driven 600,000 Puerto Ricans to look for opportunities outside the island. For the first time since the population censuses began to be gathered (in 1899), there has been a decline in the number of residents on the island, according to data from the most recent 2010 US federal decennial census compared to the one from 2000. Alongside this important event, currently more Puerto Ricans live in the United States than on the island, a figure somewhere near 5 million, according to estimates. In Puerto Rico the population consists of approximately 3.7 million people. 
Therefore it is not surprising that institutions and media outlets that respond to the Puerto Rican reality are sprouting once again in all the US. This is the case of La Respuesta, an online magazine launched in 2013, based in Chicago and New York.
In the following interview, Global Voices talks to Xavier Burgos Peña, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the publication. 
Global Voices (GV): How did La Respuesta come about? Who is behind this online magazine? 
Xavier Burgos Peña (XBP): The idea of La Respuesta magazine formed when a small group of Chicago Puerto Ricans went to the Puerto Rican Studies Conference in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010. While there we witnessed the vibrant ways in which the local Puerto Rican population was creating community, similar to what we were doing in Chicago’s “Paseo Boricua” corridor. This sparked a conversation on how we could help develop an accessible, centralized space in which community-building strategies, experiences, and ideas about living in Diaspora could be shared and debated without ever leaving one’s home. Moreover, to offer a platform from which to exhibit the latest in Boricua Diaspora thought and cultural productions from across the United States and beyond.
In early 2013, an Editorial Core formed in Chicago to create an internet-based magazine. Nearly a year later, we’ve expanded our base to New York City with writers and collaborators across the country, from the East Coast to the South and in Puerto Rico.
GV: Is the birth of the magazine related to the growing presence of Puerto Ricans in the United States in recent years? 
XBP: The fact that there are now more of us ‘here’ than ‘there’ signals the increasing importance of having a space for self-definition. Moreover, a space for internal debate and dialogue about our presence in Diaspora.
Puerto Ricans have historically been seen through the eyes of others who control the media and mainstream cultural productions – an imperial gaze, if you will. As a result, we often see ourselves through essentializing and exoticizing, racist stereotypes. Of course, we have also documented our experiences and histories from our own perspectives. Therefore, La Respuesta is a space to share what we’ve already done and are doing as a community of people across the Diaspora, whether in art and literature, music, and film, essay and activism. La Respuesta is also a space so that we can present new and refreshing voices, discuss the socio-economic status of our communities, and map possible directions as a people.  
GV: Being a media outlet that focuses mainly on Puerto Rican issues, why publish articles only in English? I ask because it is a fact that the majority of Puerto Ricans on the island only speak Spanish. Is La Respuesta directed only to the Puerto Rican reader in the diaspora? 
XBP: We do have some articles in Spanish, but we primarily publish in English. The practical reason is because we want to communicate directly to the Boricuas living in Diaspora; those whose entire or most of their experiences is living in the U.S. For these folks, English is the main language of communication. Although Spanish is the lingua franca of Puerto Rico, I would argue that English and Spanglish are also Puerto Rican languages. Who could argue that the writings of Pedro Pietri or Nicholasa Mohr are not a part of the Puerto Rican literary canon or expressions of a Boricua life – albeit distinct from that of the island?
Another reason to publish in English is to validate the puertorriqueñidad of English-dominant Boricuas in Diaspora, who might feel shame or be disregarded because of not being proficient in Spanish and/ or being from “allá.” The longer Puerto Ricans are in the U.S. and if recent migrants (who are coming in the hundreds of thousands) plan to stay and raise their families here, the more English and living in Diaspora will be a reality. La Respuesta is here to document, engage with, and validate this experience. 
GV: I see that La Respuesta also includes other media productions, like the (De)Colonial Subjects radio program. So we can talk about La Respuesta not as an online magazine, but rather a multimedia project…
XBP: We want to stimulate and capture the imagination of our readers as much as possible, which is why we cover a range of topics and forms of media, including podcasts and special topic blogs (queer identities, literature, Palestinian solidarity, etc). We also hope to feature more videos, visual art, photography, and other podcasts.
GV: The diversity in points of view on Puerto Rico’s political situation is evident in the different articles published in La Respuesta, but perhaps the editorial team at La Respuesta, as a media outlet, favors a particular vision.
XBP: We try to provide as many perspectives and visions for Puerto Rican communities in Diaspora and Puerto Rico as possible. One of our core values is to look critically at oppressive elements such as colonialism, racism, trans/ homophobia, sexism, etc. By default, we get many writers who believe in Puerto Rico’s self-determination in regards to its status.  
GV: Why re-imagine the Puerto Rican diaspora?
XBP: As I mentioned a little earlier, Puerto Ricans consume mainstream Eurocentric images and media that oftentimes essentializes and denigrates us. Moreover, the narratives out there about the Boricua Diaspora can be simplistic or missing important voices. We are a space to re-think and re-imagine what it means to be Puerto Rican and living in the US. 
GV: With consistent editions since June 2013 and a network of 880 followers on Twitter and over 3,000 on Facebook, did the founders envision this kind of support for La Respuesta from readers after barely a year? 
XBP: We are very humbled by the tremendous response, support, and contributions we’ve received. We run on an all-volunteer staff with no budget. Despite such setbacks (and in other ways, our strength), we’ve published hundreds of original pieces and over 50 writers. It is obvious that La Respuesta is understood by folks in our communities as the central location to read and experience what the Diaspora has to offer, from our own lens and voices. We always knew there was an audience – we just took on the responsibility of making and sustaining such as project.   
GV: In times like these, where online information – without a doubt – has a greater presence and importance for certain populations, particularly the younger ones, would La Respuesta’s editorial team explore the possibility of publishing a print version of the magazine? 
XBP: Online media is the future of journalism, especially grassroots, critical reporting. The Puerto Rican people have and must continue to carve out and claim a space in that.  
GV: What are the current and future challenges that La Respuesta has as a media outlet directed to the Puerto Rican and Latino communities in the United States? 
XBP: To continue to offer engaging, youthful, critical, and organic media by and for the Boricua Diaspora. 
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Noticias de Prensa Latina - Puerto Rico Activates Ebola Protocols

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Imagen activa09 de octubre de 2014, 16:42San Juan, Oct 9 (Prensa Latina) La existence today of four U.S. airports with high risks of receiving passengers fropm Africa infected with the Ebola virus and the situation in Texas prompted Puerto Rican authorities to activate the protocols against the disease.
Due to the high traffic of passengers from New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Washington to Puerto Rico, local health authorities fitted out an area for quarantine in the international airport of Isla Verde, in Carolina municipality.
The air terminals of the United States receive direct floghts from the African continent, making them vulnerable, according to aviation authorities. Health Minister Ana Rius said that Puerto Rico is ready for any contingency involving a passenger with the symptoms of the Ebola virus in flights between Puerto Rico and the United States.
During a public hearing of the Health Committee of the House, Rius said that oprevention and intervention protocols ar ein place for patients with symptoms of chikungunya, dengue fever and Ebola.
Rius said the Island has 21 quarantine centers to deal with the problem immediately, besides having well-trained personnel to deal with any Ebola-related case.
The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, died yesterday in a hospital in Dallas, Texas, where he was isolated.
Duncan wasinfected with the virus in his country, Liberia, but he showed the symptoms in Texas, a city where many Puerto Ricans, mainly teachers and nurses, live.

EXCLUSIVE: Teen wanted in Bronx slaying tracked down in Puerto Rico

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He was pretty far from the Bronx.
A 17-year-old wanted in the killing of a University Heights man in June was apprehended more than 1,600 miles away — in a small village in Puerto Rico’s Cordillera mountains, law enforcement sources said.
A U.S. Marshals task force assigned to Puerto Rico tracked Joshua Rodriguez to the small hamlet of Barranquitas Thursday night.
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John Elk/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images
“A teenage fugitive is pretty hard to track because there’s absolutely no paper trail,” the source said. “All this kid had was a learner’s permit.”
Officials didn’t immediately say who Rodriguez was staying with in the town of about 30,000 people. The suspect has yet to be charged.
The teen had been on the lam for four months after he allegedly shot 25-year-old Dakim Blacknall in the back outside the man’s home on Creston Ave. on June 4.
Paramedics rushed Blacknall to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died. Rodriguez argued with Blacknall shortly before the slaying, police said.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Rodriguez would be brought back to New York.