Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Woes of El Tren Urbano


SI NO se superan los obstáculos técnicos, la apertura del Tren Urbano podría ocurrir luego de las elecciones, proceso para el cual restan 34 días . . . La primera ronda de pruebas, que duró 12 días y se completó el 31 de agosto, reveló 80 asuntos que requerían atención. Y los más serios continúan sin arreglarse. . . Los vehículos del tren continúan deteniéndose abruptamente en medio de su recorrido sin que haya una causa justificable de peligro real que sería la única causa para que el sistema de seguridad ordene frenarlos.

La disponibilidad de piezas de repuesto es otro asunto que podría tener un impacto en la apertura del proyecto. Al día de hoy, sencillamente no hay piezas de contingencia. La pasada gerencia de Siemens aseguró reiteradamente que los equipos estaban en el proyecto, pero el DTOP nunca las encontró. "Falta equipo de reemplazo y algunos hay que mandarlos a hacer especialmente para el tren de Puerto Rico, y sin estas piezas no se puede empezar", dijo Alcaraz. No obstante, indicó que para finales de octubre llegarían algunas piezas.

Este asunto es vital para las operaciones del proyecto ya que en su punto máximo de servicio, el tren tendrá 28 vehículos en operación, de un total del 37 que hay disponibles.

El costo del Tren Urbano se estima en más de $2,250 millones, lo cual lo convierte en el proyecto de infraestructura más costoso en la historia de Puerto Rico.- El Nuevo Día
It seems like the tren will never open. Constant problems, malfunctions, repairs lead to delays and postponement. Of course, this in turn creates discontent and skepticism among the people. "Is the tren really safe? Will it really get me to work or home faster? Have we wasted our money on this project? What was the reason for the tren anyways?" These are probably some questions the population is asking themselves.

Although the tren was a PNP iniciative, I tend to like it and see it as promising. I live in New York and I know the importance of public transportation. Furthermore, those who have experienced driving in the metro area know the needs of alternative means of transportation. However, the questions I am asking myself are these: If the tren fails, i.e., people won't ride it for whatever reason, then should we pursue expansion of the tren system? Could we have done a better job with the system if we had taken our time in planning instead of rushing to construction? After seeing the millions wasted or spent, which by the way Puerto Rico has paid 2/3 of, will Rosello or the other candidates reconsider their infrastructure programs?

Only time will tell, but so far the tren is getting off to a bad start simply because it hasn't started.

Culture and Politics in Puerto Rico


This picture is from the protest of the AAA of Puerto Rico being held today in San Juan. It's interesting to see how the protesters are using cultural means to convey their message. This is a common occurrence throughout Puerto Rico. Almost every protest group (even pro-statehood groups) in Puerto Rico use the music of plena to express their discontent while protesting. You won't see that in the states. This phenomenon shows the unity among Puerto Ricans and the value they have for their culture. Also, it shows us that when groups in Puerto Rico are feeling threatened, they turn into boricuas de pura sepa.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Dirty Dozens of Puerto Rican Politics


Did anyone see the debate last night? I didn't get to see it, but I read the transcript. The whole debate was a dirty dozens match between the candidates. A sort of "You so corrupt that..." or "You so stupid that..." They should have made the debate more interesting by talking about each other's mamas. We really didn't learn much from the candidates that we already didn't know. On a brighter note, Ruben Berrios brought up some good points about both candidates. We know he won't win but I wouldn't be surprised that many boricuas vote for him just to show the other two parties the discontent they are feeling.

Dalai Lama Visits Puerto Rico


SAN JUAN -- Aunque en sus primeras declaraciones al pisar suelo borincano manifestó que conocía "muy poco" sobre la situación social y política de la Isla, el decimocuarto Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, opinó luego que la relación del país con Estados Unidos es "beneficiosa" y aplaudió que la Constitución local prohíba la pena de muerte. . .

"Puerto Rico está asociado a los Estados Unidos en muchos aspectos, como se me ha dicho, en muchos renglones, que ayudan además al progreso también de Puerto Rico y un nivel al que pueden acceder debido a ese tipo de asociación", expresó el Dalai Lama.
-Noticentro 4
After being told of the ELA, the Dalai Lama said he likes the status for the island. What do you guys think about that? Personally, I don't think that an important religious figure should be maken political comments. But interestingly, his comment has a dual meaning, almost a "melon" tinge to it. Association with the US is "beneficial" but at the same time he acknowledges the non-integrationist aspect when he praised our prohibition of the death penalty. Either way, his visit to Puerto Rico was an honor. Thanks Mr. Dalai Lama.

El Girto de Lares


A Lares, Tierra Santa,
hay que entrar de rodillas

To Lares, Holy Land,
we must enter on our knees.
- Don Pedro Albizu Campos

For Puerto Ricans, the town of Lares symbolizes the struggle for
liberty and national identity. On September 23 of 1868, after loosing
hopes of acquiring a change in the political situation of the island
through peaceful means, a group of Patriots, acting under the
leadership of Don Ramón Emeterio Betances, took up arms against the
Spanish colonial government. Their goal was to rescue our national
sovereignty and to proclaim the independence of Puerto Rico. In the
mountains of the towns of Lares and San Sebastian, the cry of “Patria y
Libertad” was heard. This glorious historical event is known as “El
Grito de Lares”, for it was in that town that the Republic of Puerto
Rico was declared after the up-rising.

Sometime at the end of May or the beginning of June of 1868, Don Manuel
Rojas presented to the Revolutionary Committee Centro Bravo in Lares
the original design of a flag conceived by Betances himself. This flag
was formed by a white Latin cross in the center, two bleu squares
situated above the arms of the cross, two red squares situated below,
and a lone five-pointed star (in light yellow or white) situated in the
upper left square. This design served as the model for the first Puerto
Rican flag, sewn by Doña Mariana Braceti. The cry of “¡Viva Puerto Rico
Libre!” and this flag became the symbols of the revolution and of the
first expression of national identity in Puerto Rico. During the Grito
de Lares, two other flags were used, a red flag, and a white flag with
the inscription “Libertad o Muerte, Año de 1868” (Liberty or Death,
Year 1868).

It was the flag with the white cross (the Lares flag) the one which
became the symbol of the Puerto Rican revolutionary movement until the
end of the 19th century. This flag was an adaptation of the flag of the
Dominican Republic, the first Spanish speaking country in the Antilles
to gain its independence from Spain. Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances’
family on his father’s side was of Dominican descent. The flag
symbolizes the bond of the Puerto Rican revolutionary movement with the
Dominican struggle for independence.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Boricua Named Soldier of the Year


Army announces NCO, Soldier of Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service, Sept. 20, 2004) -- After a week of enduring physical and mental anguish, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Bullock and Spc. Wilfredo A. Mendez took home the titles of 2004 Department of the Army Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year in a Sept. 17 ceremony at Fort Myer, Va. . . -Army.mil

. . .SAN JUAN (AP) - El puertorriqueño Wilfredo Méndez fue galardonado como el soldado del año del Departamento del Ejército estadounidense, venciendo a otros 20 finalistas en varias pruebas físicas y mentales.

Méndez, oriundo de Río Grande, se encuentra destacado en Corea del Sur con el Tercer Batallón de Inteligencia Militar, donde se desempeña como analista de inteligencia de comunicaciones, informó el Ejército en un comunicado.
El boricua compitió una semana en el Fuerte Lee de Virginia, sometiéndose a un examen de condición física, una prueba escrita, un ensayo sobre temas militares, pruebas de destreza de combatiente, cualificación nocturna y diurna con sus armas, y una marcha de seis millas a campo abierto, entre otras pruebas. . .-Endi.com

Boricuas do it again. We win Miss Universe, we win boxing titles, we beat the US in basketball and now we beat them again in their own military. How about that?! Vaya Boricua!

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Draft is A-Creeping On Us

McCain also called for enlarging the U.S. Army by 70,000 soldiers and the Marines by 20,000 to 25,000.

Kerry and other Democrats have said Bush plans to call up more part-time National Guard and Reserve troops after the November election to compensate for thinning ranks in the full-time military due to Iraq. The Bush campaign denied this.
-Reuters
More soldiers for the war in Iraq? Our lines are already thin, so where is the military going to get the needed soliders? Call up more part-timers? Or.....the draft?!... It seems the more talking we do about Iraq, the more it looks like that the draft is coming back.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Funny Voting Ad

Check out this ad on the Village Voice website. It's mad funny.

Another Sign of Colonialism in Puerto Rico

PONCE - El subdirector del Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército de EE.UU. en el distrito de Jacksonville, Florida, Richard Bonner, aseguró que los permisos de construcción que sean otorgados al Puerto Las Américas dependerán de cuán severos sean los comentarios de otras agencias estadounidenses en torno al proyecto.

Bonner indicó que posiblemente los permisos de construcción tarden varios meses, por lo que entiende que los planes de la Autoridad del Puerto Las Américas podrán llevarse a cabo.
ENDi.com

What get's me about the whole thing is that Puerto Rico must wait until some American burocrats give the OK to buld this megaport. This is another sign of the colonial hierachy that exists in Puerto Rico. Sure, the Americans will most likely give us the green light, but the fact that they have the power to say no is what bothers me. It's our island, we should have the final say in everthing insular.

Two More Boricuas Dead in A Foreign War


LOS RESTOS de las dos víctimas boricuas más recientes de la guerra en Irak llegaron a Puerto Rico ayer para ser velados y homenajeados por sus seres queridos.

El soldado Michael Martínez, de 29 años y residente de Juana Díaz, se convirtió el 8 de este mes en el veinteavo soldado puertorriqueño en perecer en la llamada guerra contra el terrorismo, cuando su vehículo se volcó en la ciudad de Baqubah. Tres días antes había fallecido su colega Gary Alexander Vaillant, víctima de una mina casera en la ciudad de Khalidiya.
-ENDi.com


You guys know how I feel about boricuas in the military. Why are our boys fighting? They can't vote. It's not their country at war. Where must we as boricuas draw the line of loyalty? To whom are our boricua soldiers loyal to and from whom are they receiving loyalty? Bring our boys home, it's not our war.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Patriotic Painting


Isn't this a cool picture?! It's by Edwin Velez and the title of the painting is Sueño Boricua.

Storm UnMasks Puerto Rico's Poor Planning

The below text is from an article in El Nuevo Dia that says that Puerto Rico's urban planning is horrible and isn't fit for catastrophes like hurricanes. I could have to you that. Every Puerto Rican knows it. I wonder if political ideology, especially status preferences, has any influence on urban planning? What do you guys think?

LA TORMENTA tropical Jeanne puso en evidencia ayer una vez más la mala planificación que impera en el país y la consecuente vulnerabilidad de su infraestructura, opinaron ayer tres expertos quienes ofrecieron desalentadores augurios sobre la solución a esta perpetua problemática. . ."Nosotros no hemos desarrollado un modelo de crecimiento que se ajuste a nuestras condiciones de isla tropical. A veces parecemos que queremos ser un continente", señaló Ortiz, ex presidente de la Junta de Planificación. . ."Cuando hay uno (temporal), y hay uno varias veces al año, se pone en riesgo todo el sistema productivo del país y eso tiene un costo económico extraordinario", apuntó.

En términos de las inundaciones, Irizarry explicó que el exceso de carreteras y de desarrollos desparramados de urbanizaciones y centros comerciales, y la deforestación y alteración de los terrenos necesarias para estas construcciones son las principales razones para que las lluvias causen tantos estragos. Según dijo, los responsables son tanto los grandes intereses y la ciudadanía que patrocina este tipo de proyecto, como el Gobierno que los autorizan y que legitimiza la invasión de terrenos inundables. . .Aponte y Ortiz destacaron la vulnerabilidad del sistema eléctrico debido al diseño y extensión de sus líneas así como a la ubicación de sus plantas generatrices en las costas.

"Es triste que un sistema como el nuestro, tan costoso, unas lluvias lo inutilicen inmediatamente", opinó Ortiz.

Los planificadores sostuvieron que el país tiene que moverse hacia la construcción de ciudades habitables, densificadas y orientadas al uso del transporte colectivo. Sin embargo, opinaron que al presente no hay voluntad política y habrá que esperar a que una catástrofe o la transformación del propio mercado obliguen a estos cambios.

Ortiz sostuvo que lo que proponen los partidos de mayoría en sus programas de Gobierno es "más de lo mismo" prometiendo "construir y construir más y por ende seguir agravando los problemas de infraestructura".-ENDi.com

Bronx Boricuas Win Primaries

WASHINGTON – La jefatura demócrata boricua del condado de El Bronx triunfó contundentemente en todas las contiendas políticas que tuvo el martes en la noche, como parte de las primarias legislativas del estado de Nueva York.
El congresista José Serrano, quien también salió vencedor al no tener retadores en las primarias.
-ENDi.com

Boricua politicians in the states are so patriotic. Even though they represent a specific district, they always include in the programs the issues that concern Puerto Rico. The 3 boricuas in Congress, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez and Luis Gutierrez, were important leaders in the Vieques movement. Unlike the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, these boricuas are true representatives of Puerto Rico.

A Constant Reminder of Our Status

Jeanne's sustained winds grew to 80 mph as it walloped Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that is home to about 4 million people, and the Dominican Republic.
-Reuters

Did they have to mention that Puerto Rico is a US territory? What does that have to do with the hurricane that hit the island? It seems that when Puerto Rico is mentioned in the US papers it is always accompanied by that phrase "a US territory." I wonder why they always say it. Is it because they want to make sure that PR is a "territory" and not a "colony?" Or could it be that the US public doesn't really know where or what Puerto Rico is? Haha.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Luis Fortuno: The Republicans Puerto Rican Toy

"ET phone home" Doesn't he look like Millhouse from the Simpsons.

Luis Fortuño is the PNP candidate for the "Resident Commissioner" of Puerto Rico to Washington. I don't know much of this guy's background, but what I do know is that he has been put or has put himself into some awkward, non-traditional positions for a Puerto Rican in US politics. For those of you who watched the RNC, Fortuño was the guy who said "I'm Puerto Rican, but I'm American too." He also said that what makes him both is the cultural similarities that both countries share. Bull shit! Cultural similarities?! What does PR and the US have in common in cultural terms?! In fact, its our cultural distinctions that sets us apart from the US.

Fortuño is being used by the Republican Party and was probably bought out by them. Let's be real, no-one can honestly believe that a Puerto Rican would ever support a Republican candidate. The majority of boricuas in the states are democrats. And the majority of politicians from Puerto Rico have liberal tendencies no matter what party they're in. I can't think of one Republican Neo/Puerto Rican. So it makes you wonder why Fortuño is supporting Bush. Hell, I don't even understand why any politician from Puerto Rico would get involved with US Presidential races when at the end of the day they can't even vote for the guy they're campaigning for. Que Barbaridad!

Will this guy really be an effective "Resident Commissioner"? (as if it matters). Or will he just be sniffing the asses of US Republicans and touting to whatever tune they give him? Then again, I kind of hope he does get to be RC, because then "real" Puerto Rican congressmen like Luis Gutierrez will chew him up and spit him out.

Another Boricua Boxing Champion

Miguel Cotto knocking the silly out of Kelson Pinto

Miguel Cotto became the boxing champ for the 140 lbs weight class of the OMB Saturday night when he defeated by way of "nocaút" his opponent. Cotto became the 50th boxing champion that Puerto Rico has produced. Can you believe that?! For a small island, we have produced 50 champs! Just goes to show you that Puerto Ricans produce some of the best stuff in the world: best fighters, best women, best music, best food, best culture. Damn, we are good. Talk about overacheivers.ENDI.com

Chu is back!

Wassup guys. Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I was occupied with first week college admin stuff and I just got over the flu. But its time to blog and blog I shall do. There is so much work to be done and so little time to do it in.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Studying!


I haven't blogged for a while. I've been studying and getting my stuff ready for law school applications. Ay mi madre!

So far, the schools I'm looking at are Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Fordham and UPR. Don't know which one I will choose. Money will probably be the determining factor

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Real Terrorist


Check out this poster. I saw it at the march/protest on Sunday near Madison Square Garden. There were tons of people there. NYC really hates republicans. More pics of the protest will be posted soon. Stay tuned.