Friday, December 31, 2004

R. F. Kennedy on Gross National Product

I just had to put this quote on my site. It's deep.

Too much and for too long we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product now is over 800 billion dollars a year, but that gross national product, if we judge the United States of America by that, that gross national product counts air pollution, and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic squall. It counts napalm, and it counts nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifles and Speck's knives and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet, the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America, except why we are proud that we are Americans.
Robert F. Kennedy

Absurd Salary Raises

En una caótica y desordenada sesión plagada de fuertes intercambios de corte político, la Legislatura Municipal de San Juan finalmente aprobó con 13 votos a favor y uno en contra el aumento salarial del alcalde Jorge Santini.

Así las cosas, el primer ejecutivo capitalino verá duplicado su salario efectivo el 16 de enero, de $65,000 a $125,000 anuales.

Pasada las 8:30 de la noche, los legisladores municipales todavía debatían otra medida para aprobarle una seguridad de 24 horas y siete días a la semana al Alcalde.
Yesterday the San Juan Municipal government approved an almost 100% raise for the mayor Jorge Santini, from $65,000 to $125,000. Also, the municipal government approved 24/7 security for the mayor paid for with public funds. A raise for the mayor doesn'y seem bad, in fact, Santini has done a pretty good job. But a raise of 100%. Most US Congressmen don't get paid that much. The municipal government of Ponce approved the same measure for the mayor last week. Public officials should get paid well, but this amount is just ridiculous.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bolivarian Cirlces in Puerto Rico

The Bolivarian Circles, with 2.2 million members, are the backbone of the democratic revolution unfolding in Venezuela. After the attempted US-backed coup against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on April 11, 2002, the Bolivarian Circles helped organise the uprising that reinstated the pro-poor president. The Bolivarian Circles have also organised mass resistance against the corporate managers' and corrupt union officials' attempt to destroy the country's oil industry. . .

.. . .The goal is the defence of the revolutionary process to form a society with social justice, with economic justice, with a guarantee for real political participation for all. This last point deserves special attention. I am not talking here about voting every four or five years, or whatever the electoral cycle is. I am talking about people being able to directly design, supervise and carry out their development projects without intermediaries, without people representing them.

Through Bolivarian Circles, neighbourhood associations and cooperatives, people can represent themselves before city hall and governors. The citizens' assembly is a constitutional right. Articles 166 and 192 of the constitution establish that governors and mayors must allow for communities to participate in the design and implementation of their budgets. What do you call this? Socialism? Communism? Populism? It's up to you. We just don't care about the name as long as the process works. We call it Bolivarianism and participatory democracy.

DR RODRIGO CHAVEZ, coordinator of the Bolivarian Circles in Venezuela

I've been researching the Bolivarian Cirlces movement in Venezuela. The whole movement is interesting and is working for Venezuela. I am fascinated and trully inspired. I think Puerto Rico should start a similar movement. To learn more about Bolivarian Circles click here

The new police logo

Bandera: significa la unión de DOS PAISES en validación de sus derechos civiles.

At first glance, I was like what the hell is the american flag doing on the Puerto Rican police's new logo. The police are suppose to be mediators in society, they should be apolitical and the american flag in Puerto Rico symbolizes Statehood for many (tyranny for others) and both flags generally symbolize that you are a popular. But then I read a description of the new logo on the Puerto Rican police department's website (quoted above) and saw that the flags meant something else. Their definition to me sounds very pro-Puerto Rico, almost independentista. It says that the flags represent the union of two countries in validation of their civil rights. Of course, I think the definition is illusionary and bien popular, but the way it is worded is very autonomistic - union of 2 COUNTRIES. Think about that boricua.

Mira, the Three Kings are not only Puerto Rican, but they're independentistas too!

Somos Antillanos

This picture from The Festival of Masks in Hatillo demonstrates the Caribbean-ness of Puerto Ricans. I love festivals like these because they remind us that we are connected to our island neighbors than our colonial rulers. Cable TV, and fanatical statehooders want us to believe otherwise. Somos antillanos mis hermanos.

The PIP survives

El Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP) quedó inscrito ayer oficialmente como partido por petición de cara a las elecciones del 2008 al firmarse la resolución a esos efectos.

The Pro Independence Party of Puerto Rico was registered today as an official party by the CEE, this after losing inscription in the past elections for not fulfilling the requirements. This is the fourth time the PIP has had to re-register themselves after a general election. But it also demonstrates the numbers of independentistas and sympathizers on the island. In only a month the PIP had over 100,000 signatures, a remarkable achievement. How could they pull that off when in the elections they could not acheive 3% of the votes? I think this reinscription proves that the Melon is alive, active and growing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

While downloading some songs on my brothers computer, I ran across a song by La Sonora Poncena with Celia Cruz. Its called Soy Antillana, and Celia is basically saying that she is antillana and hence she feels cuban, dominicana, and boricua. It made me think about Betances and all the great antillian leaders who have dreamed of a antillian confederation. Interestingly, although the three islands share a common culture and heritage, each veered off towards their own political ways in the 20th century. It makes me wonder if an Antillian Confederation can be pulled off. Either way, como dice Celia, "No me pides definicion, yo soy antillana."

Desperate PNP's

Aunque niegan que le hayan ofrecido un soborno a los legisladores, el director de Prensa del Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), Javier Maymí y el presidente de la Juventud novoprogresista, William Villafañe, aceptaron ayer que son parte del movimiento que busca que un senador electo abandone su escaño para cederlo al derrotado candidato a gobernador, Pedro Rosselló.

La información trascendió luego de que El Nuevo Día publicara reportajes exclusivos en los que se detallaba un esquema en el que se ofrecía $140,000 y la secretaría del Senado al que dejara su escaño a Rosselló. El esquema fue confirmado por la senadora Lucy Arce, aunque luego se retractó para indicar que el dinero ofrecido era el salario anual del puesto.
- El Nuevo Dia
Rosello's two terms, the two failed referendums, the PNP corruption scandals of the 90's, the numerous ex-PNP officials in jail, amd the recent pivazo case are but a few examples of events that have tainted the PNP and have ruined their reputation. Now this scandal of finding a loophole to get Rossello a seat in the Senate is but a another deed on the PNP's record of evil doings. How is it possible that some PNP officials are willing to twist and turn Puerto Ricos democracy in order to get what the want. And these are the people who want Puerto Rico to be a state. In the states, losers will accept defeat and plan for the next elections. In PR, losers can't seem to quit. It's no wonder the US doesnt take Puerto Rico's statehood movement seriously. Save for a few individuals, I have personally loss all respect for the PNP leadership. Either the PNP change their leaders or the PNP party should dissolve.

Compromiso de Dialogo?....Yeah Right!!

Con un apretón de manos, el gobernador electo Aníbal Acevedo Vilá y el comisionado residente entrante, Luis Fortuño, sellaron un compromiso de trabajar juntos para adelantar lo que ambos llamaron “la agenda de Puerto Rico”.- El Nuevo Dia

The CEE has declared Anibal Acevedo Vila as the winner of the 2004 gubernatorial race in Puerto Rico. The article above mentiones that Acevedo Vila and Luis Fortuño will work together. Could this be signs of unity? I doubt it. The differences in political ideology are too great. Acevedo is Popular, and democrat while Fortuño is PNP, and republican. Both men have different agendas for Puerto Rico so it is pointless to think that they will be working together to push the "same" agenda of Puerto Rico. Besides, what "power" does Fortuño really have as Resident Commissioner? He can talk his mouth off on the floor of the US Senate, ask for more money, and that's about it. Also, this election year has divided the island to a point in which the health of Puerto Rico's democracy is being challenged by people who want to push their own agenda. The governmental branches are divided, the populace is divided, and I am pretty sure that Acevedo Vila and Fortuño will fall back to their sides. We should not be duped by mere politics.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

El TU..Inagurado, pero not operation

TRAS OCHO años de construcción y a un costo que supera los $2,200 millones, el Tren Urbano fue inaugurado ayer en una breve ceremonia encabezada por la gobernadora Sila Calderón, en la que reconoció el trabajo de pasados secretarios del Departamento de Transportación y Obras Pública.- El Nuevo Dia

Yesterday, Sila inaugarated the Tren Urbano. Free rides will be offered to passengers on Sundays and in February people will have to start paying $1.50. However, in a related article, the Tren Urbano's stations will not be fully operational for another six months. Qué qué!?!?

I'm back and I'm black!

LSAT's are done, law school applications are off and finals are over. I am free and can now get on with a normal life. This semester has been tough and so much has happened on the island and in New York. In the next few days, I will try to recap the months loss and move forward with Verde Luz. Que Viva Chu!