Monday, August 30, 2004
Ever since 9/11 I've always had this gut feeling that the draft was going to be coming back, and that I was going to be one of them drafted. Growing up around military bases, I always knew that our forces were low and I always heard talk that the US couldn't sustain a long campaign. I remember hearing that our forces were so slim that if Canada and Mexico invaded the US, we'd be screwed. Rumors of course, but they always sparked a level of uncomfort in me.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
. . ."I said, 'But I am African and I am an American citizen; am I not African-American?' " said Mr. Kamus, who is an advocate for African immigrants here, recalling his sense of bewilderment. "They said 'No, no, no, not you.' "
"The census is claiming me as an African-American," said Mr. Kamus, 47, who has lived in this country for 20 years. "If I walk down the streets, white people see me as an African-American. Yet African-Americans are saying, 'You are not one of us.' So I ask myself, in this country, how do I define myself?" . . .
Puerto Ricans have the same problem. How many of us born and raised in the states consider ourselves Puerto Rican yet when we visit the island we are deemed other terms? I remember when I was studying abroad and people would ask me where I was from, I'd always say "I'm from New York but I'm Puerto Rican." Then they would say, "no you're not; you're weren't born or raised here." They would then proceed to call me other things like "Nuyo Rican" "Neo-Rican" and some hard core people would even call me "gringo."
In the 21st century, who's to say who can be a Puerto Rican and who can't? There are roughly 8 million Puerto Ricans in the world and nearly half of them reside outside of the island. Is birthplace the only determining factor? Or is being Puerto Rican more of a state of mind? Remember the phrase "Boricua hasta en la luna."
For us "Neo-Ricans" I believe it's more of a state of mind. We in the states are generally more prideful, partiotic and nationalistic. Though we may not speak the language very well, nor have lived on the island, I bet you most, if not all, of us would defend our island to the end. As a line of a poem of a "Neo-Rican" poet says "Yo no naci en Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico nacio en mi."
Friday, August 27, 2004
Partial Birth Abortion
A federal judge in New York ruled yesterday that a federal law banning a rarely used method of abortion was unconstitutional because it did not exempt cases where the procedure might be necessary to protect a woman's health. . .Judge Casey determined that the Supreme Court required, in a decision four years ago, that any law limiting abortion must have a clause permitting doctors to use a banned procedure if they determine that the risk to a woman's health would be greater without it. . .
I consider myself to be a rather liberal person. I believe in equality for all, especially women. I believe that people should have the right to determine their own destiny and have the final say on how they conduct their lives. Noone should have the right to tell a person what to do with their bodies. Abortion has been a top issue for ages. Pro-choice people advocate a women's right to have an abortion if she wants to while the pro-life people advocate a ban on any type of abortion. I guess the issue here is women's rights. Women, of course, have been marginalized since the beginning of mankind and in this day in age they deserve every right to pursue social, economic and political equality. However I do not think abortion is the way to go. Although I am liberal, I just see any kind of abortion as a form of murder.
Some people argue that it isn't murder, that what is being destroyed is merely a fetus. The Supreme Court even ruled in Roe v Wade (1973) that a woman can determine the destiny of a fetus in the first trimester; that life really begins at birth. But take a look at the diagram above. That "fetus" looks like a minature scale of a human-being, doesn't it? The procedure above, the partial birth abortion, is when a doctor sticks a tube inside the "fetus" head and sucks the brians out, causing the skull !The "fetus is then removed> Cruel, when you think about it, right?
It's a tough issue, but here are two arguments I would like to make, that people haven't made concerning this issue. One is social and the other legal.
SOCIAL ARGUMENT: Throughout history certain groups have de-humanized other groups by inventing terms to label that other group thereby creating a sense a inferiority of that other group and therefore justifying any actions, cruel as they may be, against that other group.
Consider this: American Indians were called "savages"; Whites called blacks in America "niggers"; latinos in America are called "spics"; the jews were called "impure" and a number of other things by the Nazis; homosexuals are called "fags" and "dikes"; young, poor urban kids are called "thugs"; and more recently, anyone who goes against the US gov't is called "unpatriotic" or even "terrorist." You get my jif?! In all cases, these terms were invented to justify a groups actions towards another group. This led to genocide, slavery, poor housing, menial jobs, extermination, imprisonment, marginalization, denial of civil rights.
Creatures that apparently look like human-beings in all aspects are called "fetuses" There is no difference between the abortion issue and any other social issues mentioned above. These creatures are being called "fetuses" in order to justify what is obviously considered murder (the forceful ending of a life) in any dictionary. It would be harder to carry out a horrendous act if we refered to the fetus or any other group we seek to treat unfairly, as a human being.
LEGAL ARGUMENT: The most famous legal basis for the abortion issue is the Roe v. Wade decision. The Court ruled that the woman had the right to have an abortion if she wanted in the first trimester, in the 2nd trimester she would have to consult a doctor and in the 3rd trimester the fetus belonged to the state. Bien.
The basic principle here is that a woman has a right to privacy of her own womb. No one can tell here what to do with the fetus in the first 3 months. It is completely here decision. But consider this: the womb may be hers, no one argues that; but what about what's inside the womb? The "fetus" isn't wholly hers. Remember that old saying "it takes two to mambo"? The female is only "owner" of half of the "fetus" while the male is an "owner" as well. Pro-creation is a partnership. Therefore, the male, the father, should have as much say on what should be done to the "fetus" in the first trimester as the female, mother, does.
Let's say a woman owns a house. She meets a man and allows him to move in with her. A month later, they buy a car together. They park the car in the garage of the house. Let's say one day the woman decides she doesn't want the car and wants to get rid of it. Does the man have no say in that decision? Isn't the car also his? Just because it's in the garage of the house that belongs to the woman doesn't mean the man has no right to that car. You get my jif?!
Some of you might be thinking, oh how can you use an analogy like that when one deals with property and the other deals with humans. A Ha! That's where you are mistaken. Remember, according to law and the current social structure, the "fetus" isn't human. Life begins at birth, so says the court, remember? The creature inside the womb is merely a "fetus," in other words non-human, right? Hence, the "fetus" is as equal as a car: property.
The point here is that man has a right to the "fetus" as much as the woman does. This is one point that the Court failed to touch on.
These are just two new arguments that one should consider when thinking about the abortion issue. I don't think abortion should be banned completely simply because there are cases in which the life of the mother could be endangered if she proceeds with a pregnancy. But, the whole issue should be revisted and reconsidered, especially taking into considerations the points I made above. It's the only fair thing to do.
Posted by Don Chu at 8:45 PM
. . . The increase in uninsured people last year, as reported by the United States Census Bureau yesterday, was 1.4 million, to a record 45 million. . .
More than 10 million of those without insurance were young people, 25 to 34 years old, government officials said, an increase of 576,000 from 2002. . .
The proportion of uninsured people held steady among Hispanic, Asian and black Americans. About 18.5 percent of blacks, 18.7 percent of Asian-Americans and 32.7 percent of Hispanics did not have insurance. . .
And I ask myself why Latinos continue to migrate to the US. We get stuck with the crapiest jobs, post-secondary education isn't assured, no health coverage and almost no say in politics. Is this the American dream? We should start moving to Europe, at least there we'll be guaranteed free education and health care.
Posted by Don Chu at 6:58 PM
Thursday, August 26, 2004
This article in Reuters is shocking. Poverty has risen since 2000 and among the poorest of the poor are blacks, latinos and children! Along with the poverty rate, the number of people who don't have health coverage went up and the incomes have fallen as well. I think these are clear signs that Bush has to go. It seems that as the rest of the world progresses, the US is moving backwards.
Read the article for yourself below.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some 1.3 million Americans slid into poverty in 2003 as the ranks of the poor rose 4 percent to 35.9 million, with children and blacks worse off than most, the government said on Thursday in a report that fueled Democratic criticism of President Bush.
Despite the economic recovery, the percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose for the third straight year to 12.5 percent -- the highest since 1998 -- from 12.1 percent in 2002, the Census Bureau said in its annual poverty report. The widely cited score card on the nation's economy showed one-third of those in poverty were children.
The number of U.S. residents without health-care coverage rose 1.4 million to 45 million last year, while incomes were essentially stagnant, the Census Bureau said.
The poverty line is set at an annual income of $9,573 or less for an individual, or $18,660 for a family of four with two children. Under that measure, a family would spend about a third of its income on food.
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has argued Bush's economic stewardship, including three rounds of tax cuts since 2001, has done more to help wealthy Americans than the poor or middle class.
"Today confirms the failure of President Bush's policies for all Americans," the Massachusetts senator said in a statement. "Under George Bush's watch, America's families are falling further behind."
Analysts have said the poverty rate typically tracks the broad economy, rising during a recession and falling in boom times, and the Bush administration said the report was "looking backwards at the economy" because it did not capture recent job growth or the full benefit of recent tax cuts.
"The first thing to remember is that the number of people living below the poverty line has historically mirrored the rise and fall in the number of people working," Commerce Secretary Don Evans told a conference call. "In June of 2003, when this data was collected, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent. Now it is down to 5.5. percent."
The United States has struggled to recover from the 2001 slump and job creation has lagged behind overall growth. Since Bush took office in January 2001, 1.1 million jobs have disappeared, but employment has begun to rebound and analysts believe incomes may begin to improve once the job market strengthens.
The poverty rate has risen each year since 2000, when it was 11.3 percent. It hit a record-low 11.1 percent in 1973.
Children and most racial minorities again fared worse in 2003 than the overall population, according to the Census report. The rate of child poverty rose to 17.6 percent from 16.7 percent in 2002 -- boosting the number of poor children to 12.9 million, the most since 1998.
The poverty rate of African-Americans remained nearly twice the national rate, with 24.4 percent of blacks living below the poverty line in 2003, nearly unchanged from 24.1 percent a year earlier. The poverty rate for Hispanics was 22.5 percent, up from 21.8 percent.
Non-Hispanic whites fared best, with a poverty rate of 8.2 percent, nearly unchanged from 8 percent a year earlier.
The report showed real median income for all races was unchanged at $43,318 in 2003. Incomes have fallen nearly 4 percent since 1999.
Democrats criticized the government's decision to release the highly anticipated report in mid-August -- when many people are on vacation -- rather than sticking to the usual September release. They also said the decision to release the health insurance and poverty statistics in the same report was a bid to minimize media coverage of the worsening lives of the poor in the run-up to the November election.
Posted by Don Chu at 11:49 PM
Who said Puerto Rico didn't have an army?! By the looks of this picture, it seems that we do. It's interesting to see this Puerto Rican platoon waving around the Puerto Rican flag. It makes you wonder to whom their loyalty lies or even for whom they are fighting for.
Puerto Ricans have made their mark in the US military. Well over 200,000 boricuas have served in the military and numerous others have given their lives for the metropolis. Currently, there are over 30,000 boricuas in uniform. Among other things, the 65th Regiment (the Borinqueneers) fought in WWII and the Korean War. They became well respected during the Korean War by helping to push back the North Koreans and rescueing many marines. During Gulf War II, the Puerto Ricans have been praised for maintaining order in Abu Ghraib prison after the scandal created by American soldiers. Reportedly, the boricuas are the ones watching over Saddam Hussein. Go boricua!
Personally, I believe the boricuas shouldn't be fighting in any of the US' wars. Hell, they can't vote for their commander-in-chief. If it were up to me, I would station every Puerto Rican in Puerto Rico.
Posted by Don Chu at 11:19 PM
ANTIAGO, Chile, Aug. 26 (Reuters) - Chile's Supreme Court stripped the former dictator Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution in a notorious human rights case on Thursday, raising hopes of victims that he may finally face trial for abuses during his 17-year rule. . . The lower court said the retired general, who is 88, could be charged in connection with the disappearance of 19 leftists in the mid-1970's as part of Operation Condor, a joint effort by South America's military dictators to help each other wipe out dissidents.
This is the man who, with the help of the US, got rid of the democratically elected leftist president Salvador Allende in Chile. It's ironic that Venezuelas Hugo Chavez is very similar to Allende. But who's going to try to get rid of Chavez? "Chavez da' man!"
I think Rosello should also be put on trial. Though he didn't kill anybody, Rosello has a lot of explaining to do about missing millions of dollars, defunct programs, and a corrupt administration.
Posted by Don Chu at 10:49 PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
BOGOTA, Colombia - Email may be the fastest way to negotiate a prisoner exchange with the Colombian rebel group holding 72 hostages, the government said on Wednesday, declining to explain why it wanted to avoid face-to-face talks.
Can you imagine if the Puerto Rican government reverted to using email to perform its functions liket talking to el pueblo?! Hell, Puerto Rican politicians barely even use the existing media to talk to the pueblo; what makes you think they're going to sit down and write out emails every so often? They're lazy as it is.
Posted by Don Chu at 11:50 PM
EL DEPARTAMENTO de Educación (DE) implantará este semestre un plan de trabajo para las 21 escuelas que no están cumpliendo con los criterios académicos de la ley federal "Que Ningún Niño Quede Rezagado", aunque aún desconoce cuáles son los factores que están causando el rezago.
El Nuevo Dia, 8/25/04
Can the Department of Education really be that inept? They seem shocked that our schools aren't meeting the standards of the "No Child Left Behind Act" and aren't sure why this is happening. Well I'll tell them why: Because it doesn't work in Puerto Rico! Once again, the DE is ignoring the fact that this federal law just isn't compatible with Puerto Rican society. (as aren't many other federal laws). You cannot impose federal standards in education for an island who's educational system is different than those of the US. Nevermind the fact that our schools are taught in a different language! How can you expect Puerto Rican children to score high on an English exam? How can you expect them to do superb on a US history test? Heck, American school children aren't even doing as well as expected. In fact, that law is ruining many schools across the US.
The DE needs to pay more attention to the social factors and create an educational system that not only refelcts the society but is responsive to the distinct needs of that society. The DE needs to stop trying to please the Americans and accept the fact that our schools aren't doing so well by American standards because we're not Americans!
Posted by Don Chu at 4:44 PM
EL 26.8% de las mujeres en edad reproductiva en Vieques consumió suficiente mercurio como para causar daño neurológico a sus bebés, revela una investigación de la epidemióloga Carmen Ortiz-Roque, que aparece en la edición de septiembre 2004 de la prestigiosa revista científica Journal of Epidemiology and Health.
These are the effects of over 60 years of bombing by the US Navy. In the name of national security, our people suffered...and still are. Read the rest of the article at ENDI.com
Posted by Don Chu at 4:40 PM
It's good to be back in the city. Things have changed in a year. Parts of my neighborhood have vanished and where there use to be buildings, shopping centers have sprung up. Prices have risen for everything. Bums still roam the streets. The city is preparing for the arrival of the Republicans. All hell is planned to break loose. I'll be there....Reggaeton seems to be popular. Even American stations are playing our music...It's cold! Temp. is at around the high 60s. I think I'm the only fool walking around with a sweater...Time to get back to work. Must liberate my island and form a salsa band...My posts from now on will probably focus more on what's going on in NYC, particularly with the Neo-Rican commmunity. Stay tuned.
Posted by Don Chu at 4:30 PM
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Saturday, August 21, 2004
. . . For the past three years, the military has been entertaining the surprising idea that video games, even those that you play on a commerical system like Microsoft's Xbox, can be an effective way to train soldiers. In fact, the Army is now one of the industry's most innovative creators, hiring high-end programmers and designers from Silicon Valley and Hollywood to devise and refine its games. . .
So this is the military's new way of recruiting our kids. Isn't this a form of brainwashing: training kids ealry and making them think that they too can be an effective soldier. Blah.
Read the rest of the article at The Making of an X Box Soldier
Posted by Don Chu at 11:02 PM
SAN JUAN - El candidato popular a la alcaldía de San Juan, Eduardo Bhatia, reveló ayer una carta del alcalde Jorge Santini en la que éste le expresa a dos alcaldes estadounidenses su oposición a la extensión de una ley federal aplicable a Puerto Rico que prohíbe la fabricación y venta legal de 19 modelos de a rmas largas y semiautomáticas como la AK-47, entre otras asociadas al bajo mundo.
El Nuevo Dia, Aug. 20, 2004
The mayor of San Juan, Jorge Santini, is advocating against the extension of the Assault Weapons Ban law which is set to expire on Sept. 14. This law prohibits the manufacturing, legal sells and utilization of 19 different types of military style weapons, like the AK-47, Uzi, Colt AR-15, among others. His REASONS: Santini says that the law has been inefective in the fight against crime and the law discriminates against "good citizens" who love free shooting and hunting.
It is shocking to hear these words from the mayor of a city in which the crime right has risen 14% since he took office.(source: ENDI) I believe he is simply refusing to accept responsibility for his inaction and failure to battle crime by putting the blame on this law. Further, his allegations are completely false. In a report released by the Brady Center, an organization against violence, it was revealed that since this law took effect criminal incidences with these types of weapons where reduced by 66%. So imagine, if people are already dieing by simple handguns, think about how many more are going to die if criminals get a hand on one these weapons.
And what about his allegation of discrimination. Who the heck "hunts" with an AK-47 or an Uzi? There are no big game in Puerto Rico, so unless these people are hunting terrorists or revolutionary groups these weapons are superfluous.
Here are some facts on guns that we all, including Santini, should know: There are over a quater-billion guns in American households. Each year about 500,000 guns are stolen. The vast majority of these stolen guns end up in the inner city, sold cheaply or traded for legal or illegal goods and services. For those who say they need a gun for protection of their home or family, think about this: Fewer than 1 of 4 violent crimes occur while the victim is at home. In the cases involving gun-use during break-ins, only 2% of these guns were used to shoot intruders; the other 98% of the time, residents accidentally shot a loved one, themselves, or the burglar tooked the gun and killed them with it.(source: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Violence "Guns in the Home" fact sheet, via Michael Moore's, Stupid White Men)
Who's to say a guy who purchased a AK-47 legally won't sell his gun to some kid on the street when times are tough or if the price is right? Are Puerto Ricans willing to risk the lives of their families in the name of "protection?" Will we really be safe when thousands of military style weapons purchased legally get unaccounted for? The facts are there guys. Read them for yourself, click on the Brady Campaign link above. Yes, as a Puerto Rican you may have a constitutional right to own a gun, but you'll be sorry when that gun is used against you or a loved one.
With comments like these, Santini is a man that can't be trusted to ensure the security and safety of our people. Shouldn't the government be trying to stop the proliferation of guns rather than the opposite? Boricua, you decide!
WASHINGTON (AP) - Un soldado del Ejército estadounidense oriundo de Caguas, Puerto Rico, y residente en Connecticut falleció el miércoles en la ciudad de Sadr en Irak, informó el viernes el Departamento de Defensa.
That's 18 boricuas dead so far in this so called war against terror. It pisses me off to see my people die in trying to provide a free, democratic and sovereign nation for a foreign people when the government of the flag they fight under denies these very rights to them and their people. Damn you Bush!
Posted by Don Chu at 12:04 AM
Friday, August 20, 2004
Cortijo y Maelo
Isn't this such a cool picture. Some of the greats of our culture are pictured there. You can tell they're having fun. Ismael Rivera is one of my favorite singers. Along with Cortijo, they revolutioned Puerto Rican culture and made our music popular and fun. An interesting thing to point out is notice how everyone in the band is black. Today's salsa bands and salseros are mostly of light skin. This is just proof that our roots, nuestros raices, are strongly influenced by Afro-boricuas.
Posted by Don Chu at 9:23 PM
A blog buddy of mine sent me this link from a forum on ESPN.com. A guy poses the question "Why is Puerto Rico allowed to play?" referring to the olympics, particularly the game between the US and Puerto Rico. Check out this guys comment on Puerto Rico, which is ignorant, arrogant and racist; a typical comment from an average American joe, hoo rah!
Puerto Rico is TERRORITY of the USA. PR is listed as a "Commonwealth", but so is Virginia, so both are RULED by United States. There is NO President or ruling Party in Puerto Rico. Again, its ruled by a Governor appointed BY the US Government. Puerto Ricans THREE TIMES were given a national election by the USA to decide if they want to be a state, commonwealth, or its own country. And all 3 times, they chose "CommonWealth". Why? Because Puerto Ricans are a lazy bunch of people who have always been riding the backs of larger governments. They were dominated by Spain for hundreds of years. All of them were given what they needed to survive by the Spanish royalty so that they can work on that measly island, which mainly served as a military lookout island (kind of like Hawaii's origin). Then when the USA defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War, it was already in the blood of Puerto Ricans to be baby fed by a bigger country because they don't know how to rule for themselves. This is why they choose "Commonwealth". They need pampering and the U.S. money, and don't know how to rule for themselves. Even being classified as a State is too much work for them.
If this island is nothing more than a lab mouse for us, then why not just tell the Olympics we're going to pull our P.R. terrority out of the Olympics starting right now? That's what we should do. If Puerto Ricans complain, we'll tell them "Oh yea? then we'll make you become your own country" You know they won't like the idea of human rights so it should work.
But Don Chu doesn't sit around letting his people go undefended. So here is what I had to say:
Don Chu wrote:
I would like to thank you for making the case FOR Puerto Rico. In your comment you have just described the exact political condition of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico IS a colony RULED by the US. Gees, and the US talks about liberty. How the heck can they go "free" Iraq when they have another nation in chains? Isn't that hypocritical.
You're Puerto Rican history is off my friend. First, the US has never given a national election to the Puerto Ricans. All referendums, as theyre called, have been insular and non-binding, meaning the US didn't recongnize any of the results. Second, Puerto Ricans didn't choose commonwealth 3 times. In fact, in the last referendum, they choose, "Non of the Obove" because they realized that they weren't going to be taunted with a fake referendum. Thirdly, Puerto Ricans are not lazy. The island produces more professionals (doctors, lawyers, ph.Ds, etc) per capita than any state in the union. Furthermore, they obviously must be hard workers if they were able to defeat the US. Fourth, the only money given to Puerto Rico is for federal purposes, i.e. to maintain whatever federal property they have their (bases, postal service). Fifth, Puerto Ricans would commit suicide before becoming a state of a racist, arrogant, self-centered country.
I find it amazing that you, an American, a representative of democracy and self-determination, is speaking in such a dictatorial fashion. Lighten up man. Read a book.
I urge every boricua to go post a comment and show stevo002 what boricuas are all about. Just click on the link above.
Excerpts from the essay Puerto Ricans are not Americans.
. . .Aside from the obvious cultural differences, the most crucial, yet less known, difference is that we do not share a common history with the US. Unfortunately, George Washington did not liberate this colony, nor did Abraham Lincoln emancipate our slaves. The history we can relate to with the metropolis is one of unilateral tyranny, economic oppression, political repression, civil subordination, assimilation attempts and forced expatriation. . .
Puerto Ricans must wake up to the fact that, no matter how hard we try to be like Americans, and no matter what kind of catchy phrases we try to invent, we are not Americans. . .
What keeps us from becoming Americans is the reality that Puerto Rico is a nation and we as Puerto Ricans have refused, for the most part, to fully assimilate. In fact, both reasons correlate with each other because it is Puerto Rico’s nationality that keeps us from fully assimilating to American culture. . .
Read the rest of the essay by clicking here and selecting PRnotUS.doc.
" SAN JUAN, 20 de agosto - Más convencido que nunca, el ex gobernador Pedro Rosselló defendió ayer el agrio proceso de privatización de la Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) y dijo que el tiempo le ha dado la razón. . . Nada hizo detener la venta de la Telefónica y Rosselló selló la transacción en 1998. Seis años más tarde, el candidato a la Gobernación por el Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) insiste en que la política pública impuesta por su pasada administración "fue la correcta"."
Roselló continues to stand by his decision of 1998 when he privatized the phone company. Have people forgotten what occurred in the days following. Puerto Ricans were left with out phone service for several days, which paralyzed the island. It lead to a national strike in which strikers took over the airport and halted services there. And who can forget those images of bleeding workers laying on the ground as a result of police beatings.
Roselló says that in the long run his decision was a correct one. Prices may have gotten lower but that's because Puerto Ricans began buying cell-phones and looking for other phone companies. As a result the PRTC had to lower its prices.
But let's not overlook the real issue here. The real issue is Roselló and his nact for privatizing everything in his path. Remember, he privatized the AAA, which now has been turned over back to the gov't. He privatized several hospitals some of which now have closed. Voters need to watch out for this guy.
We've all been stuck in one at some point of our driving career. "Tapones" in the metro area are ridiculously nagging: traffic moves at 5 miles an hour, people drive on the emergency lane, etc etc. We all know how it feels. Now here are a couple of things that can be done to help alleviate tapones and provide some environmental relief for our island.
- ENCOURAGE CARPOOLING. The gov't needs to create carpooling lanes on major roadways. A law must be passed that states that on the major roadways, certain vehicules (like SUV's and min-vans) must have more than one person in it during rush hours. If not, then they can't use these roads. The gov't should launch a major ad-campaign that encourages people to carpool. For example, if people live in the same neighborhood and are going generally to the same place or area (ex. from Caguas to San Juan) then there would be no need to take several cars. Also, encourage bigger companies, who can afford to, to provide some environmental-friendly means of transportation. Have them provide a bus or have them create their own car-pooling plans.
- INVERT ROADWAYS. We've all been stuck in traffic on el Espreso during the evening hours and have seen few cars passing us on the opposite lanes. Vice versa for the morning hours. In the mornings people on the highways are trying to get to city while in the evening people are trying to leave the city. So why not invert a couple of lanes from the opposing side of the highway during rush hour. Cities like Nashville do it.
- PROMOTE SMART BUYING. When it comes to buying a car, Puerto Ricans need to be informed on what kind of car to buy. Encourage Puerto Ricans to buy smaller cars and environmental friendly cars. Have the gov't provide a list of these favorable cars. The gov't should create a "fee" on bigger cars like SUV's and Mini-Vans. Call it an Environmental Protection Fee. These bigger cars are the ones who suck up most of our gas, create the most pollution and destroy our roads. For those who have a little bit of more money, encourage them to buy hybird cars. These baby's, while expensive, are more fuel efficient and create less pollution. The gov't can even prohibit certain large cars from parking in certain areas at certain times. For example, SUV's cannot park on the streets of Viejo San Juan during normal working hours.
- EXTEND EL TREN URBANO TO CAGUAS. A large portion of the people coming to San Juan live in this area anyways. Bayamon is already being taken care of, but the people of Caguas need to be in on the gig. The gov't should then promote usage of the tren by making it affordable by lowering the prices! $1.50?! Hell, NYC pays $2.00 for a fare and they make a whole lot more money than Puerto Ricans.
- REFORM THE MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM. Provide more buses, more routes and extended hours. Or provide more buses and routes during rush hours and/working hours. People who live in metro areas don't need cars. Look at NYC and Washington. Their citizens depend on the mass transit system. We need to follow their lead. The gov't can even promote usage of the reformed transit system by prohibiting city dwellers who work less than half a mile from their workplace to use a car during working hours.
- ENFORCE EXISTING TRANSIT LAWSThat's right. There are plenty of transit laws existing that aren't even enforced. Like no driving on the emergency lanes.
These are just a few suggestions that, if enacted, could relieve some stress on Puerto Ricans and help protect the environment. If anyone has any more ideas, please post them on the comments page.
Posted by Don Chu at 12:05 AM
Thursday, August 19, 2004
CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug. 18 - After demanding an audit of voting results upon failing to oust President Hugo Chávez in a recall referendum, representatives of Venezuela's opposition movement said Wednesday that they would refuse to participate in or recognize the review, asserting that the audit would fail to detect the deception that they insist took place.
New York Times
After urging for an audit and even gaining the support of the Bush Administration, the opposition now doesn't want to recognize the results of or even proceed with the audit. What's up that? The opposition is taking this loss very seriously. It's ironic how they are claiming that voting machines were manipulated and tampored with when only a day before the elections they "took part in a smoothly conducted pre-election audit of a sampling of voter machines, after tamper-proof software was installed that allowed the machines to record votes and transmit results to a central vote-counting bank." Let's not fail to mention that the Carter Center and the OAS monitored 150 voting tables. Carter even insists that the surveys of voters by members of Súmate, an antigovernment group, are inaccurate. In fact, Súmate "also conducted a quick count sampling of votes similar to that conducted by the Carter Center and the O.A.S. that also showed the government had won."
Chu's message to the opposition: give up! Take defeat like civilized people. Just because the referendum didn't work out for you doesn't mean the elections were undemocratic or flawed. In a democracy, there are always losers and in this case you are it. Let's see: you've lost 2 prior elections, you've had a failed coup attempt, you're economy-aimed national strikes didn't work and now you've lost the referendum. Save face and allow Chavez's "social revolution" to proceed because frankly, that's what the people, you're compatriots, want.
Posted by Don Chu at 11:45 PM
Most deny it, few see it and even fewer admit to its existence. But racism can be seen in all aspects of Puerto Rican society. It isn't as apparent as the class division that exists on the island. But then again, it can be argued that color is the defining factor of classes.
From childhood, we are sold the idea that Puerto Ricans are a mix-race comprised of Spanish, African and Indigenous roots. For the most part it's true, but do the institutions relfect this reality? The next time you think about racism in Puerto Rico, ask yourself these few questions:
1) Are 80% of Puerto Ricans really "white (light-skin)"? When I walk the streets of San Juan, are 8 of the 10 people I see "white"?
2) How many "black (dark-skin)" people do I see walking the halls of Plaza Las Americas? On the contrary, how many "white" people do I see walking down Paseo de Diego in Rio Piedras?
3) How many representatives in the Puerto Rican House are "black"? (To see for youself, click here.)
4) How many senators in the Puerto Rican Senate are "black"?
5) In this year's elections, how many candidates are "black"?
6) When was the last time Puerto Rico had an influential "black" leader? (Barbosa, Albizu Campos, Don Chu?)
7) How many "blacks" live in gated communities, urbanizaciones?
Makes you wonder about our society, right?
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
NEWS RELEASE: US Army Corps of Engineers
"The Department of the Army announced today that it has launched an innovative underwater survey using multi-sensor technology to identify areas offshore of the Puerto Rican island of Culebra where military munitions may be located. The Army also announced that it has contracted to acquire high-resolution aerial photographs of the entire island and its surrounding cays to assist future cleanup efforts. Work on the surveys is expected to be completed within the next year."
Great! The new "Plan of Action" is only 30 years late! Will it be that long for Vieques to be cleaned?
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Searching through some writings by Franklin I found this quote. It's eerie to think that Franklin wrote these words hundreds of years ago, but yet they still reverberate and apply to modern times. It's as if Franklin is trying to tell us something, or warn us about certain types of people.
Those that are giving up essential liberty for temporary security are people like Bush, his supporters and anyone who supports the PATRIOT Act. Heck, this act attacks several of our constitutional freedoms like the 4th and 1st amendment and downplays the right to privacy were earned through several Supreme Court rulings.
According to Franklin these types of persons don't even deserve liberty or safety. So what exactly is he suggesting? Should we lock them all up? Should we allow people to beat them up? Whatever the answer, Franklin is trying to tell us something and we must figure it out before it's too late.
Posted by Don Chu at 2:49 PM
"Layoffs occurred at the second-fastest rate on record during the first three years of the Bush administration, a government report has found. In the government's latest survey of how frequently workers are permanently dismissed from their jobs, the layoff rate reached 8.7 percent of all adult jobholders, or 11.4 million men and women age 20 or older. That is nearly equal to the 9 percent rate for the 1981-1983 period, which included the steepest contraction in the American economy since the Great Depression."New York Times, Aug. 2, 2004
Amist tales of improvement and talk of getting out of the recession, the American economy continues to suffer. Along with the report released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month, research has found that the lay-offs are breaking with the traditional trend of "in good times less lay-offs in bad times more." Lay-offs are occurring in both good and bad times. It's no wonder then that an average of 403,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims every week in 2003.(source: Michael Moore, Stupid White Men) The 2004 summer average of people filing unemployment claims is roughly 340,000 every week.(source: NYT)
I believe the problems are rooted in several factors.
Problem 1: globilization.
Economists like James Glassman, senior United States economist for J. P. Morgan Chase, argue that companies are simply moving their production to other places to take advantage of low-cost centers. This my friends, is called outsourcing. Outsourcing is the nice way of saying having your job taking from you and sending it overseas. Free-trade agreements, like NAFTA, only facilitate outsourcing.
Problem 2: US Companies.
American companies are driven by the greenback. Their main, and only, concern is to maximize profit and minimize costs. Companies are basically laying people off and moving their jobs to countries that have cheap labor-costs like Asia, India and parts of Latin America. They don't care about you or me. They just look for ways to get more money in their pockets. To them, you, the American worker, is expendible. And to add insult to injury, many times companies have, and will, make you train the person who is going to be taking your job in some foreign country.
Probelm 3: George W. Bush.
Here is the man who adds fuel to the fire that is destroying the American economy. Bush entered office with a steady economy that was entering its first, yet light, stages of recession but with a surplus that numbered in the trillions. And what did he do? He helped the "needy companies" out(you know, those who funded his campain). He gave a tax-cut to the rich. He pushed for and got the NAFTA. After 9/11, as the economy was sinking deeper, he spent billions on defense, (Halliburton and Cheney are happy). And then as the economy continued to weaken, what did he do, he gave companies tax breaks. And what did the companies do with all the money they got from Dubya? They moved overseas! I think Bush's failure to improve the economy is hereditary because the last time lay-offs where this high was in the 1990-1991 recession, the year his daddy was president.
It has also been reported that Americans are finding jobs quickly after being layed-off but, according to the Labor Dept. report, 56.9 percent of those who said they were re-employed also said they were earning less in their new jobs than in the jobs they had lost.
These three problems stated above only facilitate outsourcing. But who do Americans turn to for help? State governments? Yea right. According to a report by CNN's Lou Dobbs, "at least 40 states have contracts with companies that use overseas workers rather than Americans to staff state call centers." Even state governments have jumped on the outsourcing bandwagon. It seems that Americans can only hope Bush or Kerry will pull them out, most likely Kerry.
So how does all this affect Puerto Rico? Simple: Everything that happens in the US, happens in Puerto Rico. US companies compose roughly 85% of the Puerto Rican economy. Thousands of US company jobs on the island have been lost, and hundreds of US factories closed, and moved overseas, most of the time to neighboring Dominican Republic.
Yesterday, the government released a report stating that unemployment was down to 10%, the lowest its been in decades. That's great. But then again we've learned once to many times that statistics in Puerto Rico should be taken with skepticism. (Remember, in the US Census 2000, we said that over 80% of us are white. Blah!)
What can Puerto Ricans do to improve their economy? Well, not much. It's not like we can vote for president. We can't even voice our opinions or concerns when free-trade agreements are being worked out in Congress. Our economy is controlled by the Americans. In the condition we are, we can only ask politely and play the colonialism card every now and then to secure even a thought in Congress' mind. That's the cold reality of colonialism.
Endi Elecciones2004 Panel
"Divorciada totalmente de la realidad caribeña y latinoamericana de Puerto Rico." This was the sentiment felt by the ENDi Elecciones2004 panel in regards to the PNP's (statehood party) cultural plan. Translated, they are basically saying that the party's plan is absurd because it ignores the reality of Puerto Rico's relationship with the caribbean and Latin America. It's a plan that calls for turning control of funds from the Puerto Rican Cultural Institue to the federal government. As if the feds know anything about Puerto Rican culture.
I have to honestly say that this plan is a plan to slowly disolve the Puerto Rican culture. It's a document of cultural genocide. So you see compañeros, the true face of the PNP party is slowly appearing. Remember, this is a party that spent millions on useless construction projects, took millions from the schools and have several of its ex-members in jail for corruption.
To read more about the PNP's cultural plan, and the plans of the other party's, go to: ENDi
Here is another response to a comment made by "Christian" in the article "An Anthropoligical Observation on Puerto Rican Sexuality" by my good friend Luis Gallardo on the website Living on the Planet in reference to Puerto Ricans.
"Let's see, the Austrians have Mozart and can also lay claim to Freud, the Germans have Beethoven and Einstein, the Italians have Raphael, da Vinci and Michelangelo the British have Shakespeare and Churchill, the French have Matisse, the Spanish have Picasso and Puerto Ricans have....RICKY MARTIN. Terrific!
While I agree with you that the “culture” in the US is totally vacuous and more specious than any nation in the world (and it’s, in fact, infiltrating and slowly dumbing-down the entire world with its garbage music and its obsession with fame and money), Puerto Rico is not, nor ever has been, a bastion of intellectual creativity."
Don Chu said:
"Christian, it is obvious that you are some right wing, conservative puritanical gringo who probably has never left his city.
You seem to comment of Puerto Rico as if you knew alot about it. From your comments, I conclude that you are very ignorant on Puerto Rican history and culture. Ricky Martin may be Puerto Rican, but he is no representation of Puerto Rico. That's like saying Brittany Spears best represents the US.
As for music, Puerto Rico produces some of the most influential and prominent musicians, composers and singers in the Western Hemishpere let alone the world. Have you ever heard of Rafael Hernandez? Composer of Preciosa, Lamento Borincano and thousands of other songs. Some of his compositions are considered as second national anthems for many countries.
What about Juan Morell Campos? Only the best Danza (what you would call Waltz) composer in the 19th century.
How about Bobby Capo and Tite Curet Alonso? Do you know who they are? Their songs, which include boleros, salsas, &jazz, are still being song today around the globe. Roberto Angleron? Almost every song he composed was a hit which still makes people dance and have fun.
Ever heard of Pablo Casals? He's Puerto Rican.
These are only a few examples of Puerto Rico's immense artistic talents. The one who needs to open up their mind is you compañero."
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Yes guys, that's right, my college, Hunter College, is One of the Country’s Best 357 Colleges.
According to a survey by The Princeton Review of over 110,000 students at 357 top colleges around the country, Hunter College ranks #4 in the diverse student population category. Hunter is also listed as one of the “best bargains” around, coming in #12 on the list of best bargains among public colleges.
Robert Franek, the lead author for the survey, spoke about Hunter on Good Day New York, saying that Hunter had an excellent regional reputation, but deserved a national reputation as well.
Lists of the top 20 ranking colleges in 64 different categories are in the 2005 edition of The Princeton Review's annual college guide, "The Best 357 Colleges,” which goes on sale August 17. Rankings for 60 lists are based solely on student answers to survey questions: four lists factor in institutional data. A ranking list appearance does not reflect The Princeton Review's opinion of the college, but a high consensus of opinion among the college's surveyed students about it.
Posted by Don Chu at 4:07 PM
Monday, August 16, 2004
It's official, Hugo Chavez has won the recall election in Venezuela. His side mustered 4,991,483 votes, roughly 58.25%, while the opposition only obtained 3,576,517 votes, roughly 41.74% with 95% of the votes counted. 8.5 million Venezuelans voted yesterday, roughly 75% of the population, in the countries longest elections and biggest voter turnout rate in history.
Now this is real democracy, and according to the Carter Center and the OAS, a "fair and transparent election that reflects the will of the people."
Chavez has survived two elections, a coup, economic strikes and now the recall election. Maybe the opposition will finally cease in their attempts to oust Chavez. The people have spoken, democracy has prevailed. Not even the US can say their democracy is as solid as Venezuela's. For once, a Latin America country has refused to bend to the will of the rich and foreigners and have selected one of their own to lead them.
Posted by Don Chu at 12:53 PM
Sunday, August 15, 2004
"What the fuck?!". . . . . "Who's yo' Daddy!?"
Puerto Rico may be a territory (or colony) of the US but today Puerto Rico owned the US. The Puerto Rico National Basketball team dominated the game, defeating the Americans 92-73. This was the first time the US lost in olympic play since the mythical 'Dream Team' was created back in 1992. As you can tell by the expressions on Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan's face, the Americans were shocked.
Let that be a message to the US: Puerto Rico ain't taking no more crap from you. We defeaed you in Vieques and we'll defeat you in Athens.
May 1, 2003 was an important day in Puerto Rican history. It was the day the US Navy was forced out of Vieques after sixty years of bombing, health and human rights violations. It's been 16 months since that day and not much has happened to improve the conditions of the people of Vieques. The promises of decontamination and economic aid made by the government has yet to become a reality.
Vieques continues to suffer from a 50% unemployment rate while 67% of its population lives under the poverty line. The government promised to create 500 new jobs, which it hasn't; it promised to improve health conditions and environmental conditions, yet none of it has occured.On a recent trip to Vieques, Howard Dean was shocked to see that progress hasn't been made and the Viequenses (US citizens) have been ignored by the federal government. Here's some facts concerning the health situation in Vieques that he pointed out in an article on his website www.democracyforamerica.com:
* Tests by civilian, government and military scientists have proven the migration of toxic substances from the bombing range into the civilian areas and the offshore environment.
* A comprehensive study of death certificates by a medical doctor and an epidemiologist demonstrated gross disparities in cancer, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes rates between people who live on Vieques and those who live on the island of Puerto Rico. Both the University of Puerto Rico scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have reported the presence of toxic metals in the
crabs of Vieques.
* Hair tests showed toxic levels of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in the bodies of island residents.
* A recent peer- reviewed study of mercury risk assessment corroborated higher levels of mercury in Vieques residents as compared to the residents of eastern Puerto Rico and the U.S. Atlantic Coast.
The island has been betrayed by both the US and Puerto Rican governments. It's amazing that the US has spent billions of dollars on fighting wars, building unnecessary weapons and providing aid to foreign countries but can't seem to provide for their own citizens. Howard Dean makes this point clear when he writes, "We are currently spending billions of dollars on the healthcare of Iraqi citizens. We need to spend our money on American citizens as well. And we need to start by addressing the health crisis and clean up in Vieques."
But who can Vieques turn to? The government really can't be trusted. Is Sila really working hard for the people of Vieques? She has betrayed Vieques before. Plus, the candidiates for governor have nothing included in their plans to address the problems of Vieques. As for the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed to add certain areas on and around the islands of Vieques and Culebra to the National Priorities List (NPL) of the country's most contaminated hazardous waste sites. But it's only a proposal, a sort of a maybe, let-me-think-about-it thing. I wouldn't be surprised if Congress rejects the EPA's proposal.
The only way to bring change and progress to Vieques is if the same movement and unification of Puerto Ricans reappears and pressures the government. Otherwise, Vieques will continue to be a paradise lost.
Which one are you more afraid of?
"A mass psychosis has gripped the country," writes Micahel Moore in reference to the highten terror alert being felt by all Americans. Ever since 9/11, Americans have been so scared that they have giving up certain inalienable rights bestowed to them by the Constitution in exchange for more measures of "security" that ridiculously has come in the form of a color-coded chart. They have been told to be alert and report any suspicious behavior and suspicious-looking persons. They have been coaxed into spending money and buying items because the government continuosly has told them that another attack is imminent. Sadly, Americans have become prisoners in their own country.
But, when is this next attack coming? Who is this attack going to be coming from? Questions like these seem rhetorhical for the American social conscious has already answered them. Since childhood, Americans have been taught that it's people of the other color that they must fear. Blacks feared the whites up until the late 60's, whites continue to fear blacks and both races seem to keep an open eye on those spanish-speaking people. Everyone is suspicious of each other.
It seems that since 9/11, the characteristics of a person most likely to harm Americans includes someone tan-skinned, from the middle-east, probably wearing a turban, carrying a Quran and speaking a funny language. At least, that's what the media seems to portray and the government seems to concur. That's the new terror profiling system implanted in the American conscience. When we hear about someone being arrested as a terror threat does he not fit these characteristics? The prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay, do they not fit these qualities? This is America's picture of a terrorist and these are the people they must watch out for.
It is all BULL! Americans are looking the wrong way. Before 9/11, an Americans chances of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist, especially on US soil, was ZERO. In fact, no American in the years following 9/11 has died at the hands of a terrorist. Americans have a greater chance of dying from the flu, pneumonia, car accidents, homicide, and even suicide.
It's not the third-world country guy who Americans need to fear but rather their own fellow citizens. If someone dies from a flu he probably contracted it from an American, if someone dies in a car accident it was probably by a drunk American, if someone is murdered it was probably at the hands of an American, if someone kills himself its probably because an American didn't love him enough.
In America, its the American you need to fear, particularly the white American. It's not the black American who has made the country the way it is. Who killed the Native Americans? Whites. Who enforced slavery? Whites. Who has started every war in America? A white guy. Who are the people laying-off Americans and moving their jobs overseas? White CEOs. Who voted for Bush? Whites. So you see, its your fellow white Americans you must fear. They are the ones who are serial killers, whose kids wear trenchcoats and shoot up schools, who blow up buildings. Let's face it America, you are most likely to die at the hands of "terrorists" from your own country than from anywhere else.
I know it's hard to accept. This country is built around the premisis that everything white is good, and everything black is bad. But I don't blame you. The media is partly responsible but the real blame should be given to the conservative, white, corporate guys who run the country. They are the ones who decide what you can see, hear and know. You are just a product of a screwed-up, cynical, bigot society.
My advice to you is this: next time you see a white guy who looks suspicious, Run and report him to the Department of Homeland Security.
Posted by Don Chu at 12:22 PM
Saturday, August 14, 2004
The US has always been a country where immigrants have flocked to to pursue a "rags to riches" dream, to ensure a better life for their children, to worship and express themselves freely, to find political asylum, to improve their economic standing. For many prospective immigrants around the world, the US is seen as a modern, high-tech garden of eden where streets are made of gold and prosperity reigns. To them, the US is #1.
But I suggest that those people who are thinking about coming to the US take a look at the following list of things the US leads the world in.
The US is #1 in:
- Military spending
- Firearm deaths
- Beef production
- Per capita energy use
- Carbon Dioxide Emissions
- Total and per capita municipal waste
- Hazardous waste produced
- Oil consumption
- Natural gas consumption
- Least amount of tax revenue generated
- Least amount of government expenditure
- Daily per capita consumption of calories
- Lowest voter turnout
- Fewest # of political parties represented in the lower or single house
- Recorded rapes
- Injuries and deaths from road accidents
- Births to mothers under the age of 20
- Number of international human rights treaties not signed
- Not ratifying the UN Conventino on the Rights of the Child
- Likelihood of children under 15 dying from gunfire
- Likelihood of children under 15 commiting suicide with a gun
- Lowest 8th-grade math scores
- Becoming the first society in history in which the poorest group in the population are children
So you see my fellow immigrant, especially you Boricua, the US isn't all its cracked up to be. Think twice before moving to the US.
Posted by Don Chu at 6:51 PM
Friday, August 13, 2004
"The government of Bush will be defeated next Sunday. They want to wash their faces so they won't have to carry defeat, but I have said that the confrontation between the people of Venezuela is not rooted with the opposition. The opposition has a lover whose name is Mister George W. Bush. The referendum will not be whether Chavez stays or leaves. It is about if Venezuela will continue being a sovereign country with a national project or if it becomes a colony, this time controlled by the US government. . .Victory is already painted. Surprises are impossible to occur. We demand respect. We will not cease in our effort to be free. Dignity is non-negotiable. We want to maintain the best relations with the US in the best political, economic and social senses, but never in subordination."
-Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela
These were the words of Hugo Chavez during a press conference today in regards to a question concerning the recall election which will be held this Sunday. As always Chavez has strong words for the Bush administration. He was basically telling the people of Venezuela, "do you want to be free or dominated?" while at the same time letting the US government know not to meddle in.
Chavez obviously doesn't like Bush. This was made clear back in March when Chavez called Bush a "pendejo." But why would Chavez like him? Ever since Bush came into power he's been trying to rip the Venezuela people off of their oil, has been spying on Chavez's government, has falsely accused Chavez or funding terrorist groups and even played an important role in the "2-day failed revolution" of the opposition back in April of 2002. Funny, because before 2000, Venezuela and the US had improving relations. Who knows, if these relations had remained we'd probably be buying cheaper gas at the pumps.
On the other side, the US doesn't like Chavez too much either. Why? Well simply because, Chavez is everything the US doesn't want a Latin American leader to be: leftist, charismatic, part of the lower class, popular and democratically elected. The US has a history of helping to overthorw these kinds of leaders. They did it in Chile, Panama, Guatemala, Argentina, Dominican Republic. The list can go on.
I like Chavez because he's one of the few leaders in Latin America, and in the world, who refuses to be dominated by US interests and will openly speak his mind. Thanks to him, the life of the common Venezuelan has improved dramatically. Free education, housing assitance, health-care coverage for all, job security, food and most importantly. Illiteracy has gone down, unemployment has diminished, and people's standard of living has risen. And he's funding all these programs by ensuring that the revenue generated by the oil industry stays in Venezuela and benefits the Venezuelan people.
The majority of Venezuelans seem to like Chavez. Maybe its because for the first time in the country's history, the bottom 80% of the population is finally being represented and benefitting from the social programs. The opposition, which is a relatively small group comprised of the wealthy, have lied and tried to damage Venezuela's economy and Chavez's social programs with strikes, boycotts, marches and protests. They barely got enough signatures to even have the upcoming recall election. And in fact, forged names, had people sign several times and had dead people sign, if you could imagine how that is even possible.
Nonetheless, I believe Chavez will win this Sunday's recall election with an overwhelming majority. He was elected in 2000 with a landslide 56% of the votes. So I can imagine he will get something similar or even higher. Not even Bush can say something like this. In fact, Busch can't even say he was "elected" at all. Latin America needs more leaders like Chavez: Someone who represents the people, cares for the people and won't let anybody other than the people try to run the country. Chavez is the model leader of the future.
Posted by Don Chu at 9:24 PM
The following is a comment I posted on the website www.livingontheplanet.com/latinamerica in response to a degrading and insulting comment made towards the people of Puerto Rico.
My comment is directed towards the post by Christian regarding the intellectual curiosity of Puerto Ricans.
Compañero, let me begin by answering your first question, "Isn't there anything more important to Puerto Ricans than sex?" Yes there is. I believe you misunderstood the argument the author was trying to make in this article. He simply was stating that Puerto Rican music is a social representation of who they are. Music, in any culture and in any country, is the supreme cultural representation of a people. Any "intelligent" person should be able to discern this from the article.
Almost every music in the world has some sexual tinge to it. For example, look at rap. The music videos alone attest to the sexual connotations to that musical genre. Or how about American pop with Brittney Spears and Christina Aguilera leading the pack. No one would dare say their songs have no sexual tinges to them.
So, you see, Puerto Ricans aren't the only ones who make music that is sexually noted. They just make their music a little more sexually weighted.
There ARE more important things than sex to Puerto Ricans. Let me name a few: politics, family, healthcare, education, well-being of their neighbor, baseball, nature, having fun, etc. The list can go on.
As for your second question, "Do they have one once of intellectual curiosity?" Again, yes they do. In fact they have tons and tons of intellectual curiosity. Did you know that Puerto Rico produces more professionals per square mile than any state in the US? In fact, Puerto Rico generates more engineers, doctors, lawyers, professors, and college graduates than any other Latin American country.
What other country can say that they produce countless numbers of professionals while having a rich and beautiful culture in which they can express themselves openly and freely?
Comparatively, Puerto Ricans are "smarter" than most Americans. They know more than one language, keep up on current events and are even responsible of knowing their candidates before they vote. In fact, unlike in the US, over 80% of Puerto Ricans vote. Now tell me that isn't a sign of an intelligent people.
The illiteracy rate in Puerto Rico is below 4% last I heard. Did you know that over 40 million Americans cannot read or write? Of course, you may not have known; you're probably part of that group.
So, you see compañero, Puerto Ricans are very intelligent people who are concerned with a variety of issues. I'm Puerto Rican myself, and I'm wondering how you even have the nerve to ask such silly questions like these.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
The Cold War, the Cuban missle crisis, McCarthyism, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam war, the overthrowing of several democratically elected leaders in Latin America like Allende in Chile, the Contra wars, the invasion of Grenada and Panama. These are all examples of the US' struggle against the spread of communism during the last half of the twentieth century. You'd figure the US is one country that opposes any such leftist or socialist thinking. They are the defenders of capitalism, right? But, Compañeros, contrary to what we are told in history books and by politicians, socialism does exist in the US.And Americans socialist tendencies are demonstrated best in times of crisis.
Nothing can be more exemplerary of this than what is now taking place in the Tampa Bay region of Florida as the state braces itself for Hurricane Charley. From the highest ranking Floridian politician to the poorest working class man, the residents of this area are uniting as a people to help each other out as the storm edges near. It is amazing to see the local government opening up shelters, providing food to displaced families, urging and assisting people inland, providing special care and attention to the elderly and sick and even providing shelter for pets. Common citizens are joining in by opening up there homes to people who don't or can't find a place inland to stay and providing tons of donations. Businesses are even helping out. For example, airlines have said that anyone who misses a flight this weekend will not have to pay any penalty fees.
Capitalism, it seems takes a back seat. The only businesses that really "benefit" from times like these are supermarkets and hardware stores. But no one is complaining. No one is trying to sell you a car, overprice their goods or anything like that. In times of need and danger, everyone turns into a socialist.
I remember experiencing something similar, but more intense, when 9/11 happened. I was in New York that day and I remember the chaos that took place that first days following the attack. New Yorkers, who are normally uptight and social introverts, came out to the streets wondering how they could help their fellow New Yorker. People lined up to volunteer while others simply donated goods and money. I remember people on the subways chatting to each other, saying hello and wishing each other a nice day and sharing their stories with each other. I remember seeing the lines of trucks carrying donations from other parts of the country lining up the streets of Manhattan while others waited to get into the city. I remember the water-vendors and hot-dog vendors who days after 9/11 raised the prices of their products. People were pissed and I remember a group of people who got together and forced a hot-dog vendor to lower his prices to normal rates. Talk about looking out for the common-good. Socialism was in full-effect and capitalism was thrown in the closet.
Now I ask myself this: Why can't people act like that on a daily basis? Why do people's true, loving, socialist hearts only come out in times of crisis? Isn't being layed-off a crisis? How about not having health coverage or dental care? What about not being able to pay for college? Aren't those crisis' too?
You see, it's not that Americans are capitalist pigs who don't care about their neighbors. Americans are kind, caring people but something in there social scheme doesn't allow them to show this spirit save in times of crisis. I believe that US society must be altered to make its social side appear more often. All the other "Developed Countries" of the world have a socialist structured society. The US should hop on the bandwagon of prosperity and good-will.
Maybe the only way for Americans to learn to be more social is to have more crisis'. If so then I say, in the words of Prez Bush, Jr., "bring 'em on!"
Posted by Don Chu at 11:00 PM
"I'm a gay American." These were the words of New Jersey Governor James McGreevey today at news conference in Trenton. He went on to say that had an affair with a man and will resign his office by Nov. 15.
I think it was a bold move to come out of the closet but I don't believe he should resign. Sources say that McGreevey was already under some heat for corruption charges and rumors about him being gay would have hurt him even more. But what would make him want to resign? Being straight isn't a qualification for being governor. I wonder if there were some other issues or motives and he is just using his homosexuality as a scapegoat. Who knows. Isn't it interesting that he comes out on the same day gays stripped off their marriage titles just across the country. Hmm...
Posted by Don Chu at 6:44 PM
Here comes those storms. Man, I thought I'd be safe here in Tampa. I spent 11 months in Puerto Rico and not once did a hurricane hit the island. There were several that passed close to it but nothing like whats going on now. I can hear the remnants of T.S. Bonnie dropping its load on us. But, Hurricane Charley is suppose touch land directly over Tampa. With one week left before I head back to New York, my vacation here in the Tampa bay area couldn't have gotten unluckier.
Posted by Don Chu at 6:17 PM
"The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that San Francisco officials had overstepped their authority in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and by a 5-to-2 vote the justices voided the more than 4,000 licenses that were given to gays and lesbians earlier this year... The court said local officials in San Francisco had exceeded their authority by taking official action in violation of applicable statutory provisions...The Supreme Court said in its decision today that in the absence of a judicial determination that such statutory provisions are unconstitutional, local executive officials lack the authority to step in."
-New York Times, August 12, 2004
This just in: homosexuals and lesbians can't get married in California. At least not legally anyways. What a blow for American democracy! You see, this country was founded on the ideals and principles that all men (and women) are considered equal under the laws. These principles were further strengthened by the Equal Protection clause ot the 14th Amendment which states that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The California Supreme Court stated that the mayor of San Francisco overstepped his authority by refusing to enforce an obvious discriminating statute but clearly the court overstepped its authority by allowing this statute to stand. Anyone with a clear mind can see that the statute of California that bans gay marriages is a violation of the 14th Amendment.
So what if Adam likes Steve or Lisa is in love with Laura, the fact of the matter is that in this country they are citizens too with the same rights and protection of the laws. Let me put this issue into perspective: saying that gays cannot get married legally would be just like saying that a black man cant marry a white woman. This country has an history of denying rights to certain minority groups that the majority deems "unorthodox." That's how blacks were treated, that's how jews were treated and now that's how gays are being treated.
There are those who say that marriage is a holy institution between a man and woman. Sure, if you're a christian. But remember that little doctrine called "separation of church and state?" It still applies people. And guess what? There are many in this country who aren't christian. You can't enforce that marriage principle say to a Muslim or even to a Mormon for that matter.
Amigos, sure some of us see two gay guys kissing as disgusting and some of us don't give a damn, but the bottom-line is that we can't be letting the government continue to deny a simple right like marriage to a certain minority group. This whole issue is another example of the majority trying to control the minority. If this persists, none of us who are part of the minority is safe and the principles of this country might as well be thrown out the window.
Posted by Don Chu at 5:40 PM
"And the reason is Puerto Rico's political status because its a status that's based on an absence of powers, it's a status that isn't democratic, it's a status that limits the potencials of our people. It's a status that puts limitations on our civil rights."
-Pedro Roselló, ex-governor of Puerto Rico, END: 12 august 2004
Now you know that I hate this guy with a passion for all the things he's done to destroy Puerto Rico, but this comment makes since. Puerto Ricans must realize, and accept the fact that despite our anger and unwillingness we are nonetheless US citizens. Therefore, I believe if the Americans want to treat us like US citizens then they should do it at full effect. It is despicable and outright undemorcratic to give us certain rights and deny us others. If this kind of thing happened in the states, all hell would break loose. I mean, wasn't that what the whole Civil Rights movement was all about: political equality?!
The ELA, current status of the island, has surpassed its intentions and is no longer reformable. For Puerto Rico to move foward in all aspects and be a viable competitor in this globilized world, it must obtain a status that gives it's citizens more autonomy and more say so in determining their future. Some, like Roselló, see that autonomy in statehood, others, like me, see that autonomy in independence. But, as long as we are treated as 2nd class US citizens who can't vote but can fight in the military, then Puerto Ricans must push for political equality. If Congress isn't willing to do that then they should give us political liberty.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Recession means that people's incomes, at the employer level, are going down, basically, relative to costs, people are getting laid off.
- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Feb. 19, 2004
I was a prisoner too, but for bad reasons.
- George W. Bush, to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, on being told that all but one of the Argentine delegates to a summit meeting were imprisoned during the military dictatorship, Monterrey, Mexico, Jan. 13, 2004
The Iraqis need to be very much involved. They were the people that was brutalized by this man.
- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003
The best way to find these terrorists who hide in holes is to get people coming forth to describe the location of the hole, is to give clues and data.
- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003
Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace.
- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003
When Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal.
- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2003
One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end.
- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 8, 2003
I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right.
- George W. Bush, in Rome, July 22, 2001
We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House - make no mistake about it.
- George W. Bush, Feb. 7, 2001
If affirmative action means what I just described, what I'm for, then I'm for it.
- George W. Bush, during the third presidential debate
Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness.
- George W. Bush, in a CNN online chat, Aug. 2000
Can anyone get this guy? And to think, he's the rightfully "appointed" president of this great country. For more dumb quotes by Dubya log onto http://www.insultmonger.com/assorted/george_w_bush_dumb_quotes.htm
Posted by Don Chu at 11:17 PM
The following quote sums up what I think about American presidential elections.
"[We are taught] that the supreme act of citizenship is to choose among saviors, by going into a voting booth every four years to choose between two white and well-off Anglo-Saxon males of inoffensive personality and orthodox opinions...thus surrendering our own strength, demeaning our own ability, obliterating our own selves."
-Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States
Posted by Don Chu at 9:53 PM
The Popular candidate for mayor of San Juan, Eduardo Bhatia, said yesterday that if elected he would move several agencies of the municipal government from Viejo San Juan to other parts of the city. His reasoning for this is to decongest traffic in and around the islet and preserve the streets, walls and buildings of the historical zone of the city.
Now I'm no Popular, but this sounds like a good plan. Viejo San Juan is a small islet about 2 miles by half a mile and is home to not only the municipal government but the central government as well. So on any given day there are thousands of government employees and cars in such a small area. Anybody who has driven in Puerto Rico knows the experience of being stuck on a highway for hours and moving at 0 to 10 miles per hour during peak traffic hours.
About 30% of the Puerto Rican work force is in public service. It would be safe to say then that 3 out of every 10 people in Viejo San Juan works for the government. So if we could move at least half of the municipal government workers, and even some of the central government workers to other parts of the city, then that would drastically diminish traffic congestion and, of course, have a beneficial impact on our beautiful historic zone. Tapones will not disappear but this plan promises to alleviate them.
Posted by Don Chu at 6:43 PM
"How do ya like us now biatch" Rubén Berríos Martínez
According to a report released by El Nuevo Dia, (Puerto Rico's top newspaper), Rubén Berríos Martínez and the PIP (the independence party) has the best labor platform for this years upcoming general elections in Puerto Rico. Could this be a sign of a PIP revolution? I'm no PIP member but I do support the party. If they could get at least 10 or 15% this year that would be enough to please me and show the populace that Puerto Ricans are not content with the current political situation. Go PIP!
"What really gets me is the way this band of deceivers (Bush/Cheney crew) has used 9/11 as the excuse for everything...it is now the answer. Want new weapons system? Have to have it! Why? Well, 9/11. Want to outlaw abortion? Absolutely! Why? 9/11. What does 9/11 have to do with abortion? Hey, why are you questioning the government? Someone call the FBI!"
-Michael Moore, Dude, Where's My Country?
It's amazing how the current administration keeps using 9/11 as a justification for eveything they do. We need to invade Iraq. Why? 9/11. We need the Patriot Act. Why? 9/11. We need to increase defense spending. Why? 9/11.
Bush now uses 9/11 for things that don't even make sense. I need a vacation. Why? 9/11. We need to give the richest people in America a tax break. Why? 9/11. You need to vote for me in this years election. Why? 9/11. Gays can't get married. Why? 9/11. God wanted me to be president. Why? 9/11.
It's ridiculous. I was in NYC when 9/11 occurred. Sure, a terrible thing happened that day, but using that day for personal gain and/or political motiviations is outright insulting and degrading to those who perished.
But I don't know what's more astonishing: Bush saying these things or the American people believing him. It use to be because anyone who talked bad against Bush was seen as a foe. But we aren't that gullible, are we?. We got to wake up folks.
Posted by Don Chu at 1:17 PM