Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Proyecto Caribeño Mobilizes Against American Militarism

On Friday, August 24 Projecto Caribeño placed 75 pairs of Army boots on the steps of San Juan's Cathedral on Calle Cristo. Each pair served to remind everyone, including tourists, of the 75 Puerto Rican soldiers now dead due to America's wars halfway around the world.

For a clear comparison look at the list of coalition deaths below:

Australia 2
Bulgaria 13
Czech Republic 1
Denmark 7
El Salvador 5
Estonia 2
Hungary 1
Italy 33
Kazakhstan 1
Latvia 3
Netherlands 2
Poland 21
Romania 2
Slovakia 4
South Korea 1
Spain 11
Thailand 2
Ukraine 18
United Kingdom 168
United States 3733
-Source: Iraq Coalition Casualties

That means that the Puerto Rican sacrifice for the Bush/Blair war has been greater than that of all but two coalition members, Bush's United States and Blair's United Kingdom. Oh and lets not forget the 27,186 wounded among just the American service men, about 50 % of which with wounds severe enough to have never returned to duty.

I also would like everyone to keep in mind the deaths of over 300,000 Iraqis.

To find out more check out

Thursday, August 23, 2007

To be or not to be. That is the question.

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them."

Shakespeare wasn't talking about Puerto Rico, but he might have just as well. Because that is the question. But the classic Shakespearian drama pales in comparison with the reality lived on this island. Survival is part of the drama here, to make it to tomorrow, to pay the bills at the end of the week, to provide for those who depend on your labor. But while survival remains the priority, no one has time to philosophize about the future.

Anyone caught contemplating this most important of questions is ridiculed and shunned as out of touch and the politicians play on this and prey upon the people's fears. Fear of what? The fear that only a people living in a tiny island could imagine, from hurricanes to tsunamis to foreign invasions, but more salient still is the fear that tomorrow their labor may have been for naught. The people live in fear here, the politicians thrive on that fear. And the thinkers are called stupid for refusing to be afraid. Shakespeare said it best out of Hamlet's mouth:

"Conscience does make cowards of us all"

Sanjuaneros Somos

On August 4th, 2007 I moved to Puerto Rico after 18 years of living in the United States. I was ten when I left, guided by the hand by my mother, my brother, and my sister. As my studies progressed through high school, college, and graduate school, I have never regretted the decision to move to the United States, but slowly the need to return overcame any other desire. Now I find myself here, living in el Viejo San Juan and looking at life from a different perspective.

For those uninitiated with life in Puerto Rico, I should first explain how similar everything is to the United States. similar however does not mean "same". I am typing this at a Starbucks, on a city square called La Plaza de Armas. In one corner there is a Marshalls, in another a Wendy's, a Subway, a Walgreens, and a Howard Johnson Hotel. It was not always like this mind you. I can't remember exactly how everything used to look, but where the Marshall's is there used to be a Gonzalez Padin. That was the Bloomingdales of Puerto Rico. Every Christmas they would arrange the most spectacular store window with every imaginable Christmas scene you could think of. Now its gone. Somehow, I don't expect the same attention to detail from Marshall's.

There are other businesses, Puerto Rican based businesses like Mundo Taino, which carry Taino inspired artworks at very good prices, I bought a cemi there. Unfortunately this store is one in a sea of souvenir shops hocking everything that China could mass produce with the name of Puerto Rico on it.

But el Viejo San Juan, still belongs to the people. The Piragua carts are still here and the pigeons still have there way with your empanadilla if you get too close. If the world ended tomorrow in a combined hostile takeover by Wal-Mart and McDonald's, I suspect that el Viejo San Juan would be the last bastion of culture left in the world. Because its not for the weak hearted, nor the timid. Its the place where you can still stand in the middle of the street and force the cars to go around you. Its the place where any revolutionary can stand on a park bench and decry all injustices and find an audience to entertain.

Some may ask, what about New York? Fuck New York. I love New York, but this isn't a city built by corporate power or industrial might. El Viejo San Juan is a city built for defense. Encircled by walls at whose ends stand castles, sentinels waiting for the next invasion. This is a city that was never conquered, a city whose only crime has been to allow itself to look like a tourist attraction, when it is in fact the greatest monument to everything that Puerto Rico was, is, and could be.

Let the tourists roam, we will accomodate their needs, but people live here, and here is where the people will always find refuge, whether facing the cannons of Francis Drake or the battleships of the American Navy. This city stands because its people will tell you that they would rather die than live anywhere else, these are the Sanjuaneros.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Latino Insurgent is moving to Puerto Rico

Dear readers,

First, let me apologize for not providing updates in a timely basis lately. The reason is that I am moving back to Puerto Rico. It should take me a week or so to get settled and then we'll get started again with the goings and ongoings of our world today. Also, I will post stories in Spanish in a separate blog which will also go online soon after I get settled in the island, "porque necesito la practica".

Well, keep up the fight and we'll meet again on the other side.

Mike Deliz
Latino Insurgent Editor