Friday, February 27, 2004

Viva Puerto Rico Libre!!!

I am not a member of the Nationalist Party but I am a Nationalist in my belief that Puerto Rico needs to be a free country and not a colony of the United States as it is today. The following article was written by a man I have known to be a leader in the struggle for many years. It was originally posted on NYC IndyMedia

March 1, 1954 - Why Puerto Ricans Attacked the U.S. House Of Representatives Written by Carlos Rovira of The Vieques Support Campaign

March 1st of this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. House of Representatives. A woman and three men traveled to Washington, DC to participate in an event that would stun the principal oppressors of the world. The act of defiance and valor by Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irving Flores drew world attention to the brutal nature of U.S. domination in Puerto Rico, which began with the 1898 military invasion. Mainstream historians and government officials continue to describe the four Nationalists as "maniacs" and "terrorists" for their act of fifty years ago, thus demonizing the general struggle for Puerto Rican liberation. But little is ever said in history books about the admiration and respect the four patriots received from people throughout the world, also yearning for their own liberation. PERSECUTION OF THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT Struggles for national liberation were intensifying by the end of World War II; at this time, the U.S. began labeling its attempts at worldwide domination and subjugation, "an anti-Communist crusade." Under the guise of "saving the world from Communism," the U.S. intervened in China, Albania, Greece, Uruguay, Palestine, and the Philippines. It also waged war in Korea and orchestrated the overthrow of progressive, democratically-elected governments in Iran and Guatemala. During the 1940's and 1950's, following a pattern in U.S. history, military intervention abroad was accompanied by repression at home. Under the pretext of safeguarding the U.S. against Communism and terror, laws were enacted that violated fundamental human rights. Senator Joseph McCarthy and other extremists focused on destroying progressive movements for social change within the United States. Many U.S. citizens were convicted under the Smith Act (1940), which prohibited any speech or publication that was seen as teaching the desirability of or advocating the overthrow of the U.S. Government. At the same time, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as well as the Senate Internal Security Committee and the Government Operations Subcommittee dominated by Senator Joseph McCarthy, hunted for "Communists." Because of the outright colonial presence of the U.S. in Puerto Rico, Washington openly sought to crush the independence movement with tactics that were even more repressive. New laws made it "legal" for the colonial police to gun down without warning anyone advocating Puerto Rico's independence. Persecution by the colonial government usually meant being "blacklisted". Deprived to unemployment, many of the blacklisted activists and their families were forced to leave their homeland and were amongst the ten of thousands annually compelled to migrate to the urban centers of the U.S. in search of livelihood. To further humiliate the people's national sentiment, the U.S pressured the United Nations in 1952 to declare that the case of Puerto Rico was an internal matter of the United States, and therefore, according to the arguments of Washington officials, no government in the world can ever accuse the U.S. of the crime of colonialism. Washington used this argument back then as it does today to blatantly cover-up historical evidence and the existence of a movement striving to remove the U.S. presence by any means. Although the Nationalist Party and its principal leader, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, endured severe repression, they maintained their ideals of national dignity. Being aware of U.S. government secret plans to destroy the independence movement by murdering and imprisoning the most outspoken participants, the Nationalist leadership called for armed actions to draw world attention to the plight of the Puerto Rican masses. On October 31, 1950, the Nationalist movement staged an uprising in the city of Jayuya and waged armed battles with colonial authorities throughout the country. Another act of the Nationalist political offensive was on November 1, 1950, a failed attempt to assassinate President Harry Truman when Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola approached the Blair House in Washington, DC and confronted the Secret Service and police in a gun battle. Torresola was killed and Collazo was severly wounded in the exchange of bullets. Puerto Rican patriots viewed the measures they took as acts of self-defense, especially given that the U.S. government had virtually legalized the murder of Nationalist Party members. The right of self-defense and the right of self-determination for the Puerto Rican people were synonymous with Nationalist Party doctrine. PUERTO RICANS THAT WENT TO CONGRESS By the morning of March 1, 1954, Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irving Flores had their minds set on presenting a criticism of action to members of the U.S. Congress. The four Nationalists drew little attention to themselves as they calmly walked up to the gallery, an area then reserved for public observation of congressional proceedings in the Capitol Building. After they had positioned themselves in the gallery overlooking the chamber where Congress conducts its business, the Nationalists displayed a Puerto Rican flag and immediately began aiming their weapons. Lolita Lebron then shouted the solemn words of the historical struggle for independence "QUE VIVA PUERTO RICO LIBRE!" What followed within seconds were sounds of gunfire and panic throughout the hall. As bullets flew everywhere, the racist men of privilege and power, the colonizers of Puerto Rico and oppressors of the world, found themselves running towards the exit doors in fear for their lives. In the end, about thirty rounds of ammunition had been fired and five U.S. Congressmen laid wounded, as other officials throughout the city were in complete disbelief. The social arrogance of Washington's elite had prevented them from ever imagining that the victimized Puerto Rican people would dare carry out such a bold act within the walls of the kingdom's castle. The four Nationalists were immediately apprehended, charged and sentenced to life imprisonment. As the Puerto Rican people mounted their struggle for the right of self-determination, in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. during the upsurge of the 1960's and 1970's, the immediate release of Puerto Rican political prisoners became a central demand. International pressure ensued, thanks to the diplomatic work of the Cuban government and the solidarity expressed by the revolution of that country towards the Puerto Rican struggle. In the year 1979 Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, Irving Flores, as well as Oscar Collazo, were granted amnesty and released from prison by President Jimmy Carter. What occurred in the chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 1st opened a door for the world to see how barbaric U.S. imperialism is, still resorting to the oldest form of foreign subjugation. As a result of the heroic act by the freedom fighters, the Puerto Rican independence struggle gained international recognition. PUERTO RICO WILL BE FREE! The real criminals were not the four freedom fighters nor any Puerto Rican Nationalists who took up arms to defy the rule of colonialism; the real criminals are the invaders who came to Puerto Rico to exploit, plunder and rape. Human suffering and despair are the consequences when the U.S. lays claim to its interests in any part of the world. Whether it is Puerto Rico, Palestine or Iraq, the conquest and pillage of one's homeland by a foreign invader has historically justified the right of a people to use force as a means for liberation. The relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico has been preserved for the last 106 years with none other than the violence of U.S. colonial policy. Puerto Rican history under U.S. domination is marked by massacres, forced sterilizations, bombing campaigns, deadly experiments and other catastrophes. Strictly enforced federal laws state that all matters concerning the social and economic life of Puerto Rico is ultimately decided by the U.S. Congress, not by the pretentiously arranged puppet government in San Juan. The plight of the Puerto Rican people is undoubtedly rooted in the denial of their right to independence and self-determination. Puerto Rico is one of the most densely industrialized regions of the world. Because of the absence of self-determination, giant U.S. corporations are free to extract $26 billion annually from Puerto Rico. In a country of 4 million people, the per capita is one of the highest in the world. Yet, the poverty rate in Puerto Rico is greater than in the poorest U.S. state of Mississippi. The colonizers of Puerto Rico also oppress people of other countries and pose the threat of reducing them to outright colonies as well. Puerto Ricans share a common foe with the world's people and are not alone. The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine are reminiscent of all the brutality the U.S. has inflicted in order to secure the colonization of Puerto Rico. The firmness and committment demonstrated by Lolita, Rafael, Andres and Irvin, to fulfill the quest of making their homeland an independent republic, shall be remembered and kept in the fighting traditions of the Puerto Rican masses for many generations to come. And since Boricuas have accustomed themselves to resist colonial oppression after more than 500 years of development as a nation, Puerto Rico is surely destined to be free of the invader and will contribute to the general struggle for the emancipation of humanity. ************************************************************ Come and join us in commemorating the 50th anniversary of a monumental event in Puerto Rican history, the March 1, 1954 Nationalist attack on the House of Representatives. A salute to Puerto Rico's independence struggle and the patriotic heroes: Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irvin Flores. Date: Sunday, February 29 Time: 1:00 P.M. Location: El Maestro Cultural & Educational Center 700 Elton Avenue, 2nd Floor (off of 154th Street) In the Borough of the Bronx, New York City. Transportation information: Take the IRT #2 or #5 subway trains to 149th Street & 3rd Avenue. Sponsored by the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, New York Committee


Thursday, February 26, 2004

You Know Spring is Here When.... are sitting at the computer in your robe, wasting time on the computer and through the open kitchen window you hear a beautiful song. No it's not birds singing. It's the Mr. Softee song. That song reminds me of warm days playing T.V> tag on Alstyne Ave. in Corona. Hearing that song would send all of us kids rushing into our respective gated houses to beg for money. Sometimes we wouldn't even buy ice cream. I favored gum that was wrapped in paper like a cigarette. Before I would open the gum I would puff on the "cigarette" and candy powder smoke would come out. I thought I was the coolest chica in the world. My stepmother would yell at me saying that by pretending to smoke I would grow up to smoke. I thought she was stupid but she turned out to be right.
Damn now I want a cigarette.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Now With Pretzel- Retching Action

Gracias to my friend for sending me this. If only fucking around with the Shrub were this easy or this much fun.


The tat isn't even done yet and still i get all wet.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Strange but True

You're Love in the Time of Cholera!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by
sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give
consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the
one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions
barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff
could get you killed.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

More Pollo, Less Arroz

Note: This was written over a month ago. Since then I have had more sex with the lawyer but he hasn't given me more work...hmmmmm

Nothing says "I want you" quite like preying on the desperation of a single mother. He's been my lover on and off for nearly a year now. I met him online and enjoy great sex and conversation while also suffering at the hands of his whims to suddenly attempt to rekindle a relationship with an old flame and his unwillingness to commit to anything beyond fuck buddy status. If only he weren't so damn charming with his droll sense of humor and incredible mouth. And despite the fact that he has an autographed picture of the first couple, Laura and the Shrub, tacked on to his wall, he's been incredibly understanding of my trying to make ends meet as a writer and single mother.
Maybe his intentions were noble when he called me after a few months of non communication and asked if I would like to have a little more pollo and a little less arroz. I sure as hell need the money with my latest freelance gig frozen but why did I feel dirty in accepting his proposition to occasionally translate in business transactions with Spanish dominant clients? Why did I feel like a desperate little Latina looking up at the big white tourist savior saying to me, " Chupa me y te compro arroz con habichuelas". But still when my cell phone rang with the song "Beautiful" ,a song we had drunkenly danced to once last year in a Williamsburg hipster bar, butterflies flew in my belly. He wasn't calling for a booty call however. He was making good on his word to get me some work. He asked about my availability the coming Friday during to day to translate for a Spanish speaking client at a closing for him. Of course I was available after dropping my daughter off at school. He gave me the address and time. When I asked if there was anything else I should know he told me not to wear anything too short. I was annoyed and slightly offended at his comment. Of course he had never seen me dressed professionally. When I began dating him I was a stripper, a long way from my three year prior stint at an investment banking firm. And while he had seen me in a simple black dress on out first date, I wore garters and stockings as well, at his request. But regardless I knew how to dress for a "real" job. Sensing my offense he then teasingly asked me if he should return the bra and panties I had left at his apartment the week before. I told him why not unless of course he wanted to keep them. We both laughed.

I spent the day before the gig in all the local department stores, searching the sale rack for anything sexy yet professional. I hoped he would be turned on by seeing me in a different light. I hoped that maybe we could have sex in an office after the closing. I hoped he would take me to lunch at the same Italian place we had met nearly a year ago for our first date. I hoped he would take the rest of the day off after the closing and that my best friend would pick my daughter up from school.
I didn't find anything appropriate in the stores but I did invest in a new black and white lace thong and a new pair of stockings and garter belt.. Hey I used to be a Girl Scout. I wanted to be prepared.

I hardly slept the night before. I tossed and turned fantasizing about what would happen. I imagined him in one of his nicer suits acting all lawyer like and me calling him "Licenciado" as I flashed a little bit of leg revealing what I was wearing underneath.

I woke up extra early so I could shower and shave every inch of me and still have time to make and pack a ham and cheese sandwich for my daughter. It was freezing outside. The cold traveled through my sheer stockings and up into my thong but I looked good. A few of the parents I see daily when I take my daughter to school even said so.
I quickly hopped on the train even though I had more than an hour to get to downtown Brooklyn. I especially did not want to be late and I wanted to have time to have a cup of coffee. As I sat on the train I noticed that not one woman wore a short skirt like me. I must have been crazy.
As soon as I rolled into Brooklyn I checked my cell phone to see if he had called me. I worried that the closing would be canceled meaning I froze my ass off for nothing but everything was going on as planned according to his phone message. I ran into the nearest Starbucks for a coffee and to get some words of encouragement from my best friend.
Soon after I was walking to the office. It as so cold that I couldn't feel my legs. I worried that my stockings were showing but I wouldn't be able to tell because of the numbness that had set in. I lost control of the frozen hand that was holding the coffee and ended up spilling some on my light pink coat.
I stepped out of the elevator and began looking for the suite he had told me to go to. As soon as I turned a corner I ran into him.

Now he didn't look as good as I had expected him to. I didn't like the suit he was wearing and I especially didn't like the tie. He had obviously cut his chin when shaving. I hate it when your fantasy lover proves to be human, bad taste and all. He showed me where to wait. He was next door in a bankruptcy hearing and would be with me shortly. He told me to greet the clients. He kissed me on the cheek, which wasn't expected but welcomed.
"How will I know who they are?" I asked
"They will be the only confused Latinos," he laughed obnoxiously. What did I find sexy about this man again?

In typical lawyerly fashion he came late and I had to entertain the clients as we waited. The actual closing took two hours. There was a stack of papers to translate and I stumbled on some of my financial terms. I was nervous because I felt like I was being judged not just as a consultant hoping to get hired again my the lawyer but also as a woman, a lover. Would this integration of fuck buddy and colleague work? I certainly was judging him. I had seen him on numerous morning after suiting up and running off to closings and appointments. He wasn't an asshole but he wasn't a particularly friendly lawyer either. In a strange sick way his style reminded me of my father;s own lawyering.

The clients left happy and I quickly accompanied the lawyer/lover to an ATM to collect my fee. I told him it was a pleasure working with him. He agreed and kissed me on the cheek goodbye and patted my ass. Yes he actually patted my ass. I wavered between being flattered and grossed out.

There was no lunch afterwards, no fucking on the conference room table. In fact I haven't seen my lawyer/lover since then. He's been out of town on business and pleasure I'm sure.

Now with the money I earned spent and sexless for two weeks I wait anxiously for my phone to ring again.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Black/Brown Relations

I found this article/review by Ed Morales in The Nation superinteresting and thought provoking. It really made me think about how people fancy Latin America as this rainbow coalition fantasy land without noticing how race and class intersect.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Blowing for the Ex

Again this was written when the boyfriend in question was still my boyfriend...

I'm not jealous of my boyfriend's ex-wife. I don't even know the woman and besides she is the mother of my boyfriend's six year old son, who is an adorable, brilliant ball of energy. But I am resentful of the power she wields over my boyfriend. Maybe it's because when my mother was abandoned by my father in favor of another woman, she worked her ass off so as not to rely on my father for anything. Maybe it's because two years after the divorce my boyfriend's son still expects his daddy to go back home to live with him and his mommy. Maybe because my boyfriend refers to his ex-wife only with the nastiest and bitter of curse words. But for whatever reason I am annoyed that on a day like today where two to four inches, maybe six tops, of snow is expected to fall, my boyfriend talks about going over to snowblow around the house where his ex-wife lives with their son. It bothered me almost as much as when he said he was going to help his ex-wife put up her Christmas tree. Ok so he still owns half the house and legally has some responsibility if someone slips and breaks their neck. But so does his ex-wife. Why can't she pick up a shovel or a snowblower? Is she afraid of breaking a nail?
It's all too easy. His ex-wife and child live literally around the corner from where he now stays with his mother. Lately my boyfriend has been talking about moving into a place with me. What will his ex-wife do then? Or will be he willing to drive over and snowblow the driveway? Maybe I should look at him as a generous soul. Maybe I should look at him as a pendejo- a fool. All I know is that my mom moved into an apartment after she got divorced so that there was nothing to snowblow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

My Big Break(down)

Note: The partner I refer to in this selection is no longer my partner. So fyi, now I really am a starving writer.

I am not quite a starving writer thanks to a partner who slips me a twenty every now and then and a loving mother who believes in my work if not actually in me.
Her belief in my work was strengthened when I was offered a position as a columnist new Spanish language weekly broadsheet to be published by a major New York City newspaper. I will not name the newspaper even though I am angry enough to really want to and throw all semblance of professionalism out the window. My partner works at that paper and while he didn't get me the job he did get me the opportunity to get the job. So I also will not be naming the paper out of respect for him.

This was to be my big break. I had written articles here in there in small indy publications. I've had a few of my poems published but nothing major. As much as I criticize the mass media for its promotion of fucked up values the idea of writing a regular weekly column aimed at Latinos and getting a check just as regularly excited me. Yes I was naive to think that everything would run smoothly. I was like a deer in the headlights except I was blinded by the flash bulb of a photographer taking my picture which would appear next to my column.

I quickly cashed my check (after filling out the appropriate tax forms) for a prototype article. My partner snagged a copy of the prototype to show me. My picture made my head look too big and I didn't like the way my name looked with my middle initial. Plus I thought the editing done on my article used Spanish language words that were not universal enough for the diverse Spanish speaking community in New York City. I anxiously emailed my editor (he liked emails, not phone calls I quickly realized) to set up a meeting. We had spoken on the phone but had never actually met and I was anxious to sit with him and discuss the prototype as well as to pitch ideas for future columns. That's when I got a shot of reality.

Suddenly I stopped hearing from my editor. He wasn't returning phone calls or emails. My partner found out that the name that had been chosen for the new weekly was copyrighted already. The go-live date of the paper would be pushed back while the huge NYC tabloid's legal department searched for another name. In an email I confronted my editor with the news of the name problem. He would neither deny nor confirm anything with me, telling me only that yes the papers publication had been delayed but for me not to lose faith. My partner quickly reminded me, when I related the editors response, how the big NYC paper had once before published an all Spanish language newspaper and filed miserably. From his insider's point of view this was because of lack of real support from the bigwigs at the paper. Surprise that their commitment to Latinos in NY was so limited. Why should they even attempt to show an ounce of professionalism towards a single freelancing Nuyorican mom like me? Then my partner let me in on another inside secret, that the editor, who was brought in based on his alleged stunning work on other Spanish language newspapers across the country, had failed to bring in the national advertising dollars he had promised. In big mass market media no sponsors means no paper.

It is now 2004. The paper should have had its first run. In my head I had the paycheck I was supposed to get spent on paying off debt and surviving. I found out today that the reason the editor has not returned any of my emails since before the Christmas holidays is because he resigned his position as editor to work at another paper in Washington DC. My partner found out and told me. No one from the paper has contacted me.

Last I heard interviews were being held for a new editor.

So much for my big break.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Bad picture of the day


I really do look as sick as I feel

A Single Mami's Wet Dream

i wrote this over a year ago and just found enjoy

A Single Mami’s Wet Dream

It’s like one of those silly herbal shampoo commercials. I’m writhing under a steady shower stream, moaning, except I’m not washing my hair or rambling about botanicals. No, I am not playing with myself either, nor am I sharing the shower with a sexy, smart trigueno musician, although I have been known to do all of the above, sometimes at the same time. So what is bringing me such orgasmic ecstasy in the shower? Time by myself.
I haven’t had a private shower in years. It’s not that I’m an exhibitionist and invite random people to watch me as I lather up. I’m not talking about my latest show at the strip club where I work. There are no shower shows. I’m talking about trying to shave my left leg and not cutting myself when the shower door suddenly slides open and my five year old daughter yells ,”What are you doing mom?”

Some of you may say, “Tell her to go bother her father,” and believe me I would if she had a valid passport and enough money to put herself on a flight down to near the Patagonia in Chile where her father is. Telling her to go bother the nanny isn’t a really good option either since I don’t have one. As a single, working mother I don’t have the luxury of just passing my daughter off, even for just 15 glorious minutes. Sure, sometimes I luck out and my mom or sister will relieve me but those moments are few and far between.

Let me get back to my mental masturbation. . Me in the shower or even better, me in a tub filled with lavender infused water and rose petals. Some scented candles would be nice too and of course some music, like a sensual samba. There would be no interruptions. No children yelling at me to help them find a toy or fix them a sandwich. There would be no rubber ducks or bottles of bubble bath with cartoon characters grinning at me. There would be no hair to wash except my own so no worrying about getting soap in someone’s eyes and the inevitable crying and whining that would follow. I wouldn’t have to be extra careful in making sure the shaver was out or reach because well I know how to handle a razor.

There are variations of the wet dream. Sometimes I’m peeing all by myself and not having to give a biology lesson while I’m doing my business. Sometimes I’m able to finish a whole newspaper article without once being asked to punish the cat for destroying a new Lego housing development. Ah yes and sometimes I even enjoy a complete meal without cleaning up an iced tea spill. Just writing about these things get me all worked up. Ecstasy really is in the minutia of life.

Not long ago I sent my daughter to kindergarten. I cried when I left her behind. That first day I couldn’t get through anything, expecting an interruption and actually feeling disappointment when there was not one. Now I’m used to the silence of the apartment.
I revel in long showers, reading whole chapters of novels, and writing my own chapters.
Enjoying the solitude of those few hours without my daughter does not make me a bad mother. I now value the time, even the disruptions, of solo mommyhood a little bit more.
Now excuse me, I only have 7 hours left to wash my hair.