The Rise and Fall of Ciudad Viagra


WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS

War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

Barceloneta is a coastal town of just over 20,000 residents. Thirty years ago it was best known for the juiciness of its pineapples – but for eight years, from 1998 until 2006 – it was known as Ciudad Viagra.

During those eight years, just one factory on the edge of this small town, produced all of the Viagra consumed in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

The jobs at the factory paid well, starting at $15 per hour, and the drug’s popularity pumped $60 million annually into the local economy.

This pump extended over the entire island. 

Pfizer, Bristol Myers, Merck, Lilly, Abbot, Galaxo, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech…over a dozen pharmaceutical companies used the “IRS 936” tax abatement program to build tax-protected factories throughout Puerto Rico. 

At its peak, the “936” companies in Puerto Rico produced 25% of the world’s pharmaceutical drugs, and 90% of the pharma consumed in the US.

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On July Fourth – The Prophecies of Don Pedro


WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS

War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

When the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico 117 years ago, Gen. Nelson A. Miles declared that: 

We have come to bring you protection, not only to yourselves but to your property, to promote your prosperity, to bestow upon you the blessings and liberal institutions of our government…and to give the advantages and blessings of enlightened civilization.”

Gen. Nelson A. Miles

Aside from assuming that Puerto Rico was not “civilized” or “enlightened,” these words were supplemented with the following, on the floor of the U.S. Senate: 

A heterogeneous mass of mongrels make up their citizenship…they are incapable of self government…savages addicted to head-hunting and cannibalism.” (U.S. Senator William B. Bate; April 2, 1900) 

God has made us adept in government so that we may administer these savages and senile peoples.” (U.S. Senator Albert J. Beveridge; January 9, 1900)

On February 22, 1899, the New York Times

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The Deep Secret, of the Puerto Rican Day Parade


WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS

In the 1950s, Puerto Ricans often found themselves unwelcome in New York City (and elsewhere in the US) as they tried to carve out a place for themselves and their families. Sometimes beaten by their neighbors, or by the police, they were given the lowest-paying jobs and the worst housing in the city.

And so, in 1958, Puerto Rican leaders decided to hold a modest parade where they could march arm in arm with pride through the heart of Manhattan.

Fathers taught their children…by pointing to floats dedicated to Puerto Rican towns known for sugarcane, coffee, tobacco, plantains and pineapples. 

Mothers tapped their feet…to the bombas, plenas and aguinaldos that evoked memories of their island childhood.

By 1966, the parade was already a “must do” event for national celebrities and politicians.

Today, the parade is a star-studded TV spectacle with 90,000 marchers, 2 million spectators and a horde of corporate sponsors. Marc Anthony, J.Lo, Ricky Martin, Victor Cruz, and Mayor…

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Oscar López Rivera and Pedro Albizu Campos…two great Puerto Rican heroes.


WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS

War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

A hero sacrifices a great deal – sometimes their life – for a cause much bigger than themselves. For this reason Oscar López Rivera and Don Pedro Albizu Campos are great heroes. 

They were both jailed for “seditious conspiracy against the United States.” In other words…they believed in the independence of Puerto Rico, and they were jailed for that belief.

Jailed by the US, the “leader of the free world.”

Yesterday in New York City, nearly 10,000 people marched to say FREE OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA NOW.

OSCAR_BIG_BIG_MARCH

We marched through the streets of El Barrio, and let the world hear about Oscar.

OSCAR_BIG_BIG_BIG_MARCH

Oscar’s head could be seen from every building, every corner.

oscar_-_head_off

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was in the front ranks of the march.

oscar_-_melissa_mark

The crowd stopped at 106th street, near the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center.

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Old friends met each other.  Oscar’s brother, José Lopez Rivera, celebrated the cause together with Assemblyman…

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Deeper Than That


There are no trinkets to be worn

There are no flags to fly

No shouting at the top of my lungs

No t-shirt blasting my deeper than that pride

No bandana wrapped around my head

No float I want to see passing by

For my pride….is deeper than that

Deeper than all the commercialism

Far deeper than the corporate capitalist..getting rich off the backs of the very same parade viewers

Deeper than the politician waving a flag for support

Saying vote for me, vote for me..

To celebrate and show cultural pride ; there’s nothing wrong with that

I shouted and waved the same

Before Albizu flowed through my veins

Before de Burgos beat in my heart

Before Campeche painted my eyes

Before I knew from where I came

Not for not wanting, not for want to ignore

One sided histories made for want of more and more

There are things that can’t be changed

Like the blood that flows through my veins

Blood that flows like a thousand waving flags

In sync and in harmony

With a heart that pulsates the song of a lone star

My hairs stand at the sweet sound of “La Borinquena”

Blood knows of origins in another land

Land once tended by indigenous hands

Land that gave birth to my forbearers

Etched deep within the skin I’m in

La bandera in my soul

I affirm my identity with that of the forbearers

And proclaim…..my pride is deeper than that.

© Efrain Ortiz Jr.

Puerto Rican Flag… ¡Que Bonita Bandera!


It’s that time of year again. The Puerto Rican flags, t-shirts, handkerchiefs, trinkets, etc. are on full display. The problem here lies somewhere between pride and false pride. Those who know what they celebrate and those whose only proud reason is another excuse for a party.

Knowledge is power, in knowing our true history we have all the power to better control our destinies. Let us take the steps to get there.

The following is text originally published on various posts at EFRAIN’S CORNER (6/26/09, 6/11/10, 6/10/11)

 

 

The Puerto Rican flag..similar to that of the Cuban flag, is beautiful, handsome and gracious.

 

The Puerto Rican flag was adopted by the Puerto Rican Section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, circa 1895. There are several accounts as to the actual creation of the flag but, nonetheless, it was a beautiful creation. The design of the flag is open for debate; Francisco Gonzalo Marin, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Manuel Besosa and even Lola Rodríguez de Tió have all been credited with the design depending on the account.

While we see so many flags displayed proudly it is hard to believe that from 1898 until 1952 the same flag could not be displayed and was considered a felony to do so. It was 1952, when the flag was adopted and proclaimed the official flag of Puerto Rico.

Prior to 1952 :

  • The red symbolized the blood of the brave warriors, white for the peace and victory that would be attained after gaining independence, blue (sky blue) for the sky and blue coastal waters and the lone star represented Puerto Rico.

After 1952:

  • The red became to symbolize the blood that nourishes the three branches of government, the white became to symbolize a republican form of government and the blue triangle, which was changed to a darker shade like that of the U.S. flag, represented the three branches of government.

*Note: The blue was changed to the original sky blue tone in 1995.Additional Notes

  • The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, formed on September 22 of 1922, was the first political party to officially use the flag as a symbol of the struggle for independence (just as the Puerto Rican Section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party did).
  • The Puerto Rican Section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party was formed on December 22 of 1895 , at which time they adopted the flag.
  • Any flag that is displayed on a vehicle must be attached to a flagpole. (ex. not on the hood, not allowed to touch the ground)
  • The Cuban flag was created in 1849 by Venezuelan general Narciso Lopez. It became official in 1902.
  • The flag should be raised with the first notes of the Puerto Rican national anthem and continue to be raised slowly so that it reaches the top of the flagpole with the last notes.



La patria es…