Nuestro Puerto Rico del Alma

Una vida no es fuerte sino cuando se ha consagrado a conquistar su ideal por sencillo que sea. Eugenio María de Hostos.

viernes, 7 de agosto de 2009

Wilson "Chembo" Corniel plays solo on congas and bata


New Battle on Vieques, Over Navy’s Cleanup of Munitions

VIEQUES, P.R. — The United States Navy ceased military training operations on this small island in 2003, and windows no longer rattle from the shelling from ships and air-to-ground bombings.

Gone are the protests that drew celebrities like Benicio Del Toro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Real estate prices and tourism have boomed: a 157-room Starwood W hotel is expected to open by December on the island, which is seven miles east of Puerto Rico’s mainland.

But Vieques, once the largest training area for the United States Atlantic Fleet Forces, is still largely defined by its old struggles. Once again, residents have squared off against the American military.

The Navy has begun removing hazardous unexploded munitions from its old training ground by detonating them in the open air. It also proposes to burn through nearly 100 acres of dense tropical vegetation to locate and explode highly sensitive cluster bombs.

But what could have been a healing process has been marred by lingering mistrust. As the Navy moves to erase a bitter vestige of its long presence here, residents assert that it is simply exposing them again to risk.

“The great majority of emergency room visits here last year were for respiratory problems,” said Evelyn Delerme Camacho, the mayor of Vieques. “Can they guarantee that contaminants or smoke won’t reach the population? Would we have to wait and see if there’s a problem?”

The cleanup comes as the local Vieques government and most of the island’s 9,300 residents pursue claims against the United States government for contamination and for illnesses that they assert are linked to pollutants released during decades of live-fire and bombing exercises beginning in World War II.

Given the history of grievances, many locals are aghast that the Navy’s methods involve burnings and detonations whose booms can be heard in some residential areas, setting people on edge. They have spoken out at public hearings and in legislative resolutions.

But Christopher T. Penny, head of the Navy’s Vieques restoration program, said the unexploded bombs are too powerful to be set off in detonation chambers. And he said that experiments to cut through the dense vegetation with a remote-control device had not had much success.

Environmental Protection Agency officials who are overseeing the project say that such on-site detonations are typical of cleanups at former military training ranges. Jose C. Font, an E.P.A. deputy director in San Juan, says they pose no threat to human health as long as limited amounts are exploded each time, the wind is calm and air quality is monitored constantly.

In 2005 the training ground was designated a federal Superfund site, giving the E.P.A. the authority to order a cleanup led by the party responsible for the pollution.

The unexploded munitions lie on 8,900 acres of former Navy land on the eastern end of the island, including 1,100 acres of what was once the live impact area. The E.P.A. says the cleanup could take 10 years or more.

Workers are using historical records, aerial photography and high-power metal detectors to locate the munitions before cutting through the foliage and detonating them. So far, the Navy says, it has identified 18,700 munitions and explosives and blown up about a third of those.

The E.P.A. says that the hazardous substances associated with ordnance that may be present in Vieques include TNT, napalm, depleted uranium, mercury, lead and other chemicals, including PCBs.

Residents’ concerns about the cleanup are heightened by suspicions of a link between the contaminants and what Puerto Rico’s health department found were disproportionately high rates of illnesses like cancer, hypertension and liver disease on the island.

In 2003, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which assesses health hazards at Superfund sites, concluded that levels of heavy metals and explosive compounds found in Vieques’s soil, groundwater, air and fish did not pose a health risk.

But this year the registry agency said it would “rigorously” revisit its 2003 finding, and its director, Dr. Howard Frumkin, plans to visit Vieques on Wednesday to meet with residents.

Puerto Rico’s legislature, meanwhile, has asked President Obama to keep a campaign promise to “achieve an environmentally acceptable cleanup” and “closely monitor the health of the people of Vieques and promote appropriate remedies.”

Most contested here is a Navy request to the E.P.A. and the Environmental Quality Board in Puerto Rico to allow the controlled burn to clear vegetation and find bombs. The risk of accidental explosions, the Navy says, is too high for workers to do it by hand using chainsaws, machetes and trimmers.

“The issue is safety,” said Mr. Penny of the Navy. Many residents complain that they have not received enough information to feel reassured. Among them are a group that gathers on most evenings in a plaza of sand-colored buildings anchored by the church in Isabel Segunda, Vieques’s main town.

“We hear they are taking out bombs, but we haven’t been informed of what exactly is coming out of there and whether there’s more contamination when they get it out,” said Julio Serrano, 57, who works at the airport as an operations supervisor. “We need to be told clearly what’s in there.”

Yet some experts on military cleanups suggest that, rather than focusing on any short-term air quality problems, residents might consider the possibility of an accidental explosion that is years away.

“The real risk is that there’s no technology available that would guarantee that they’ve removed every piece of ordnance,” said Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, an assistant professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who has studied the risks of adapting former training ranges. “There’s no way to make that land safe for reuse unless it’s very restrictive.”

Other battles loom. Most of the 26,000 acres the Navy used to own on the eastern and western ends of Vieques — making up about three-fourths of the island — have been turned over to the Department of the Interior, which plans to maintain the land as a wildlife preserve.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has already opened up small portions of the area to the public as a wildlife refuge that includes gorgeous undeveloped beaches where sea turtles like the loggerhead and hawksbill nest.

But Mayor Delerme Camacho said that once the cleanup is over, Vieques’s residents want to be able to use the land for housing and ecotourism, too. Already, those eager to build have staked out makeshift claims with signs on trees within a chunk of 4,000 acres transferred by the Navy to the municipal government.

Though fishermen can now catch red snapper and yellowtail unfettered by the Navy’s target practice, and visitors have discovered the rural charms of a place where horses roam freely on the roads, Vieques still has high rates of poverty and lacks a full-fledged hospital.

Ismael Guadalupe, 65, a retired teacher and leader in the long resistance to the Navy’s operations here, said that while the training is over, the fighting continues. “As one of our sayings goes, ‘If we had to eat the bone, now we should be able to eat the meat,’ ” he said.

NY Times

jueves, 6 de agosto de 2009

Sotomayor se convierte en la primera hispana en el Supremo de EE UU

El Senado de EE UU confirmó este jueves a Sonia Sotomayor como la primera juez hispana en el Tribunal Supremo, con el voto en bloque de la mayoría demócrata y el de nueve republicanos que ya habían anunciado previamente su apoyo a la candidata elegida por el presidente Barack Obama, en una decisión histórica para la ciudadanía latina, que ya supone casi el 15% de la población del país.

Sotomayor es la tercera mujer en ocupar un sillón en la máxima instancia judicial de EE UU. La ya juez del Supremo disipó las dudas sobre su confirmación al salir indemne en su comparecencia ante el Comité de Asuntos Judiciales del Senado el mes pasado, en la que sorteó cualquier polémica y se retractó de haber dicho en un discurso en 2001 que una mujer "latina e inteligente" llegaría a "mejores conclusiones" que un hombre blanco.

El presidente compareció ante los medios minutos después del voto del Senado, y alabó que "los principios que hacen única a América, la justicia, la igualdad y la oportunidad, hayan hecho posible que la juez Sotomayor haya recorrido este camino". "Hoy hemos roto otra barrera y estamos un paso más cerca de ser una Unión más perfecta", dijo Obama. El sábado tendrá lugar la ceremonia en que Sotomayor pronunciará el juramento de ingreso en el Tribunal, presidida por su presidente, el juez John Roberts.

Sotomayor contó finalmente con el apoyo de casi dos tercios de la cámara, 68 votos contra 31, con la única ausencia del demócrata Edward Kennedy, que está siendo tratado por un tumor cerebral. A pesar de reconocer lo impecable de su currículum -doctora en Derecho por la Universidad de Yale, jueza en activo desde 1992-, un nutrido grupo de republicanos, entre ellos John McCain, se opuso a su confirmación por considerar que muchos de sus veredictos la convierten en una activista a favor de las minorías.

La más polémica fue una sentencia de 2008, emitida junto a otros dos jueces, en la que Sotomayor dio la razón a la ciudad de New Haven, en Connecticut, por declarar inválido un examen para el cuerpo de bomberos local en el que no había logrado plaza ningún afroamericano. Entonces, Sotomayor expresó su convicción de que el gobierno local debía velar por la presencia de las minorías raciales en el sector público. Este mismo año, el Supremo del que ya forma parte invalidó aquella sentencia.

Otro punto de fricción con los conservadores fue la opinión que la jurisprudencia de Sotomayor refleja sobre el derecho a portar armas, amparado por la segunda enmienda a la Constitución. Este mismo año, Sotomayor formó parte de un comité judicial que emitió la opinión de que la enmienda sólo atañe a las acciones del gobierno federal, y que cada Estado tiene la potestad de regular independientemente sobre la tenencia de armas de fuego. La influyente Asociación Nacional del Rifle se opuso a su confirmación y advirtió a los senadores de que tendrá en cuenta su voto al respecto cuando efectúe su evaluación anual de cada político en la escena nacional.

"Aún se niega a reafirmar lo que dice claramente la segunda enmienda, como un derecho fundamental para todos los americanos", dijo de ella el senador republicano Jim Demint, que votó en contra de confirmarla. "Y en el asunto del aborto, habla del derecho constitucional de una mujer a 'acabar' con un niño, algo que no está escrito en nuestra Constitución". El también republicano Orrin Hatch dijo sentir el tener que votar que no. "Pero creo que estoy haciendo lo que es justo y honroso", añadió.

Sotomayor no necesitó este jueves sus votos. En total, nueve republicanos habían anunciado que le iban a dar su apoyo, entre ellos los más moderados de la bancada, como Olympia Snowe, de Maine, y el único latino republicano en la cámara, el senador de origen cubano Mel Martinez, de Florida. "No comparto la opinión de la juez Sotomayor en muchos asuntos", dijo Martínez, "pero son probablemente menos asuntos de los que me separarán de otros jueces que conoceré en el futuro".

Después de la jubilación del juez progresista David Souter el pasado mes de junio, Sotomayor ocupará su sillón en septiembre, en una nueva sesión anual en la que los jueces deberán dilucidar sobre asuntos tan candentes como la aplicación de la pena de muerte o la reforma de la financiación de las campañas electorales.


Sotomayor Confirmed by Senate, 68-31

Voting largely along party lines, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th justice of the Supreme Court. She will be the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the court.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was expected to administer the oath of office to Judge Sotomayor, 55, in the next few days, with a formal ceremony likely in September. She succeeds Justice David H. Souter, who retired in June.

Democrats celebrated the successful nomination and relatively smooth confirmation process as a bright spot in a summer when they have been buffeted by several challenges, including rocky progress on their attempts to overhaul the nation’s health care system, President Obama’s falling approval ratings, the climbing unemployment rate and other lingering economic problems.

Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation was never in much doubt, given Democrats’ numerical advantage in the Senate. But the final vote — 68 to 31 — represented a partisan divide. No Democrat voted against her, while all but 9 of the chamber’s 40 Republicans did so. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, is ailing and did not vote.

During three days of debate on the Senate floor, Republicans labeled Judge Sotomayor a liberal judicial activist, decrying several of her speeches about diversity and the nature of judgments, as well as her votes in cases involving Second Amendment rights, property rights and a reverse-discrimination claim brought by white firefighters in New Haven.

“Judge Sotomayor is certainly a fine person with an impressive story and a distinguished background,” the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said this week. “But a judge must be able to check his or her personal or political agenda at the courtroom door and do justice evenhandedly, as the judicial oath requires. This is the most fundamental test. It is a test that Judge Sotomayor does not pass.”

But Democrats portrayed Judge Sotomayor as a mainstream and qualified judge whose life — rising from a childhood in a Bronx housing project to the Ivy League and now the Supreme Court — is a classic American success story. And they called her judicial record moderate and mainstream.

“Judge Sotomayor’s career and judicial record demonstrates that she has always followed the rule of law,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday. “Attempts at distorting that record by suggesting that her ethnicity or heritage will be the driving force in her decisions as a justice of the Supreme Court are demeaning to women and all communities of color.”

From the moment Mr. Obama chose her in May, many political strategists warned Republicans that opposing the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court would jeopardize the party in future elections. In the waning days of the debate, some Democrats sought to portray Republican opposition as a grave insult to Latinos.

“Republicans will pay a price for saying ‘no’ to this judge,” Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, said in Spanish at a news conference Wednesday.

And in July, the National Rifle Association, which historically has stayed out of judicial nomination fights, came out against Justice Sotomayor and said it would include senators’ confirmation vote in its legislative scorecard on gun-rights issues for the 2010 election — a pointed threat to Democrats from conservative-leaning states.

But attempts to appeal to interest-group politics in the confirmation process largely faltered.

The final vote was “a triumph of party unity over some of the interest group politics that you would have expected to play a bigger role,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative Committee for Justice, which opposed Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation.

Many Republicans took pains to emphasize that their vote against Judge Sotomayor did not mean they were anti-Latino. They praised her credentials and her biography, saying they were troubled only by what they said was her judicial philosophy.

Before announcing his opposition to her nomination, Senator John McCain of Arizona, last year’s Republican presidential nominee who has been sympathetic to calls by Latinos and others for reforming the nation’s immigration laws, first described her as an “immensely qualified candidate” with an “inspiring and compelling” life story. And he dwelled on his support for Miguel Estrada, an appeals-court nominee of President George W. Bush whom Democrats blocked from a vote even though “millions of Latinos would have taken great pride in his confirmation,” Mr. McCain said.

Many other Republicans echoed Mr. McCain’s approach in explaining their votes. On Thursday, for example, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, spoke at length about the “unfair and disgraceful” treatment of Mr. Estrada, while criticizing Judge Sotomayor’s record.

“I wish President Obama had chosen a Hispanic nominee whom all senators could support,” Mr. Hatch said.

Juan Hernández, who served as Hispanic outreach coordinator for Mr. McCain’s presidential campaign, said most Republicans had not done enough to persuade Hispanics that they were welcome in the party.

“It’s not good enough to give two or three lines about Hispanics and then say, ‘No, I’m not going to vote for Sotomayor,‘ “ he said. “We’re just losing Hispanics left and right. It’s amazing, in the Republican Party — we’re doing it to ourselves.”

But Manuel A. Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of conservatives who opposed the Sotomayor nomination, said Hispanics were ideologically diverse and would understand that Republican opposition to a particular liberal-leaning judge did not mean they were hostile to Hispanics — especially since her confirmation hearing was civil, he said.

“Hispanics are not going to be offended by the opposition because Republicans didn’t torment her,” Mr. Miranda said. “Republicans can take this vote because they treated her well.”

For many Hispanic voters, the symbolism of the first Latina joining the Supreme Court — and the memory of who opposed her — could be all that lingers, said Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, an Hispanic advocacy group.

“This is a singularly definitive historic moment,” she said. “So it is a vote, I think, that will matter to the Latino community and will be remembered by the Latino community.”

What also remains to be seen is whether Democratic senators — especially those from conservative-leaning states and those who have received high ratings from the National Rifle Association in the past — will pay a political price for voting to confirm Judge Sotomayor despite the group’s opposition.

Andrew Arulanandam, an N.R.A. spokesman, declined to comment about the vote, but he did say it was too early to know how much weight his group would give to the Sotomayor vote when putting together its scores and endorsements for the 2010 election cycle.

Still, despite the seeming impotence of the gun-rights group’s ability to intervene in the nomination fight, Mr. Miranda said he believed the threat of lower ratings might have had led more Republicans to vote against Judge Sotomayor, noting that many had cited her alleged lack of support for Second Amendment rights in explaining their votes.

“That was a seismic shift,” Mr. Miranda said.

Matthew Dowd, a former political adviser to Mr. Bush who had warned Republicans to be civil, disagreed. He said the Supreme Court confirmation process had simply become increasingly polarized along party lines, regardless of a nominee’s qualifications or the stance of groups like the National Rifle Association.

“My view is that gun rights had nothing to do with it,” he said. “Supreme Court nominations have become dodgeball games, with Democrats lining up on one side and Republicans lining up on our side.”

NY Times

Hiroshima y Nagasaki: Un Holocausto

El 6 y 9 de agosto de 1945 el Presidente numero 33 de los Estados Unidos de America, Harry S. Truman, ordeno los bombardeos de Hiroshima y Nagasaki. Fue un ataque nuclear terrible. Fue la primera bomba nuclear, llamada “Little Boy”, que fue lanzada sobre Hiroshima, y posteriormente, el día 9 de Agosto, tiraron otra bomba nuclear, “Fat Man”, sobre Nagasaki. Entre los dos infames bombardeos murieron más de 154,000 personas, otros 159,000 sufrieron heridas graves, y otros tantos murieron posteriormente por lesiones o enfermedades causadas por el cruel ataque nuclear.

Las consecuencias de este holocausto fueron terribles para la población civil de Japón.

64 años después, aun los hombres están construyendo bombas nucleares mucho más potentes que “Little Boy” y “Fat Man”. ¿Por que querer destruir la humanidad?

Little boy sobre Hiroshima.

Fat Man sobre Nagasaki

No queremos aprender de los errores del pasado.

No a las armas nucleares.

miércoles, 5 de agosto de 2009

Un Celular en las Manos de un Negro es un Arma Mortal

Un celular en las manos de un negro pudiera ser considerado un arma mortal; sin embargo, en las manos de un blanco es solo eso, un celular. En este video Michael Moore nos demuestra esta irracionalidad:

¿Son todos los hombres iguales?

lunes, 3 de agosto de 2009

La Corrupcion Policiaca de Todos los Dias, de Todos los Sitios

Esta mañana estaba viendo el Today Show y mencionan el caso de una joven, Alexandra Torrens-Vilas, en Hollywood, Florida, que fue arrestada por la policía hace un tiempo atrás. La noticia se refiere al hecho de que la joven pudo relevarse de los cargos porque se encontró un video de cuando se dio su arresto. En dicho video se resalta como el policía a cargo decide inventar una historia para justificar el arresto de la joven. Dice así:

According to the tape, Officer Dewey Pressley took the lead in the plot, saying, “Well, I don’t lie and make things up ever because it’s wrong, but if I need to bend it a little to protect a cop, I’m gonna.”

He then tells another officer: “I will write the narrative out for you. I will tell you exactly how to word it so it can get him off the hook. You see the angle of her car? You see the way it’s like this? As far as I’m concerned, I am going to word it she is in the left-hand lane. We will do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop, because it wouldn’t matter because she was drunk anyway.”

Bueno, el hecho es que una vez más sale a la luz pública la corrupción rampante que existe en la policía. En este caso, la patrulla de la policía choco a la joven por detrás, y para no tener que pagar por los daños, el policía que atiende el problema decide inventar una historia para cubrir a sus compañeros.

El punto aquí es el siguiente, hace unas semanas atrás, otro policía cometió un error en el tan sonado caso del Profesor Gates. Dos hechos distintos, dos hechos aislados, pero una cosa en común: LOS POLICIAS COMETEN ERRORES QUE NO QUIEREN ACEPTAR Y DECIDEN PERJUDICAR AL CIUDADANO ANTES QUE DAR UNA DISCULPA. La pared azul los proteje. Entonces, se tornan arrogantes, como en el caso de Gates, y tan corruptos, como en el caso de esta joven. ¿Hasta cuando? Son muchos los ciudadanos que han tenido que sufrir las injusticias de la policía y su corrupción. ¿Hasta cuando? Esto es indignante y ya es intolerable.

(Por favor disculpen los acentos)

La Liga de Patriotas

2 de Agosto de 1898 Eugenio María de Hostos funda
La Liga de Patriotas en New York,para adelantar
La causa de la libertad de Puerto Rico y Cuba.

“No hay pagina en la historia de
Borinquen en la libertad no
Proteste contra nuestra vida de

Eugenio María de Hostos

domingo, 2 de agosto de 2009

Reunión al Son de Cervezas

Reunión, vasos de cerveza de distintos sabores, marcas con alcohol o sin alcohol, pretzel, maníes salados, trajes oscuros, en una bella tarde de verano en el patio del Jardín de Rosas de Casa Blanca. Dos hombres blancos, uno vicepresidente de los Estados Unidos, el otro un sargento de la policía de Cambridge Massachusetts. Los otros dos son hombres negros, el Presidente de los Estados Unidos y, el otro, un prominente profesor universitario de la gran reconocida Universidad de Harvard.

La conversación florecía en una mesa, en una tarde tranquila. Sin embargo, la controversia de los perfiles raciales y el discrimen a nivel de todos los Estados Unidos no se va a resolver con una conversación y un par de cervezas. El problema es mucho mas profundo y serio.

Seria bueno estudiar el proceso sudafricano de “reconciliación” después del fracaso del régimen del “apartheid”. Me pregunto cuando se dará una conversación seria en los Estados Unidos de América, una conversación digna, entre cervezas con alcohol o sin alcohol, entre un jardín de flores, donde se discuta y se llegue a unas ideas concretas de cómo reconciliar los abusos por causa de raza en dicha república. Algo así, como expresa Nelson Mandela:

“He luchado contra la dominación blanca, he luchado contra la dominación negra. He venerado el ideal de una sociedad libre y democrática, en la cual todas las personas vivan juntas en armonía e igualdad de oportunidades. Es un ideal al cual espero consagrar mi vida y lograr. Pero si fuera preciso, es un ideal por el cual estoy dispuesto a morir”.

Todos somos iguales ante la ley, pero no ante los encargados de aplicarla.

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec