Thursday, August 28, 2008

The CAC Review is Moving (and is being renamed)

The CAC Review, under that name, will continue to exist at the current location, as an archive.

However, as part of recent efforts to reorganize and restructure, which include renaming the Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink and all of its affiliated offshoots, the blog is now being continued in a new format, at a new address.

All posts from The CAC Review have been archived at the new address as well.

The new blog is called:


and can be found at:

Kindly update your links and/or feed subscriptions. I hope to see you "over there."


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


From a poetic exchange on the Indigenous Caribbean Network, reproduced with the permission of the author, Axel Garcia


I am revolution.....Being born "Spic" in an alabaster complexion.

My Grandfather couldn't see beyond my green eyes, so it was my skin I grew to despise. But "Papi", hold me, speak to me, tell me about "La Isla" with its swaying palm trees. Tell me bout Don Pedro, sing to me Ramito, dime de los esclavos.

Cause I, Papa, have been searching an eternity of years it seems, to understand the visions in my dreams; of a Taino reaching out his arms, trying to warn me of the harms....That Amerikkka and its democracy, will blind us with its glorious "Land of the free" ....

What price did you pay, Papa, if at my hue, the whiteness of my being, tu rechasa?

I am the victim of "O beautiful with gracious skies", while another of my kind dies! But don't put that on the radio or the TV, there is no room between the weather forecast, the Mets and the Yankees....

You see I am the revolution, as each day I fight, when in the mirror my enemy stares back with might. And yes Papa, I've scarred my skin with my flag tattooed again and again, so when the day comes of the concrete revolution, my "pale" body will lie next to all my fellow Puerto Ricans!!!

And Abuelo, when you see me again, I will be covered in the souls of my Indians....


Mami & Papi: This is Not a Puerto Rican Obituary, by tainoray

From a poetic exchange on the Indigenous Caribbean Network, reproduced with the permission of the author, tainoray:


For many of us Puerto Ricans our parents' childhood was very poor.

Boriken to them was hunger.

Access to a proper education was difficult.

They didn't come to America for a vacation, they came for a better way of life.

When they came here a lot of cheap jobs were waiting for them.

They worked the kitchens, swept the floors, served the food

Sound familiar???

They worked 40 hours for 20 hours pay if they were lucky

"Mucho trabajo, poco dinero," they said

They lived in rat and roach infested buildings but at least they had a roof over their head

Food in their bellies

They played the numbers looking for that pie in the sky

When they came hear nobody ever heard of Puerto Rico

They called them Spics, Wetbacks

They whistled at our mothers they new they were fine

They tried to beat up our fathers until they learned they could fight

They never complained

They never went anywhere

They told us to go to school and become somebody

They took us to the Villas and the Puerto Rican Day Parade

They kicked the St. Patricks Parade to the curb

They fed us rice and beans, pasteles & lechon on Holidays

All that good stuff

And to La Iglesia on sundays

They taught us their culture

They came home tired

We inherited the slums, many paid the price

But we are still here

I'm just trying to tell their story with this soliloquy

God bless them

This is not a Puerto Rican Obituary

A giant statue of Christopher Columbus has found a new home in PR

For discussion of this piece, please see the Indigenous Caribbean Network


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

A giant statue of Christopher Columbus has found a home after years of sitting in pieces in a park in the Puerto Rican city of Catano.

The city paid US$2.4 million to bring the 310-foot statue to Puerto Rico ten years ago, but then couldn't raise the extra cash needed to erect it.

Now, Catano Mayor Wilson Soto says port management company the Holland Group has agreed to take the disassembled, bronze and steel statue off his hands.

The company plans to install it in the western city of Mayaguez, where it runs the port. The town is set host the Central American and Caribbean Games in July 2010.

600 Ton Statue of Columbus (1998 article)

For discussion of this piece, see the Indigenous Caribbean Network


Published: December 21, 1998

Police Officer Adan Vargas Maldonado tried to picture what a 30-story-tall bronze statue of Christopher Columbus would look like.

''I don't imagine it beautiful, but attractive, yes,'' he said as he kept watch on the mammoth head and other statue parts, strewn about in a park, awaiting assembly. ''It'll be something supernatural for Puerto Rico.''

Such lukewarm views are an improvement over the reaction in almost every American city that has considered but rejected the statue by Zurab K. Tsereteli, the Russian sculptor who gave it to the United States as a gift of friendship in the early 1990's.

In South Florida, cities like Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale passed on erecting the 600-ton monument because of its size and the costs involved, about $25 million for shipping and assembling. In Columbus, Ohio, which debated adding the statue of Columbus at the helm of a ship to its other memorials in honor of the explorer, some nicknamed it ''Chris Kong,'' and American Indians said it glorified someone who represented ''500 years of genocide.''

But where some see a colossal headache, others see a potential moneymaker. The statue is about to settle down in Catano, a city of 36,000 better known for flooding, industrial pollution and playing ugly duckling to San Juan, its neighbor across San Juan Bay, but whose leaders expect soon to blossom as an international tourist attraction.

Plans call for the statue, which would rise here 295 feet above sea level, to become the centerpiece of a waterfront tourism complex, which would also feature a pedestrian mall, restaurants, shops and boutiques, inspired by Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla. Proponents say the complex, a short ferry ride from the cruise ships that anchor at San Juan Harbor, could draw 500,000 visitors a year.

''This is going to put Catano on the map of the world,'' said Sergio Cordero, a Miami consultant who is manager of the statue project here. ''People will recognize it like they recognize the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty.''

Not everyone in Catano thinks it will be money well spent, given the city's municipal problems, but officials are trying to win people over by focusing on the future.

The unlikely but impressive journey from Russia to Catano of the monument titled ''Birth of the New World'' began last February, when Anibal Marrero, the vice president of the Puerto Rico Senate, heard that the statue needed a home. Mr. Marrero, whose district includes Catano, said he thought it fitting that the gift be given to Puerto Rico, an American territory on which, unlike the mainland, Columbus actually set foot during his second voyage in 1493. (Puerto Rico's national anthem includes the lines: ''When to its beaches Columbus arrived, with admiration he cried: 'Oh! Oh! Oh! This is the pretty land I'm looking for.' '')

Senator Marrero, who said the statue honored the man's daring spirit rather than his conquest, said he also envisioned new jobs and an economic bonanza for Catano. The city has one of the most majestic waterfront views on the island and is already the site of a popular tourist attraction, the Bacardi rum plant. But it does have problems, Mr. Marrero said, including an unemployment rate of about 13 percent and a disproportionate number of public housing projects.

After enlisting the support of Catano's Mayor, Edwin Rivera Sierra, who earmarked $3 million to bring the statue's parts to the island, the two officials put a project team together and exchanged visits with Mr. Tsereteli, whose large-scale art is found all over Moscow and in cities like New York.

Mr. Tsereteli had presented scale models of the statue to both President Bush and President Clinton and, last September, to the Organization of American States, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

The statue depicts Columbus standing at the historically inaccurate wheel of his ship (maritime historians say ships from Columbus's day steered by a bar directly connected to the rudder), his right arm raised in a greeting. Three sails snap in the wind behind him while the three caravels are positioned on a map of the New World at the base.

The statue arrived here in more than 2,500 pieces, some from St. Petersburg, Russia, and some from the United States, where the 11-ton head had unceremoniously languished for six years in a Fort Lauderdale warehouse after South Florida turned the statue down. By contrast, when the head got here last October, a welcoming delegation from Catano was waiting at the dock.

''I feel like a child receiving a gift from Santa Claus,'' Mayor Rivera Sierra, whose statue-related exploits have been the subject of both ridicule and song, told The San Juan Star as he wiped away tears.

Many of the Mayor's constituents, however, are extremely angry over the statue's cost, which officials plan to cover through a $30 million private bond issue. The officials say Catano would only profit, and any expenses related to the statue would be reimbursed, but residents wonder why a monument is the focus when many of their streets still flood every time it rains and some neighborhoods lack sewage hookups.

''That money should be used for necessities, like more hospital services, more police officers,'' said Rafael Roman, 84, a Catano native who was talking with friends one recent evening in the town plaza. ''That statue is not going to resolve anything sitting there. It's throwing taxpayers' money into the trash can.''

Another Catano resident, Luis Ortiz, 47, said, ''We're just praying Catano doesn't sink.''

But if visits to the park where the statue pieces rest under 24-hour guard are any indication, Catano got itself a hit. Officer Vargas Maldonado said visitors from all over the island had already come looking for ''la cabeza de Colon'' -- the head of Columbus.

One recent afternoon, several parents with children stopped by. ''It's a well-done job,'' said Marco Prieto, 8, who visited with his father and two brothers. ''The Mayor has shown great intelligence.''

''The nose has holes and everything,'' his 12-year-old brother, Giovanni, reported excitedly.

The statue has another enthusiastic ally in Gov. Pedro J. Rossello.

''I just picture an imposing structure at the entrance of San Juan Bay which can be seen by air, sea and land and which will be a landmark in United States territory where Christopher Columbus actually landed,'' the Governor said.

Assembly by the sculptor and a crew of about 50 Russians is expected to start in mid-1999, pending environmental and other permits. Officials say they had to rush the transportation of the statue before all studies were completed because of the fear that political instability in Russia might prevent a move.

Unveiling is scheduled for the anniversary of the first sighting of the New World, Oct. 12, 2000.

''It's a beautiful monument,'' Mayor Rivera Sierra said in an interview on Thursday. ''I have no doubt it's going to be a success.''

Caribs' Santa Rosa Festival, August 24, 2008

High Mass in Arima
Monday, August 25 2008

Voices were raised in song and prayer yesterday as parishioners left the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church in Arima to begin a street procession honouring the first of the New World saints, Santa Rosa de Lima.

The early Spanish missionaries dedicated the mission of Arima to St Rose who is honoured as “The Divine Patron of Arima.” According to the oral tradition of the Carib Community, St Rose appeared to a group of three hunters of the Carinepogoto tribe when the Mission was founded.

Even though the actual feast day was Saturday August 23, the day of St Rose’s death, was celebrated in a high mass from 9 am yesterday by parish priests, including Msgr Christian Pereira. The large church overflowed with adoring worshippers — young and old. Even the temporary seating area outside was filled to capacity.

After the mass ended, the procession was led by a cross bearer and altar servers and followed by the Carib Queen, Valentina Medina and members of the Arima Carib Community.

The church bell tolled as the statue of Santa Rosa was removed from the church and placed in the back of a van for the procession. The statue was beautifully decorated and garlanded in pink, yellow, red and white. The rain threatened but held up as the large crowd made their way through the streets of Arima.