Archive for January, 2011

Once in a while, it all clicks. And this week was a great one for JRV.com. We wanted to take this moment to thank everyone for all their support and loyalty. We know that the Internet is full of so many choices, and we are blessed that you take the time to read the content on this blog.

This post will try to summarize some of the good news (and views) we received this week. Yes, sometimes you just need to share it and celebrate.

Whole Foods Controversy

©Boston Herald (Nancy Lane)

We saw the story about a new Whole Foods opening in the same place where a Latino supermarket (and cultural institution) used to stand. We reacted. We reached out to Whole Foods via social media. They responded and got us a name to interview. We reached out to a Boston City Councillor and he commented. We now have access to comments and will be adding more stories about this. Here is the original story: Whole Foods vs Hi-Lo.

Guest Post on @MarketingProfs

It is one of the world’s top social media marketing sites. We love MarketingProfs and love what @marketingprofs does on Twitter and beyond. This week, we appeared on their blog as a guest blogger and wrote the following post: How Niche Communities Build Brand Awareness. We were thrilled to be featured, especially since we got a chance to talk about #LatinoLit.

Short Story Makes Long List

This week, one of the stories from FRANKY BENÍTEZ, made the long list as part of the anthology, 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND. The story, “Power’s Sunday Slam,” is being considered for the publication, which will benefit the victims of the Australia floods. Out of 300 submissions, “Power’s Sunday Slam” made the first cut.

The New #Latism Web Page

We celebrated the new #Latism (Latinos in Social Media) web page as well. This is such a great organization, the best community in social media. #LATISM has done great things, and it will continue to do even greater things.

And finally, we think this blog is heading in the right direction and posting content that our readers want to see. We just checked our recent blog and fan page rankings (in the end, being online is all about reach) and we are happy to report the following:

  • The Facebook Fan Page of Fernando Varela is now over 18,500 fans as of January 30, 2011. We think we will get to 20,000 by the end of March, if not sooner.
  • The Sónico Fan Page of Fernando Varela is over 55,000 fans. We project that this will reach 100,000 by the end of 2011.
  • The current Alexa rating for juliorvarela.com puts us in some select company. We are amazed at how a personal, part-time blog is gaining new views each day. We are growing by 100% every month we are online.
  • The little novel that could, @fbnovel, which just started tweeting this January 3, is expected to hit 500 followers by January 31. At that rate, when the novel is published in September, the account will have 4,000 followers with the right level of growth and engagement.
  • We are currently at close to 37,000 views on this blog site and expect to be at 40,000 by the middle to February.

Yes, sometimes you need to celebrate. And we are doing just that this week. Hit it, Mr. Astaire.

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I wrote this piece in 2011. It still resonates today.

The history of Puerto Rico is complex. As the island enters its 113th year as a territory colony of the United States, the interdependencies between the U.S. and Puerto Rico weren’t, and never will be, a simple matter. It is a history of paradoxes and complications regarding political identity and basic human rights of self-government.

Puerto Rico's first administrative cabinet under the Jones Act of 1917

Take, for example, the 1917 Jones Act, an act of Congress that granted U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Ricans born on the island. (Important sidenote: Unknown to many, this is not a Constitutional act, but it would take a Supreme Court act to revoke the right.) The Jones Act, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917, not only established U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans on the island, it also created a new form of government. As the following states (source: Library of Congress):

The Jones Act separated the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches of Puerto Rican government, provided civil rights to the individual, and created a locally elected bicameral legislature. The two houses were a Senate consisting of 19 members and a 39-member House of Representatives. However, the Governor and the President of the United States had the power to veto any law passed by the legislature. Also, the United States Congress had the power to stop any action taken by the legislature in Puerto Rico. The U.S. maintained control over fiscal and economic matters and exercised authority over mail services, immigration, defense and other basic governmental matters.

There are so many contradictions in the act that many people are unaware about and we would like to make some clarifications:

  • Even though Puerto Ricans have the right to govern themselves, in the end the Governor of Puerto Rico and the U.S. government still have to power to veto and control any legislation on the island. That is a huge concession of power and rights.
  • History has stated that Puerto Ricans did not request for citizenship at the time. In fact, the member of Congress representing the island in 1917, Luis Muñoz Rivera, questioned such imposition in late 1916, basically telling Congress that Puerto Ricans would prefer Puerto Rican citizenship.
  • The U.S. still has control over several basic government services that in any other form of government, would be under the jurisdiction of a local government. In the end, Puerto Ricans gained U.S. citizenship, but never gained much more, except for the right to freely travel with a U.S. passport and also freely live in any other part of the United States.
  • History also suggests that the United States needed more men for WWI. After Wilson signed the Jones Act and after the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, military conscription was passed in June, 1917. This meant that as U.S. citizens, eligible Puerto Rican males were drafted into the armed forces. Over 2,000 Puerto Ricans were drafted to serve at the very beginning. In the end, it was estimated that 18,000 Puerto Ricans served in World War I. Most of them went to the Panama Canal, but some Puerto Ricans, like musician Rafael Hernández, proudly served on the Western Front. Puerto Ricans who were not eligible were sent to labor camps in the South.

The issue of U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans has always been a study in paradoxes. For example, a Puerto Rican-born individual who lives in the United States could vote in U.S. elections, like the ones for President, but that same person could not vote in those elections if living in Puerto Rico. The same goes for federal taxes. If you are Puerto Rican-born and live in the U.S., you have to file a federal tax return. On the island, though, a Puerto Rican does not have to file a return.

In general, it is safe to say that most Puerto Ricans value the benefits that a U.S. citizenship has bestowed on them. However, Puerto Ricans still fall into a second tier of U.S. citizens, when compared to their fellow American citizens. Issues of civil and human rights (noted by the U.S. crackdown on Puerto Rican Nationalists who never truly had the right to free assembly after tensions arose in the 1940s and 1950s) are still valid concerns.

As the island begins to yet again explore the political direction it wants to take, the question of whether Puerto Ricans would trade in their U.S. citizenship for Puerto Rican citizenship will always be open for debate and dissection. Four generations have passed since the Jones Act became law, and for a certain group of U.S. citizens, full constitutional rights have yet to be achieved.

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New beta Website For The Largest Organization of Latino Professionals Engaged in Social Media

Offers Latinos a Nexus for Knowledge, Community and Resources

Washington, DC — January 27, 2011 — At nearly 23 million users in the US alone, Latinos have become the fastest growing community online. Latinos in Social Media [LATISM], the leading and largest organization of Latinos and Latinas engaged in social media, has recognized the need for a centralized platform for expression, professional support, education, mobilization and promotion of causes. Today, they have announced the beta launch of their new online community website LATISM.org/beta.

Ana Roca-Castro

“We recognize the innovation, ideas and vision coming from Latinos everywhere, and we want our members to be part of our evolution into a full-scale online community that is truly built for and by Latinos,” said Ana Roca-Castro, Founder and Chair of Latinos in Social Media.”We are harnessing the power of new technology to build community, share ideas, and offer knowledge that is indispensable in today’s online landscape. The new latism.org provides increased flexibility for the future growth of our community as we move ahead into new realms of digital service. I am immensely proud of it.”

The site will provide free access to the most comprehensive set of information and resources for Latinos to network and connect with peers, brands, businesses and investors worldwide. It also features the organization’s annual calendar, a listing of all upcoming LATISM conferences, networking and training opportunities around the country and online.

Resources featured are organized under the most common areas of involvement for members – including blogging, marketing, health, education, the arts, fundraising, and community collaboration. Through a free membership, anyone can join particular LATISM communities, leave comments, share relevant content and activities via social media platforms and add themselves to the LATISM Professional Directory, a searchable database of nearly 100,000 Latinos in Social Media worldwide.

Once out of the beta stage, the website will function as the heart of the LATISM mission: equipping Latinos with the tools they need to transform their communities by enabling members to make choices, take part in actions and decisions that affect their lives, and become agents for change.

On the new LATISM website, members will be able to:

  • List themselves and their business by using the site’s new interactive directory
  • Report on what’s happening in their world right now by connecting their blogs to their LATISM accounts and sharing them via social media platforms
  • Find and be found by organizations and corporations interested in reaching out to Latinos
  • Discover, connect with, and support other Latinos who share their interests by joining LATISM groups
  • Organize, participate in, and be up-to-date on LATISM national and local chapter initiatives throughout the year
  • Receive information about exclusive opportunities available only to LATISM members

The current LATISM blog will now move to http://blog.latism.org and will continue to be the center for weekly announcements and engagement.


Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), the largest organization for Latino and Latina professionals engaged in social media, is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. LATISM also serves corporate brands, NGOs and government entities, with a broad range of services including research, event sponsorships, and leadership training. A pioneering social media organization, LATISM has been hailed as the most influential online movement in the new multicultural Web. For more information, go to http://latism.org/beta .


Media Contact:

Elianne Ramos, Vice-Chair of Communications & PR

(646) 932-7752


SOURCE: Latinos in Social Media (LATISM)

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