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Archive for December, 2011


The Luis Fortuño GOP VP Campaign Train is buzzing along, and The Huffington Post is the latest US media outlet to join on this bizarre public relations campaign to promote Puerto Rico’s Republican governor.

In a HuffPost piece entitled A Republican Primer on Latino Voters by Gretchen Sierra-Zorita of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, the author addresses the ever-burning question of how the GOP can attract more Latino voters in the 2012 election. After the necessary disclaimer that current GOP possibilities like Marco Rubio and Susana Martínez would not make good choices for the GOP because of their anti-immigration rhetoric, Sierra-Zorita gets to the meat of the article and perhaps the main reason she wrote it: to inaccurately paint Puerto Ricans as the least vocal group about immigration and to promote Fortuño as a realistic VP option.

The author begins with her thesis:

Third, enlisting a Hispanic vice president could improve Republican chances of expanding their Latino base but only at the margin. Among the possible candidates, Governor Fortuño stands the better chance of winning over new voters.

Her reasons? Reason #1: Puerto Ricans are the most likely Latino group to vote for their own native son. She writes:

There are 4.6 million Puerto Ricans residing in the mainland. For them, immigration reform is a preference but not a priority because Puerto Ricans are born U.S. citizens. They mostly trend Democrat, but they would give the Republican ticket a second look if they saw a Puerto Rican in it.

Once again, the misperception of Puerto Ricans as being insensitive and ignorant towards immigration issues has propped its ugly head. We thought we had addressed this over the summer when the founder of The Tequila Party showed her lack of education about Puerto Rican history and how Puerto Ricans were a source of cheap migrant labor in United States ever since citizenship was imposed on Puerto Ricans in 1917. But it appears that Sierra-Zorita needs a quick lesson in Puerto Rican history, so we invite her to become a follower of this blog or just follow us on Twitter and we will keep her informed.

Nonetheless, facts and history aside, we know very few Puerto Ricans who think immigration injustice is NOT a critical issue in this country. In fact, some could argue that certain Puerto Ricans are at the forefront of the national debate.

Just ask Illinois Congressman and Puerto Rican Luis Gutierrez, who has been one of the country’s most consistent and effective voices when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform. Or ask the Rev. Sam Rodríguez, one of the country’s most influential Christian ministers and a Puerto Rican, who spearheaded a national pledge asking that all political candidates cease the negative rhetoric immigration.

So, Puerto Ricans DO care about immigration, and to imply that Puerto Ricans would be the first to vote Republican because they would easily trade in that issue before say, a Mexican American voter, is irresponsible and inaccurate.

On to Exhibit B, the Disneyrican defense. Sierra-Zorita writes:

The 848,000 Puerto Ricans who live in Florida, popularly known as Disneyricans, might be more receptive to a conservative pitch from Governor Fortuño. Disneyricans are considered independents, having voted for Obama in 2008 and for Rubio in 2010. Over 40 percent of them moved from Puerto Rico during the last decade, primarily for economic reasons.

This paragraph is so wrong on so many levels. We offer these two observations:

The term Disneyrican is an invented media term that refers to the new migration of Puerto Ricans on the island to Central Florida in the last 10 years, specifically Orlando. This population is younger, more professional, more educated and quite likely left Fortuño’s Puerto Rico in the last three years because there were no jobs on the island, the island’s crime rate was spiraling, and the island’s standard of living was awful. Is there a correlation between a declining population on the island and a Republican governor whose policies have led to a stagnant economy that is being compared to Greece? Maybe so, and we believe the chances of these new Florida residents voting for Fortuño as VP are minimal to say the least. And we are being nice about that assessment.

Sticking to the term Disneyrican, we would like to ask the HuffPost and Sierra-Zorita, who claims that this terms is a “popular” term, to name the other media outlets in the US (besides the HuffPost) that use the term Disneyrican to describe Puerto Ricans living in Florida? Very few articles, even in Spanish-language media, use this term.

As someone who actually has Puerto Rican family members and friends who live in Central Florida, I don’t hear people refer themselves as Disneyricans with boricua pride. This is just a classic case of a media outlet trying to create an invented sound bite buzz word to try and box a voting bloc. Sierra-Zorita should have known better, especially when earlier in the piece, she says herself that Latino voters are not one-dimensional.

Puerto Rican Republican Governor Luis Fortuño

Finally, Sierra-Zorita shows her complete ignorance about the US Constitution when she writes the following:

Ironically, as governor of a U.S. territory, Fortuño is the ultimate outsider and unlikely to be nominated. If he were, he may have an edge over Marco Rubio who, as a Latino, mostly appeals to the Cuban Americans who are already part of the Republican base.

Yes, Fortuño is the ultimate outsider, so much so, that he couldn’t even vote for himself right now! Does Sierra-Zorita not realize that if Fortuño were to run, he would have to change his residency from the island to a mainland address (Virginia, most likely, where he used to lived) because right now, Fortuño can’t vote for President because he lives in Puerto Rico? How would the GOP explain that one to its base, the same base that once questioned the citizenship of President Obama? That is a hornet’s nest waiting to happen, and it makes no sense for any GOP leader to even think of this possibility.

But nonetheless, Sierra-Zorita shouldn’t be blamed for her lack of political knowledge when it comes to Puerto Rican politics. Her previous HuffPost piece was claiming that some obscure Puerto Rican investment bill would turn the vast majority of Disneyricans over to the GOP column. The GOP would win the Disneyrican vote, of that is no doubt, she argued. We respectfully disagree. Obscure bills that have done nothing to help the island’s situation will curry very little support in the end.

The GOP could win more of the Disneyrican, Newyorican, and Puerto Rican vote when it starts treating them as voters and respecting them. Leave the pandering, silly sound bites, and public relation campaigns to the pundits. You can get better advice just by paying attention to the realities that are happening in Puerto Rico and how most Puerto Ricans we know deeply care for the island to heal and for the POLITIQUERÍA to end.

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his is one deportation case where being humane should trump anything else. If you are not moved by this woman’s story and her love of her husband, then this country is clearly in trouble. Please take a moment to click here and sign the petition. This one is special to us.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

My hubby José Pedro Mejía (A# 087-042-687) and I have been married 11 years. Jose has been in the US for 13 years. He came here from his tiny village in Mexico, where he was mired in poverty and was unable to find work. Shortly after we were married I became ill and was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. November 2007 they determined that I had approximately 6 months to live – I needed a double-lung transplant.

After agonizing back and forth with doctors about whether I qualified for the surgery, I was notified one morning that I was to be listed on the organ necessity list at about 9am. Three hours later the nurse informed me i was #1 on the list and to get to the hospital immediately, there was a match. January 9, 2008 I was transplanted. My recovery has been horrible. I take 30 meds a day. My sternum had to be broken for access to my lungs and has not healed. Through this all my husband has honored his promised “in sickness and in health.” My husband makes sure I eat and take my meds. He cleans, cooks, does laundry and helps me bathe when necessary. I have blackout periods where I appear awake but have no memory of certain blocks of time. Without him to care for me I hate to think where I’d be.

 

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

I offered to divorce him so he could find someone young and healthy like him. But his support has never wavered. But now, he could be taken away from me because of his immigration status. We have applied numerous times for an adjustment of his status, all denied. We filed an appeal June 2010. Also denied. Recently my husband received a notice to appear for a hearing at immigration court for removal proceedings. I’m doing all I can to keep him here.

My husband is the perfect example of what the Morton memo describes as meeting prosecutorial discretion. For all they have put ME through, a US citizen, I want him to be approved legal permanent status and eventually we will work towards citizenship.

Please tell USCIS: stop the deportation of my husband and allow him to file for legal permanent residency. 

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

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So last week, Sports Illustrated opened up its cover selection process to social media, letting anyone in the world vote for the best picture of 2011. In the end, the fans chose Rutgers’ Eric LaGrand and his inspirational story. Granted, it was a good choice, but the explanation by SI’s Terry McDonell reveals that in the end, big brands don’t get social media, and you are left to wonder if they ever will.

This is what McDonell wrote in last week’s issue:

The idea that the editor should relinquish that call this week and ask fans to choose the cover came from Scott Novak, SI’s vice president of communications. Novak is editorial minded and brilliant at driving connections with readers through social-media platforms such as the SI Facebook page, where he proposed to invite visitors to vote for the best sports moment of the year, with the winner featured on the year-end cover. The argument against him was simple: As much as readers may second-guess the magazine’s cover choices, that’s where they want SI’s credibility and authority to start. And who said the voters would be readers in the first place? But the argument Novak, his team and a growing number of staffers made was that letting the public in on the selection process would strengthen the bond between the magazine and its readers and, further, allow SI to plug into a new two-way relationship with a wider landscape of sports fans.

Again, it was a noble effort, but McDonell’s words reveal a few misconceptions that brands still blindly follow when it comes to social media. This is why in the end SI missed the mark:
  • It’s all about control. There is still this assumption by media outlets that in order to succeed in the digital space, they must still control the message. And that is where the problem lies. Once you commit to social media, everyone becomes an equal, from the magazine to the readers to the people who tweet about the brand.
  • Social media credibility comes from actual engagement. It is just hard to believe that SI truly “gets it” now. The SI example, as much as its editors think it is “two-way conversation,” it is still SOCIAL MEDIA LITE. SI missed the opportunity to take their cover selection process and really make it 100% engaging. Sure, people voted and chose the cover, but SI’s team failed to make something out of it. They should have spent more time shouting out the people who voted, mention them, thank them for the votes on Twitter. THAT would have strengthened the relationship SI sought. Instead, SI was still the story, and not the voters. People will quickly see through that.
  • Where is the real engagement? True engagement is when both sides of the channel are highlighted. SI still thinks that it is better than the people who follow its accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Maybe if SI lightens up a bit and not feel so concerned about losing control, people would become even more loyal.

It is encouraging to see that McDonell has a Twitter account. But his profile on Twitter just has four tweets (although kudos for using an @ reply for one of those tweets, maybe there is hope?). And McDonell has only tweeted once this December, the month when he should have done more to prove that SI is becoming more social media savvy and friendlier. And before that, he tweeted once in October 2011, once in December 2010 and his first tweet was in October 2009. Knowing how smart the guys at SI are, I do believe they will understand that they must practice what they preach. I am rooting for you, Terry. Come dive into Twitter and enjoy it.

Trust me, I love SI. I think it is the best weekly magazine in the world. The writing is vastly superior and the photos are top-notch. However, if SI REALLY wants to dive deeply in the social media sphere, it should, for example, take the time to simply reply to people, their readers, the ones who buy their magazine every week (their current Twitter presence is the perfect example of how NOT to do it).

So maybe, if their editors are open to it, they should publish a Social Media edition of their magazine, where individuals who follow the brand choose and develop the brand for one week. Publish the tweets, shout out the opinions, and maybe even have some content creators publish some of their pieces. Now THAT would be cool. Let’s hope SI stops hiding behind the image of the BIG BRAND that thinks it is doing social media. It would actually be more fun for them and it would change the needle for them, especially in this age, where ANYONE can be a publisher now.

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