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Archive for January, 2012


This just in from The Miami Herald:

“The Hispanic Republican political world is buzzing with talk that Puerto Rico’s governor, Luis Fortuño, has been in talks with Mitt Romney for an endorsement – and sources tell The Miami Herald he could swing his support as early as tomorrow in Orlando.”

Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño

The article continues:

Romney’s campaign wouldn’t comment.

Friday would be a perfect day for an endorsement for Romney, who’s attending the Hispanic Leadership Network forum tomorrow in Doral before he heads to Orlando – seat of Orange County, which has one of the largest Puerto Rican Republican communities in the state.

More than 21,000 Hispanic Republicans live in the county, about 11 percent of the registered GOP. Nearby Osceola County has more than 8,500 registered Hispanic Republicans – about 21 percent of the GOP. It’s unclear how many are of Puerto Rican descent.

Romney has scheduled a 6:15 p.m. press conference in Orlando. Said one Republican about a potential Fortuño endorsement: “This should happen.”

Said another: “It’s 99.9 percent going to happen.”

**Update Fortuño is coming to Florida tomorrow. He’ll host a 2 p.m. tour and press conference with U.S. Senator  Marco Rubio, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa to discuss port security, drug trafficking and the U.S. Caribbean Border.

A Fortuño endorsement would be a coup purely from a media standpoint – it would guarantee high-profile, positive coverage and feed the Romney narrative of momentum.”

The jury is still out for us, since the Romney campaign might need to do a little more homework about how polarizing a politician Fortuño has become on the island. In addition, it is clear that Fortuño has actually benefited from an Obama administration the last few months, now that the US economy is improving and unemployment figures are decreasing on the mainland. Puerto Rico has seen two consecutive months of unemployment decreases for the first time in Fortuño’s administration. However, government jobs continue to be one of the largest employment sectors in Puerto Rico.

Finally, the question remains for Florida: with all the new arrivals coming from the island to the Sunshine State, is a Fortuño endorsement even going to get Romney anything?

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Top Gear, the UK’s favorite show when it comes to insulting Mexicans, is currently facing criticism for its recent December episode from India. While the Indian government called for the BBC to take action on the show, the show’s producers insist that the episode was not offensive at all.

As reported by The Times of India:

“The Top Gear road trip across India was filled with incidents but none of them were an insult to the Indian people or the culture of the country. Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of India but there’s a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it,” Top Gear said in a statement yesterday.

“It’s simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts and that’s very clear from the way the presenters can be seen to interact with them along the way. We genuinely loved our time in India and if there were any jokes to be had they were, as ever, reflected back on the presenters rather than the Indian people,” it added.

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SAVE THE INTERNET.

This site has been taken down in protest of bills currently being considered in the US House and Senate. Called SOPA and PIPA,
these bills threaten to destroy the Internet as we know it.

If either one passes, your favorite sites could disappear forever.


ACT NOW.

CALL YOUR SENATOR AND ASK THEM TO VOTE “NO” FOR PIPA JOIN US

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Some time around 6pm EST on Thursday January 12, one of the many people who support Latino Rebels, a media and digital agency that I had formed with about 20 other amazing people last April, posted the following picture on our private group page that we use to share ideas and posts to consider for the company’s several social media networks.

I immediately reacted. After years of reading countless posts and articles about the entire immigration debate in the United States, this photo captured EXACTLY what I felt about it.

So, as an admin for the Latino Rebels Facebook page, I posted the photo, just like all the hundreds of provocative photos we have posted in the past. You see, the purpose of why the Rebels were formed was simple: provide people with content that makes you think, tosses conventions upside down, and then we see what happens. At LR.com and all our other social media channels, we post A LOT of content. It is varied, sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but the essence of what we do is always clear: we just want people to react, whether they like what we post or no.

Just 30 seconds after the photo was uploaded, we had already gotten 5 likes. Within a minute it was 15. 64 hours later, we reached the following number as of this posting on Sunday night:

Yes, you read it right: we have gotten 31,657 likes and 28,083 shares. Safe to say that this photo resonated, both with people who believe in true immigration reform for this country and those who have a different view. (SIDENOTE: If you are the person who actually passed this picture on to one of our supporters, please let us know? We got some cold beers waiting!)

Furthermore, the Latino Rebels Facebook page gained over 6,500 new fans in the last 48 hours (almost reaching 10,000), tripling the number of fans we had on January 11. The response from the vast majority of our new fans to our Facebook page has been highly positive, but what this instant organic growth caused was something that we never expected: we had to explain ourselves to all these new fans and explain ourselves quickly.

All of a sudden, people from all over the world wanted to know who we were, what we believed in, what was our mission. They wanted answers and they wanted them NOW. Where did you guys come from? What is your angle? And why do you post so many stories? Don’t you know that you are spamming me?

It took us about a day to take all this ultra-rapid growth and understand what to do with it. Our decision was easy: we stay true to our core mission—we post information daily and organically on Facebook. We go with the flow of the day and the feel of the community. If a big story is happening, we might post more. And if we just want to post music, we do that too. We don’t think about the BEST WAY to operate on Facebook. We just DO IT, and let the community decide. That will not change and by staying true to who we are (unless our community tells us differently), we did the following:

  • Posted a core mission statement in English.
  • Then because about 60% of our growth was coming from Latin America, we posted our core mission in Spanish.
  • We made a decision to post more in Spanish.
  • We reminded ourselves that the REAL HUB of our company is LatinoRebels.com and not our Facebook site. Facebook is just a channel of the company’s many channels. LR.com is the HUB and in the last 9 days, that hub has seen over 20,000 unique visits, pushing us over the 100,000 mark in just 9 months of launching the site.
  • We told people who didn’t like our style to just not follow us. Unlike us. It doesn’t bother us. We cannot be all things to all people, and we all felt strongly that if we twisted in the wind every time someone gave a suggestion to run our pages, we would lose our company soul. So we kindly told these few critics that there are gazillion pages on the Internet, if you don’t like our style, you can leave. Just respect us as you walk out the door, we would do the same.
  • Our philosophy is simple: never ever worry about having people unfollow you or losing numbers. In the end, the obsession with numbers and stats on social media is not why we do this. That is for the brands that think that numbers equal engagement and brand loyalty. It doesn’t. You know how you win people over? By connecting with them, by sharing their content, by asking them how you can help them. THIS IS NEVER ABOUT YOU, IT IS ABOUT THEM. We have been doing this every day for months, with no agendas and no master plan that would lead us to somewhere else. We have truly grown organically, reflecting the power of social media. Of course, our goal is to make the company successful, but our money is made not through our fans or the ads we would peddle to them (which we don’t). We make our money by working with our clients to replicate what we do on our content pages. That is what makes us different: our content and how we share that content is our agency model. Great content attracts audience. And that attracts engagement, which then attracts connections that will last for a long time.
UPDATE: Facebook just posted our analytics for last week and we will let the data speak for itself:

So to all the new fans and new likes and new shares, thanks. We are also aware that this type of unprecedented growth for us will not last. Someone else will post another picture and the likes will go somewhere else. We just hope that the motives are honorable and for the right reasons. We have never been a big fan of having brands try to generate social media buzz by selling their product through social media campaigns. I personally don’t want to be sold on the Internet, I just want to BE. Let ME decide what I want to do online, and if once in a while, I shout out a brand or work with a brand, it is because I believe in the brand.

Also, we never came into this company to increase our traffic quickly. It just happened because we got lucky. (And guess what? You can get lucky too.) The wave the Rebels are riding right now has been so much fun. It has forced us to refine our strategy and explore new partnerships for growth It has made us a better company.

¡Que vivan los Rebeldes! Long live the Rebels! You know who you are.

And to the entire Facebook community, thanks for the love!

UPDATE, 4:55 EST: The latest analytics are in from Facebook. Are you kidding me? Crazy.

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Ahh, Jeremy Clarkson. Last year, you offended Mexicans. This year, you go after the largest English-speaking country and one of the most Internet savvy communities in the world: India.

Credit © BBC

Last month, Clarkson and his “Top Gear” band of idiots filmed their wildly popular show in India. And Jeremy was in rare form as The Guardian reports:

During the 90-minute special, which was aired twice over the Christmas break, Clarkson made a string of jokes about the Indian food, clothes, toilets, trains and even the country’s history.

Incidents during the show included Clarkson driving a Jaguar around an Indian slum with a toilet fitted in the boot, and stripping off his trousers in public in front of two Indian dignitaries to show them how to use a trouser press. He joked that he used it to make naan bread.

Now the Indian High Commission has formally lodged a complaint to the BBC. Oops. The Guardian story continues:

“We have received a letter [of complaint] from the Indian high commission,” said a spokeswoman for Top Gear. “We will be responding directly to them in due course”.

The spokeswoman would not elaborate on the exact nature of the complaints, although a report in the Telegraph says that the high commission letter accuses the show of being “tasteless” and breaking a filming deal.

“The programme was replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked cultural sensitivity that we expect from the BBC,” the high commission said in its letter, according to the Telegraph. “I write this to convey our deep disappointment over the documentary for its content and the tone of the presentation. You are clearly in breach of the agreement that you had entered into, completely negating our constructive and proactive facilitation.”

According the the Guardian, the UK’s most racists ambassadors—Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May—pulled their tasteless and lazy humor pranks throughout India. Here is just a snippet:

One stunt involved putting banners with seemingly innocuous slogans – such as Eat English Muffins – on the side of trains. However, the banners were strategically placed so that when the trains carriages split a new, offensive, phrase emerged: “Eat English Muff.”

The train banner stunt included one slogan that said “British IT For Your Company” that transformed into the word “Shit For Your Company”.

The BBC initially received 23 complaints about the show, which attracted five million viewers when it first aired on 28 December, although the spokeswoman said on Thursday that this number has now risen to 188.

Once again, “Top Gear” is playing to the lowest common denominator of bad and racist British humor. There is wit and then there is “Top Gear.” The fact that it is still popular only confirms that Clarkson knows his audience: better to offend with bad and lazy jokes than to try and be a bit more witty and intelligent. Controversy is a part of comedy, but only when it is good. Give us Monty Python any time.

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We continue the Puerto Rican Plebiscite Seriers with part three of  Gil C. Schmidt‘s “Puerto Rico: Never a State” essay.  If you are interested in submitting your blog (500 words) for publication, add your comments here expressing your interest and we will run your blog unedited. (NOTE: This three-part column was originally intended for a piece I wrote when I was contributing to Being Latino magazine earlier in 2011, and Schimidt’s response was never published by BL, so we are following up on an invitation we extended to Gil to have it published here).

Puerto Rico: Never a State (Part Three)

By Gil C. Schmidt

Statehood for Puerto Rico is not going to happen for three unimpeachable reasons: 1) Ethnic and economic differences, masked or open, discussed in Part One; 2) History has spoken, as per Part Two and 3) Under domestic and international law, the ultimate decision is not “theirs”: it’s ours.

strong>The law says the ultimate decision is ours: During its 8th session, the U.N. General Assembly recognized Puerto Rico’s self-government on November 27, 1953 with Resolution 748 (VIII). This removed Puerto Rico’s classification as a non-self-governing territory under article 73(e) of the U.N. Charter.

Puerto Rico held its plebiscite concerning a new constitution in 1950. The constitutionally-based commonwealth was inaugurated on July 25th, 1952. However, the U.N. recognized Puerto Rico’s self-government in November 27, 1953.

Neither domestic nor international law recognizes a right to a plebiscite before a transfer of sovereignty. In short: In 1950 we weren’t empowered to choose our status.

Up until that day in 1953, we were not considered self-governing. Under domestic law (Supreme Court and Congress), we were “an unincorporated territory,” and as such, were not guaranteed anything by the U.S. So the process between the U.S. and Puerto Rico that led to the commonwealth “experiment” was not, as the pro-commonwealth party has always insisted, a deal between equals, it was merely a hand-me-down fait accompli between a sovereign nation and its territory.

Therefore, if according to international law we stopped being a colony in 1953, then we have to face up to certain truths:

  • As a self-governing territory, it is up to us —and no one else— to make the focused effort to establish our permanent status. And by “us” I mean the Puerto Ricans who live, work and own property here, not “weekenders” waving our flag a couple of times a year during some New York parade.
  • The only binding plebiscite the U.S. can offer —and never has— is a Congressionally-mandated referendum wherein Puerto Rico can automatically put into motion whatever ultimate status the voters choose. No such offer is being made now and won’t be: the fear of pledging itself to grant statehood to Puerto Rico is not something any U.S. politician wants to see looming ahead. Puerto Rico cannot force Congress to do this and Congress simply cannot be forced on this issue. History proves it.

I think it is way past time that we moved beyond all this statehood fantasy. For deep down, it isn’t a matter of pride, heritage, history or anything equally lofty: it simply boils down to a matter of money. They have it, they know many Puerto Ricans want more of it, and they don’t want—or have—to share it. On that basis alone, the U.S. will continue to reject seriously considering any Puerto Rican request for statehood.

And they should. Because we can do better.

Except that most of us don’t believe—or don’t want to believe—that.

Not becoming a state is not Puerto Rico’s loss; not knowing how to be ourselves is.

Bio: I lived almost 20 years in the U.S., spanning states from Nebraska to Texas to Mississippi. My appearance and name are those of a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, the proverbial W.A.S.P. But I was born in Puerto Rico, a fourth-generation Puerto Rican and have lived on the island continuously since 1987. You can find more of my writings about Puerto Rico at Gil The Jenius: http://gilthejenius.blogspot.com

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON LATINOREBELS.COM

The recent controversy surrounding ABC’s ‘Work It” sitcom has created a social media firestorm and tomorrow, Sunday January 8, in Chicago, a film crew is inviting all people of Puerto Rico to educate and let people know that they don’t sell drugs. Here are the details from Puerto Rican actor Darlene Vazquetelles, and director Carlos Jiménez, who recently formed the nonprofit Puerto Rican Alliance for Awareness (PRAA):

Right now I am in Chicago filming a movie. The director of the movie is also Puerto Rican and after discussing what happened [this week on ABC] we decided to do something about it.

This weekend we have off from filming so we have decided to do a mini-documentary in protest of what happened. The way we are doing it is by putting every Puerto Rican we know and come across here in Chicago in front of the camera stating their names, occupation and stating that they do not sell drugs.

This will be airing on You Tube. We already have the support of the Puerto Rican Parade Committee of Chicago. We are also receiving videos from all over the USA and Puerto Rico through email which will be included in the video.

Name

Occupation

and the tag line at the end “I am Puerto Rican and I DO NOT sell drugs”

TODAY SUNDAY JANUARY 8, 4pm CST, we will be recording people in the Puerto Rican Parade Committee Headquarters in Chicago, Casa Puertorriqueña 1237 N. California Ave. Chicago, IL 60622.

For those who cannot be there, we are asking them to send us videos to carlosjimenez88@yahoo.com(IMPORTANT: For the people that will be sending videos, please put camera in horizontal position and send by tomorrow Sunday at 11 pm Central Time with no background sounds like tvs or people talking.)

We are asking them to do it ASAP as we will be editing all day on Monday.

We already have press interested and covering the event.

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