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There are so many feelings going through my head after news that Boston City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo announced his candidacy for mayor, making him the first Latino in the city’s history to run for this post.

The strongest feeling, of course, is one of pride and joy. Arroyo is a Boston boricua, the son-in-law of Hector Luis Acevedo, a former mayor of San Juan. Having lived and worked in my adopted home city since 1986, yesterday’s announcement marked another turning point that Boston is indeed a changing city, one that is changing for the better.

Felix Arroyo

I have rarely felt like this during my time in the self-proclaimed Hub of the Universe, since to me, Boston has always been a city of separate neighborhoods that rarely get connected. The city’s ugly racial past of the 1970s, based on a failed social experiment, lingered for a while—yes, even on the Harvard campus in the mid-1980s. There was this unspoken rule in Boston that the city’s neighborhoods should never mix. The city was segregated: Bostonians would converge in the city’s downtown center for work each day, but when it was time to go home, different groups of people when to their different neighborhoods. Don’t cause any problems. Just know your place.

That image of Boston, of course, has changed, especially with the city’s perceptions of Latinos. I have always credited this to the Red Sox. I have been going to Fenway Park since 1986, and as much as I have always loved it, I truly fell madly in love with it when Pedro Martínez started pitching for the team in the late 1990s. The atmosphere whenever Pedro pitched was magical, but it also brought out so many fans who would have never gone to a Red Sox game before Pedro pitched. Spanish conversations became more common in the stands, Dominican flags flew, and when I heard 440’s “Guavaberry” over the stadium’s speakers for the first time, I knew that a another real part of the city, one that was rarely seen inside one of the city’s most beloved gathering places, was starting to show up.

Then, David Ortiz became a legend in 2004, and all of a sudden it was cool to be Latino in Boston. The Big Papi Effect did more for Boston Latinos than almost anything else. We had arrived.

Arroyo’s news is just the latest example. Boston’s Latino population continues to grow rapidly, and it is part of the reason that Boston is now a “majority-minority city,” which means that “53 percent of residents are of a non-white race/ethnicity.” I do believe that Arroyo will attract new Latino voters, no doubt. But don’t take my word for it, I will let my good friend and fellow WGBH Radio contributor Marcela García explain. Last night, Marcela talked Arroyo on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” show.

Arroyo’s bid matters. Is it on the same level as when the city’s Irish population earned their political stripes at the turn of the century, culminating in the mayoral reign of James Michael Curley? I would argue yes. Granted, Arroyo might not win this year (it is going to be a tough race), but if Boston Latinos want to be part of the city’s political structure, they need to start somewhere. Arroyo could be that.

Yes, Marcela is right that Arroyo would be the first person to shun the “first Latino candidate” label, but he will still energize people. And the other guest who disagreed with her, Jarrett Berrios (coincidentally a Harvard classmate of mine), misses the point. The city now had its first Latino candidate for mayor and Latino voters should just worry about the issues and think beyond ethnicity politics? Sorry, Jarrett, that argument doesn’t work. You seriously don’t think that ethnicity politics no longer occurs in Boston? Do I need to bring you to a South Boston union hall to show you that it still does?

Sure, Arroyo still has to prove himself, but let’s put this all into perspective. This is history.

“I am a son of Boston. I love my city. I love Boston. I believe in ­Boston because I know that by working together we can and we will move Boston forward.”

Spoken like a true Bostonian. Who also happens to be Puerto Rican and Latino. To me, that is a winning combination, and no one can kill my buzz this morning.

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The things you to try and get re-elected. In the case of Puerto Rico’s Republicans pro-statehood governor Luis Fortuño, you spend 30 minutes talking with a puppet. La Comay from WAPA TV’s Superexclusivo is the island’s #1 show. The host is a puppet and Fortuño got a full half-hour. We will be dissecting this later this week since just like any politician, Fortuño misses the mark on many things, but here is the full interview (in Spanish) for you so see. Yes, just in case you didn’t know, Fortuño is talking policy with a puppet.

 

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What is going on here? Has the Luis Fortuño love for Mitt Romney gone sour?

Really, Luis? That is how you treat a friend?

Just last month, the pro-statehood and Republican governor Fortuño traveled to Florida during the height of the Sunshine State’s GOP primary to endorse Mitt Romney. This week, with Republicans now campaigning in Puerto Rico for a March 18 primary (yes, in Puerto Rico, you can vote in primaries but you can’t vote in the national November elections), Fortuño held a meeting with Santorum today. Huh?

This is what happened today in San Juan at La Fortaleza, according to El Nuevo Día (original report is in Spanish, and we have provided a rough translation of the quotes), after Santorum met with Fortuño (press access was limited):

  • Santorum assured that he would support statehood for Puerto Rico if the Puerto Rican people chose that option in November’s plebiscite and he is elected President. “It is the responsibility of a U.S. President to hear the voice of all Americans, including the territories,” Santorum said. “Puerto Rico is a very important part of the United States and I will take the responsibility to represent all Americans.”
  • Santorum also talked about how he is good friends with Fortuño, since they both attended the same church in the Washington DC area. Santorum said that he was a key player in bringing Medicare to the island and that he has a good relationship with the current Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi (a Democrat) as well as Pedro Roselló, an ex-governor of Puerto Rico and a pro-statehooder.
  • When he was questioned about Fortuño’s endorsement of Romney, Santorum said that said many other governor have done the same. Santorum will visit several churches on the island and also meet with other pro-statehood leaders, including Jennifer González and Thomas Rivera Schatz.
  • END also confirmed that Romney will visit the island later this week and that Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are considering visits.

Maybe Romney will have some words for Fortuño. Like, hey, dude, why you dissing me?

As for Santorum, his position is clear: you want to be a state, Puerto Rico? English has to be the primary language. Sorry.

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The following photos from #OccupyWallStreet were taken by the extremely talented photojournalist Rebecca Beard and published exclusively by LatinoRebels. The protest is entering its second week.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY LATINOREBELS.COM

In May, Agustín “Gus” García, a Latino political powerhouse who was one of Hilary Clinton’s top consultants for her 2008 presidential bid, was identified by CNN as the Tequila Party’s top political strategist. During that time, García said the following to CNN:

 

 

“I think first you have to understand the humor of calling it the Tequila Party. We are a culture that likes humor,” the movement’s main political consultant, Agustin “Gus” Garcia, told CNN.

“We’re not Puritans. Humor is part of our politics as well. We could have called it the ‘Cafe con Leche Party.’ You have to laugh because there is no logic in racism.”

As the fall approaches, García is no longer involved with the Tequila Party, citing his busy lecture Latinization of America Lecture Series schedule.

García, a Democrat, had joined forces with Somos Republicans founder and Tequila Party leader Dee Dee García Blase to launch the Tequila Party on Cinco de Mayo of this year. The duo made several high-profile media appearance, yet could not garner the national support they sought among Latino voters.

We reached out to García Blase for comment and have yet to hear from her. The Tequila Party organization recently had its articles of organization rejected by Arizona’s Corporate Commission.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN LATINOREBELS

In a move that has discredited its founder, the Arizona Corporate Commission recently rejected an application by the National Tequila Party Movement to incorporate itself in Arizona as a domestic limited liability corporation.

The Tequila Party organization, founded by Somos Republicans founder Dee Dee Blase Garcia, in essence is not a legitimate organization, as defined by the Arizona Corporate Comission. Arizona listed a “potential name conflict” that potentially invalidates the Tequila Party. Arizona listed a “potential name conflict” that potentially invalidates the Tequila Party. The current application expired last week.

We did reach out to both Somos Republican and Blase Garcia for comment, but they have not returned our requests.

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So, we must be doing right about our distaste for the silly name of the Tequila Party, since it appears that Dee-Dee García Blasé —the founder of the 2,000-member Tequila Party and the self-proclaimed Voice of All Latinos— is starting to share her thoughts about this blog and our positions.

In a message we received today, Dee-Dee’s true colors show in her criticism of this blog and LatinoRebels.com. Here is what she wrote:

For the record, the owner of the Latino Rebels who is against the name of the Tequila Party is Puerto Rican (Julio) , and we all know PR’s get automatic citizenship. I don’t think that Latino Rebels really feel what people of Mexican descent are going through right now and we have to be creative and controversial in a good way to get people to think about the importance of the latino vote to promote for pro immigration politicians. It’s too bad Latino Rebels wasn’t more like Rep. Luis Gutierrez for Illinois. Julio (Latino Rebels) asked me why we didn’t name the movement “rum party”, and I think it has something to do with PR’s and Cubanos liking ‘rum’ more so than the ‘tequila’.

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