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Of all the emails and messages I have received regarding the cancellation of WAPA-TV’s “SuperXclusivo” show in Puerto Rico, the following note at the end of this post by my cousin Omar Pereira basically sums up for me why I always thought that the Boicot a La Comay movement was a “perfect social media storm” and why I felt that as a columnist/publisher/activist/journalist I needed to have the Latino Rebels cover this story.

Omar has provided a bilingual version of his initial Facebook post in Spanish, which went viral in Puerto Rico and was also quoted in El Nuevo Día. He wrote this note the same night that the news broke about La Comay’s demise. On a personal level, when I returned to the island two years ago to help Omar and the rest of my family during the tragic loss of my little cousin, I witnessed “SuperXclusivo’s” immoral and illegal ways in trying to “get” a story. It was like dealing with a stalker, and let’s just say this: we knew all the tricks in the book, and “SuperXclusivo” NEVER got the story, yet they caused so much pain and grief during those sad times (and they continued to harass my family even after the fact), that I could not believe that such a show would ever maintain its popularity. Eventually, something would happen.

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As I learned more about La Comay and how the puppet continued to blatantly lie about what it broadcasts, I always suspected that Kobbo Santarrosa would piss off someone for the last time, and social media would react swiftly. Think about this: it took 35 days during the holiday season for all this to happen. Can anyone remember another time when a #1-rated show went from hero to goat in just 6 weeks?

Now, those journalists who are defending La Comay (people, it’s a PUPPET) and saying that this is all about freedom of expression, I will disagree 1000%. Freedom of expression has its limits. Making money off of lies and innuendo is one of those limits. I really urge the Comay defenders to actually READ the FCC’s policy and stop misinforming the Puerto Rican public. Like I have said before, this entire boycott movement is the PERFECT EXAMPLE of true freedom of expression.

La Comay was a bully. Simple as that. People finally spoke out against the bully, and what the traditional dinosaur media in Puerto Rico fails to understand is that this is not just about 76,000 people. It is about millions, because those 76,000 people dedicated themselves to share news, make calls, educate sponsors and spread the word. THAT is what social media is all about: your message always has the opportunity to reach millions, just like La Comay did. La Comay used to be the only show in town. It is no longer.

As for co-host Héctor Travieso, who asked this week, “What did Kobbo Santarrosa ever do to deserve this?,” I have your answer. I was going to respond to his question myself, but when Omar wrote what he wrote, I didn’t have to. Omar’s words are my words as well. This one was for Juliancito.

If my crime is that I made this story personal, arrest me. It’s called doing it for family. It’s called doing it for love. It’s called doing it for a better Puerto Rico. The bochinche is for the old Puerto Rico. The new Puerto Rico is about inclusion, respect, and making sure ALL voices are heard, and not just the voices of a traditional mainstream media that have done nothing to advance the cause for my beloved island.

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Here is what Omar wrote:

Ahora sí me desahogo. Admito que vi el último programa (la primera vez que lo veo desde hace mucho mucho tiempo). Es una pena que no hayan mantenido a “La Comay Renovada” como decía la promoción del programa para el 2013. Kobbo no habló mal de nadie, se unió al llamado del Gobernador de dejarnos de politiquería y ponernos todos a trabajar juntos por el bien de PR, y hasta criticó de forma sumamente justificada a una persona por quejarse de que el gobierno le regaló un “trapo’e bola”. Me imagino que fue “too little, too late.”

La Comay tenía que irse por cualquiera de las siguientes razones – sólo una era necesaria, y la lista es aún mas larga que esta. Pero nuestra apatía como pueblo le otorgó el poder a la “trapo’e muñeca”. Una cosa es un programa de chismes, otra cosa fue La Comay. Hoy celebramos porque no habrá alguien enseñándole a nuestro pueblo como odiar, como burlarse de otros, como destruir reputaciones y familias, y cómo usar el dolor de los demás para lucrarse. Esta victoria es de:

  • La viuda, familiares y amigos de Agustín Areizaga Cordero (el que fue vilmente asesinado y decapitado en Moca, y La Comay tuvo la osadía de enseñar su cabeza decapitada en la TV)
  • La viuda, familiares y amigos de José Enrique Gómez Saladín (“el publicista” cuando insinuó que se mereció su muerte
  • Susan Soltero de la cual se burló en innumerables ocasiones por su peso
  • Choco Orta la cual humilló por ser gay
  • Itzamar Pena y Papulin por reclamar que su hijo no era legítimo
  • José Raúl Arriaga del cual mintió y destruyó su carrera (los federales descubrieron que fue una fabricación)
  • Magaly Febles de la cual se burló cuando le embargaron su casa
  • Yolandita Monge la cual humilló
  • Adolfo Krans al cual le destruiste su matrimonio con una mentira
  • Una amiga mía que no voy a mencionar la cual hizo pasar por un infierno con su hijo y su esposo al alegar infidelidad
  • Victor Santos, Rafael Cox Alomar, y otros de la raza negra por decirles monos
  • Belen Martinez la cual humilló al decirle ballena negra (por su peso y su raza)
  • Los familiares y amigos de Lorenzo González Cacho, por utilizar el caso del niño Lorenzo para tener ratings y hacer dinero, y entorpecer el trabajo de las autoridades divulgando información privilegiada, posiblemente haciéndole el trabajo muchísimo mas difícil a los fiscales e investigadores
  • Los amigos y conocidos de los supuestos sospechosos del caso de Lorenzo los cuales han estado siendo acosados por La Comay
  • Todos los que la veían y se dejaban de coger de zángano por La Comay creyéndole todo lo que decía, sin cuestionarle nada, y hasta creyéndose que lo que hacía era “periodismo investigativo”
  • Y finalmente, de mi esposa Cynthia Galinaltis, de mis hijos, de mis papás, de mi hermana, de mis sobrinas, de mi suegra, de mi cuñado, de toda mi familia extendida, y de todos mis amigos, por todas las mentiras que dijo de nosotros, por todo lo que nos hizo pasar cuando estábamos intentando mantener a nuestros hijos y a Cynthia fuera de su trapo’e programa, y por el via crucis que me hizo pasar para poder enterrar a nuestro querido Julián en paz.

Sobre 76,000 almas lograron esto, pero hubo una más desde allá arriba que ayudó, ¿verdad Julio Ricardo Varela?

Este fue nuestro #boricuawinter… Algo me dice que no será la última vez que nos unimos para hacer bien por Puerto Rico.

***

Now I’m venting. I admit that I watched the last program (the first time I do so in a long, long time). It’s sad that they did not keep the “Renovated Comay” as the show’s promotion for 2013 stated. Kobbo did not insult anybody, he echoed the new Governor’s call for the people of Puerto Rico to stop politicking and for all of us to roll up our sleeves for the good of Puerto Rico, and even very justifiably criticized a person for complaining that the Government had given her daughter a “trapo’e bola” or “crappy sports ball” as a gift for the Governor’s Three Kings Day Celebration. I imagine that it ended up being “too little, too late.”

La Comay had to go for any of the following reasons – only one was necessary, and the list is even longer than this one. But our apathy as a people gave this “crappy doll” all of its power. One thing is to have a gossip program, but La Comay was something else. Today we celebrate because there will not be anyone teaching our people who to hate, how to humiliate, how to destroy reputations and families, and how to use someone else’s grief and suffering in order to enrich himself. This victory belongs to:

  • The widow, family and friends of Agustín Areizaga Cordero (who was assassinated in a gruesome way and decapitated in Moca, and La Comay dared to show his decapitated head on primetime TV)
  • The widow, family and friends of José Enrique Gómez Saladín (“the publicist” when La Comay insinuated that he deserved his horrible death).
  • Susan Soltero, whom La Comay constantly made fun of because of her weight
  • Choco Orta, who was humiliated by La Comay for being gay
  • Itzamar Peña y Papulín for La Comay falsely claiming that their son was illegitimate (they won a lawsuit against La Comay for this)
  • José Raúl Arriaga, whom La Comay lied about, destroying his career as a journalists (the feds eventually found that that this was a fabrication)
  • Magaly Febles , hom La Comay made fun of when her home was repossessed
  • Yolandita Monge, whom La Comay constantly humiliated
  • Adolfo Krans, whose marriage to Ex-Governor Sila María Calderón La Comay destroyed by lying about infidelity (and Krans eventually “won” in court, if there is such a thing, after losing everything else)
  • A friend of mine which I won’t mention which was put through hell together by La Comay, together with her son and her husband, after La Comay alleged an infidelity (and her son went through a long period of psychological treatment after this)
  • Víctor Santos, Rafael Cox Alomar, and other black Puerto Ricans for calling them “monkeys”
  • Belén Martínez, who was humiliated by La Comay when she called her “black whale” (because of her weight and skin color)
  • Family and friends of Lorenzo González Cacho, for using the case of his murder to obtain ratings and enrich the puppet, while disrupting the work of the authorities when the puppet continuously divulged seemingly privileged and confidential information, possibly making it much more difficult for the DA’s and the investigators to do their job
  • Friends and acquaintances of the supposed suspects of the Lorenzo case, who have been stalked by La Comay’s staff, even at their workplaces
  • Everyone who watched her and who fell for her lies, believing everything she said, without questioning anything, even believing that what she did was “investigative journalism”
  • And finally, this victory also belongs to my wife Cynthia Galinaltis, to my sons, to my parents, to my sister, to my nieces, to my mother-in-law, to my brother-in-law, to my whole extended family, for all the lies she told about us, for everything she made us go through during the most difficult moment of our lives, when we were trying to keep our other two sons and Cynthia away from his crappy program, and for the hell he made me go through so we could bury our dear Julián in peace.

Over 76,000 souls achieved this, but there was one more from up above that also helped, ¿right, Julio Ricardo Varela?

This was our #boricuawinter… Something tells me it will not be the last time that we will unite to do good things for Puerto Rico.

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I was 3 years old the night my hero died.

I don’t know if I was wearing my Pittsburgh Pirates shirt on that New Year’s Eve in 1972, and I couldn’t even begin to remember the details that swirled around Puerto Rico like bees around a hive. A child’s mind does not recall the facts, it just recalls the tears. The tears, I do remember.

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But now the facts are far too familiar, and the Internet will forever enshrine them. As these excerpts from the January 1, 1973 edition of The New York Times say:

SAN JUAN, P. R., Jan. 1—Roberto Clemente, star outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died late last night in the crash of a cargo plane carrying relief supplies to the victims of the earthquake in Managua.

Three days of national mourning for Mr. Clemente were proclaimed in his native Puerto Rico, where he was the most popular sports figure in the island’s history.

***

Mr. Clemente was the leader of Puerto Rican efforts to aid the Nicaraguan victims and was aboard the plane because he suspected that relief supplies were falling into the hands of profiteers.

The four-engined DC-7 piston-powered plane crashed moments after takeoff from San Juan International Airport at 9:22 P.M.

The plane, carrying a crew of three and one other passenger, came down in heavy seas a mile and a half from shore.

Coast Guard planes circled the area trying to locate the plane by the light of flares. The wreckage was not found until 5 P.M. today in about 100 feet of water. There was no sign of survivors.

***

Mr. Clemente had been asked to take part in the collection of funds by Luis Vigoraux, a television producer.

“He did not just lend his name to the fund-raising activities the way some famous personalities do,” said Mr. Vigoraux. “He took over the entire thing, arranging for collection points, publicity and the transportation to Nicaragua.”

Mr. Clemente’s relief organization had collected $150,000 in cash and tons of clothing and foodstuffs. More money and clothing are still being donated.

“We sent a ship loaded with supplies during the week,” said a member of the earthquake relief committee. “One of the reasons Roberto went on the plane was to get there before the ship arrived to see the supplies were distributed properly.”

***

News of Mr. Clemente’s death plunged Puerto Rico into mourning.

Gov. Louis A. Ferre decreed three days of mourning and Governor-elect Rafael Hernandez Colon, who will be sworn into office tomorrow, ordered the cancellation of an inaugural ball and all other social activities related to the inauguration.

Roberto Clemente was 38 years old when he died. 38 years old.

His baseball feats will forever be celebrated, but Clemente went beyond that. Not a day goes by where I think of how this son of Puerto Rico represented a different type of athlete, one that we rarely see today.

I often wonder: “what if Clemente were still alive today?” He would be baseball’s premiere Latino ambassador, sure, but he would be marching with the justice-seekers, speaking out against violence, and calling for a better world. As PBS’ American Experience says, “Clemente was an exceptional baseball player and humanitarian whose career sheds light on larger issues of immigration, civil rights and cultural change. He would die in a tragic plane crash.”

And that is why I struggle a bit every December 31. Clemente was so much more than a baseball player, but it was baseball that transcended him into places he would have never reached. I have friends from the Pittsburgh area who still consider Clemente the greatest Pirate ever. Everyone loved and admired Roberto (even those who called him “Bobby,” not knowing any better.) The Puerto Rican taking over Pittsburgh. That’s how it happens. That’s how we become a better world. When cultures blend, and we find commonalities and we celebrate achievements.

That is why I know that we can all be like Clemente. You can still stand for what you believe in,  you never have to settle, and still treat people with love, grace, and respect.

His son said it best when he told PBS the following:

I would like for people to see my father as an inspiration. To see him as a person who came from, you know, not a rich neighborhood or anything, but from a noble house in Puerto Rico. Probably with no hopes of knowing what he was going to become, but carrying himself in such a way that always had — you know, the values. That was always first. The caring and respect for the parents and siblings, and towards people. Zero tolerance against injustice. Not putting up with being put down. Becoming an activist and letting his message get across very strongly. That should be an inspiration to everyone… understanding how a single individual really truly makes a difference.
— Luis Clemente, son

This New Year’s Eve I still long for the possibilities of what the world COULD have been with Clemente here. Instead, the best I can do is just try and remember that each of us can truly make a difference. This is what Roberto means to me, and this is why I will be #21Forever.

Now I have a 10-year-old son who shares my love of Clemente. And when my son asks me about Roberto, I can show him game footage and tell him stories from my abuelo, my dad, and some Latino baseball legends I had the pleasure to meet in my lifetime (I will never ever forget when the great Mike Cuellar told me and my brothers about the Game 7 homerun Clemente hit off of him at the 1971 World Series). But even when my son and I talk baseball, I also tell him that Clemente was always larger that just baseball. He was a great human being who tried to make a difference. And he succeeded.

¡Que viva Roberto! #21Forever.

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The following release was just published today and I say, “Fantástico.” It is time for Puerto Ricans to stand up, get connected, and work together for a greater Puerto Rico. You can give Parranda Puerto Rico a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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SAN JUAN, PR and MIAMI, FL and SILICON VALLEY, CA–(Marketwire – Dec 13, 2012) – A new social network dubbed “Parranda” — the name of a popular Puerto Rican Christmas tradition — is hoping to gather Puerto Ricans on the island and throughout the world to “remap, remake, and remobilize the Greater Puerto Rico.”

Founded by eighteen Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, scientists, and business leaders — from San Juan to Silicon Valley — Parranda will launch a beta version this Christmas of an online network with an initial focus on constructing a digital map of where all Puerto Ricans live. Later projects will include an online mentoring program, a crowd-funding capability, and a broad range of applications that serve the economic, civic, and cultural development of the island and its people.

Reimagining “The Boricua Winter”

A confluence of events has demonstrated the need, desire, and utility for a Puerto Rican diaspora network.

First, there is the continuing flight of Puerto Rican professionals to the US and other countries, which has created a persistent brain drain from the Puerto Rican economy. Second, there was the recent demonstration of political power both on the mainland and on the archipelago. The strength of the Puerto Rican vote in Florida for the 2012 election was surprising to many. And a recent plebiscite was the first time Puerto Ricans voted in a majority to reject Puerto Rico’s current political status.

Finally, there’s the recent wave of social networking activity following a recent spike in the violent crime rate in Puerto Rico, a problem recognized as one of the chief causes of migration to the US. A journalist recently labeled the online reaction to violence in Puerto Rico as “the Boricua Winter,” drawing a comparison to the Arab Spring.

“When we say ‘a Greater Puerto Rico,’ we are referring, of course, to two things,” said Giovanni Rodriguez, co-founder of Parranda and CEO of SocialxDesign, a strategic consulting firm with offices in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. “First, there’s the reality that Puerto Rican influence is extending beyond the borders of the archipelago. There are more Puerto Ricans living in the US today than in Puerto Rico. Second there’s the idea that Puerto Ricans everywhere — no matter where they make their home — can improve conditions in their homeland. The time is right for the launch of a platform like Parranda, which aims to bring Puerto Ricans together for a number of projects designed for large-scale social impact.”

Parranda’s first focus on mapping the Greater Puerto Rico — via a simple web application — is both practical and strategic for its longer-term goals.

“Puerto Ricans will be both surprised and energized to see where they are today, and the mapping project will enlist all Puerto Ricans to both make the map and telling others to help make it,” said Marcos Polanco, co-founder and COO of iCare Medical Inc., a startup based in San Juan. “And once the map is well lit, it will help Parranda to execute on its larger ambitions in mentoring, funding, and support for social and commercial entrepreneurship.”

Power in Unity

The Parranda name was inspired by a Christmas-season known throughout Latin-America but mostly associated with Puerto Rico. Holiday revelers go door-to-door throughout their neighborhoods, gathering people to join them, knock on other doors, and gather more people.

“We see it as the perfect metaphor for what we are trying to do — knocking on the virtual doors of all Puerto Ricans, and asking them to join us. Plus, the Parranda concept is joyous. Yes, it will help us tackle some of our toughest challenges. But the act of coming together in itself will be part of the appeal.”

The mapping project launches along with the beta site of the Parranda network on Christmas Eve. But people can sign up for early registration by visiting parranda.org today. They can also let organizers know if they want to support the project, individually or as a sponsor.

“In the end, Parranda is a product of its people, and we see many ways for corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations to join and support,” said Polanco.

About Parranda

Parranda.org is a project devoted to the economic, civic, and cultural development of a “Greater Puerto Rico.” By providing a virtual platform for mass collaboration, Parranda enables people on and off the island (the Puerto Rican diaspora) to work with one another on meaningful and measurable initiatives. We’re launching just before Christmas this year. To sign up for early registration, or to explore ways to support the project, please visit us atwww.parranda.org. You can also join the “parranda” on our social networks on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ParrandaPuertoRico and on Twitter@ParrandaPR.

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