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Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’


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.

clemente

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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To be quite honest, we never thought that the Facebook page of LatinoRebels.com would ever achieve a similar spike in growth and engagement when we posted the now famous Thank You, Jesús meme in January, 2012.

But this week, it happened again for the Rebeldes, and it was a combination of many things. How did we get a 366% Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE) rate?

It was a combination of several things. Here they are:

Damn Cat Pictures: This image, showing the history of art through depictions of cats, was shared with us by a fan. So we posted it. And we got over 5,000 shares in 4 days, proving once again that social media engagement is all about cats sometimes.

BanderaGate: The Daily News ‘oops’ moment of a Cuban flag instead of a Puerto Rican flag got us some attention this week. We were the first media outlet to break the story, and our piece was quoted and attributed by several major media outlets, including the New York Times, the HuffPost, and PrimeraHora.com from Puerto Rico.

The TIME cover: We were the first outlet on Facebook to share this week’s historic TIME cover (with credit back to TIME’s main site, but two hours before TIME’s own Facebook page posted the cover) and because of that, our post got more shares that TIME’s page (2,276 for the Rebeldes, compared to 1,725 shares for TIME). Being the first to report does have its advantages.

The Rebels’ FB post (credited to TIME) got more shares this week than TIME’s own post

The Facebook page of TIME posted the same cover two hours later around 9 am EST is about 500 shares less than the one posted by Latino Rebels (with credit) at 7:50 am EST on the same day.

#YoSoy132: We were one of the first media outlets in the United States to provide English-language social media coverage of what is being billed as the Mexican Spring. As a result, about 30% of all our Facebook engagement is coming from Mexico the last few week.

Finally, this increase in Facebook engagement has also directly influenced growth our on main website, LatinoRebels.com. According to our latest analytics, we are averaging 1,000 unique visitors a day, 1,600 pageviews a day, and 78& new visitors. Spread across the year, we have already achieved over a quarter of a million visits (269,831), over 200,000 unique visitors and 388,876 pageviews. We still believe we will be able to achieve 600,000 visits, 500,000 uniques, and about 750,000 pageviews. This is with no advertising and just through SEO and our social media networks. According to our internal traffic data and third-party sites like Alexa, we can say with certainty that LatinoRebels.com is one of the top independent Latino media sites in this world.

To put this week’s growth in perspective, the Facebook page of Latino Rebels is more engaging and more popular this week than the following media brands and pages on Facebook, even though all these pages have more fans, this week Latino Rebels is without question more engaging:

UPDATE, June 17, 2012: Our Facebook community surpassed the 1 million mark in total reach and our current FLOE is over 400%.

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I love the Boston Red Sox. Ever since I was born again during the Era of Nomah and shed the last of my Evil Empire allegiance, the Red Sox have become a fabric of my life, my daily oxygen. So I devour anything that is Red Sox, and today’s Boston Globe story about the factors that led to the team’s epic September collapse was required reading for me.

The piece, written by the excellent Bob Hohler with help from Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham, reveals the story of a team in turmoil, with so much detail that is begs the question: are the owners of Red Sox vindictive employers? Are they using the media to disclose personal and painful information about the manager, Terry Francona, that in essence, ownership stop supporting? And what does it say about The Globe, which is owned by The New York Times, who by the way, is a minority of the Red Sox.

This article, which cites several anonymous sources from all levels of the Red Sox organization, reveals way too much information about Francona and why he left as the team’s manager. It is a shameless and heartless PR attempt to smear and discredit the accomplishments of a manager who has won two World Series in the 21st century for a franchise that before 2004, had not won since 1918.

As the article states:

Team sources said Francona, who has acknowledged losing influence with some former team leaders, appeared distracted during the season by issues related to his troubled marriage and to his health.

Francona spent the season living in a hotel after he moved out of the Brookline home he shared with Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years. But he adamantly denied his marital problems affected his job performance.

Translation: Francona was not a good employee because he had marital issues and personal problems. Hence, he was no longer capable of remaining an employee of the organization.

Or this:

Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.

So instead of placing the blame on bad free agent signings (John Lackey, Carl Crawford, to name just two), instead of actually coming out in public during the year á la George Steinbrenner and demanding that the team ship into shape, the ownership of the Boston Red Sox (John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino) stayed silent during the year, which suggests that they never wanted to publicly support Francona during his time of personal crisis in the first place, and then in a classic “not out fault” move, they went ahead and reveal private information that should be kept between an employer and its employee. Does Francona have a good lawyer?

We will say that Francona has stayed classy throughout this fractured relationship. As he told The Globe:

“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,’’ Francona said. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’

Francona has every right to be angry. It was clear that he handled his departure from the team with class a few weeks ago, but now the team has decided to share personal information about him that quite frankly have nothing to do with his job performance? If you are not happy with his skills as a manager, just say that he couldn’t handle his players right this year. But to suggest that it was because he was worried about his marriage and he was on painkillers is sad.

No wonder Boston GM Theo Epstein is leaving the Red Sox and going to the Chicago Cubs.

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In what will be seen as a major blow to the administration of Republican pro-statehood Governor Luis Fortuño, the United States Justice Department will release a 116-page report today that will accuse the Puerto Rican police force, the second largest force in the United States, of police abuse and major civil rights violations.

The New York Times published an article today that reveals several points about the report. It is clear that the Justice Department will not be diplomatic in its choice of words for the island’s leadership, which was responsible for sending police during student protests at the University of Puerto Rico earlier this year and in 2010.

As the article states:

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, says the 17,000-officer force routinely conducts illegal searches and seizures without warrants. It accuses the force of a pattern of attacking nonviolent protesters and journalists in a manner “designed to suppress the exercise of protected First Amendment rights.”

And it says investigators “uncovered troubling evidence” that law enforcement officers in Puerto Rico appear to routinely discriminate against people of Dominican descent and “fail to adequately police sex assault and domestic violence” cases — including spousal abuse by fellow officers.

“Unfortunately,” the report found, “far too many P.R.P.D. officers have broken their oath to uphold the rule of law, as they have been responsible for acts of crime and corruption and have routinely violated the constitutional rights of the residents of Puerto Rico.”

The report is likely to intensify a sense of distress among the nearly four million American citizens who live on Puerto Rico, where violent crime has spilled into well-to-do areas. While violent crime has plummeted in most of the mainland United States, the murder rate in Puerto Rico is soaring. In 2011, there have been 786 homicides — 117 more than at this point last year.

Rather than helping to solve the crime wave, the Puerto Rico Police Department is part of the problem, the report contends. In October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested 61 officers from the department in the largest police-corruption operation in bureau history. And the arrest of Puerto Rican police officers, the report says, is hardly rare.

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