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Tonight on Al Jazeera America: Should Puerto Rico become the 51st State?

With its people culturally united but politically divided, what is the best way forward? Join the conversation at 7:30pm ET.

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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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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Politics aside, ANYONE who wants to know about Puerto Rico’s colonial status and its relationship with the United States, needs to see the following video, produced by students at Antilles High School, a school operated by the US Department of Defense in Guaynabo, PR. This is the BEST summary we have ever seen about Puerto Rico’s political status. Now if only fellow American citizens could pay attention to this 113-year-old issue instead of worrying about the Middle East.

http://www.schooltube.com/v/31e1651ceb426a770c15

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Quiz time, when we say Tequila Party, what do you think of first?

A. This picture from college

B. This dance from one of the greatest movies ever

C. This bar scene

D. A well-intentioned grass-roots political movement out of Arizona that actually has some great points to make about immigration reform but has a name that makes a mockery of the movement, so much so that the movement won’t even gain any traction at all

If you think that Dee Dee García-Blasé and other Latino leaders in the United States who support the Tequila Party are just making a mockery of real Latino issues, then take a moment and go here. Let them know that political perception is all reality.

GO HERE AND SIGN: CHANGE THE NAME, NOT THE CAUSE. NO AL TEQUILA, SÍ A LA UNIDAD.

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Even with the historic White House Report on Puerto Rican status published this year, a new social media movement is gathering steam on the island of Puerto Rico on the heels of a June 14 visit by President Barack Obama.

Inspired by recent movements in both the Middle East and in Spain, residents of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest colony (a territory of the United States since the Spanish-American War of 1898) will gather in the streets demanding for political justice. President Obama, who had promised during his 2008 campaign bid that Puerto Rico’s paradoxical political status would be a top priority for his Administration, has nonetheless issued a White House Report that has failed to fulfill his promise. The report, which has been widely touted by the Republican, pro-statehood and Fox News media darling Governor Luis Fortuño, has been criticized by many for its leaning towards a more pro-statehood movement. It is clear that the current political climate of the United States (Arizona, immigration, anti-Latino hate, Republican refusal of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state) will not result in a statehood solution. Any plebiscites held on the island (and Fortuño is proposing phase 1 in late 2011 and phase 2 in 2013) will ne non-binding and still be decided and determined by the US Congress.

The time to stop depending on the United States and the island’s current political system is NOW. Join the cause on June 14, either by attending the rally or by supporting it through social media.

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As reported in Spanish by EL Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, the lawsuit submitted in 2006 against the United States government by former pro-statehood Governor Pedro Rosselló to the Organization of American States (OAS) is still in at a preliminary stage with the OAS’ investigative commission.

Rosselló argued before the OAS commission that the residents of Puerto Rico do not have the right to vote for U.S. president or have a full-fledged representation in Congress, and that the US federal government violates the human and civil rights to the 3.7 million residents of the island.

The United States, responding to Rosselló’s suit, said through its OAS representative, said that the residents of Puerto Rico have “repeatedly” supported the current Commonwealth status through several plebiscites.

“The results of these status votes have not expressed a preference for statehood, the status which will give [Puerto Ricans] the federal right to vote,” said Milton Drucker, deputy US representative to the OAS.

For the popular representative Jorge Colberg Toro the position taken by Drucker represented a “face mask” to the PNP.

But, the resident commissioner in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, chosen by the pro-statehood new Progressive Party (PNP) disagreed.

“Nothing is going to have more weight in our struggle that the vote of a majority of American citizens residing in Puerto Rico for statehood. It’s time to assume our own responsibility, “said Pierluisi.

According to chief executive of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Fernando Martín, the position at the OAS is a reaffirmation that the United States recognizes its responsibility to decolonization.

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Dear Jamaica Plain Residents,

We’re excited to say that we’ve received the keys to 415 Centre Street, and our renovations are under way. As I promised in my last letter, I want to share with you our latest developments. We’ve received hundreds of calls and emails from people expressing their support and enthusiasm about our upcoming store opening, which we greatly appreciate.

Store Update:
We are currently completing our demolition phase inside the building and finalizing our design plans.  As previously stated, we will not be making any changes to the structure of the building or to exterior features that make the building so unique. However the interior of the building requires extensive work in order to bring it up to code. This process will likely take up to six months, so we anticipate a fall opening date. To stay up to date on the progress, follow us on Twitter at @WFM_JP. We already have over 270 followers!

Perhaps our most exciting update is that we have hired the leadership team for the store.  I’m proud to introduce Mike Walker and Wanda Hernandez as the Store Team Leader and Associate Store Team Leader of the JP store. Mike has been a Whole Foods Market team member since 1994, most recently as the Store Team Leader of our Symphony store. Wanda has been with Whole Foods Market since 2005, most recently as the Associate Store Team Leader in our Wellesley location. Mike and Wanda both have ties to the Jamaica Plain area, and share a great vision for creating a community market that becomes an integral and seamless part of the neighborhood.

Your Community Market:

We’ve been inspired by the great showing of community involvement that we’ve witnessed in the past few months. It is wonderful to be part of a community that cares so deeply about what’s happening in their neighborhood! I’d like to share with you some exciting updates on our community partnerships:

–          Supporting Local Organizations: Just last month, our Brighton and Symphony stores raised over $8,500 for the Hyde Square Task Force during a 5 % Day, thanks to the amazing support of the community! We will hold 5 % Days to support local nonprofit organizations quarterly.

–          Healthy Food in Schools: The Boston Latin School will be the first school in the city of Boston to launch their salad bar funded through our Salad Bar Project initiative. From there, we will extend the program to the Curley K-8 School, where we plan to donate another salad bar to help encourage healthier lunch options through access to fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

–          Local Growers and Producers: This summer, we are hoping to host farmers’ markets in our parking lot so that local growers and producers can have a place to sell their food free of charge.  Once we officially open our doors, we will also try to support these local producers and many others by carrying as many local products as we can.

Town Hall Meeting:

As promised, we will hold our Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, June 2nd at the Curley K-8 School from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. We are looking forward to formally introducing ourselves and our store leadership team, as well as presenting our plans for the store. There will also be a 30 minute Q&A period that will give community members an opportunity to ask questions about the store, as well as making suggestions of ways we can best serve as Jamaica Plain’s neighborhood’s community market.

Product Offerings:

We are looking to you to tell us what products you would like to see in the store. Our buyers are working diligently to stock a wide range of products that meet our strict quality standards. We want to hear from you! We’ve created an email address, JP_Products@wholefoods.com, and we will be handing out self addressed post cards at our Town Hall Meeting so that the JP community can tell us what products you’d like to see on our shelves.

Hiring:

As we proceed with renovations and get a clearer idea of when we will open, we will begin the hiring process for the store. We will be conducting interviews from a trailer on the store’s property. We plan to hire around 100 team members (approximately 70 full-time, 30 part-time) and hope that many of them will be from the local JP community. More information on becoming a Whole Foods Market team member will be available at the community meeting.

We look forward to the meeting on June 2nd. We are eager to introduce ourselves and share with you what Whole Foods Market is all about!

Kind regards,

Laura Derba

North Atlantic Regional President

Whole Foods Market

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