Posted by: ivetteromero | February 18, 2015

ICS Lecture: “El Caribe de Colombia, ¿una isla encallada?”


The Institute of Caribbean Studies of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP), invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture: “El Caribe de Colombia, ¿una isla encallada?” [The Colombian Caribbean: A Stranded Island?) by Prof. Alberto Abello Vives (Visiting Researcher, UNESCO Professor of Cultural Politics, Girona University, Spain; Adviser, Museo del Caribe, Barranquilla, Colombia.) The lecture will take place on Thursday, February 19, from 1:00 to 3:30pm at the Manuel Maldonado Denis Amphitheatre (CRA 108) of the Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building, School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

Description: Between the publication in Colombia, 70 year ago (1945) of the CARIBBEAN BIOGRAPHY, a talk by Colombian writer Germán Arciniegas, and the opening of the Museo del Caribe, there has been a history of invisibility, denial, recognition, reinvention and study of the Colombian Caribbean. The author poses questions the existence of that particular Caribbean that does not fit in the canons governing the analysis on the Caribbean, and constructs the metaphor of a stranded island, torn between tensions, as a nation and its insertion in the geographical space of a “meta archipelago.” To add complexity to the debate, paraphrasing the Haitian intellectual Leslie Manigat, the author explains which Caribbean one speaks about when referring to the Colombian Caribbean.

This lecture will be broadcast LIVE online via the UPR-Rio Piedras web site at

For comments and suggestions on this presentation, feel free to write to director Dr. Lowell Fiet at:

See the Institute of Caribbean Studies on Facebook at UPR/146169468754542?ref=sgm\



gI_124656_THREE SEA TALES_ft-bk cover-final

Sociologist/author/illustrator Roberta L. Raymond creates three charming characters in words and watercolor illustrations that will capture the interest of young readers. A keen observer of underwater life, Raymond shows how courage, curiosity, and hard work can transform the lives of unusual creatures.

A fish with hands and wings? That’s Gus the Flying Gurnard, a fish who seeks his identity while engaging in some dangerous maneuvers. His adventures take him far from the reef and back again, earning him knowledge of his true self and his place in the sea.

A cleaning station where fish line up for a small black and yellow angelfish to clean them? That’s Frenchy, a hard-working juvenile in her cleaning phase, dedicated to keeping the reef healthy.

A squid who can’t figure out how to change colors like all the other squid? That’s Sylvie, who through an act of underwater courage, finds her true colors and wins the honor of the squid squadron.

These characters really exist as sea creatures in the warm Caribbean, and author/illustrator Roberta L. Raymond brings them to life in THREE SEA TALES, a 40-page glossy book that delights children and the adults reading to them. The three stories are lavishly illustrated in transparent watercolor. Raymond has been snorkeling and observing these creatures and many others for the last 40 years. Although she has not yet figured out a way to paint while underwater, she takes photos, makes mental notes, and sketches the scenes when she returns to shore.

Raymond and book designer Jim Groll bring years of experience as writer, artist, and advertising art director together to create another one of their successful projects. Their first book, AMY AND THE AMARYLLIS, was released in September 2014 and was chosen by the editors of The National Gardener Magazine for recognition and review in the April 2015 issue. It is the tale of a little girl, Amy, who decides to embark on amaryllis gardening after visiting a garden show with her mother. Raymond and Groll have also cooperated on ventures as varied as designing all of the print material, T shirts and design components for a 10K run to cooperating on a one-act play on the discovery of a 19th-century painting by French artist Elizabeth Vigee le Brun. Raymond’s luscious watercolors have been featured on airline and restaurant menus, in many solo and group shows, in collections in the U.S., Canada and abroad. She created the cover and pen/ink illustrations for a Door County, WI cookbook. She has taught watercolor and drawing classes.

Now in THREE SEA TALES Raymond’s writing and artistic talents combine with Groll’s layout and design abilities to produce a colorful, glossy, hardcover book that will be a favorite for children who love the sea, fish, and all of the environment that today is endangered by climate change and pollution. Thus it is fitting that the last page of the book is a message from the Ocean Conservancy that urges readers to care about the sea, so that Gus, Frenchy, and Sylvie can survive to bring pleasure to all who love to observe them. The book is published by Mira Digital Publishing.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 18, 2015

Piña colada, the best beach drink, National Geographic says


Well, I have to say that I felt a deep sense of satisfaction at the news that the Puerto Rican national drink, the piña colada, had been picked by the National Geographic as the best beach drink. My first job while at the University of Puerto Rico was in the La Famosa production plant that made Coco López, the principal ingredient in the making of piña coladas. Hurray for the piña colada! Here’s the report from San Antonio’s La Prensa.

The Puerto Rican piña colada continues to be the world’s best beach drink, ranking ahead of other classics like Brazil’s caipirinha, the Cuban daiquiri and Mexico’s margarita, according to National Geographic magazine.

“Today, San Juan’s signature cocktail is sipped all over the world, but tastes best in Puerto Rico, by the beach or pool,” said the magazine on Wednesday on its travel Web page, where it publishes the ranking of what it considers to be the top 10 drinks to sip on the beach.

A little more than two years ago, the magazine had first placed the cocktail in the No. 1 slot on its “Top 10″ list.

The publication says that “The pineapple, coconut, and rum slurry known as piña colada had been popular in the Caribbean for at least a hundred years before Ramon ‘Monchito’ Marrero, a bartender at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar (now called Oasis Bar) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, perfected it in the 1950s using cream of coconut.”

Following the Puerto Rican beverage in the rankings, in this order, are Brazil’s caipirinha, the Polynesia mai-tai, Jamaica’s Red Stripe beer and the Cuban daiquiri.

Rounding out the list, also in the following order, are Mexico’s margarita, Italy’s limoncello, the Cape Codder from Massachusetts, rosé from France’s Côte d’Azur and the gin and tonic from India.

Although the U.S. magazine mentions one version of the drink’s origin rather definitively, the Puerto Rican government has never made any statement on the matter and the cocktail was not patented.

Nevertheless, new versions of the drink have been concocted over the years, all of them based on the original formula, with many Puerto Rican hotels and restaurants opting to give it their own unique twists.

For the original report go to


This obituary by Robin Denselow appeared in Follow the link below to the complete original report.

CELINA González, who died on Feb 4 in Havana aged 85, was revered as the finest exponent of Cuban country music. She was brought up listening to música campesina, the rural form of son, the Cuban fusion style in which rhythms brought to the island by African slaves were matched against Spanish verse forms and melodies. These were songs performed in farms and country towns during the sugar cane harvest and other festivities, and González made them popular across the island and beyond. She was, she insisted, always a country girl at heart, even after she had moved to the capital.

González had a powerful voice and a versatile style, and was equally successful singing in a small acoustic group or in a big band, backed by brass and strings. She was also a highly successful songwriter, and her best-known composition, ‘Santa Bárbara’, which she wrote in the late 1940s, was a reminder of her belief in SanterIa, the religion brought to Cuba by West African slaves. It was a rousing tribute both to the Catholic saint whose life-size statue always had pride of place in her home, and to the Yoruba god ChangU. It became massively popular across Cuba and was recorded by other major artists, including Celia Cruz.

González was born in Jovellanos, a centre of the sugar cane industry about 125km from Havana, but then moved to Santiago de Cuba in the east of the island. When she was 16 she met guitarist Reutilio Dominguez, who became her musical partner, and whom she would marry. As the duo Celina y Reutilio, they started appearing on a local radio station, where they became known both for their vocal harmony work and for their political stance, denouncing the government and praising the Cuban people. Then, with help from the singer and songwriter Nico Saquito, they moved to Havana, where they won a contract with the Saurito radio station and began their recording career. By the early 50s they were major stars, touring the Caribbean and appearing in New York alongside one of Cuba’s greatest band leaders and musicians, Beny More.

But González’s career changed dramatically with the success of the Cuban revolution in 1959 and the subsequent severing of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US. She had to decide whether to stay on the island or leave to further her career in the US. Some musicians, including Cruz, opted for the latter, but González decided to remain in Cuba to support Fidel Castro’s revolution. For more than 20 years she stayed in the country, and though her international career was at a standstill, her standing at home continued to rise. Música campesina had been looked down upon by some city dwellers, but after the revolution it became increasingly popular, and was boosted by González’s regular appearances on radio.

The partnership with her husband ended in 1964, and he decided to return to his home town of Guantánamo, where he died in 1971. She continued performing as a soloist for more than a decade and then in 1981 asked her son, Lázaro, who was often billed as Reutilio Jr, to take his father’s place as her vocal partner. With help from her son, she continued to record, sometimes re-working and updating old favourites in a new setting involving a horn section or the marimba xylophone. In the 80s she recorded a series of four albums at Havana’s celebrated Egrem studios, on which she was backed by two of Cuba’s finest country bands, Palmas y Canas, and Campo Alegre.

When González finally ventured out of Cuba for the first time in many years, she found she had not been forgotten. Playing at a musical festival in Cali, Colombia, in 1984, she won the award for best singer and was greeted by a crowd of 40,000 who knew all her songs. She also enjoyed success in Venezuela, and toured Europe on several occasions. She never achieved the degree of international success enjoyed by her compatriot Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club, but made several successful British appearances. In 1998 she performed at London’s Royal Festival Hall and in the same year released ‘Desde La Habana Te Traigo’, which included new songs about Yoruba deities.

She was nominated, unsuccessfully, for a Grammy in 2001 for her album Cincuenta AOos O Como una Reina, but in 2002 was awarded the Cuban National Music Prize, and in 2013 received the Unesco Picasso medal.

She is survived by her son.

For the original report go to

M2Join Haiti Cultural Exchange for a conversation with Daniel Bernard Roumain about his career and upcoming projects. This An n’ Pale will be followed by a special performance. It takes place on Friday, February 20th, 2015, from 7:00 to 9:00pm, at 558 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, New York. The event is free and open to the public ($10 suggested donation).

Description: Daniel Bernard Roumain’s (DBR) acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide.  “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.  Known for his signature violin sounds infused with a myriad of electronic and urban music influences, DBR takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium.

DBR made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 with the American Composers Orchestraperforming his Harlem Essay for Orchestra, a Whitaker commission. He earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan under the tutelage of William Albright, William Bolcom, and Michael Daugherty and was the first artist to be awarded Arizona State University’s prestigious Gammage Residency, “a three-year commitment to an extraordinary performing artist that includes performance, creative time and resources, intensive training for ASU students and local artists and engagement with many of the local communities.”

DBR is currently working on We Shall Not Be Moved, a new chamber opera commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, Meditations for Raising Boys, a new oratorio commissioned by Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and BOUNCE: A Basketball Opera in 4 Quarters, commissioned by Ardea Arts.

Click here to RSVP!

For more information, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | February 18, 2015

Art Exhibition: Línea Imaginaria / Imaginary Line

La Multinacional Residencia Ecuador Exhibicion

In Ecuador, La Multinacional Arte Contemporáneo presents an exhibition—”​Línea Imaginaria”​ [Imaginary Line] —showing work produced by artists from its 2015 residency program. For three weeks artists from different contexts in Latin America reflect on the city of Quito in its urban and rural aspects, considering the contents that a city may shelter and incorporating these items immediately into their research and developmental process. The show opened today (February 18, 2015) at 7:30pm and will be on view until February 26, 2015.

Participating artists are Jason Mena (Puerto Rico), Virginia Guilisasti (Chile), Geovanny Narvaez (Ecuador), Florence Salazar (Argentina), Fredy Clavijo Cuartas (Colombia), Gimena Castellón Arrieta (Argentina), and Carolina Botura (Brazil).

Live performance by Sara Paniagua (Spain) and Daniel Lion “Palaminga” (Ecuador)

La Multinacional is located at the corner of ​18 de septiembre 0e3-38 and América. (With the support of Casa Dieciocho.)

For more information, see


Members of the Haiti-Dominican Republic Section of the Latin American Studies Association and of the Transnational Hispaniola intellectual collective  have sent out a press release addressing the recent hanging of Haitian national Claude Jean Harri (also known as Tulile) and its implications for Haitian-Dominican relations. [I reproduce it in its entirety; at the moment, I have no links to provide to the published piece. Many thanks to Sophie Maríñez for bringing this item to our attention.]

On February 4, Claude Jean Harri, “Henry” or “Tulile,” was found dead and hanging from a tree in Ercilia Pepín Park in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Tulile was a young Haitian man who worked shining shoes in the park to support his wife and two children. Initially, rumors circulated that a Dominican, motivated by a heightened sense of patriotism, killed Tulile and lynched him, perhaps, as part of a broader, anti-Haitian campaign. The night before, also in Santiago, members of the Independent Patriotic Movement burned a Haitian flag in León Park. The Dominican authorities, within 24 hours of his death, suggested that Tulile’s case was the consequence of a theft. At the time of this writing, police have interviewed several suspects in Tulile’s death, including two people who were with Tulile at an establishment the night he was killed.

Although there is presently no evidence that an anti-Haitian conspiracy resulted in Tulile’s death and hanging, it is clear that the Dominican state and some sectors of society have become hostile to Haitian residents and Dominicans of Haitian ancestry in recent months. In October 2013 the Constitutional Tribunal sentence 168 retroactively stripped the nationality of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. Subsequent efforts to normalize the status of those denied citizenship have met with limited success. In some instances, the process, aggravated by repatriations of Haitians suspected of not having their documents in order despite the fact that this should not have happened while a national regularization plan for immigrants with irregular status is in process, has only accentuated the layers of discrimination confronting those rendered non-recognized citizens. A neo-nationalist group threatened four Dominican journalists with death, claiming they were “sell-outs” for their insightful coverage about the dire human rights situation in the country. Finally, a recent Gallup Poll taken in the Dominican Republic indicates that 89% of Dominicans want the government to prohibit Haitian migration to the country; another 72% blame Haitians for social problems in their neighborhoods.  All this occurs while Haitians make important contributions to the Dominican economy.

We, members of the Haiti-DR Section of the Latin American Studies Association and of the intellectual collective, Transnational Hispaniola (representing U.S., Dominican-, and Haitian-born scholars and activists) urge President Danilo Medina, the rest of the Dominican political establishment, and Haitian authorities to enact measures to diffuse heightened tensions. Specifically, we applaud the attention given to Tulile’s case and insist upon publication of results from a full investigation into the circumstances of his death. We call upon President Medina to decry expressions targeting Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent as hate speech.  We demand protection for journalists who advocate for migrants’ rights and those of their descendants born in the Dominican Republic. Finally, we implore President Medina to implement clear migratory policies and rules that protect the rights of Haitian workers and regulate their labor conditions in the DR.

April J. Mayes (Associate Professor of History) Co-Chair, Haiti-DR Section, Latin American Studies Association; Co-Founder, Transnational Hispaniola Collective

Kiran Jayaram, Ph.D., Co-Chair, Haiti-DR Section, Latin American Studies Association; Co-Founder, Transnational Hispaniola Collective

Also see related articles here:, (photo above from this article) and

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 17, 2015

Leonardo Padura presented his new novel in Havana


Last Saturday, Cuban writer Leonardo Padura presented his new novel, Herejes, in Havana. The new novel is a work “against prejudices” that integrates historical episodes from the Jewish diaspora and Rembrandt’s life and marks the return of his beloved character detective Mario Conde.

“It’s a novel through which I intend to make my readers think, a reflection that must start from a necessity, a proposed communication,” the writer said at the book’s presentation at the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).

More than a year after its launch in Spain and other European countries, Heretics finally appeared in Cuba, with an initial print run of 1,000 copies, which were sold almost entirely at the launch.


The novel narrates a historical episode from 1939, the abandonment of 937 Jews who left Germany in the SS Saint Louis fleeing the Nazis and on their way to Cuba. Not allowed to disembark, they had to return to Germany.

This historical tale is intertwined with other stories that include the life of Dutch painter Rembrandt, the “forcible conversion to Cuban” of a Polish Jew and the emergence of urban tribe “emos” in Havana. Among them we have the return of his celebrity detective Mario Conde, who becomes “older, more nostalgic and wounded”.

“It is a polyphonic novel, with different narrative voices, different historical moments and characters that do not know who is the protagonist because all of them are,” explained the writer.

During the presentation, the narrator, critic and editor Cuban Marilyn Bobes defined the novel as Padura’s “most ambitious work,” “timeless story of human beings in search of free will.”

Padura (Havana, 1955), a writer, journalist and critic, received Cuba’s National Prize for Literature in 2012 and has achieved international recognition with the series of detective novels featuring detective Mario Conde, translated into numerous languages and deserving of countless awards.

He is also author of The Man Who Loved Dogs, a reconstruction of the lives of Leon Trotsky and Ramon Mercader, which cemented his international reputation.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 17, 2015

Haiti Declares National Mourning After 16 Revelers Die in a Stampede

Michel Martelly, Sophia Martelly,  Evans Paul

The final day of the annual celebrations has been cancelled

Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul has announced three days of national mourning after a carnival stampede Tuesday left at least 16 dead and 78 injured in the capital Port-au-Prince.

The final day of the annual celebrations has also been cancelled.

Tuesday’s tragedy occurred when Haitian singer Fantom, standing on top of a float, was struck by a power line, setting off a deadly electric current. Many spectators were trampled underfoot and died in the ensuing panic, according to Reuters.

Paul said Carnival organizers would now arrange a parade to honor the deceased.

“We are telling the people of Haiti that we must be in solidarity,” Paul said. “We are all Haiti.”

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 17, 2015

2015 Calypso Monarch seals place in history

Chucky Gordon   Doh Take It On  Official Lyric Video   Soca 2015    YouTube

Chucky joins the elite five, as David Cuffy reports in this article for Trinidad and Tobago’s Guardian.

When he won the 2015 National Calypso Monarch title on Carnival Sunday night, Chucky (Roderick Gordon) joined an elite group of only five calypsonians to have registered back-to-back wins in the competition since its establishment in 1939.

They are Atilla the Hun (Raymond Quevedo), Striker (Percy Oblington), Duke (Kelvin Pope), Sparrow (Dr Slinger Francisco) and Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool).

The first to do so was Atilla The Hun. He won the contest in 1946 singing Daily Mail Report, and successfully defended the title in 1947 with Million Dollar Jail. Eleven years later, in 1958, Striker won with Don’t Blame the PNM and Can’t Find A Job To Suit Me, and repeated the win in 1959 with Ban The Hula Hoop and Comparison.

Then came Sparrow to lift the titles in 1962 with Model Nation and Sparrow Come Back Home and 1963’s Dan Is The Man In The Van and Kennedy. Duke established a record of four straight wins in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. Sparrow returned to winner’s row with consecutive victories in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Chalkdust claimed his first title in 1976 with Three Blind Mice and Ah Put On Mih Guns Again and retained it in 1977 with Juba Dubai and Shango Vision. Twenty-seven years later he repeated the double, winning in 2004 and 2005.

Ten years later it was Chucky, who won the title last year with Wey Yuh Think and Wedding of De Century, and repeated this year with The Rose and I Believe.

The young, two-time National Calypso Monarch participated in a number of junior calypso competitions, including the National Junior Calypso Monarch and NACC Pathfinders competitions while at secondary school concluding his A-level study.

In 2004, he placed fourth in the National Junior Calypso Monarch, won the Pathfinders competition and a number of other smaller competitions. Also, in that year, Chucky took part in the Schools Parang Festival, where he won the Best Male Vocalist title.

In 2005, he entered the senior calypso realm, where he succeeded in qualifying for the semifinals of the National Calypso Monarch. In this same year he was a Young King finalist, won the Tunapuna and Laventille Calypso Monarch competitions, and placed fourth in the Stars of Tomorrow competition. Heavily involved in culture, Chucky took part in the Prime Minister’s Best Village Competition in 2005 with the Barataria Community Council, where he won the Best Male Vocalist title and the Best All-round Performer award in the folk theatre category.

The calypso fraternity began to take special notice of Chucky in 2006. He proved that he was here to stay, making history by becoming the second youngest person, at age 19, to become a National Calypso Monarch finalist. He also placed fifth in the Young Kings competition, fourth in the Stars of Tomorrow competition, and won the Tunapuna Monarch title for a second consecutive time.

Chucky also made his first venture into the soca arena with his debut hit ,See You, which allowed him to place third in the International Groovy Soca Monarch competition and gave him the opportunity to perform in a number of parties and fetes.

As a result of such an outstanding season, Chucky was nominated as a Best New Male Artiste at the International Soca Awards in New York.

For the original report go to

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