My colleagues and I have studied the relationship between higher education and poverty in Puerto Rico since 2006. Following the community work and research with youth and adults in economically disadvantaged areas, we can say today that we share a goal, an academic and moral north.
We firmly believe that, for the good of the country and its people, younger Puerto Ricans, especially those from the poorest households, must graduate from college. That is, it seems urgent to ensure that our poorest youth, 1) are better prepared for college and more exposed to academic rigor in their schools, 2) apply and are admitted to the university that suits them, and 3) graduate college.
The reaction to this message was mixed. There has been a lot of support, resonance and enthusiasm, but also serious questions, some of which want to attend.
We are told, for example: "There are already too many people in universities and not enough jobs." The jobs crisis is real. But it is doubtful raise, in response, that people are less educated or academics are "too many". The census indicates that only about 20% of the population has a bachelor's degree, and nearly 34% of the Puerto Rican population over age 25 do not have a high school diploma.
More dubious still is the idea that reducing the proportion of college is good for the economy: the median income of a college graduate is around $ 11,000, while a high school graduate is approaching $ 46,000. Worse, our findings demonstrate that the poorer a student, the less likely you apply, be admitted and graduate from college. Moreover, this is especially true in programs that offer greater social mobility such as science, medicine and engineering. The question is, when we speak of "college for certain": who are we excluding?
We also say things like "increase access to college involves devaluing weaken curricula and college knowledge." That is neither true nor desirable. What we are talking about is to provide real opportunities in schools and universities. Students to learn more, not less.
Two California public universities illustrate this concept well. In San Diego, the university works directly with high-poverty school districts, educating and supporting students, teachers and counselors, and getting more students to meet admission. In Northridge, the University invests human and financial resources, including its best teachers, remedial courses and programs for students admitted with the greatest academic need that (there and here) tend to be also the most financial need.
Is our reality? Insufficient academic opportunities in our schools. Almost 80% of our students attend public school. In my village, for example, there are two public high schools. In one of them, no preparatory curriculum (so-called "advanced"). On the other yes there is, but is usually only available to a minority (less than 10%) of the students.
Many students decide, early in life, that the university and knowledge are not for them, and the country, at times, seems to echo. "These babies are not interested", is probably the most painful (and often) in which we listen. "I do not want to study, not interested in college."
But as my colleagues say: power is wanting. If someone (or your child) is born in a circumstance in which the motivation, expectation and preparation for college are present, it is very hard not to become university. The reverse is also true.
If we want more "interest", we have to make the development of this interest and academic preparation that must accompany, in a national project.
Maybe it's our most urgent project.
Note: The University Center for Access has been conducting research and outreach with this goal since 2007. This paper is dedicated to his current researchers, Lissette Gonzalez Rolon and David, and his graduating class, who will celebrate his many accomplishments on Saturday. CUA! CUA! CUA! For more information on the CUA, or to donate time or resources, please write to: centro.acceso @ upr.edu, or visit http://cua.uprm.edu.Print
I once read a Legend Taino, perhaps apocryphal. He said that the world was born of a great pumpkin, broken as a result of two gods fratricidal battle brothers, scattered in slimy hotbed to create the animals, plants, humans ...
Morning (well, it was eleven) of jalogüín surprised me at the mall. One of my puppies needed shirts, other pants, another colored tights to complete your costume for tonight. I, as always happens to me in that space, I wanted many things and yet none, and in the end I went with empty hands because my mental health was more important than whatever that "needed". But my issues of consumer ambivalence are irrelevant, at least not in this paragraph.
What comes to mind is that the mall was full of children dressed and disguised plastic pumpkins in hand, of tricortrí. And in each store were greeted not by their common neighbors if they have any, but by friendly staff from shops, candy bags in hand also. It was early, no one was very tired still, everyone smiled.
And they were lovely boys. Especially the small, often soften enough. I saw a bee who could not have more than a year, in your car, the mother in charge of the pumpkin. A three foot ninja, as threatening as a teddy bear. An iron man still did not speak.
For some reason, however, the tender show gave me one of those flickering sadness that often precede a blog of these. I am very skeptical when I hear arguments like "the past was better", but still .... just occurred to me that yes, it was better when we were out in the neighborhood, when some neighbors gave away sweets and not others, when the "sweet "were all different, and some home made, when a neighbor was wearing a huevazo pot on the balcony ...
No, reader, do not judge me! I do not condone the huevazo and to think that (almost) never threw one. The point is in the constellation of social relations framework that serves as the carnival we have inherited from our second conqueror. On one hand, the neighborhood, which for better or worse have some I do not know what to Gemeinschaft, community, small world about alien (well, we are not innocent, never outside but at least a little more distant) the cold, friísima, amoral market reality and secondly the MALL, quintessential representative of the market itself, space where we know everything that we need, all we necessarily incomplete us all that whispers "buy, if you buy me, you're better, you'll be happier ...", a false promise, moreover, because the finite purchasing power, combined with the desire to possess infinite and the possibilities of things to buy condemn us , inevitably, to dissatisfaction ...
And then there's the sadness that I visit while I smile sweetly the little bee who falls asleep, oblivious to the meanings amiss my mind ponders. Because it's terribly inconvenient, that sadness. It puts me in the awkward position of judging silently adult neighbor. And I reject the view, because I understand. How can you not understand? So, as things stand, and with this heat, it makes perfect sense perhaps the world carry the baby to make your tricortrí to safety and air conditioned mall? Equally reasonable is to buy the costume, semi-disposable, plastic or fiber any style in a department store, ignoring the inner voice that tells us something about Chinese or Chinese or Chinese guy who surely sewed, hurry and poorly paid, or overseas or local landscape where they accumulate hundreds, thousands, millions of costumes like that, almost inevitably turned into garbage and almost immediately and polluting the poor planet, but that is all that makes sense because we get serious who has time to get to sew? That I (not know how to sew and have bought a costume of those) I'm as guilty as anyone: home economics was my only C in school, to the great shame of my poor grandmother, God rest her soul, and work out home, so that the issue of buying costume vs do not even an option ...
But still there is sadness, and just choose to contaminate a little you, the reader, with her. Because that fantasy world that is the mall and growing, yet morbidly nourished, healthy and rotten, slimy contents of the large pumpkin is the relentless cycle of extraction, production, consumption and waste , that world, I do sadness, and share that sadness with each other in the virtual gemeinschaft provides me the platform is at least as legitimate as a conversation about shoes.
Usually I read and enjoy the Sunday column of Mayra Montero. 's today, but I worry . In it the author addresses the issue (rough and disturbing for others) angry reaction of many to the possibility of losing 25% of PAN allocation that can be used in cash, and invest (or spend, that verbs and moralities that crawl verbs are always present in all this discussion, lest we forget) in diapers, lottery, toilet paper, cigarettes, gasoline ...
It probably right, when the author suggests that it is more desirable to accept fully food use of funds and increase the total budget, which maintain 25% cash blessed by the owners clamoring gas stations and pharmacies and lose several opportunity to participate in the program in the style of the 50 U.S. states. Is also right, how sad, when reporting the populism of politicians shady patio and the motivations of those who recognize the dubious "right to cash" the Puerto Rican poor. After all said, again rightly, the program was designed for food, not for anything else.
What worries me is not what the subtext in the chosen language in the indictment that led the protest. "I will not get into speculation about what is in electronic lottery spend some, cigarettes or alcohol." says Montero , but it came, inevitably, where we always end up coming when we speak of PAN and poverty in Puerto Rico. He adds: "The trouble here is the mentality of many of the 640,000 families receiving the PAN, and whose children and young people are growing up in a vegetative, believing that little card used to purchase food, yes, but also for that the parent's indulge in some freak .... worldwide protest, until the owner of a gas station, because it is assumed that this quarter is for gasoline. "
I will try to explain here, but I know you probably raise welts, I fall bugs, which appear some controls, and other occupational hazards blogger. The mentality that complaint Montero (and lots and lots denounce every time we passed a farmhouse and bufamos "look pa'lla, all those antennas, all those cars") is frequently attributed to the country's poor , but rarely Once it is recognized that not exclusive to the poor. Not even, frankly, is more frequent or harmful especially in the poor than the rich. [In fact, we would argue that the whim of the rich, or especially the mega-rich, is more harmful because it results in damage globally, but that's another story and another topic.] The "whim" of the poor child who has grown thinking that "deserves" phone or a pack of gum is no different, morally, fad or middle-class child who has grown rich thinking the same. The difference lies in the purchasing power of parents, so that the charge to the beneficiaries of PAN can become, in this speech, on a charge of "parejería".
Moreover self-deception of the child who thinks he deserves his toy is not very different from the deception of a poor country that thinks deserves a Nordstrom.
More worrying is the apparent dichotomy me necessary-unnecessary that often occurs when discussing food food-not in this context. Montero said that the paper towel is a luxury. Could be. Certainly a reusable wipe is better for your pocket and the environment. But what about that toilet paper? Do I think that's a luxury too? What about diapers? Let's go further: The cell phone was a luxury when there were public phones available on the street. But when was the last time you saw a payphone functional on the street? They are a relic, an antique.
Again, the idea certainly is food PAN, and the island's politicians need to face the wrath of the people and do what they need to do. But ... but ... estudiémonos. Pensémonos. We are a country with a tremendous inequalities , a country where the message of the landscape is buy buy buy ten ten ten owns owns owns, where consumption is the most obvious to the worth and where specific routes, legitimate, for have the money required consumption are few, and not enough for everyone. Montero says that the worst is the mentality of the families of the PAN, but I think the worst is that we became, from tiny, in subjects who are defined by what they consume and that for a good part of the Puerto Ricans, the only routes to that consumption is the keep and the informal economy. And that mindset, let's face it, is collective and we have to work collectively. It is not something to "say" to the poor (who, Montero said, "no one has said" that the PAN is for food) but we have to say all at all, and soon, because we are sinking the country Gentlemen, we are sinking, and no Nordstrom to save us.Print
Michael, July, Sarah and David have several things in common. The four were born and raised in public residential west area. The four had excellent grades in middle school. The four illustrate the close relationship between education and social inequality in Puerto Rico.
Michael's story contains a loving grandmother, an absent mother, and several dead: Uncle, shot in the head, aunt, AIDS. Michael described himself during those years as "a scoundrel but chamaquito good grades." Quit school to sell drugs because he took too long and did not want to "damage" the notes. Now in her mid-thirties and after spending several years in juvenile correctional institutions, live in the residential, working as a barber in the informal economy, and fears for the future of their own children.
I guess you could say it was because of Michael, his mother, or the drug trade. But think for a moment, here there is also a social and institutional indifference phenomenal. A boy of twelve or thirteen years old and good grades we get out of school, gets into the point, and nothing happens. His departure is not perceived as a scandal, but as a matter of course.
That general resignation reflected even in the way in which we collect (or rather do not collect) data relating to the problem. Dropout statistics are incomplete and confusing. Some estimate that over half of young people who start school in Puerto Rico do not graduate. The 2010 Census indicates that 17% of the population between 18 and 24 has no high school diploma. Whereas many diplomas obtained through nontraditional mechanisms, desertion is certainly higher.
Julio does not defected. After graduating with honors from middle school, went to a vocational higher because that's where they always were, and always will, the kids in their middle school. Which would not be a problem if our vocational curriculum have sufficient academic rigor as to not affect the chances of the young university. But most vocational programs in the country (not all) are academically lighter than the regular curriculum (which incidentally does not have, in many cases, the appropriate rigor.) So in July, despite being very good at mathematics, took only two years of math "light." He graduated with good average and tuna served in Mayagüez. When they were closing, Julio lost his job. As of today, are unemployed and earns a living "chiripeando".
I asked Julio if he had ever considered college. No, I said, no one had thought. "Nobody ever told me anything." Think a moment: A baby has good grades, is excellent in math, but was not prepared, nor spoken to college. And that oversight is not perceived as a scandal, but as a matter of course.
Upon entering high school, Sara was also located in a vocational curriculum. But she applied to college, and was admitted. He came to a campus of the University of Puerto Rico eager but little preparation. He hung in mathematics and chemistry in their first year. They were the first F's of life, and cried a lot.'s Not me, I'm a good note, I explained.
What happened then? It happened that in college we descorazonarla, deflate the desire I had to be educated. For his poor grades, he touched one of the last turns of tuition and courses were not, in order to complete his twelve minimum credits and not lose his scholarship took courses in concentration was not ready to take, is hung up again, the suspended; we lost.
Sara's story illustrates the failure of their schools, where he received good grades but not prepared. It also illustrates the complicity of the university. It is easy to blame the "interest" or academic preparation of the girl or her family. But the schools not prepared, and the university could not retain and grow are all accomplices. Accomplices to reproduce the conditions that make it likely his failure, and accomplices to perceive it not as a scandal, but as a matter of course.
The young are born in poverty receive a package of very meager opportunities, at all levels. I tell stories, what the numbers say. In my enclosure, for example, the overall graduation rate is 56%. The graduation rate for residential students is, in contrast, only 36%  .
Sometimes manage, somehow, to do everything right. David, for example, came to college. He managed to get the academic support needed to deal with their classes. Obtained two part-time jobs to support himself and his little family. He managed to do all that, and do well in one of the most demanding system enclosures UPR.
But we lost. When the plate came up with the new quota, David asked for an extension. Granted it is not, so that he could not pay, and lost credits that had managed to enroll. When raised the money for the fee for late enrollment, there were no classes, and could not get enough credits to retain their scholarship.
I do not know how many students like David have lost. I know we're not counting, that we are not raising his departure as a problem, you're not making a special effort to retain them, and that his absence would be a scandal, but treat it as a natural thing.
The four stories I outlined above tell us something about the state of the country and its problems. But they also remind us that the passivity of educational institutions play these problems. We have much to do in Puerto Rican schools and universities: Collecting more and better data; inject greater rigor to schoolwork, strengthening university supports and services.
Above all recognize, urgently, the show as a collective indifference to the fate academic disadvantaged populations. See that your destiny is ours, and that is not inevitable, neither natural.
For more information on education and inequality in Puerto Rico, can lower Working Papers University Center for Access : 1) Geography and Inequality ; 2) Social Class and Educational Achievement , 3) Student Persistence and 4) College Access and Urban Poverty .
This is not a Puerto Rican stamp, but it is an international phenomenon, at least judging by its impact on social networks. I refer to the case of Yvonne, a cow Bavarian escaped from his farm. Apparently she was pursued intensely, on a quest initially reinforced by the presence of her calf, her sister and a "groom" potential, and eventually turned into a chase and a death sentence.
Enter social networks: Sets up a campaign on Facebook and other sites, the cow is " steals the heart of the German people and the world ", lift the death sentence, and an animal shelter Ivonne Bavarian decides to adopt, standing at forefront of the campaign, it is no longer hunt but rescue.
I look at the photos of the vaquita run, and read the story of his escape, and I can not avoid making some connections. After all, it's Sunday, and I'm drinking coffee and trying to avoid issues such as crime or hurricane is coming. Anyway, I read the story of Yvonne and, perhaps for their species or perhaps the initial of his name, I think of another cow, the mythological Io. I remember the general outlines of the classic story and share here: Io was a young priestess of Hera (Juno), the jealous wife of Zeus (Jupiter). Zeus, who had what he called "Commitment issues" Io decides to woo his wife back. But Hera is not stupid, he realizes the move, and goes down to investigate. To protect Io, Zeus turns into a white cow.
Hera still suspect, and puts his servant Argos, that of the hundred eyes, to look after the cow. Argos 50 sleeps with his eyes open, so that the poor Io, who to start and was particularly interested in Zeus, has now lost not only the human form, but also freedom. Someone (I think it was Hermes (Mercury)) drunk at Argos, who finally closes all eyes, and the cow escapes.
(Incidentally, Hera was very angry with Argos, calls him to punish irresponsible drunk, makes turkey and rolls his eyes in line with what the story not only explains the origin of the cow but also the peacock.)
Haps. The cow is free, but Hera hates her more than ever. The flight of Io, as of Ivonnne now, is epic. I do not remember the whole story, but it was persecuted, who crossed valleys and mountains, in the end managed to cross the sea and come to Egypt where (I presume its still a cow) became an Egyptian deity. The Egyptians, as the Bavarians the shelter who adopted Ivonne, adopted it for himself and made a little place in a pantheon distinct and seemingly less hostile.
Ivonne Why get all that attention? I can not but think that the world's news consumers share, for whatever reason, an inclination to favor the exception. After all, how many of those who today protect the lives of Ivonne not eaten, cheerfully, their brothers and sisters every day? That exceptionalism our defines what becomes news material (cow that escapes) and what does not (the many more cows do not escape, and we eat.)
This exceptionalism occurs in many other areas. I think for example in education, both in Puerto Rico and the United States and elsewhere: We love the educational exceptions, special cases and hopeful. We keep millions of children in an educational situation can only be described as inferior, even deprivada, but sometimes we find one exception (a student who nevertheless manages to get ahead, maybe become famous musician, or neurosurgeon), and that exception overwhelmed with the media attention, praise, fellowship ... The other million children still slaughter and cultural work that represents the combination of a mediocre education and hostile economy. But we do not see. Or just do not see them. No follow his tribulations with the same emotion, the same suspense.
And there is nothing wrong in itself, in the attention that is intended to Ivonne, or poor student and prodigious. But it would have to examine the hows and whys of media and emotional invisibility of many.
Nothing. I was drinking coffee, and not thinking about the hurricane, or murder, and found Ivonne-Io. Happy Sunday.Print
Your age does not bother me, but I was inconvenient. I was about twenty, maybe less, and in my haste to get a witch doctor who lived in the area west and he was willing to talk to me and be recorded, not told that would tire during long sessions. Nor told with the scent of his house, that indefinable smell with old houses, even when they are very clean. Not with his curious insistence visit him more often.
I did not know that his hands tremble to kill a chicken. Not supposed to tremble, after all, Don Julian had sacrificed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of chickens, roosters, guineas, goats. And I was not supposed to have to help.
Santeria is a Caribbean religion, the product of syncretic mix pantheons, myths and folklore of Spanish Catholicism and the Yoruba religion of slaves from West Africa. Cousin of Brazilian Candomble, Santeria was born in Cuba under Spanish rule and spread to Puerto Rico, Miami, Venezuela and New Jersey during the second half of the twentieth century.
So I was interested in knowing the history and rituals of Santeria, I'm afraid I missed the Julian.
The day of chickens and hands shaking, I was sitting with my recorder and my list of questions, quietly waiting for more information on cosmology and ritual, quietly knowing that Julian is distracted, he would talk about something else. And it was. Today I had to talk to animals. In particular, spent some time explaining to me, incipient impatient anthropologist, it was easier to care for turtles doves. He used both African names, but I forget the pigeons. The turtles were called jicoteas. The doves, he said, are always littering, especially if they are white, white for Obatala: They shit over the cage dirty, dirty up their own pens, and the saint does not like dirty feathers. But jicoteas, smiling, hide there, on earth, do not bother anyone. The tortoise hides and waits.
My batteries recorder was turned off, waiting for real information.
He added suddenly, as he walked thoughtfully on the hardened mud of the courtyard, the jicoteas not to kill, you know that? Just put them in the water, a day or two, and that is the water you use to make the omiero.
The potion omiero is a common and important. I turned on the recorder. I already knew some ingredients-pescao, river water, palm oil. Now add water could jicotea. The ingredients and their proportions were known to him only Santeria, not for believers in Santeria but those who have been formally ordained as priests in the religion. I was about to get what in botany call a "recipe".
Or maybe not. Rather than talk of omiero, Julian began to tell me about one of his clients. Someone who came to cast the snail, and Julian what the doctor ordered blood checked, saving his life. Then he looked at my car and faded sunk in the area of the driver's door. He worried. Cars and young people sighed. Was I driving carefully? ? Obeyed the speed limits? Did you drink?
I also sighed, as he turned off the recorder. Yes, yes, no, I answered obediently.
He began to write something on a piece of paper. I read aloud the ingredients to four Ohios, or chicks, candy, and dried coconut. You get it all in the square, he added, as he gave me a little push. I else I have here. The rest, I asked. Yes, the other things that I use. We will protect your car, so you can avoid more accidents. For that there is nothing better than Ohios. Ochosi you will care.
It got good thing. Apparently he was about to see a near ritual, a ritual really. A ritual sacrifice, no less. The subject of study of all my colleagues suddenly struck me as boring, bland. Mine was infinitely better. I went to the market square glad to find chickens, coconuts, sweets. I returned to rush. So hurry that he almost crashed when entering the neighborhood of Julian. Luckily Ochosi will be watching, smiled.
When I saw him leaning over the sink, setting the knife. I had about a plate with some herbs and a bottle with an opaque liquid. Omiero, I said, and I remembered the turtles and quietly waited for the procedure does not wrap omiero ingestion.
He broke the coconut against the edge of the pool, and selected four pieces. The coconut is a quick method of divination, much less complex than the snail, or that the Opele. The coconut answer direct questions with a definite no, a definite yes, or perhaps three types of. Was I in danger of having a car accident? Maybe, very maybe, he said coconut.
I think it was at that moment that I knew we were going to kill the chicks. Of course I knew when I went to buy them. But it was not until we completed the issue of who really knew coconut. I hesitated.
My Santero not seem to notice. I was busy, plucking a little cuellitos, preparing the thing. He hands shaking slightly. He was old, he was frail, had diabetes and high blood pressure, it looked good, and his hands trembled.
When I was young, Julian played the trumpet. He fell in love, got married, went on playing. Orchestral musician was Catholic and a Mason. I of Santeria came much later, and it was a complicated story, I heard snippets, nervous, partly because it made him sad and partly because I did not understand well and I dared not ask much about personal things, biographical. It was an accident, he said, later adding that there are no coincidences. He spent many days, too, standing in front of the White House in DC I had killed the son in the war. Indifference was explained to me. The selfishness of the big white building and green pastures and tourists, surrounding him and his grief, without recognizing. Perhaps in part because of their brown skin and be mumbling in Spanish, the truth is that it was "removed" (the verb we booked for tumors, warts and disobedient) by the police and put in a cell where he could mourn with privacy. I Rescued a Santeria, who did not know, and a year later was a yawo, Santeria priest newly initiated into the mysteries of Obatala, the saint of purity, peace and compassion.
His hands were shaking so much now that asked me to grab the chicken. He had a sad smile. You said you wanted to learn from this, so far, to learn. Grab the Ohio. You're my assistant.
I held the little body in my hand little ajar. It was warm and moving, gentle, vulnerable, like those moths dawn hiding in a corner visible from the kitchen or bathroom.
Had just given birth to a son, and they were alone. The wife also opened her daughter Yemaya, Mother Yemaya, Yemaya the sea. Each had a little room for the holy things: The altar with soup s, books, a rug to take the snail, Eleggua and his warriors in a corner. A place to meditate, be, and receiving clients. She rarely spoke, but he smiled, and his eyes were small and black even when he did.
The knife entered the neck of Ohio. I read about knife. The word refers to the object, the action, and the initiation ritual necessary to sacrifice animals for the saint. The Santero with knife kills fast, with the least possible pain to the animal. Julian did so. Her hands trembled, though, and I turned out to be a clumsy assistant, so that the result, although fast, was far more bloody than necessary. Julian took a bit of blood, mixed with omiero and some feathers, and he anointed the concoction to one of the tires of my car.
Three times. Three chickens. Three tires.
Never knew, overall, how the child died. All he said was dead. The classic scene, film type, the military with bad news and severe gesture at the door, with additional native color of the extended family, neighbors, the chickens. The biography than ever chased was full of holes. I think I came to the mainland to deal with the paperwork of death, the wife stayed behind, still in shock, and he somehow ended in front of the White House. Do not know if it was days or weeks. Yes he told me that he went out and grew a beard, waiting. They were people who brought him food. Perhaps I said more, but I do not remember. His grandfather ramblings bouncing off the recorder off and made me feel vaguely guilty for not visiting more.
We sat down. He was visibly exhausted. The wife brought lemonade. I went to wash my hands in the sink, and coconut pieces we left there blushed.
As I turned I saw it again in the mud of the courtyard, lemonade in hand. He pointed to the ground with his finger. Look, smiled. The tortoise. With your fingers, still trembling, stroking the gray duckling.
I have this story in my head for a couple of months. In fact I like history in real time, while the micro events described here occurred. But no time, no desire, not write it until today. Why today? Maybe because he thought about the growing unemployment in the proliferation of "colleges" and "universities" that are out there private recruiting students and pell grants, and especially in the mysterious government announcement that urges us to rejoice because although the category Puerto Rican bond remains the same (bbb-), the " perspective " of bondholders has improved because the government has cut "spending" ... thinking about all that, I remembered the redhead protagonist of this story, and I cried a little.
Waiting for the doctor struck twelve. And my youngest son, who has an internal clock afinadísimo for food issues, I announced that I was hungry. I sighed. The cafeteria of the building (one of the prototypical medical office buildings in the country) would be full, because that to have a growling stomach predictably at noon, my son is very Puerto Rican.
I take a break to clear this "cafe", before the gentle reader denounced me to social services by walking alcoholizando my five year old son at noon. "Cafetín" has two meanings in the vernacular ours: it is a small business, type 1) bar active chiefly during the afternoon / evening and dispatching beers, cans, and music jukebox for "males in it", as they say vega and luggage Filipino or 2) Café smaller, located in or near a workspace (offices, factories) where there are many employees at twelve walk in search of a skewer, a sandwich, or rice and beans and "mixture ".
Of course I took my son to a cafe the second type. But the two types of cafe, I clarify, I find charming, at least conceptually. Both exemplify the thing that is both culture and economics, Entrepreneurship folk, syncretism of grocery and fast food Creole gringo .... But better close the cafe anthropological parentheses, because if I do not stop, do not tell them Chencha.
Chencha the Red called it my inner voice, which clearly was not at his best. Chencha because I do not know his name, and Red because his hair was dyed red-brown that does not exist in nature but in the three quarters of the Puerto Rican female heads, from the most famous type Jeniffer Lopez, to the least , type ....
Well, the Red Chencha type.
Chencha have elbows on the counter, cheeks in the palms, indefinable age of women who have completed forty puertoriqueñas but still do not reach senior citizenship, stubby arms, clean apron. Clean because there are no customers.
The Chencha cafe is empty.
Well, almost empty. There are two employees in the kitchen, cleaning without haste, and a boy sitting at the counter, drinking coffee.
Chencha animates a little to see us. Call Pepe, who comes to assist us. (No, do not know his name Pepe. And I'm too shy to go around asking the names of future protagonists of the block, so we'll have to settle for Chencha and Pepe, for now. And with Pipo, which it takes action .) Pepe, he said, we take the order of sandwich and fruit punch, and goes to prepare. I pay, I ask. No, horita I Chencha responds with a smile. After that point, no rush.
And I find, there and then, that I like irremediable and inexplicably good. By Red, on chubby, to smile, to be the owner of a cafe empty, because it has no clients, because it has no customers because people do not have jobs, because there are so many like her, and because she is my country.
Pipo finishes his coffee and calls for "a glass of water." From the pen, Pepe question, adding that there are five guys on the glass with ice. Chencha interrupts, Give the glass a boy fucked. Look at me, with the thin eyebrow raised in alarm. I smile. She too, and begins to question Pipo on "college". I stop ear.
Pipo drinking water that graduated from "school" for three months, but can not find work. You study, ask Chencha, and serves more water. Massage. The Red sighs. Ay, mijo. Pipo keep drinking water. My very ascertained inner voice asking me if the liquid serves to kill hunger, or time. YTal they are the same thing. Or rather, he's hungry because he has time. I wonder if the scholarship covered the full massage certificate, or if you have had to go into debt.
On the TV is a novel dumb. No need sound to know that an evil woman is lying to the protagonist. Or to know that everything will be okay in the end.
Chencha door look, and looks evaluate the possibility of customers. His face contracted in one of those gestures that we do when we make a decision. So give me a massage, says. Do you dare?
Pipo, austere, nods, rubs his hands, stretched. The Red goes around the counter, allowing me to know your height, which is less than five feet, and is perched on a chair. Pipo examines the neck and back of his unexpected client and starts.
Both concentrate for a few minutes. I observe, with the corner of his eye. The thing is serious. Pipo is Fajão, Chencha relaxes and smiles. When you open your eyes you see that bright, full of tears.
I also smile. And tearing.
The Red laughs aloud now, including runny nose, and tells the masseuse unemployed: Boy, this is well good, you still there, and if my husband comes and says something, you give him a massage too.
I was in full domesticity sabatina, when the doorbell rang. As my door does not have one of those small skylights that let you view the image, somewhat distorted by the glass, the potential visit, I looked out the window. The street was full of them, and were unmistakable, because they walked in pairs, loaded with small black bags, and were protected from the sun by large umbrellas. It was them. Witnesses. Two by two, door to door. My dog barked, with a bark that the stranger who does not know that, decoded, means "belly sóbame now, please," I may sound fierce. For a moment I thought, but without much conviction, that maybe the dog the scare.
The Jehovah's Witnesses sabatinos are part of the Puerto Rican landscape urbanization. Tireless, certain, consistent, arrive in their cars are parked, grab Bibles and parasols, and walking from house to house carrying the word. Since I can remember, I've seen people avoiding those visits. The strategies are many. One of my grandmothers, for example, looked out the window, scowling, muttering "here they come, here they come ...", and unopened (and sometimes almost without waiting for the bell) roared, with a curious mixture of anger and satisfaction, "we Catholics". If witnesses insisted he shouted, louder still, "not interested". Another grandmother was quite the opposite: I was preparing grapefruit juice, the sit on the balcony, and as they swayed glasses, umbrellas and Bibles, the grandmother took the baton of preaching and they kidnapped the conversion attempt speaking of the wonders of Catholicism .
I do not know which of the two grandmothers were more fearful. With the second, especially, used to stay a bit puzzled. But they always returned. Tireless, consistent, true. They left behind leaflets thin, full of tips for good living, and evaluated on their terms, very well written. Complete sentences, quotes well placed, better than many of the products and quasi-academic scholars I've ever read. And especially writing. In fact, the Watchtower is one of the most widely read magazines , if not more, and goes through a rigorous editing process.
The neighborhood where I lived while studying at the University was also on the radar of the witnesses. And my neighbors had their strategies students. One of them, a future chemist, claimed that he had managed to scare off the balcony wearing only a towel and saying it was Buddhist. Never tried that method, nor never knew if it worked by Buddhism or little clothing.
My methods have always been considerably more modest, even cowardly. The most common was to simulate not being home, listening to the gentle but stubborn "good morning!, Lying witnesses with my silence.
On one occasion, years ago steeled (maybe a little tired of hiding and silence) I decided to open the door and give them a friendly response, honest and relentless.
Them: Good morning. Me: Good morning, you apologize, but I'm agnostic. Them: That you're what? Me: Agnostic. Them: Ah. [Awkward pause] How the Rosicrucians? Yo: [feeling honest, yes, but also a little ridiculous, and nothing implacable]: No, not like the Rosicrucians. Simply'm not a believer. Them: Ah. [Another pause] Atheist Me: No, no. Atheists believe that God does not exist. Agnostics think it is not possible to know if it exists. They: [Relieved] Oh, well we bring you good news. [Grasping the Bible.] Me: [Forgetting about "friendly". The truth is that we do not care much whether there .... [Now blatantly lying] I'm sorry, I will burn the food. I have to go back to the kitchen.
After the failure of communication, had returned to the cowardly maneuver to simulate not being home. Now, as he looked out the window, I thought that today it had a legitimate excuse - the food was boiling on the stove. But still would not believe me. They'd already accustomed to the lies cowards of Catholics, agnostics, atheists, Christians of other denominations, the lazy, the busy, look the other way, the Buddhists, the ... well, all non-witnesses.
The bell rang. I sighed. I dried my hands and opened. They were two testigas, forties, maybe in their fifties. One rubbed her belly to my now silent bitch. The other was smiling. He had beads of sweat on his forehead.
Them: Good morning Me: Good morning. [Sighs] Look, frankly I do not want to talk about God, nor am I interested in the magazine. [Pause puzzled] But I can gladly offer a little cold water. Them: [They look]. Yes, thank you.
Road to my kitchen. So far, so good, I think. But the water used to save time. In five minutes will be in full conversion attempt, and I will go pa'l kindness ...
We water the three. It was hot. And we talked. A lot. Mayaguez. From dogs and other pets. Of the children, especially teenagers. That things were bad. Emigration. I searched more water. We keep talking. From the geography of Puerto Rico. From the characteristics of different peoples. What to do, to practice democracy. From what to expect, and what not, schools. From what it feels like to go from door to door. It feels like doing what one thinks is right. Tireless, certain, consistent. Was also short, and surprisingly comfortable silences. Water of Life, said one of them, upon completion of the second glass. They thanked me, I thanked them and left with their watches and their Bibles.
This story is not mine, but it could be. It's one of those stories told better in person. It is also one of those stories that could make the life of anyone who like me, and as the true protagonist, has grown ("coming of age", they call in the difficult) in the Puerto Rico of the seventies and eighties, of Kakukómicos, Cuca Gomez, Iris Chacón and Juno Faria, Juanma and Wiwi, Lucecita, Chucho, Lissette, Pacheco, the Cabbage Patch, Fill Your Head Rock, MTV threshold, Maravilla, Romero and do defeat, Cuchín and vampirita, Michael Jackson, Prince, feathered earrings ...
Forgiveness. I think I went ahead a bit and I immersed myself in the eighties and adolescence of ... let's call him Junior. Junito. And give him back. Towards the Gang. The Noon Show. Cepillín. Pacheco.
And Uncle Nobel. The true inventor of aerobics, only he called them musical exercises and made with navy jacket and hat. The captain of an imaginary ship, custodian, almost always, the best comics. The friend of children.
Or maybe not? A sad gossip through my elementary school. He said that really, truly, Uncle Nobel hated children. That breaks shouted program, or worse, ignored his childish audience. That Pacheco and Sandra had worse dolls but they were much more sympathetic, even loving. Sandra's show did go on one occasion, and indeed, was a very charming lady.
But I got distracted again. Back to the story that could be mine. Let's start in the middle, for the climax, which is a Junior (Junito?), The mid-seventies, at age five, skinny, shy, alert, tucked into a long tube, waiting. Outside, children screaming audience, the cameras recorded, Nobel impatient guy. Because Junior waits and waits for is winning the race, but really want to lose. Well, not lose, because in The Nobel Uncle Show nobody loses. No. Junior wants to be a CASI-WINNER.
Why? The prize for the winner is a hot wheels track (or a doll, if the winner turns out to be baby), an oversized nuclear man (or a barbie), or something like that. Very attractive, of course. For the almost-winner, on the other hand, there are ... A can of Quick. Rico, thick, chocolosal. Cookies. Cereals several. Plastic toys - not big or expensive as those for the winner, but many. A lunchbox. Pencils. A child ticket for a circus next. In short. The table almost winning is all that Junior, at age five, at forty pounds, I would like them to be your life, your everyday dinner, your pantry, your fridge, your home. The almost-winner awards were a little metaphor or setentosa childish version of promise, class-mediera, hands-to-the-obr (was) of upward mobility and the American dream-Creole version. The adults believed the refinery, the urbanization, private school paid at the expense of many hardships: children believed in Uncle Nobel and the almost-winner.
So the second Junior mind, balances the intensity of crying, and achieves its goal. Calculate the right time to go after his opponent surprised but before the commercial break. It becomes the almost-winner and therefore the owner of the objects (so many!) Desired. His classmates greet him with clamor. The Principal of the College, Junior generally irritated by chronic debt with school parents, almost smiling, with his face painted huge, huge inflated setentosamente hair, hands with long nails orange.
Junior, in the seventh heaven of plenty to come, estimated optimizing your happiness, dividing doses: Today, cheese crackers. With Quick. If no milk. Tomorrow the panky. With Quick. If no milk. Until orange claws began, gently, to distribute the panky on the bus. The pencils. The cereal. The toys. Needs to be shared, we must be fair, said red mouth. The worst was the Quick, rich, thick, chocolosal, so close and so far from their everyday experience as the ad where the rabbit inevitably sad because it's over.
He left the locker to the circus, a first contact with this strange "share" and that "justice" for which the winner had diplomatic immunity (under the Nuclear Man anatomical integrity), and spark a doubt in budding , shy, setentosa, almost-winner and sadder. The locker was broken on the way, but it did not matter. Coupons come, and, perhaps, would have milk.
In one of those wonderful booklets percent in mouth series of editions hurricane, Fernando Pico fined tells us how different social differentially Utuado in the nineteenth century:
A regulation provided for the laborers pay a day in prison for every four actual fine ... in the case of artisans, one day amounted to twelve reals, and the owners, six pesos ...
In the nineteenth century, the time of the craftsman was worth more than the laborer, and the owner, in turn, much more.
And now, too. The newspaper Primera Hora outlined on Saturday the death of Vivian Rivera, a 23-year-old dam in a prison in Vega Alta and victim of a beating by another confined. He was in the prison infirmary, dying three days. When it came to the Medical Center "was too late," says the press release. A congenital condition was complicated and amplified the effect of the blows, and she did not wake.
If there was abuse or neglect by jail not know. It is probably prudent to wait for the autopsy before issuing an opinion. What we can say is that the picture is, in effect, very different from that described in the quote Stang above. That girl took her prey, for one year for possession of a small bag of marijuana. The judge issued a sentence of "one year in jail or a thousand dollar fine," and Vivian time worth as little as the Utuado laborer. Once in prison, on one occasion, the "mangaron" smoking pot again and extra eight months added to the already disproportionate punishment.
One packet = thousand pesos = one year. Is not there some mechanism that protects the poor of that algebra evil? Eighty dollars a month. The judge's opinion awards eleven cents worth, every hour (enclosed) of Vivian. Your time is worth less than the Stang laborer.
Compare this year and eight months with the recent case of the three students who had, not a bag of marijuana, but a full orchard county. Hydroponic, nothing less. They occupied, says the press, "112 marijuana plants, 16 containers with bite, medium with 15 bags ready to sell the drug and four containers with cocaine."
Not that I think that the three farmers County fans should go to jail - that's not the point. What I find interesting is that although the official rules are different, the poor follow TIME worth less. For medical students, 112 plants and fifteen bags are not enough to warrant a day in prison. To Vivian, a bag is paid one year and half a cigarette, with eight months.
Or with life.
Groundwater sustainability. Maybe he had seen before, on the patio or balcony of a relative, in a clump of taro near the road, or a pot of sauce materials in Syracuse, NY. But today I saw it up close, and maybe this time I showed interest. We talk a lot of "underground economy", to refer to productive and exchange activities (especially the latter) that occur outside the radar and governmental tribute, but I would like to propose a parallel term for something that might look like, but it is another thing. Because look that academics talk about sustainability ... but there are those who practice it without giving it that name, as a normal part of life, and urban and suburban sprawl full.
But more story and less analysis. Today I visited the friend Don Tito. Don Tito is actually called Aquilino and I think almost nobody tells Don, except me. They call him Tito. Wine of the sister Republic, disguised fright night, salt water, in a yawl shared over twenty five years. He lived around without papers, working on anything: kitchen, garden, plumbing, tending tables and washing dishes, painting houses. All fluke he was good, and gradually ordered life, he legalized the situation, and built a work routine "by courts." So I met him. Was to cut the grass at home one day, and incidentally planted a palm and a couple of banana plants. "For the kids," he said.
As it turns out opposite the house of Don Tito is a road and on that road and in that neighborhood, as in many other neighborhoods shorebirds in Puerto Rico, were going to build a "project", ie a unit of cement plant ( the very antithesis of sustainability, possibly) for the enjoyment of those who have occasional second homes. But it seems that the owners faced problems in obtaining the necessary permits, and while waiting (still waiting), garbage piled up on the ground, which will measure half rope. It was becoming that other Puerto Rican phenomenon, the clandestine dump .
When I get bored, read and write. Some laughs - after all, the job of an academic is mostly that, and it's funny that it can also be your distraction. But think about it, Don Tito and I are alike - because when the man wants to "entertain" a clandestine dump is merely a playground in power. Or better yet, an orchard. In his spare time, cleaned the garbage man, evaluating each piece, throwing some and using others. He rented a machine, prepared the ground and sowed not cement but corn, squash, beans, black beans, plantains, okra ...
Among the objects found discarded chairs, empty pans and surfaces with which was furnishing the ranch. While a multitude dominguera swirls in furniture stores and hardware stores to buy, of paquetón, the objects that give effect to pretty the house and yard, Don Tito makes beauty, sculpted landscape with discarded objects in a strip of land next to develop, Cement waiting inexorable. It is true that to appreciate the aesthetics of the garden hut and to do as when you enter a dark room: blink, to accustom the eye, make adjustments, wait a bit. Our palate, sweet drunk, struggles to appreciate the taste of a fruit. When, in my car, I tried to see the seed Don Tito, proud, pointing at me, at first I saw.
But had my guide led me first to see corn. While planting showed me two ears put to roast in the same wood fire which slowly cooked a huge pot of conch, "to save gas," he said. From there we went to the bees. Yes, Don Tito 'seeding' bees, and get right in those homes where they call to remove them. They are worn with everything and queen, and accommodating going out there, to make honey. Bees are "junk" to the other, but in the corner of Don Tito does not hurt.
"Do not panic," he said, referring to the bees in a tree next to our dining room. I felt more of a kind of stupor, but not due to the bees, but rather to the logical, nice and tidy everything was suddenly. The chairs, tables, caches of bees and hens were laying eggs and raising chicks out there, the bees themselves, the wood of the fire, it was before, "junk", weed, pest, nuisance.
I asked permission to take these photos. I devoured my ear, which was ready and delicious. I said goodbye to Don Tito, muttering a vague promise to write something about "sustainability". "About what?", I asked her eyes. "On his seed, bees, and that," I corrected.
It's a scandal made a gestalt scandalous parts which together produce more than their mere sum ... I mean the news of the Speaker where the Secretary of Education announces (wait for it, now yes I do) that on instructions from his boss will be "taking circulation "five books currently used as part of the Spanish curriculum for eleventh grade in public schools in the country, because they contain" profanity ".
Let the parties. In fact, the "Parties" is precisely the main problem of the books in question, according to the secretary tells us, referring to male and female genitalia using it "vulgar terms." Asked about the literary value of the books, the co-pilot of the department recognizes that "have not read" but it looked indeed three pages containing "crude and vulgar vocabulary."
To me, poor reader stunned Friday night, it scares me crass vocabulary but not that of the now banned authors of the five works that quote man, but of the comments under the news, express approval by the secretarial decision. One of them suggests that not "Take" with aitch the "curpa" with an R in the past administration, for surely the fault of the teachers, the other foreshadows a squad led by none other than Julio Muriente and the "invaders" of Villas del Sol, who connects with books in a year unknown logical deduction and who call in passing, "hustlers" and "used", below, another warns him to take care of the labor leaders, as they are "the same feces", with that, you dirty socialists and Puerto Ricans who wanted to "sneak" with "the book".
Now that's dangerous language. Bullish on content and form. I think what shocked me most of the news is not much to ban books with some excuse of moral character (after all, it was pretty clear that this kind of thing was coming), but rather the superficiality of reasoning that purging justified in question. Nero fiddles - and Rome burns. The country is deeply FUCKING (I think it's the first word I use foul in this space, but the gentle reader will excuse me, because I have been provoked) economic, social, and moral, and that people start looking at the booklets.
This action, so flat is the perfect complement to the proposed solutions to problems such as domestic violence ( budding men sign a piece of paper ), the unemployment (which the thrown visit a website or a kiosk to polish your resume and receive therapeutic caplets to help them achieve happiness), the poor communities (not tick and resign yourself to look at the rich, who may even have fun), crime (do not drink, especially if you're young ), and the moral crisis (to pray, say, to meditate on eight of the ten commandments Christians in schools in the mornings.)
The education department leadership makes it a disservice with that logic lightweight, this beloved and battered country, including perhaps especially citizens who approve ban vigorously with his comments in the newspaper and obviously need to get to read something soon. Maybe a dictionary. Or maybe the Burial of Farmhouse, one of those books that boys and girls read now juniors.Print
Bailouts land (where a group of people, typically families, homeless or displaced itself occupies a vacant lot and raise their houses on it) have been part of our landscape for a long time and in fact constitute a sort of tradition - many communities that the public perceives as legitimate today are indeed the direct result of actions like this.
.] [Two good books to study the issue further bailouts: Liliana Cotto, desalambrar, and Llanes-Santos, Challenging the power.]
Ando fast, but I would insist on only two of the many important elements of Villas del Sol issue here: What it tells us about space, social class and housing in Puerto Rico, and what stresses us on disconnecting , the ideological disposition of the current administration and its officials.
That in Puerto Rico invade people collectively and illegally, a "space" and become a "place" in a community with its own identity is nothing new. Bahia Salinas Beach in Cabo Rojo and Parguera in Lajas are cases known scenic and many Puerto Ricans. The funny thing, and this has been said in some media, is the differential treatment received invaders. On the one hand, we have "luxury invaders" in La Parguera they have (and sell, and buy, and rent) property (called booths) in the beautiful Caribbean coast, they receive (and pay for) electricity and water, which have what a journalist once called "de facto legality", and are seldom (and I say almost because the DRN ever, somewhat timidly tried to take the matter to the courts) tried to pull government. In fact, after receiving a tour of the area of a cassette holder, the former governor Pedro Rossello said in the nineties that the booths were there to stay.
Fast forward to 2009. The residents of Villas del Sol are threatened in the courts and besieged by the police. Your water and electricity service was interrupted in the middle of a flu pandemic against which all recognized experts and government agencies themselves, the best weapon is personal hygiene. And our governor and his spokesmen say, publicly, things like "we can not pretend that these people receive water and electricity paid by others" or that "have been presented as alternatives 8 and residential plan," or that "are there illegally, and have to get out ", or my favorite:" this is a dangerous place and have to get away, for your safety and the rescuers would have to remove them in case of flooding. "
The case with these comments is that they sound so ... naive, surprising. Why? Because 1) the residents have offered and requested to be allowed to pay for water and electricity services, 2) most of the country knows that the supply of 8 has been reduced plan and waiting lists for public housing apartments are very long, 3) in places like La Parguera housing is illegal and no one brings to their owners and 4) the danger of "floodplain" is applied only to the poor - guess that Toa Baja valley can not be more dangerous than same sea margin occupying parguereñas the picturesque huts.
The worst comment of the governor has been perhaps one where indicated, in response to the issue of the difficulty of regular hand washing without water, that children should wash in schools. At a stroke demonstrates their total disconnect with not one but three urgent realities in the country, three of those crucial things should be not only the knowledge of a ruler but conscious part of his agenda all along: health (through an epidemic), education (in the midst of an epidemic and a crisis Agents) and deep class divisions in Puerto Rico.
Because yes. In this rectangle insular ours, famous for its smallness, we have two countries. In one, we drove to the kids to private school we chose carefully, bank accounts we get them to learn to save, live in gated developments, some more expensive than others, some with pool and some not, some with domestic and some not, but all of them sold as "safe" and "good neighbors" auto change from time to time by that which we let walk, we worry about the future, college, and we are outraged when we hear some vague collective robs the water and the light that paid by the sweat of our brow. In the other country, no housing security to plan because there are row 8 hamlets are full, we have passed the point the way to school to take the kids, we have to sell chocolates or bottles of water on light for buy uniforms, we have no jobs in part because we do not study much but largely because sufficient employment NO, we do not really school choice so if the neighborhood school is in trouble either way, eat the cheapest food which is also the worse, and we are (surprise!) at the mercy of social ills, educational, health and other social sectors.
The revelation of the existence of that second country is stalking me after the photos of Villas del Sol, pictures that remind some Brazilian favelas. The reality that there are plenty of people who have no home and no access to decent housing. Here. In this country.
If the best practical response that can generate the current government is to cut water and electricity, if the best you can do is articulate and tough, again, we have serious problems. Because poverty in Puerto Rico, with unemployment rates reaching, even in the most generous estimates, at double digit, with 80% of the nation's children in public school and nearly half of them in the " improvement plan ", where if calculáramos the total people living in plan 8 special communities, public housing, slum and rescued areas would get a substantial proportion of the Puerto Rican population ... poverty is not an isolated and rare thing, not a thing criminal. It is the reality of a lot of people. And súmele flu and the global crisis. If our leaders can not recognize and deal with that, with that Villas del Sol is not an exceptional thing, marginal, or criminal, that ours is a poor country and that poor people also voted for them, they should not lead us. Are ruling in another country.
Image taken from universia.com booths. Photo of Villas del Sol taken from indymediapr.org.Print
A recent news story in the newspaper Primera Hora (click here to read, and thanks to our colleague and friend David for sharing) review the current status of drug trafficker Jose Garcia Cosme, aka "Cheeks Papo", jailed since late nineties in a prison federal after pleading guilty to various drug charges. Garcia expressed his opinion about the forces that drove him and many others, to engage in the trafficking of drugs, saying he was motivated "the greed for money, the ambition to have what others have," which control led to a multimillion dollar business from residential Turabo Heights. The inmate understands that if the government wants to prevent youth get into the business, and the violence it generates, you must "reassess their strategies," especially those of the "hand" of police intervention in the villages, and provide more educational opportunities.
It is easy to react with contempt, from the moral (and moral) which allows relatively clean our status. It is easy to say "that guy!" Judging her "ambition" and assume the whole thing as a problem not so much of the country as the residential and other marginalized spaces that serve as a base for this type of criminal activity. It is very easy to assume that coupons and other government support, the issue of food and basic needs are covered for the country's poor, so that the "ambition" that describes "Papo Cachete" we choose almost a whim, a form to want, to desire, the unearned. It is even easy to make fun of Garcia's suggestion that the police did not intervene - after all, if there are drugs, the police have to intervene, right?
It is easy, but not particularly useful. Because somehow, everything he says is true then Garcia. Look for example the issue of ambition. For starters, anyone who takes the trouble to compare the total amount of coupons typically awarded to one family four known simply .. does not give. It serves to cover a total caloric maybe more or less adequate, if the family is engaged and shit eating refined flour (after all, the soda is cheaper than juice, refined grains cheaper than grains, etc..) But that's not the main issue, I think, of ambition to which it refers. Yes, the families in the village, like the rest of the famlies of the country, they want to be a luxury, want to buy pizza birthday, ask the catering of fifteen, having new clothes, buying school supplies, even throw guys buying junk. The kids in the village, as the kids in the rest of the country, they probably live electronics obsessed with fashion: PSP, Gameboy, PS, etc..
The key is in the group: the "ambition" of which he speaks is Cachete Papo shared by all sectors of society in this poor country of ours, in its entirety. Consumption disease afflicts us all and all. The "malls" are always full. Indebted to the weavers live. We want things, more things, many things, until we filled the house of things and other things we throw away and buy newer, brighter, more beautiful. We paint our hair, collecting shoes, have new cars, and make sure that the style of our glasses are "in". The big difference is probably that for the baby of the village, the route of drugs is a more visible and possible to get these things in the short term. And get those things, like any other baby, provides status. And the status, gentlemen, absolutely all human societies, is something that people look to have.
Some time ago, one of my sons took malts a little meeting of friends, and he was annoyed because they were "brand" but generic. Our attempt to save a few cents resulted in a loss of status for the boy. And it did not matter much - it was explained the matter, and silver bullet. But the fact is that in this living with less, it is sometimes easier for a middle class family with a particular educational resource convince children that desire less, which for a family living in a marginal community. After all, if I choose not to have television, my kids have yard to play. If the lady who lives in the hot residential chooses not to have television, your children will go outside, where they may be attracted by the consumerist abundance of "point", or being a police jamaqueados "intervening". (Think about that the next time you criticize the satellite antenna on the roof of the nearest residential - for some families is a matter of survival). The same applies to the studies: The children of the middle and upper classes college hear the message from the cradle. For residential nene, the idea of the university is more distant, more abstract, and statistically less frequent.
So while I admire this man not Cachete, nor do I like the decisions he made in his life, I recognize two things: First, you're right. We need more education, less "hard", more real opportunities for youth living in underserved communities. And second, that the guilt, the pathology of drug trafficking, the end of the day is not residential ones. It is the country, is a disease much wider and deeper, is all that ambition idiot we have as people and that drives us to want to have more things, but that does not help us to take the country forward, and at the end of the day , can not meet until they recognize it as a disease of all. Continue whipping, physically, socially and morally, residents of the areas where the reality of the drug is more evident and where the population is most vulnerable is NOT the solution.