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This diary is a continuation of the discussion of Puerto Rico issues started by Armando here and continued by me here.  

As background, I am Puerto Rican, born and raised in Borinquen, and I have worked extensively on Puerto Rico issues since I was a teenager, including advising Democratic leaders and presidential candidates on the Puerto Rico status issue.  

Anyone who attends school in Puerto Rico learns English.  Public school education is in Spanish, but English is taught as a second language since childhood.  And English has always been a requirement in the University of Puerto Rico system.  

Given that our Democratic and pro-Commonwealth Governor-Elect Alejandro García Padilla obtained a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and later earned a law degree from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, he reads, writes, and speaks English probably better than many in the United States.

The biggest educational disparity in Puerto Rico is in terms of where you learned English.  You're bound to have much better English if you learn it in a private school, and even there, your English is even better if you learned it in a private school where all instruction was in English, except for Spanish class, than if you learned it in a private school where all instruction was in Spanish, except for English class.  

Even the older folks (i.e., our great grandparents and grandparents) speak English because they learned it in the old pre-commonwealth public school system run by the US military, which taught all Puerto Ricans English.

Thus, Puerto Rico has a long tradition of poking fun at some of their political leaders' inability to speak English.  For example, a 2011 local video on comedic radio program El Circo de la Mega created a pretend conversation between Barack Obama and García Padilla to make fun of what it saw as García Padilla's alleged inability to speak English.  It's in Spanglish, pretty funny, and worth a listen.

Given that, you probably won't be surprised to hear that, as reported by local newspaper Primera Hora, Puerto Ricans would find it funny that García Padilla struggled to respond to a reporter's question in English during the event where he announced his transition team.  Puerto Ricans found the incident so amusing that a video of the press conference has gone viral on social media.

Like US President George W. Bush before him, some have joked that the full video and other prominent interviews also display García Padilla's inability to speak Spanish, much less English.

But the incident has also led some to feel embarrassed and outraged by García Padilla.  As governor, Garcia Padilla has to have some command of the English language in order to advance Puerto Rico's interests with US political leaders and officials.  Keep in mind that, as a US territory, Puerto Rico depends on the governor's ability to negotiate with the United States government the islands' successful inclusion in social welfare programs.  Not being able to speak English could endanger the islands' inclusion in such programs.

Some of the outrage stems from the fact that, when previously asked during the campaign to give voters a sample of his English-speaking skills, García Padilla refused on the grounds that, "This is the Puerto Rico Senate and here we speak in Spanish, so I'll answer any question in Spanish. If I have to go to the United States I will speak English there, but not here."  Thus, unlike past Puerto Rico governors, all of whom have had a command of the English language, García Padilla refused to inform voters as to whether he had this essential skill to be an effective governor.

7:34 PM PT: I've been surprised at the strong reaction to my post, but I am grateful as well because it's giving me more of an opportunity to explain our culture.  

Keep in mind that in Puerto Rico we breathe, eat, and live politics 24/7.  Our most beloved TV character in Puerto Rico that gets the highest ratings is an enormous transgendered puppet called La Comay that comments on politics on a regular basis.  See ABC news' take on that subject: http://abcnews.go.com/.... As such, I have updated my post above to provide more of a cultural context and in the hopes of making it more informative for those who know little about Puerto Rico

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at  5:30 AM PT: Puerto Rico's top rated show La Comay has now covered the news too: https://www.youtube.com/...

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at  9:05 AM PT: This morning, Garcia Padilla spoke to El Circo de la Mega about yesterday's incident.

He poked fun at himself saying that he got stuck trying to think of the word "flow" and, as a result, none of the other words came out.  

He also said that he asked the reporter to speak more slowly because there was a lot of sound in the room, and he couldn't hear well, and not because he couldn't understand what she was saying.

He emphasized that he does indeed speak English and that this one event should not be a reflection of his English-speaking skills.

http://www.primerahora.com/...


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Comment Preferences

  •  I watched the video (3+ / 0-)

    I didn't think he did that bad. He hesitated at one point but his vocabulary and grammar seemed pretty good.

  •  ? (9+ / 0-)

    What is the point of this diary?  Considering this country's roots -- are you fluent in Italian?  Spanish?  French?  British English?

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:24:09 PM PST

    •  The diary is meant to highlight PR's culture... (8+ / 0-)

      It's interesting how the ability or inability to speak English is of amusement in Puerto Rico.  I remember in school how my friends and I used to joke around that, to speak in English, all you had to do was add the "-ation" suffix to any word.  So, for example, in Spanish you would say: "Me gusta comer" (i.e., "I like to eat"). The translation would be: "I like comation." :)

      And PS, I speak Spanish, English, French, and Catalan (my dad is from Barcelona).

      •  There are some things (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gchaucer2, Anak, Tonga 23, Lost and Found

        that you can joke in a closed group about - but is offensive to the broader public.

        •  What is offensive about it, BDA in VA? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dennis1958
          •  Arrogance here is generally (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anak, Kevskos, Lost and Found, skrekk

            a loser.  You made fun of someone trying to speak English (aka American).  Most people in this country couldn't speak a sentence in any foreign language.

            " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

            by gchaucer2 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:52:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not arrogance; it's humor. (4+ / 0-)

              And humor notoriously doesn't translate across cultures well.

            •  not sure that's entirely true anymore (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ycompanys, sebastianguy99, PeterHug

              over 20% of the country speaks a language other than english at home. but the proportion of americans who are bilingually or multilingually fluent is larger than that, since not everyone who can speak another language does so predominantly or regularly at home, even if they did so outside the home, be it in the workplace or the market or with friends or relatives.

              add to that the number of americans who have studied and practiced some language but who aren't totally fluent, and those who can manage a few sentences of some language they studied in high school, or americans with a grandparent or parent who is bilingual or monolingual speaker of a language other than english and so can manage a bit of that language even when they speak back mostly in english, and it probably ends up well over 50%.

              part of the problem when we visualize this is that the only reliable government on bilingualism is the census form's "dod you speak a language other than english in the home?" question, which is far narrower than ability to speak or understand other languages generally, and part of the problem is the unconscious assumption, drilled into our minds by centuries of right wing nativists, that foreign-language-speaking immigrants and native speakers of other languages aren't "real" americans like monolingual white folks from the heartland.

              i totally agree with the basic point you were making - that making fun of people for uneven ability to speak fluid english is lame - but just wanted to push back against the "americans can't speak foreign languages" assumption. apologies for the digression.

            •  Not really the same thing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ycompanys, ConfusedSkyes

              He's supposed to be a political leader on a world stage.  Any working professional in most countries would be expected to be very comfortable with English, since it's the international language and necessary to do most high-level jobs these days.  If his English really is that bad, it's rather Palin-esque in international terms.  We don't have this equivalent in the US, since we already speak the language of international communication, and it's also the reason native anglophones are not good at foreign languages.  We rarely have use for them that's as frequent and regular as English for everyone else.

            •  I'm sorry, but given this person's upbringing, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bluedust, ycompanys

              he could be considered to have plenty of education and ample time to have learned English, particularly when it's considered an informal requirement for the job. There is a distinct difference between mocking a private citizen for not knowing something that is irrelevant to their lives, and mockery of a public figure for not knowing something that is very relevant. It is also different when it is the native population as opposed to outsiders.

              And that's merely from the political viewpoint.

              From the general viewpoint of humor, as someone who grew up in a mixed-language immigrant family, you're just entirely too dour about the subject IMO. Laughing about language difficulties is very often a good-natured topic of discussion in bilingual communities, from both ends. It addresses a very real problem in lighthearted framing.

              Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?

              by ConfusedSkyes on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:51:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  well for one thing you have (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gchaucer2, Anak, Tonga 23, Lost and Found

            changed your diary somewhat but it does not negate the fact that laughing at someone

            struggling to respond to a reporter's question in English
            is not funny to me.
            •  It's a cultural thang... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bluedust, sebastianguy99
              You made fun of someone trying to speak English
              I did not make fun of our governor-elect.  All I did was cite articles from Puerto Rico newspapers that make fun of him for his difficulties.  

              It was shocking to many Puerto Ricans that he appears unable to speak English.  This is why the video went viral on the islands.  In this sense, it's pretty similar to the situation way back when with George W. Bush.

              As I noted above, Garcia Padilla was asked during the campaign whether he could speak English, and he refused to answer the question.  

              For many on the island, this is now a source of embarrassment, especially considering that a governor needs to be able to have at least a working ability of English to manage the islands' federal affairs.  

              For others, this will be a source of national pride, since it will highlight the fact that Spanish is the language of everyday life in Puerto Rico.

              But for all, Garcia Padilla will now be the butt of jokes on the islands.

              •  But you seem to be agreeing that he should (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BDA in VA, Lost and Found

                be the butt of jokes. Your title suggests that it is crazy or laughable that Governor-elect might not speak English well.

                Frankly, I think your knowledge of Puerto Rico would have been better spent EXPLAINING to us the unique language situation in Puerto Rico and offering this as an example of that unique situation. Without this context, it sounds like you are just making fun the new Democratic Governor-elect.

                And you would also have to explain in detail on why it is ok because it is "just a cultural thang."

      •  I have always admired (8+ / 0-)

        anyone who attempts to speak in a language which isn't his/her own.  I don't find those attempts funny.  I appreciated the generosity of the Belgians who suffered through my broken French, German and Flemish.  They never laughed at me.  They were gracious because I tried.

        Glad you are multi-lingual -- now try to be multi-gracious.

        " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:50:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And Americans think you just have to add (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lineatus, ConfusedSkyes

        the letter o to the end to make it Spanish and they never conjugate verbs, because English doesn't.  "I want food" becomes "Yo querer foodo."

    •  agreed, what is the point? Puerto Rico is a (5+ / 0-)

      Spanish speaking majority as are many Southwestern areas....My neighborhood is at least 60-40 and possibly 70-30
      Spanish speakers.......so what?

      We have been speaking Spanglish at least since Captain Hugh O'Conor, an Irish mercenary working for Spain, selected the location of the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson on August 20, 1775, with a couple Native languages thrown in for good measure..... I would not change a thing, I love my little corner of Borderlands Hell.......

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:51:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My little tiny neighborhood (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly

        has three families of different Hispanic origin.  I love listening to them enjoy each other.  My next door neighbor's American language isn't perfect -- but perfectly clear and admirable.

        " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:54:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, it;s definitely not Real Academia. (0+ / 0-)

        Spanish actually has a Royal Academy that determines whether something is or isn't Castillian Spanish.

            •  Lol. Ok, first give the definition of "Castilian (0+ / 0-)

              Spanish."

              •  Spain has several languages. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Larsstephens

                Gallego, Catalan, Euskaro, Castellano, and a couple more.  What we think of as Spanish is actually Castellano, the language of the Spanish Royalty. Remember the reconquest of Spain? That was the reconquest by the Catholic kings of Castilla, so the official language became Castilian.  That's the language that came to the Americas, that we think of as "Spanish."

                •  Spanish I would add... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bluedust

                  ...is considered a colonialist language in Spain.  Gallegos, Catalanes, Vascos, and their dialectical cousins continue to live as colonized, subjugated peoples.

                •  Geez... (0+ / 0-)

                  Castellano is not the "language of the Spanish Royalty." That is preposterous. In strict terms, it is the dialect of the REGION and PEOPLE on the peninsula that largely carried out la Reconquista.

                  But if you now say that Castellano is the same as Spanish: Why are did you use "Castilian" as an adjective that modifies "Spanish?" That is total redundancy.

                  •  Spanish = Castellano = Spanish (0+ / 0-)

                    Spanish (Castellano) is a language that was used to oppress the other Iberian languages (Galician, Portuguese, Basque, and Catalan).  If you don't believe that, just ask any of those "other" people (in Todorov's connotation of the word).

                    •  Bluedust said "Castilian Spanish." (0+ / 0-)

                      That's what I asked about. And neither of you replied to that.

                      Again, what is Castilian Spanish. You two don't know, cause you it seems you are a little clueless about linguistics.

                      •  I thought I answered that already? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bluedust, greengemini

                        Castellano = Castilian Spanish.  It's a language that comes from the region of Castilla-La Mancha, which through royal marriages and conquest unified the Iberian peninsula and imposed the language on its subjects, both on the Iberian peninsula and in the Americas.  Is that what you're asking?

                  •  Simply put, Castilian Spanish (as opposed to the (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ycompanys, greengemini

                    other Spanish languages like Catalan, Gallego, etc.) became the language that the Spanish courts used, that legal documents were written in, that was used to write contracts, birth certificates, and so on.  

                    This is still true and it's true in the Americas as well. There are large groups of indigenous populations that speak languages other than Spanish, but they have to conduct all their business in the dominant language, that is, Spanish, or more specifically, Castilian Spanish.

                    In the case of Puerto Rico, a certain portion of the business of the governing body has to be conducted in English because the colonial power there speaks English (that would be us).

                    •  Ugh... (0+ / 0-)

                      So, ok, let's say your definition is correct. This means that you said the goal of the Real Academia is to say how "Castilian Spanish" is different from Catalan and Gallego?  

                      Again, no, that is that the goal or purpose of the Real Academia. ¿Has leído alguna vez algo de la Real Academia? Parece k no.  

                      •  Un poco. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        greengemini

                        Limpia, fija y da esplendor? Considered by many to be the governing authority regulating the Spanish language?  

                        I have one of their dictionaries.

                        •  And their dictionary covers Spanish as spoken (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ycompanys, bluedust

                          all over the world! That was my point.

                          "Castilian Spanish" should really refer to the DIALECT of Spanish spoken in the region of Castilla in Spain, as opposed to the other SPANISH dialects in Andulusia, say. Not between other languages in Spain such as Gallego or Catalán.

                          In Spanish, yes, that is one of the reasons people use the Spanish word "Castellano" to refer to Spanish. But not in English.

                          Here's the entry in their dictionary for "chavo," for instance:

                          chavo1.
                          (De ochavo).
                          1. m. coloq. And. ochavo.
                          2. m. coloq. Cuba. Moneda que vale la centésima parte de un peso.
                          3. m. coloq. P. Rico. Centavo de dólar.
                          4. m. pl. P. Rico. dinero (‖ moneda corriente).

                          chavo2, va.
                          1. adj. Hond., Méx. y Nic. muchacho (‖ niño que no ha llegado a la adolescencia). U. t. c. s.
                          2. m. y f. Nic. novio (‖ persona que mantiene relaciones amorosas).

                          Notice how the meaning of this word goes way, way beyond Spain to include meanings in Mexico, Cuba, and even your Puerto Rico.

                          I'm guessing that you might not like this inclusion.

                          http://lema.rae.es/...

                          •  Oh, I see. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Anak

                            Well, that's really useful.  Wow!  They expanded a lot.  I remember them as being a kind of stuffy conservative institution that mostly didn't approve of Anglicismos and borrowing words from other languages.  This is much better. Thanks for the link; I bookmarked it for future reference.

                            So your other point was that I was saying "language" instead of "dialect"?  Why didn't you say so? What, the Socratic method? :-P  

                            Okay, then. If you prefer dialects, so be it, because "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy,"   except for the Basques, because there is no way Euskara is any kind of a dialect.

                          •  Thanks for the nice reply, amiga. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bluedust

                            I didn't say so because it seemed like you were going all out to defend a diary that some found offensive. It also seemed like you thought "uneducaded people" who didn't speak "properly" should be scoffed at.

                            So, when I read your comment about "Castilian Spanish," it sounded to me that you thought Spanish as spoken in Spain was somehow better and that the Real Academia existed to promote that "better" Spanish. I wasn't sure if you were saying what I thought you were saying, so, yes, I guess a bit of the Socratic Method.

                            You are right about the "army and navy" thing. But the Real Academia, first, gives definitions for Spanish words as they are used all over the world, as shown in my quote. They don't say that the Mexican usage of "chavo," for instance, is wrong. As for grammar, spelling, and other usage matters, they only give suggestions.

                            For example, they say that "solo" should never have an accent mark. Well, basically no one follows there suggestion, even in Spain, even in Castilla. Most everyone still wants to write "sólo" to mean "only" and "solo" to mean "alone."

                          •  When I was a child, the language/grammar class (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Anak

                            in school was Castellano, just like the language/grammar class in schools here is English.  The teachers placed some emphasis on correct usage and frowned on using English words in Spanish and their stated authority was the RAE, so perhaps I unconsciously reflected that attitude.  They certainly caused me some suffering as a child, I can tell you.  My knuckles are tingling as I type.

                            We learned to write numbers the long way "veinte y seis" instead of running them together "veintiseis" like they do now, and certainly we had to write the accent on "solo" as well, although I could never remember which was which.  I guess the RAE lightened up.

                          •  RAE (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Anak

                            I didn't understand what the point was of the RAE discussion. But yes, RAE does incorporate words and meanings from all over, or at least they try.

                          •  I thought, judging from Bluedust's comments (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bluedust

                            that she was suggesting that there was some RAE-approved way of speaking Spanish, that would distinguish between the educated vs the un-educated.

                            Or, to use colonial Spanish, entre "la gente de razón" y los indígenas y las castas.  

                          •  Got it (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bluedust, Anak

                            Initially, RAE did make such a distinction.  But it has gotten much more open-minded over the years, which is a reflection of the linguistics field as a whole.

    •  Let me try to give some context. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ycompanys, ConfusedSkyes

      Political humor in the Americas doesn't wear kid gloves.  It's a different kind of humor, and explaining it is like trying to explain the Honeymooners to Latin Americans.  

      It's the same as making fun of Bloomberg speaking Spanish with the El Bloombito tweets.  Not speaking English can be considered a political statement by some.

      Or not.  

      FWIW, I thought the Circo de la Mega skit was pretty funny, although Obama would never really speak like that.

       

    •  PR is part of the US and yet completely different (0+ / 0-)

      and I think we as mainland Americans should be exposed to the subtle humour and how things work there as they do and don't - rather than just insist they voted for statehood and have no political system or culture of their own.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 09:07:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Don't Find Anything Wrong with It (6+ / 0-)

    This is the person elected governor of Puerto Rico by its residents, correct? We have a democratic system ...

    I lived in some heavily Puerto Rican neighborhoods in New York. Older people who had likely lived in the continental U.S. for decades still spoke little English. But second-language learning is actually quite difficult for most older people. It's probably especially difficult in New York where you can get by only speaking Spanish.

    Oddly enough, a young woman who was a waitress at my favorite restaurant grew up in Puerto Rico and spoke pure, unaccented English. She said she learned it in school there.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:45:06 PM PST

    •  Education disparities on the island... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluedust

      Anyone who attends school in Puerto Rico learns English.  Public school education is in Spanish, but English is taught as a second language since childhood.  And English has always been a requirement in the University of Puerto Rico system.  

      Given that Alejandro García Padilla obtained a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and later earned a law degree from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, he reads, writes, and speaks English probably better than many in the United States.

      The biggest educational disparity in Puerto Rico is in terms of where you learned English.  You're bound to have much better English if you learn it in a private school, and even there, your English is even better if you learned it in a private school where all instruction was in English, except for Spanish class, than if you learned it in a private school where all instruction was in Spanish, except for English class.  

      •  Maybe it's worth putting some of this context into (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ycompanys, bluedust

        the diary.  It's clear that many people here are interpreting this in a different way than you intended.  But having some discussion about why this is found humorous in PR, and this info about educational disparity would actually make it more of a useful, in terms of explaining some cultural differences.

      •  Americans are not as sensitive to the nuances (0+ / 0-)

        of language as others are.  Puerto Ricans are worried he doesn't have enough culture, and that he is not from the right social class.  

        •  I just don't get this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anak

          You are saying because Puerto Ricans think it is okay to denigrate someone because they aren't from the "right social class" that we should all shrug and say okay?

          NO!  We have to drag the world (kicking and screaming if need be) into the 21st century!  Whether you are Puerto Rican, Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, American - whatever!!  Everyone needs to quit with the bigotry and treat all people with respect.  

          •  Bluedust is confused. Doesn't even know (0+ / 0-)

            what the Real Academia is.

          •  No, they don't say it. They just know it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ycompanys, ConfusedSkyes

            And so do you, even if you don't realize it.

            This is why Sarah Palin was completely unacceptable as a representative of the United States: she can't form a coherent statement because she lacks the education and cultural background where coherence and complete sentences are important. If you are going to dine at the White House, you had better know how to use a fork and there are people who do not dine with those who split infinitives.

             I insist my brain surgeon be able to speak in coherent sentences and enunciate because the language conveys information about the person.

            I agree that people are people. That's not the point.

            •  Damn. You sure you are on the right (0+ / 0-)

              website? You even scoff at thos who split infinitives?!

              It is normal, repeat, normal in English to "split infinitives." The very notion that you can split an infinitive in English is ludicrous.

              But you've given numerous examples here on how you are clueless about languange, so I guess it's no surprise...

              •   Many people disregard grammar, it's true. (0+ / 0-)

                And many people don't think it's important.  Of course most of us split infinitives, especially when we speak, but I'm pretty sure most editors try to clean up errors in usage before going to print.  It's common but not proper to split infinitives. Is that what you mean by normal? English is a pretty flexible language.

                I guess the point I'm trying to make is that how language is used gives us information about the speaker.

          •  Uhm... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bluedust, greengemini, ConfusedSkyes
            NO!  We have to drag the world (kicking and screaming if need be) into the 21st century!  Whether you are Puerto Rican, Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, American - whatever!!  Everyone needs to quit with the bigotry and treat all people with respect.  
            Wow, that's pretty condescending modernization theory stuff...

            So now we Puerto Ricans are somehow some backwater culture that needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century?

            How about the fact that we Puerto Ricans ended slavery well before the United States and never had an institutional system of segregation?

            How about the fact that we Puerto Ricans see ourselves as a culture that is a product of White European, African, and Native Taino blood that we are proud of, rather than see ourselves as White vs. Black vs. Latino castes, as the informal segregation I saw in my dining halls during my college years in the United States?  Talk about a culture shock!

            How about the fact that Puerto Ricans are proud to speak two languages and are concerned that our governor may not be able to speak English, when the lives of our people, many of whom are unemployed and live in poverty, may depend on his being able to negotiate federal help for them?

            •  abolition of slavery (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ycompanys

              I agree with some of your sentiments, but unfortunately Puerto Rico was not so great on slavery.
              Abolición de la esclavitud (1873)

              Not for lack of trying. I had a great great grandfather that got in trouble with the Spanish crown for being an abolitionist...and a little sedition. ;)

              As for the diary, I tend to be pretty cynical about politics in PR and initially (not knowing much about you) I thought this was PNP grousing about losing the governor's election. Not that I am a very good popular; I lean towards statehood. I am pleased that Fortuño is now unemployed and can "go pick coffee."

              But yeah that was kind of painful to watch, only it's very easy to stray from being technocratic (needing people in government to smart and educated) to being classist/elitist and I think a lot of people got that vibe and got a bit upset by your diary. Not that I think that was your intention.

              •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

                As I've said elsewhere in this diary, I'm not surprised some got the wrong idea about my post, especially since it initially lacked context and some who read it had not read my previous posts here and here about Puerto Rico.

                As for the diary, I tend to be pretty cynical about politics in PR and initially (not knowing much about you) I thought this was PNP grousing about losing the governor's election.
                Not at all, but I'm not surprised at your cynicism.  As I wrote in my previous posts/comments, people generally color their discussion about Puerto Rico according to their status views, so you generally get very biased views pushing for a particular agenda and/or undermining another one.  It's difficult to find objective analysis of the subject on the islands.  But this should give you a better sense of my own family history and biases on the subject.
                I agree with some of your sentiments, but unfortunately Puerto Rico was not so great on slavery.
                Abolición de la esclavitud (1873)
                I was referring to the 1818 treaty between Britain and Spain that abolished the slave trade.  But I forgot that Puerto Rico's own abolition day came later.  Thanks for the correction.
  •  I only care what is in his heart . (0+ / 0-)

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 08:19:32 PM PST

  •  I thought that the official language there was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluedust

    NewYoRican!

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 08:30:28 PM PST

  •  this sounds goofy (0+ / 0-)

    I'm Native American and some of our leaders a few years back didn't speak english worth a damn. But that didn't stop them from representing our people since they could surround themselves with people who could negoitiate in english. You seem to keep trying to say it's a joke but then you say it's outrage and embarrassment. I think perhaps you don't like the president-elect and think this will help tear him down. So let me assure you that limited english speakers can do just fine in D.C

    Keep in mind that, as a US territory, Puerto Rico depends on the governor's ability to negotiate with the United States government the islands' successful inclusion in social welfare programs.  Not being able to speak English could endanger the islands' inclusion in such programs.
    Really? You mean he can't find anyone to help him communicate his needs?

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 10:29:11 PM PST

    •  Didn't sound goofy when it was Bush (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ConfusedSkyes
      You seem to keep trying to say it's a joke but then you say it's outrage and embarrassment. I think perhaps you don't like the president-elect and think this will help tear him down.
      What's not to like?  the governor-elect young, a Democrat, and not the former governor.  The former governor was not well liked because he followed the shock doctrine of fiscal discipline, which led to the firing of many on the islands, skyrocketing our unemployment rate.  

      Just as some Americans were outraged and embarrassed that Sarah Palin and George W. Bush seemed unable to speak in complete sentences, some Puerto Ricans are outraged and embarrassed that the governor-elect can't speak English.

      And just as many of Palin's comments went viral, the governor-elect's comments are going viral.

      And just as Americans found it funny to hear US comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make fun of Palin and Bush, many Puerto Ricans will find it funny to hear their own comedians make fun of the governor-elect.

      But for those who are outraged and embarrassed, it's an issue of competence.  Puerto Ricans have long felt that speaking English is an important requirement for anyone seeking the governorship.  That is why the governor-elect during the campaign was repeatedly asked whether he spoke English, and he refused to answer the question.  

      [In one of the videos I posted above, his competence was further challenged when he was asked how many of the members of his transition team were of commonwealth and statehood backgrounds.  His response was, "I'm not sure," followed by his turning around and asking them what their backgrounds were.]

      So let me assure you that limited english speakers can do just fine in D.C. You mean he can't find anyone to help him communicate his needs?
      I remember this being said about President George W. Bush too.  When Democrats complained about his lack of experience and inability to speak in complete sentences, Republicans responded: "Don't worry. He has a great national security team, so it doesn't matter."  It still mattered a great deal to Democrats though.
  •  This is not related to any discussion (0+ / 0-)

    I was involved in.

    •  In your previous post, Armando... (0+ / 0-)

      ...there were many discussing the role of English in Puerto Rico politics.  This is a continuation of that.

      •  That's a pretty tenuous (0+ / 0-)

        connection to this diary.

        •  By the way... (0+ / 0-)

          I forgot to thank you about writing that previous post.  We Puerto Ricans spend a lot of time talking within our community about these issues, not so much discussing them with others outside of it.  I rarely see posts on Puerto Rico in the blogosphere, let alone posts with a positive bent on the island.  

          So I was happy that you wrote it, even though I corrected what I saw as errors, so I hope that didn't bother you.  

          Again, thank you very much.  I truly appreciate it.

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