1.11 – Orgullo

René M. Rodríguez Astacio

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BUSTING THE COFRESI MYTH by René M. Rodríguez Astacio “There are more to pirates than just adventure,” Jorge Barahona, a descendant of the notorious Pirate Cofresí says, as we share a friendly cup of coffee at the local bookstore. His eyes are bright with nostalgia and his lips portray a proud smile. “I am a pirate at heart. I am in love with the sea. The legacy of the pirate Cofresí dwells within me.” I know what he means. That pirate spirit has been subject of many legends. Mankind has built fantastic and supernatural stories of these barbarous men who lead courageous and romantic lives. Pirates, a life of thievery and survival. A life of solitude at sea where mermaids sang enchantments and Krakens ravaged their ships. But the truth is far from this...

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Diana N. Medina Maldonado

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FORCED DUTY: PABLO PEREZ RIOS – It was 1951 when the flash of a camera captured my cousin’s hard expression. His name is Pablo Pérez Ríos and in this picture he is sitting at the bottom of Pork Chop Hill, the site of a very famous battle with the Chinese during the Korean conflict where Puerto Rican troops figured prominently in its conquest. Though there are conflicting stories as to how the hill got its name, he told me that they named it Pork Chop Hill because Puerto Ricans love pork chops! He had just turned twenty-years-old when he was drafted. He doesn’t remember in what regiment he served but at the time there was a very famous one called the Borinqueneers. They were the US Army’s only all-Puerto Rican unit who proved themselves top combat...

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Janick O. Sánchez Díaz

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LIFE AS A SOLDIER – “I feel very happy being back with my family, because it had been such a long time.  That is why I knew I had to come back alive.” The year was 1977 and as soon as he graduates from high school in Rio Piedras, my uncle, Mario Díaz, had his mind-set on going to College to study Physical Education and eventually become a teacher.  However his long time dream had to be put aside to generate some extra income for his family (mother and sister) because his father had abandoned them. Since the rent was too high for his mother to pay and his sister was going soon to College, the solution to that situation was to enlist in the United States Army. Though he was serving another nation for a good, noble and justified reason, it wasn’t always as...

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Yaritzel M. Reyes Romero

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INTERVIEW WITH A POLICEWOMAN – MY GRANDMOTHER In August 15, 1937, Lolin, as most people call her, was born in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Her parents, Nicolas Peréz Camacho, who died at the age of one-hundred, and Narcisa Pollock, who died at the age of ninety-eight, raised her in Barrios Lomas del Sol in Guaynabo with her other twelve siblings. Including Lolin, there were seven girls, and six boys, making her number six in the birth order. Currently, all her sisters are still alive, but only two of her brothers. I called my grandmother, María Dolores Peréz Pollock, on the phone one day so I could learn more about her life as a policewoman. She was surprised that I was going to write about her. She had never imagined it. “Grandma, how was your childhood?” I...

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Yamil Sárraga

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ORGULLO PATRIO – I push a chair towards the window, trying to catch a few rays of sun from a beautiful morning. The living room still holds that cozy feeling I miss so much since I have been away at college. A rustic coffee table stands in the corner holding the cat figurine I bought on a random trip to the market one afternoon a long time ago.  There is a bookstand which, curiously enough, serves more as a photo display than a book holder. The smiling faces of the many members of our family adorn the walls. My mother’s rocking chair, a gift from my brother, overlooks the living room from another corner. It was there that my mother used to sit every night after supper, casting her protective gaze over me and my brothers as we talked or watched television. I...

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Valerie Marquez

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NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE: AS TOLD BY MY GRANDMOTHER – 1 – My Earliest Memory “In 1954, American invaders took the last thing that joined my family, my parents’ home. This year marked the beginning of the American oppression on the island. Schools and jobs were affected. The wealthy were the primary target of our invaders. Living at Barranquitas used to mean pride for my family due to their good economic status. Things changed, food became scarce, and things got worse. When I was nine, my parents left me with my grandparents in Barranquitas. They thought that two could survive better than three. From the moment both left me, they proved to me that life was not fair to anyone. I had to take care of the farm my grandparents recovered from the Americans....

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