August 12, 2016 |
It was 1949 and Julian Nunez-Diaz had recently arrived in New York City. He was 33, with a fourth-grade education, not a word of English, and a family back in Puerto Rico hoping to join him if he found work. A friend suggested he look for a job down in Camden. So that's what he did. "I washed dishes at a restaurant near the Philadelphia [now Ben Franklin] Bridge," recalls Nunez-Diaz, who turns 100 on Friday. "I learned to cook while I worked at Ponzio's in Brooklawn and then I got a job cooking at Kenny's, across from City Hall, in 1956.
August 6, 2016 |
A drug trafficking organization smuggled $23.2 million worth of cocaine from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic into Philadelphia and stored the drugs in a North Philadelphia warehouse, according to the state Attorney General's Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced the arrest of six men at a news conference Thursday and said each had been charged with drug distribution, conspiracy, and related offenses. Three of the suspects - Francisco Severino-Ortega, 54, and Juan Rojas, 32, both of New York City, and Argenis Dioscoris Grullon, 37, of Allentown - were arrested after two vehicle stops at Lehigh and Trenton Avenues in Kensington during which authorities seized about 40 kilograms of cocaine, Kane said.
July 28, 2016 |
Like thousands of other delegates to the Democratic National Convention this week, Gendy Tchuda made her way to Philadelphia by plane. Unlike most, the 25-year-old from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, bought a one-way ticket. "There's no jobs in Puerto Rico right now," said Tchuda, who's been searching fruitlessly for work since graduating from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras in May 2015. "If I can get an opportunity, I would stay here. " Tchuda is among 23 Bernie Sanders delegates from Puerto Rico, which sent 67 delegates altogether.
July 24, 2016 |
This week, 4,765 delegates from 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia are arriving in Philadelphia. That's 4,765 life stories, and 4,765 sets of ideologies, priorities, hopes, and attitudes about what the Democratic National Convention should achieve. Delegates range in age from their teens to their 90s. They are gay and straight, and transgender. They span all races and ethnicities. They include members of Congress, governors, and party leaders, but also students, unemployed people, schoolteachers, mechanics, web developers, lawyers, and retirees.
June 17, 2016 |
In a strip mall in Kissimmee, a small city just south of Orlando that is home to a large Hispanic community, flowers and religious candles fill the sidewalk in front of Juan and Luis' beauty salon. "Juan and Luis, two humans of love. You will be in our hearts," reads one of the Magic Marker remembrances taped to the window. Shy Juan Rivera Velasquez, 37, who cut hair and met customers with a kiss and a hug. Outgoing Luis Daniel Conde, 39, who turned the techno up loud and moved to the music as he managed the shop.
June 16, 2016
Bipartisan legislation that creates a federal oversight board to prevent Puerto Rico from falling into an economic abyss may have the added benefit of putting some distance between congressional Republicans and Donald Trump, their party's presumptive presidential nominee, whose mercurial outbursts attacking immigrants repulse many Latin American citizens. Puerto Rico, which has $72 billion in bond debt and more than $30 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, faces a July 1 deadline to make a $1.9 billion debt payment.
June 11, 2016 |
The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF) returns this weekend for its fifth year with a selection of 21 films (with a focus on shorts and documentaries), a panel discussion, and a youth workshop. Selections this year include films from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, and, of course, the United States. Festival director Marangeli Mejia-Rabell said she hoped that PHLAFF not only raised the profile of minority filmmakers, but also inspired community activism.
June 8, 2016 |
Fabiola Paonessa was at an airport in Puerto Rico this April, about to leave for New York on a spring-break trip with her family, when she learned that she, along with the other students involved in her school's production of Homeroom, the Musical , would be coming to the Philadelphia area this month. The message came first to parents of the Colegio Ponceño cast and crew. When Paonessa saw the email on her mother's phone, she said, she started "jumping up and down, screaming my lungs out. " She spread word to her fellow cast members, and soon the rallying cry went up: "Philly!
May 29, 2016 |
Here's a feel-good economic story. It's still being written, and it won't have a storybook ending, but given that it involves Washington, we should be thrilled it doesn't end in tragedy. Puerto Rico is the story. The island's finances and economy are a wreck. The territory's government and public institutions have amassed a stunning amount of debt over the years and are now choking on the principal and interest payments. Last year, the island shelled out 40 percent of its tax revenue making these payments, compared with 5 percent for the typical state.