A Happy New Year, Three Kings Day and Prosperous 2016!

Let us redouble our efforts to Bring Oscar López Rivera home!
In Loving Memory
Nancy Franco-Maldonado
By the Puerto Rican Cultural Center
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Alderman Roberto Maldonado's wife, Nancy Franco Maldonado, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Words of condolence fail to express the deep sadness that has overcome the Alderman, their three children Rene, Roberto II, and Raquel along with Nancy's parents, Felicita Montañez and Hector Franco, at this time.
Nancy was a devoted wife and loving mother but she was also an active volunteer in the community, and served as the Alderman's principal political advisor, shaping many of his policies on education, housing, health, community and economic development.

Born into a family of community activists, Nancy very early in her life developed a deep devotion to her Puerto Rican heritage and to her community. She was always aware of the importance of critical space in community building and wanted to insure that the community's historical memory was inscribed in the 26th Ward. In that spirit, she advocated for the naming of a Hispanic Housing Senior building after the Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, and that she also proposed that the Humboldt Park library be named after Cong. Luis V. Gutiérrez. For her, these initiatives would constitute historical markers for future generations to understand the challenges our community faced, and the contributions that it made to the city.

Nancy was deeply aware of the rapid changes that the Humboldt Park community was undergoing and wanted for these to be in consonance with the needs and aspirations of the area's residents. Thus, she supported, actively the building of the Borinqueneers Housing initiative for Latino veterans, at Norwegian American Hospital, and the construction of the Paseo Boricua Arts Building to enable the community's artists to have a space to live and work. Additionally, her devotion to the community informed her opposition to the destructive presence of RiotFest in Humboldt Park. Furthermore, Nancy inspired many of the young Latino entrepreneurs to invest in buying homes in the area, often holding informal gatherings with them. As a result of this effort, nearly a dozen young Latinos are now homeowners in Humboldt Park. This was a way for her to make sure that these young people would not only claim space, but also be part of giving back to their community.

Now our prayers, fond memories and photographs and her living legacy are what we have to remember Nancy's time here on Earth.

Wednesday, Jan. 6th, 4pm-9pm
Alvarez Funeral Home, 2500 N. Cicero

Thursday, Jan. 7th, 9:30am
Maternity BVM Church, 3647 W. North Ave.
Condolences to the Crespo- Rich Family
By Veronica Crespo-Rich
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Hudson-Rich family would formally like to inform everyone of the passing of Vanessa Rich. Vanessa passed away Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015 in her home. We have lost a giant, our matriarch, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, cousin, friend and unrelenting advocate of family and children. This powerhouse will be missed by so many and we are beyond grateful to have been touched by her love, light, and joy. We are thankful for all of the beautiful messages, and calls we have received thus far. We would like to extend our regrets to those we were unable to contact and for those who found out via other avenues. As you know, Vanessa touched many, many lives. 

Viewing and visitation will be on Sunday, Jan.3rd at Drake & Son, 5303 N. Western Ave.
Church services will be on Monday Jan 4th at St. Ignatius church in Rogers Park at 10:00am. 

Thank you for all of the positive thoughts and we would greatly appreciate continued prayers 
By National Boricua Human Rights Network
As Oscar López Rivera approaches his 73rd birthday on January 6, 2016 the National Boricua Human Rights Network and its allies are launching a social media campaign (Twitter and Facebook) calling for his release.

Oscar, a Bronze Star decorated Vietnam Veteran has never been charged or convicted of a violent crime, yet has served 12 years in solitary confinement. The Archbishop of Puerto Rican, 6 Nobel Laureates, 6 Presidents of Latin America, all three major political tendencies in Puerto Rico, and 6 members of Congress have called for his release.

This call to action on January 6, 2016, his birthday and Three Kings's Day, comes as Pres. Barack Obama enters his last year in office and Oscar enters his 35th year of imprisonment- the Puerto Rican people's longest-held political prisoner.

On this day, the National Boricua Human Rights Network is asking YOU to participate on Twitter and Facebook:

Tag @BarackObama and @MichelleObama

On January 6, in one voice, let's say, RELEASE OSCAR NOW, 34 YEARS IS TOO MUCH!

Let's get 1,000,00 tweets for Oscar! http://bit.ly/tweet-4-oscar-2016
When you do your Holiday shopping at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Bookmark the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7347778 and support us every time you shop.

"Planting Flags on Division Street" NOW ON SALE!
Profits on every copy sold to benefit the Campaign to Free Oscar

National Puerto Rican Agenda
A Newsletter documenting the Puerto Rican Stateside Response to the Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis

Puerto Rico and presidential politics
By Julio Ricardo Varela 
Why is Congress suddenly paying attention to Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt crisis? Well, let's put it this way: If Florida didn't have so many Puerto Rican voters, the federal government likely wouldn't be so preoccupied with the island's troubled finances.
One consequence of Puerto Rico's economic morass is heightened migration. Many who left have headed to Florida, where the Puerto Rican population is now more than one million people. Ironically, those Florida Puerto Ricans couldn't vote in federal elections if they still lived in the perpetual limbo of neocolonialism on the island, which the US has controlled since invading in 1898. But because Puerto Ricans are American citizens (a fact lost on many Americans), they are just a JetBlue flight to Orlando, with no passport required.

Which makes them almost instant voters.
It's worth remembering that the Sunshine State's Puerto Rican voters played a key role in President Obama's reelection victory in 2012. In 2016, Florida, the biggest swing state, will once again be a general-election battlefield. Presidential candidates obviously recognize the electoral importance of Florida's Puerto Rican voters. Democrats Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton have already made campaign stops on the island, as have Republicans Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico's Future
The impoverished island turned to hedge funds to stave off collapse. Now someone has to pay.
The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country's biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.
There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island's Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees' health care or teachers' salaries.
But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico's future.
On the surface, it is a battle over whether Puerto Rico should be granted bankruptcy protections, putting at risk tens of billions of dollars from investors around the country. But it is also testing the power of an ascendant class of ultrarich Americans to steer the fate of a territory that is home to more than three million fellow citizens.
By Héctor L. Pesquera Sevillano / Co-presidente of MINH
A lot has been said about the debt of more than $70 billion Puerto Rico owes to investors, but how much does Washington owe us for obligating us to use the United States Merchant Marine for a century, the most expensive and inefficient in the world? The most conservative figures show an annual additional cost of some $500 million for using the Merchant Marine to transport our food.

And how much do they owe us for the systematic destruction of our agriculture to obligate us to buy and import 85% of what we consume?

How much do they owe us for using and contaminating the Toro Negro Forest and El Yunque with agent orange and other poisons? What is Washington's debt for the massive sterilization project to which thousands of Puerto Rican woman were subjected without their consent during the decade of the 1940's?

How much are the lives worth of the dead Puerto Rican soldiers who were used as cannon fodder in the United States' imperialist wars across the entire planet?

How much do they owe us for the unauthorized use of the waters of the Río Blanco as a water supply for their military base at Roosevelt Roads for years? The commonwealth government, on learning of the theft, billed them millions of dollars and the U.S. Federal Court in Puerto Rico ruled that the Navy had "Immunity" and didn't have to pay the debt. They demonstrated the same behavior of nonpayment with a "water thief" that for years supplied the precious liquid to the U.S. Post Office on Roosevelt Avenue in Hato Rey. 

What is the value of their intervention in our electoral, judicial and political process for their advantage during the past decades? Now they are talking about imposing a Financial Control Board that would be over the Governor and the Legislature, to determine acts, laws, taxes and governmental contracts. That is unprecedented.

How much does Washington owe us for the colonial exploitation we have been subjected to for more than a century? What debt do they owe for using our best agricultural lands to establish military bases all over the entire island, forcibly expropriating land from its rightful owners? They spent more than 60 years in Vieques tossing shrapnel and toxins right and left, contaminating the environment and adversely affecting the health and development of the whole community. In Culebra there are still undetonated bombs and military waste that hasn't been cleaned up.

They claim they have no money to carry out the cleanup and decontamination that Culebra and Vieques urgently need. Checkmate! If they can't pay us, there is no reason for us to pay them.

Next year must be the year of nonpayment to the bondholders and the year to decolonize Puerto Rico. Senator María de Lourdes Santiago, the Puerto Rican Independence Party's gubernatorial candidate, launched a proposal of Nonpayment of the debt. We opt for and support it. First we need to audit the debt to determine if there was fraud and "parallel" benefit in granting the loans, and if the money was used for the purpose for which it was loaned. Ruling out illegal debt, we have to go against those who benefitted from the hustle. And set off the remainder from what Washington owes us for a system of colonial dependency that has brought us to ruins while they have become even richer as a result. 

For the United States Congress, we "belong to but are not part of the United States." Well, one of their belongings is bankrupt, and they don't want to allow it to have the same option to use the Bankruptcy Laws that are available to the rest of their jurisdictions, a prerogative of principles of the capitalist system. So until they square the figures, there is no room for promises of payment or anything of the sort.

Once we have clarified the numbers, and Washington has recognized what it owes us, we will be in a position to negotiate the form of payment of said colonial debt, if there is any. And it's not the vulture funds that we'll be working with. The Republic of Puerto Rico will have access to Mercosur and the International Monetary Fund to finance the payment, if any, to the U.S. investors. We will see at the end of the road that they are the ones who owe us, and they are the ones who aren't paying.

Visit us at unidosporpuertorico.wordpress.org for an updated list of articles on the Puerto Rican fiscal crisis

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

Puerto Rican People's Parade Part of the Chicago Tribune's 2015 Photos of the Year
By Chicago Tribune
A visual time capsule of the year 2015 in Chicago: We've pulled together our most relevant and powerful news, sports and entertainment images. Then added topics like pictorials (think Chicago daily life) and portraits. View picture.
There is Still Time to Donate to El Rescate
By Jackie González, Director El Rescate
  It was a pleasure for El Rescate  had participated on  the Out in the Open Sleep Out,  last Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 at Cricket Hill (Montrose and Lake Michigan) in Chicago. We had set an ambitious fundraising goal of $2,000 dollars and presently we have reached  70% towards our goal. El Rescate Transitional Living Program wants  to express our  gratitude to everyone whom supported us  by making a monetary donations. our program believe that all youth experiencing homelessness deserve access to housing, meals, storage, mental and physical health care and more.
Dear community members is not too late joining us and showing  your support, the deadline for donations is December 31, 2015.
Think about it, if just five people give $20 each, that's $100 for services including laundry, toiletries, shelter and food;  Every little bit counts! 
Here are the step to join us in this fight! 
1. Go to the website sleepoutchicago.org
2. Click on "on the following symbol =  upper right hand corner of the web page. 
3. Click on" Team Donation"  
4.Search for the Team: El Rescate
5.Then, click on the DONATE NOW button (look for it on the upper right hand corner of the web page. 
Thanks a million - together, stopping youth homelessness is possible! And remember that no amount is too small. 
"There are more than 22,000 homeless youth in Chicago. However, only 374 youth shelter beds existing for unaccompanied youth in the city. We need your help now more than ever."
Consuelo Lee Corretjer Daycare Center
Parents Activity Day, the parents are interacting with their child as they decorate a picture frame.The children and parents are developing a strong attachment to each as they spend time with one another.

On Sale Now

November Chicago Magazine "Why José López Stands Between Gentrification and Humboldt Park"

Be sure to pick up the November issue of Chicago Magazine, which features an interview by Puerto Rican Cultural Center ED José E. López conducted by Elly Fishman.

Los Tequis
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From Our Community Partners

The Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera has its own 
e-newsletter: The Water's Edge/La Orilla del Mar
Published approximately every two weeks
View past issues here.

Write to Oscar:
Oscar López Rivera, #87651
FCI Terre Haute
PO Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808
Sentida Nota de Duelo
El compañero, Carlos Nieves Hernández ha fallecido el día de ayer, 30 de diciembre de 2015. Deseamos enviarle nuestras condolencias y nuestro más sentido pésame a sus familiares, amigos y allegados cercanos de parte del Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño Juan A. Corretjer. Expresamos nuestras más sincero apoyo con sus familiares y amigos en la pérdida del nuestro querido amigo Carlos. 
Feliz Año Nuevo de parte de Clarisa López, hija de Oscar

Oscar López Rivera and the Cabanillas
By Samir Chopra
FOR ALMOST four years now, I have worn a shirt bearing the legend "Libertad Oscar López Rivera Ahora". This portable messenger was a parting gift from a Puerto Rican family whose vacation cabin abutted ours on a beach on the island of Culebra; my wife befriended them one night, and we were, much to our delight, taken in as honorary family members. It was the first I had heard of Oscar López Rivera. On rare occasions, someone - a Puerto Rican student in a political philosophy seminar, a graduate student in a university library, a Puerto Rican family in Brooklyn - recognizes and acknowledges the man on the shirt and offers me congratulations. Perhaps the Spanish inscription - an epiphany of otherness - places him in a greater anonymity than the one he already suffers.

Oscar López Rivera is undeservedly the most obscure of American political prisoners. A former member of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), a clandestine paramilitary organization that advocated political independence for Puerto Rico, López Rivera is serving the 34th year of a compounded 70-year sentence for seditious conspiracy plus conspiracy to escape. He was offered clemency by President Bill Clinton in 1999, but rejected it. Now 72 years old, he remains in a federal prison. López Rivera's imprisonment, just as his homeland's political status, remains a mystery to most Americans. But they, and his refusal to accept clemency, entail a political and moral crisis that cannot be looked away; his case and the history that backgrounds it force a searching reexamination of what it means to be American. López Rivera reminds Americans of a colonial and imperial past whose contours are still visible. Despite a stingy record for commutations and pardons, President Barack Obama could and should use his constitutional powers to commute Oscar's punitive sentence and grant his immediate release.
34 Women for Oscar
Chicago Women Rally for Oscar's Release
By Juanita Garcia, NBHRN
For the past five months, women from different backgrounds have come together the last Saturday of each month for 34 minutes to bring to the attention of local Chicagoans the case of Oscar López Rivera. The women rally one minute for every year Oscar has been incarcerated. On Saturday, December 26, 34 Women for Oscar gathered on the corner of Division and Ashland. With much fervor, the women waved flags emblazoned with Oscar's image as they chanted for his freedom. Groups of 34 Women have also organized themselves in Puerto Rico, New York, and Boston.

Alyssa Villegas is a Chicago native and was an active member of the National Boricua Human Rights Network before moving to New York City to study film at Brooklyn College. Alyssa arrived a few minutes late, but as she walked down Division Street and without seeing the group of women, she could hear the women loud and clear a block away which heightened her level of enthusiasm. Alyssa is excited to see women in Chicago coming together for Oscar's freedom and believes it is "important for women to be seen at the forefront of the campaign as women have always played a major role throughout the years to free Oscar."

The next rally will take place on January 30, 2016 at 3pm on the corner of Division and Ashland. Let' make this the last year we organize these rallies. If you are interested in joining 34 Women for Oscar, simply show up. 

For more info: 34womenchi@boricuahumanrights.org
"Meeting a Man Like That, You Can't Help Wanting to Do More": A Visit With Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera
By Jan Susler, Truthout | Op-Ed
Oscar López Rivera has served 34 years in US prisons for seditious conspiracy - in other words, for his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico - though he wasn't convicted of hurting or killing anyone. Since 1898, when the US militarily invaded and occupied Puerto Rico, there hasn't been a single decade in which there hasn't been an independentista imprisoned. But it is unusual that López Rivera has served so many years - longer by far than any other Puerto Rican independentista in history, longer than his codefendants, longer than offenders convicted of violence and longer than the 27 years served by the world's most renowned political prisoner, Nelson Mandela.
In a united voice, Puerto Rican society has called on President Obama to release López Rivera. This call has come from the current governor of Puerto Rico, who made a historic diplomatic visit to see him, from former governors, from the legislature, from the Puerto Rican Bar Association, from the archbishop and the entire ecumenical community, and from universities and artists and poets. Editorials from the island's main daily newspaper have channeled this support into consistent, strong expression, calling López Rivera's ongoing imprisonment "the symbol of a flagrant dishonor for his jailers and an affront to democracy that fails to respect human rights."
A Gift for Oscar and a Gift for You
By the National Boricua Human Rights Network
This holiday season, make a donation of $25 or more, NBHRN will provide you with the music CD "La Lucha es Vida Toda", which was put together by Puerto Rico's most famous musical legends, Lucecita, Andy Montañez, Roy Brown, El Topo, Zoraida Santiago and many more. A musical classic and well as a historical milestone, the other campaign to free Oscar.

Give a gift to Oscar and you will receive a gift.
For more information: info@boricuahumanrights.org

This the Second Limited Edition
AGUEYBANA - Roy Brown y Zoraida Santiago
MI PEPINO EN EL RECUERDO - Trío Taboas-Scharrón
EN CÍRCULOS - Mickie Rivera, Chabela, Antonio Cabán Vale "El Topo"
SEÑOR FEDERADO - Lucecita Benítez
LA CELDA - Walter Morciglio, Fofé, Eduardo Alegría
UN ABUELO Y SU NIETA  - (poema) Alicia Rodríguez
NIÑA - Danny Rivera
NO ME ARREPIENTO - (poema) Rafael Cancel Miranda
LA FIESTA DE OSCAR - Haciendo Punto en otro Son

Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven visual journalism film unit co-created by Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook that pairs filmmakers with developing and ongoing stories around the globe.

A story of youth, dissent, love and betrayal in post 9/11 America woven exclusively with FBI surveillance, ERIC & "ANNA" tells the story of a teenage informant and the activist she helped to put in prison for nearly 20 years.
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
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