Deepest Condolences to 
Compañero Fermin Arraíza
We in the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and the National Boricua Human Rights Network echo the following sentiments of Oscar López Rivera upon learning of the death of Francelis Ortiz, lawyer, activist and wife of the respected lawyer Fermin Arraíza. She was a tender, loving, compassionate young woman whose mere presence inspired respect and dignity. We are eternally gratefully to her and to Fermin for their unswerving commitment to the campaign to free our beloved.Oscar López Rivera.

Dearest Clarisa:

Please share with Fermin our condolences. The lost of a loved one is always a heart wrenching experience and we would like for him to feel our love and respect for him and his beloved family during this painful and tragic moment they are experiencing. We hope that every member of our society can regain its love for life and becomes more sensitive and aware that it behooves all of us to work to put an end to the dysfunctionality that prevails in our homeland. Life is beautiful and its sacredness must be present in our hearts and mind constantly. We must transcend hatred, fear, greed and our attachment to trinkets and to escapism. Life has meaning and we must try to help those who have lost it or can't find it for themselves.

I can only imagine what he, their six year old daughter and all his children are going through. Let's hope we can help him and his loved ones to heal and transcend all the pain this horrible and tragic event has brought to them.

Take good care, much love and never forget you are my little world, olr.

The January 2016 issue of La Voz comes out on Friday -Pick it up!

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Bookmark the link 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
Avoid a humanitarian crisis. Allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt
Puerto Rico's $72 billion public debt crisis has forced congressional leaders to pay attention to a U.S. territory that's usually on the sidelines of American politics. 

The island has been mired in economic stagnation for nearly a decade. The governor now says Puerto Rico's debt is unpayable and needs restructuring. 
The White House and Democrats in Congress say the United States needs to change the law to allow the territory to declare bankruptcy. Republicans say they want to fix the symptoms of the problem first. 
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.

Visit us at for an updated list of articles on the Puerto Rican fiscal crisis

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

Salud y Bienestar en Puerto Rico como un Asunto de Derechos Humanos 
Somos Dign@s, Trayecto Dignidad 3
por Sandra Candelaria, Mujeres por Paseo
El pasado viernes, 15 de enero el Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño contó con la visita de los licenciados, Nylca J Muñoz Sosa y Juan Francisco Correa Luna, integrantes del colectivo Somos Dign@s. Los licenciados participaron de la Asamblea General del Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño donde tuvieron la oportunidad de presentar " Health and Wellness in Puerto Rico as a Human Rights Issue".  La presentación mostraba los resultados de su tercera muestra, Trayecto dignidad 3.  Los licenciados visitarían durante el fin de semana a Oscar López Rivera, donde tendrían la oportunidad de discutir los proyectos de justicia social que se trabajan actualmente en Puerto Rico por el colectivo.
El colectivo está compuesto de personas y organizaciones preocupad@s por la crisis de derechos humanos y las libertades civiles que sufre el pueblo puertorriqueño.  Los miembros del colectivo soportan la justicia social y la equidad, promoviendo el respeto por las personas, a través de su proclamación de que todos y todas somos dign@s.  El colectivo ha creado una campaña de educación y concienciación de los derechos humanos y libertades civiles, que busca convocar a la comunidad general a que se una a sus esfuerzos.
La licenciada Nylca Muñoz tiene una maestría en Salud Pública de la Escuela de Salud Pública de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Ciencias Médicas y actualmente está completando su doctorado en Salud Pública especializándose en los Determinantes Sociales en Salud. Por los pasados nueves años Nylca ha sido profesora adjunta y mentora en la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.  El licenciado Juan Francisco Correa Luna es Catedrático Auxiliar y Coordinador de Clínicas Externas de Asistencia Legal en la Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico. 
La presentación, "Salud y Bienestar en Puerto Rico como un Asunto de Derechos Humanos", tenía como objetivos lo siguiente: Examinar la crisis en salud de Puerto Rico desde una perspectiva económica, política, social e historia; Presentar una iniciativa social, Trayecto Dignidad 3, como una herramienta de educación de las masas, investigación y acción política; vindicando la salud como un derecho humano; Por último, compartir resultados relevantes de Trayecto Dignidad 3 y los futuros proyectos. 
Los futuros proyectos podrían incluir una colaboración en los Estados Unidos, preferiblemente Chicago para la continuación de Trayecto Dignidad investigando la perspectiva del puertorriqueño en Chicago con respecto a la salud. 
La primera iniciativa de Trayecto Dignidad se llevo a cabo en 2011, seguido por la segunda edición en 2013.  Trayecto dignidad 3, se llevo a cabo en marzo de 2015.  El proyecto tenía como misión desarrollar un recorrido nacional investigavito para levanter datos sobre la experiencia del pueblo con los servicios de salud en Puerto Rico.  Esta información fue complementada con una campaña de divulgación sobre la importancia de los derechos humanos en sus aspectos políticos, civiles, económicos, sociales y culturales. Durante esta tercera edición se repartieron 1,500 carpetas educacionales, que contenían más de 5,000 documentos con material educativo. Como parte de los esfuerzos educativos se establecieron mesas redondas con la comunidad, eventos con arte y música, clínicas de salud y acción política.
En la presentación los licenciados expusieron brevemente la historia y desarrollo del sistema del salud
público en Puerto Rico, desde sus comienzos en el siglo XX.  Incluyendo la desarticulación del sistema de salud publico en Puerto Rico en la década de los 90s.  Actualmente, Puerto Rico cuenta con un sistema de salud que trabaja con un modelo de Mercado, conceptualizado en ganancias. 
El Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño le agradece a los licenciados Nylca Muños y Juan F. Correa por su visita y presentación a la comunidad y empleados del centro.

Consuelo Lee Corretjer DayCare Teacher Strives to Accomplish Her Dreams
by Puerto Rican Cultural Center staff
Maria Almanza is the teacher of the Flamboyan group, the toddler classroom at the Centro Infantil Consuelo Lee Corretjer, She's worked at Centro Infantil since 2011 and is also a full time student at St. Augustine College. She never thought she would be where she is today. She says it has been a blessing and a great opportunity to strive for and accomplish her dreams of continuing her education. At times, it has been difficult for her to play multiple roles: full time wife, mother, worker, and student. However, her motivation to keep on moving forward has been the support from her wonderful husband and daughters. They have been her rock and the reason to continue her education. 

She wants to show her daughters that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. This was a way for her to open doors for better opportunities and educate herself in Early Childhood Development, empower her daughters to continue their education, be themselves, and not to let others bring them down. Also, with her education, she will be able to better implement strategies and guide the children and the families she works with at Centro Infantil Consuelo Lee Corretjer, The Child Care emphasizes helping children feel proud of what they are and where they come from. She feels she is in a good position to do this with all the trainings and classes taken at Centro Infantil Consuelo Lee Corretjer. Because of this, she will be table to prepare our children for a better future.  Thanks to all her hard work, in December she received her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education, and will be continuing with classes to obtain a Bachelor's degree.

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.

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From Our Community Partners

Acknowledging El Día de los Reyes
by Spanish AP Class, Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Often we stop to celebrate or participate in traditions and holidays, but... sometimes without knowing exactly why. "What is El Día de los Reyes?"  "Why is it celebrated?"  "And ... how?"  These are all questions asked by Clemente´s AP Spanish Language and Culture students. 
Exploring the history and culture of "Three Kings' Day," students learned that, in addition to the many people who celebrate Christmas, there are also people who celebrate the day when three kings (or wise men) named Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India - after learning of the birth of a new King - arrived to his manger where he was born, to bring him gifts. 
In recognition of this special day and as in the case with many holidays, there is often more than one way to celebrate. It was learned that children leave a treat for the 3 Wise Men and hay for their camels (kind of like leaving cookies for Santa) for their long journey. In return, small gifts may be left for the children. Adults spend time with friends and family and share a Rosca de Reyes, similar to a large fruitcake but in the shape of a crown. Baked inside this Rosca are anywhere from one to four baby dolls, symbolic of the baby Jesus. Tradition says that whoever gets the piece with the baby inside has to host a party on February 2nd. Both quite confused and fascinated by this tradition, Clemente students wanted to experience this custom first hand...and that's exactly what they did. 
Students were provided the opportunity to partake in a Rosca de Reyes, gathering around it first to simply get a good look at what it looks like...and it looked just as described ... a crown fit for a king! Anxious to cut the slices, afterward each student received a piece of by one...with anticipation and excitement for seeing if the baby was baked into their piece! "I ate rosca when I was younger, traditionally. It's been years and so it reminded me of my childhood," shared senior Armanni Varela.
Students enjoyed having this opportunity to learn about this special day, taste a new pastry in class, and most importantly to learn that two of their classmates now have to - instead of hosting a party - bring a treat for the class on February 2!  Senior Jocelyn Ramirez-Arreola expressed, "I had tried rosca before, but I didn't know what it was for until now.  My piece had the baby in it and so now I have to think about what treat I want to bring!"
"We used to eat rosca in elementary school and they'd also give us some candy in a shoe. So it brought back memories. Even though we celebrated, I wasn't really sure what the baby meant, especially since I never got it in my piece of bread." Kyle Rodriguez.   Sorry you never got the baby, Kyle! Better luck, next year!
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
All of Puerto Rico's Gubernatorial candidates unite to call on Obama to Free Oscar López Rivera
translation by L. Alejandro Molina
Gubernatorial candidates for the various political parties in Puerto Rico, as well as the independent candidates, united to call on the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to release political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who tomorrow- Three Kings Day - marks his 73rd birthday.
Manuel Cidre (independent), Alexandra Lágaro (independent), David Bernier (PPD), Pedro Pierluisi (PNP), Ricardo Rosselló (PNP), Marí­a de Lourdes Santiago (PIP) and Rafael Bernabe (PPT), joined their voices in a video produced by the not-for-profit film corporation Caserí­o Films, to send a direct message to Obama, and in English.
The video was filmed yesterday at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño by filmmaker Tito Román Rivera, with the help of Alvin Couto and Karla Victoria Pesquera.
"We did it as part of the campaign for the release of Oscar López, which we hope will get stronger this year before Obama leaves office. It's a way to show that this is a call by the people in a unitary act that transcends the political question. It has become a matter of human rights" explained Román Rivera.
"We know that Obama has the power. That with a single piece of paper he could sign and grant Oscar's release. If he's pardoned several criminals and the Cuban political prisoners, we don't understand why he hasn't yet taken the time to release Oscar when his release has become a call throughout the world," added the director of the documentary 'El Antillano.'"
Román Rivera emphasized that all the candidates were willing to take part in the video and had no qualms with the proposed message.
"Each one gave it his/her own color, form, but came out well. Some had commitments which prevented them from showing up, like Pierluisi, who was out of the country, but they did what they could with their cell phones. They all cooperated, were very accessible, and delivered a message of unity," the producer explained.
According to the filmmaker, this act demonstrates that politicians can transcend party lines and unite with a will to achieve an objective.
"It's a cause for hope for us as a people and that is precisely what Oscar represents," he noted.
In the video the candidates appear interspersed, saying the following message:
"Today I want to urge president Barack Obama to consider the case of the political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. Oscar has been serving a sentence for the last 34 years in federal prison in the United States. Longer than that other patriot Nelson Mandela, whose freedom you once vehemently demanded. I want to add my voice to the thousands of people in Puerto Rico who are asking you, president Obama, to liberate Oscar López Rivera. We are sure that he will abide by the law and be able to share with his loved ones during the rest of his life. The people of Puerto Rico have clamored for his release by presidential pardon, and we expect you will extend it before Oscar reaches his 73rd birthday on January 6, 2016. I urge president Obama to consider Oscar López' case. While I don't condone his actions, it is the ripe time to take action. Exercise your presidential power to set free Oscar López Rivera. It is time for Oscar to come home. Listen to our voices and liberate Oscar as soon as possible. President Obama, do the right thing. Release Oscar López Rivera. Let justice be finally done. We want Oscar home. We want Oscar home."
The video, which includes no credits for recording, editing or production, ends with a call for people to make their own videos and share them on social media with the hashtag #ObamaFreeOscar
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:

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

Puerto Rican Cultural Center
o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/342-6609

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