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UTC's 10th Anniversary Season
Adoration of the Old Woman opens Feb 12!
In this searing, magical-realist, coming-of-age drama from two-time Obie Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee José Rivera (References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot; Marisol; The Motorcycle Diaries), a rebellious New Jersey teenager encounters family secrets, political turmoil, an alluring ghost, a haunted bed and a love triangle of her own when she is sent to rural Puerto Rico to live with the elderly great-grandmother she's never met-and whose language she doesn't know how to speak.Adoration of the Old Woman marks UrbanTheater Company's third production of Rivera's work, following Brainpeople in 2010 and the Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated Sonnets for an Old Century in 2011.

More information/tickets:
Puerto Rico: Fundraiser for Claridad Tonight!

Town Hall Meeting at ASPIRA HS, Fri. March 4, 2016
The Puerto Rican Fiscal Crisis, 
Freeing Oscar López Rivera and the 
2016 Democratic National Convention
by The Puerto Rican Agenda
The Puerto Rican Agenda invites you to join a Town Hall meeting on issues affecting the Puerto Rican Diaspora at ASPIRA Business and Finance High School, 2989 N. Milwaukee, at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2016. Congressman Luis Gutiérrez will be leading the discussion on three salient issues:
  • Economic crisis facing the island of Puerto Rico;
  • Campaign to release the longest standing political Prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera; and
  • Formation of a National Puerto Rican Agenda and its role in the National Democratic Convention in July 2016 
Your presence and participation in this dialogue is crucial for advancing the next steps related to the topics above. Please confirm your attendance no later than Monday, February 22, 2016 through submitting your registration here .
"Planting Flags on Division Street" NOW ON SALE!
Profits on every copy sold to benefit the Campaign to Free Oscar

When you do your Holiday shopping at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.

National Puerto Rican Agenda
A Newsletter documenting the Puerto Rican Stateside Response to the Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis
Documenting Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis
by Daniel Delgado, School of the Art Institute student

Puerto Rico faces a financial crisis and public debt that could soon impact its ability to provide basic services to its residents. According the New York Times, the U.S. territory has an estimated $72 billion debt. The economy has been failing for the past decade. The situation is also deeply personal for the more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans who live in Chicago. It's personal for me. I am Puerto Rican, and I am well aware of the impending threat of this crisis with each passing moment. The same is true for my family on the island - my grandparents who were born and live there, my cousins, aunts, and uncles. They are living with the consequences of the crisis as it casts a constant shadow over the island.

The Puerto Rican community on the island and in the U.S. mainland have asked Congress to authorize the restructuring of all or part of the debt. The Republican majority in Congress has denied the Puerto Rican government and its public corporations access to bankruptcy to restructure its debt and jumpstart the economy. According to the New York Times, recent talks with creditors to restructure the debt have fallen through.

The crisis is mirrored in its infrastructure that is fractured and broken down. The people of Puerto Rico want to have a hospitable living environment and move toward a better future.

Originally published in F Newsmagazine, the magazine of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
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

By Anthony De Jesús, Integrated Paseo Project
CTR Specialist of Integrated PASEO, Carlos Torres, at the Norwegian American Hospital testing site finalizing a specimen to send to the lab
Sex, drugs, and Rock n' Roll still exist in society and still play a prominent role in many communities. Two out of these three elements (sex and drugs) can give way to becoming exposed to infections that can lead to death if left untreated. Integrated PASEO, A Puerto Rican Cultural Center program that provides free screening, testing, and treatment as well as prevention, education, and care services, has a responsibility to these communities to decrease this prevalence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV), and other sexually transmitted infections (STI's) and to stop the spread while increasing awareness.
Every weekday, Integrated PASEO offers free testing to individuals for HIV, HCV, and STI's. For anyone who screens positive, a referral is made for treatment; any individual who screens positive for substance abuse and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are allowed to participate in the free "Seeking Safety" Counseling Program.
Please take advantage of the free services and stop by the Norwegian American Hospital location on any weekday, Monday through Friday, at anytime between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM to get tested or stop by the Garfield Park Community Center location on any weekday, Monday through Friday, at anytime between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM to receive free HIV and HCV testing and screening, free harm reduction kits, free female and male condoms, and free packages of lubrication.

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
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the vast world of interconnected devices with embedded sensors which are capable of providing data, and in some cases, being controlled, across the Internet. Common examples include many home automation devices, like smart thermostats and remotely controllable lighting fixtures, but there are countless others, from traffic sensors to water quality meters to smart electric grid components to tracking manufactured goods and vehicle fleets worldwide.
Because of the rapid growth in the IoT space, there are a number of competing standards, tools, projects, policies, frameworks, and organizations hoping to define how connected devices communicate in the modern era.Open source and open standards will become increasingly important to ensure that devices are able to properly interconnect, as well as for the back end of processing the enormous volumes of big data that all of these devices will generate.

From Our Community Partners

The Puerto Rican Agenda keeps pressure on CHA to address lack of Latino equity and representation
by Christina Pacione Zayas, co-chair, Puerto Rican Agenda
As a follow up to the November convening with CHA CEO Eugene Jones, over 30 Puerto Rican Agenda members, Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Milagros Santiago continued to press the second largest public housing authority in the United States for concrete steps and a timeline to remedy the dismal Latino participation rates and representation in all facets of the entity last Saturday, February 6. The discussion comes on the heels of a unprecedented turnout for a community hearing earlier on the week with over 200 stakeholders regarding the future of Lathrop Homes and will lead up to a historic City Council hearing next Wednesday, February 17, on the "Keeping the Promise" ordinance ensuring greater accountability and transparency in the CHA. 

In addition to discussing strategies to address the affordable housing crisis, Agenda members were briefed on the upcoming Local School Council (LSC) elections on April 13 and 14, 2016 and the importance of a significant community turnout. LSCs are site-based school management teams comprised of locally elected parents, community members, and teachers charged with principal selection and evaluation and approving the school budget and improvement plan. 

Lastly, the Agenda secured commitments from community leaders to mobilize the base to attend an upcoming charla/forum on Friday, March 4, 2016 at ASPIRA High School (2989 N. Milwaukee) starting at 7:00 p.m. with Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Chicago Puerto Rican elected officials on:

-Puerto Rico's Fiscal Crisis;

-Campaign to release the longest held Political Prisoner in the history of Latin America-US relations, Oscar Lopez Rivera;

-National Puerto Rican Agenda; and 

-2016 Democratic National Convention 

Join us for this critical conversation regarding the future of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Confirm your participation here. Space is limited.
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
Fundraiser for the NBHRN
Happy Birthday Jessie Fuentes!

On February 6th, Jessie Fuentes celebrated her 26th Birthday and hosted a party to raise money for the campaign to free Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera. Jessie Fuentes has been an active member of the Campaign for over 5 years and will continue struggling for his freedom until he is out. On February 6th many of Jessie's friends and family members donated $10 dollars and signed a petition to free Oscar not because they have the same political beliefs as Oscar rather they care for Jessie and believe it is a just cause. Working the campaign should be fun, it should be a space in which we engage our families, friends, and colleagues in a discussion that matters to us and Jessie took the perfect moment to do so.

Please donate to National Boricua Human Rights Network and help free a hero to all, a friend to many, a family member to several, and a father to one!
Supremo reclamo por la excarcelación de Oscar López
por Agustín Criollo Oquero
Como parte de su mensaje de despedida a la presidenta del Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico, la jueza Liana Fiol Matta, luego de que esta anunciara su retiro, el juez asociado Luis F. Estrella Martínez no perdió tiempo en llevar un reclamo para la excarcelación del prisionero político Oscar López Rivera, quien extingue una sentencia de 70 años por conspiración contra el gobierno de los Estados Unidos.
Estrella Martínez fue contundente en su reclamo, que levantó el interés de los presentes, entre ellos el gobernador de Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla y el secretario de Justicia, César Miranda.
"Aprovecho la última sesión de la Corte Fiol Matta para compartir con ustedes que recientemente he abordado en un artículo de revista el tema del restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas entre los Estados Unidos y Cuba, y cómo el reclamo del  respeto a los derechos humano tiene que fluir en ambas vías", comenzó a exponer el Juez Asociado.
"En lo pertinente a la exhortación formulada en la pasada juramentación de la compañera, planteé en ese artículo que las exigencias del Derecho Internacional requieren que los Estados Unidos realice una seria introspección de sus acciones y omisiones en el ámbito de los derechos humanos. En consecuencia, considero que el reclamo dirigido a Cuba no puede ser unilateral y visualizarse como una problemática aislada... los derechos humanos son necesarios en Cuba pero también debieron reconocerse hace mucho tiempo en la base de Guantánamo y en el propio sistema correccional federal, cuyas consecuencias también tocan de cerca vidas puertorriqueñas y seres humanos de otras nacionalidades", continuó el juez.
Entonces, Estrella Martínez esbozó un reclamo directo por la liberación del preso político con más antigüedad en las cárceles estadounidenses.
"...y hoy añado que una de esas vidas es la del puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera, quien ha unido a este pueblo en un reclamo solidario de humanidad", concluyó para darle paso a un estruendo de aplausos que inundó la Sala de Sesiones del edificio del Tribunal Supremo en Puerta de Tierra.
¿Por qué no liberan a Oscar López Rivera?

La pregunta resurge de cada cierto tiempo, sobre todo, tras el indulto a Jeremy Ruiz

La lucha por la excarcelación del preso político, Oscar López Rivera, lleva más de una década y pese a los múltiples reclamos -nacionales e internacionales- en pos de su liberación su salida de la cárcel estadounidense en la que se encuentra no se ha producido.
Un indulto del presidente Barack Obama permitiría la excarcelación de López Rivera. Luego de que el lunes el gobernador Alejandro García Padilla le concediera un indulto al joven Jeremy Ruiz Tomassini, la pregunta vuelve a surgir: ¿por qué Oscar López no ha sido liberado?
"Se trata de un caso complejo. Es un caso que tiene repercusiones internacionales y están involucradas las relaciones entre Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos. El presidente escoge el momento más preciso para él, su país y su partido. El caso de Oscar es un caso complejo", dijo el portavoz del Comité Pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico, Eduardo "Tuto" Villanueva.
"Seguimos sumando esfuerzos. Haciendo gestiones con diversos países, amigos. (Pero) Obama es el que sabe cuándo es el momento (para liberar a López Rivera) porque tiene el poder del indulto", agregó.
Indicó que hay personas que piensan que la liberación del preso político, que ya tiene 72 años, recae meramente en el apoyo masivo que reciba una petición de esa naturaleza.
"Y no es así. No miran que él (Obama) actúa cuando sea conveniente", indicó Villanueva, quien fuera presidente del Colegio de Abogados.
"Cuba lleva años consiguiendo en Naciones Unidas que se vote contra el bloqueo 189 a 3 y sigue Obama con el bloqueo. Solo ha reestablecido las relaciones diplomáticas. De eso se trata", afirmó el abogado, El embargo comercial impuesto a Cuba comenzó en 1962,
Villanueva reconoció que la no excarcelación de López Rivera genera algún tipo de desánimo entre quienes impulsan su excarcelación. Incluso, reconoció que hay quienes piensan que la excarcelación no se ha producido porque no se ha hecho lo suficiente.
"Me duele mucho que se piense eso", dijo.
Desde 2011, López Rivera sometió su petición de clemencia a Obama, después de que la Comisión de Libertad Bajo Palabra le denegara la posibilidad de ser excarcelado a corto plazo. Bajo los procesos rutinarios, la liberación de López Rivera no ocurriría hasta junio de 2023, cuando tendría 80 años.
López Rivera lleva 34 años en una cárcel federal, más que ningún otro prisionero político en la historia de Puerto Rico. Durante su encierro, López Rivera ha estado 12 años en aislamiento total. Fue sentenciado a 70 años de cárcel por cargos de conspiración sediciosa debido a sus vínculos con las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, grupo clandestino de lucha por la independencia de la Isla. Por años, organizaciones comunitarias como el Comité Pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico y figuras públicas han clamado por la libertad de López Rivera.
"Si no fuera porque Oscar tiene una conciencia clara de los ideales que representa, a él mismo se le haría extremadamente difícil (estar en prisión). Lo alienta saber que tiene el apoyo de su pueblo y saber que está luchando por un ideal justo", puntualizó Villanueva.
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

"Live and Help to Live"