8/31/2005

Racist Article in El Nuevo Dia

Greetings everyone,

Below is a story that ran in the August 21, 2005 edition of El Nuevo
Dia, the main newspaper in Puerto Rico. In it, the author, Mayra
Montero, perpetuates myths and writes a slanted, ugly story about the
Taino people, especially those brave few that protested at Caguana.

The article was accompanied by a cartoon that unflatterinly depicted
the protesters in regalia and wearing cell phones. I was so upset
after Joe read me the article (my Spanish is still a 5 on a scale of
1-10) that I was seeing RED and couldn't sleep.

I called El Nuevo Dia today and asked if they would print the other
side of the story -- as all fair reporting is supposed to print both
sides, right? And, all I was able to do was leave a voice message to
the editor... so, I called back and asked what else I could do while
I waited for his call (if he even bothers to return my call) and this
nice helpful girl, she with lousy English, me with lousy Spanish, gave
me the e-mail addresses to write to the editor personally to complain
(_rvega@elnuevodia.com_ (mailto:rvega@elnuevodia.com) )

AND to have a letter printed on the opinion page you can write to:
_cartas@elnuevodia.com_ (mailto:cartas@elnuevodia.com)
(Your letters must be accompanied by your name, address,
phone number etc. which will be verified prior to publication).

So, if you read this letter below and feel your blood start to boil
about how the Taino people are being portrayed, please, please,
please, take the time to write and let them know about it... the
squeaky wheel does get the grease. I appreciate your time...

Bo'matum,
Evelyn Dye-Garcia,
UCTP Representative,
Washington State
http://www.uctp.org/usr.htm#wa

----------------------------------------

El Nuevo Dia - Revista Domingo

Deben estar revolcándose en la tumba los taínos
auténticos, sintiendo como si los quisieran volver a
engatusar con espejitos. Porque de eso se trata,
espejitos y cascabeles mediáticos a cambio de oro.

(Ilustración Juan Alvarez o'Neill)

Más de Revista Domingo Carta de los editoresQué
hayPausa en el mar Muerto Meteoritos "boricuas" Más
leche para vivir mejor

Espejitos

Domingo, 21 de Agosto de 2005
Mayra Montero

Uno lee el periódico y tiene la impresión de que el
país está compuesto de burbujas enloquecidas y
autónomas, cada cual por su lado, tratando de
sobrevivir y, en muchos casos, obtener un poco de
dinero fácil, el dinero es el signo, nadie lo ponga en
duda. A ver qué han estado haciendo esos supuestos
"taínos", metidos en un parque ceremonial, oponiéndose
a que desentierren las osamentas y exigiendo que se
les permita hacer no sé qué ceremonias por la
madrugada.

¿Pero cómo se puede ser tan ridículo a estas alturas?
Y una cosa que me he estado preguntando: ¿trabajan en
algo estos Nanikí, Guatibirí, Caguamix y Yabukén?
Porque si se encerraron tantos días, algunos en una
supuesta huelga de hambre, sin una mínima
reivindicación que pueda considerarse seria, es que no
tenían preocupación por reportarse a un empleo, ni
cuatro bocas que alimentar, ni una maestría para
terminar a tiempo.

Estaban allí, supongo que durmiendo en hamacas, espero
que engullendo casabe, vestiditos con taparrabos y
distrayéndose en frotar palitos. Es que no hay
derecho. El país cayéndose en pedazos, y esos
papanatas jugando a los indios en un parque, alegando
que son taínos que no les pueden desenterrar los
huesos. ¿Pero los huesos de quién? ¿Qué tendrán que
ver ellos, que no tengamos que ver los demás, con la
herencia taína en
cualquier lugar de las Antillas?

Alguien me ha soplado al oído que todo el reperpero
tuvo su origen en unos supuestos fondos federales para
comunidades indígenas que están disponibles a través
de no sé qué agencia. Si es así, eso lo explica todo.
A encerrarse con los "ancestros" y a documentar el
encierro. Deben estar revolcándose en la tumba los
taínos auténticos, sintiendo como si los quisieran
volver a engatusar con espejitos. Porque de eso se
trata, espejitos y cascabeles mediáticos a cambio de
oro.

Yo le tengo una mala noticia a esa recia "indiada" que
nos sorprendió sublevándose en tan mal momento. En
realidad les tengo dos malas noticias.

Primero: taínos, lo que se dice taínos, no hay ninguno
constatable. Eso está bien para los pieles rojas, que
se metían en las reservas y se Casaban entre ellos.
Pero en Puerto Rico, donde todo el mundo se mezcló con
todo el mundo, ¿a santo de qué vienen a reclamar esa
exclusividad?

Por los mismos días en que el Caney Quinto Mundo - que
parece el nombre de una orquesta de salsa japonesa- y
el Consejo General Taínos Borincanos, y la pomposa
Confederación Unidad del Pueblo Taíno (que supongo que
agrupa a miles de esforzados indígenas, que sobreviven
en las remotas zonas montañosas, cultivando la tierra
y conservando incólumes sus tradiciones), pues por los
mismos días en que los guatibirí montaron el numerito,
la Pennsilvania State University (y ésta es la segunda
mala noticia) dio a conocer los resultados de un
estudio que realizó entre 90 estudiantes de ese
centro.

La idea fue de Samuel Richard, un profesor de
relaciones raciales y étnicas, quien logró que los
alumnos se sometieran a un complejo examen genético
para determinar cuál era exactamente su composición
racial.

Participaron muchachos rubios como soles, que nunca
habían puesto en duda su blancura, y negros
convencidos de que por sus venas no corría otra cosa
que la sangre africana. Para su sorpresa, se descubrió
que casi todos tenían en su DNA material genético de varias
razas.

Por ejemplo, un estudiante blanco -blanco sin
sospecha- supo que el 14 por ciento de su enjundia
provenía de África, y el 6 por ciento era oriental. A
otro muchacho negro, y orgulloso de su negritud, le
fue informado que tenía un blanquito en la trastienda:
la mitad de su material genético era europeo, un golpe
terrible pero para eso se hizo el experimento, para
enseñarles que "ellos no son lo que creen ser", según
dijo el profesor. La piel, hoy por hoy, no dice nada.
Y mucho menos el pelo. Si a los "taínos" que se
encerraron en Utuado les hicieran esa prueba, nos
íbamos a estar riendo un mes.

Y si la prueba nos la hacen a los demás, pues quién
sabe qué sorpresa nos llevamos. Me sale un 20 por
ciento de material genético caribe - que Eran tan
sanguinarios y guerreros-, y entonces no me queda más
remedio que irme a encerrar con la Confederación Caney, a
pelearme allí con ellos y a sacarlos por las greñas
del Parque Ceremonial o de donde sea. Si es que no me
da con meterlos en una olla y comérmelos hervidos.

Lo malo es que mientras el palo iba y venía, hubo
gastos de tribunales, abogados, papelería y agentes
policíacos (que pagamos todos: indios, moros y
cristianos), para vigilar el perímetro del Parque y a
los idiotas estos.

Falta de oficio, que dirían caribes y taínos, fumando
filosóficamente, mirando el patético paisaje.

Carib Heritage Festival in Trinidad

Ricardo Hernandez, the Chief of the Trinidad & Tobago Carib Community, has invited all American Indians and others to participate in the October 14th - 16th Heritage Festival in Trinidad.

Chief Hernandez is expecting Caribs from South and Central America as well as from within the Caribbean (Dominica). All are invited to participate in the events. Ceremonial and cultural events will be held in the three major cities within Trinidad: Port-of-Spain, San Fernando & Arima.

A meeting of Caribbean Indigenous Leaders with also be held at this time under the auspices of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP).

For more information contact (868)667-0210 or visit http://www.uctp.org/trinidad.htm

8/25/2005

Puerto Rico’s Biotech Harvest

by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

(Alternet, July 13, 2004) - If the American people are for the most part unaware of genetic engineering and food biotechnology issues, the people of Puerto Rico are blissfully in the dark – so far.

Puerto Rico, known for its pineapples and its world-renowned coffee crop, now has a new crop: the biotech harvest.

Much of the genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean seed planted in the United States comes from this Caribbean island. Furthermore, Puerto Rico is also a preferred location for agricultural biotechnology experiments. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture

When one considers the vast difference in size (Illinois and Iowa have just over 50,000 sq. miles each, whereas Puerto Rico has less than 4,000 sq. miles) it becomes evident that Puerto Rico has more such experiments per square mile than any state, with the possible exception of Hawaii. Puerto Rico also tops California, with 1,709 experiments, although it is approximately 40 times larger than PR and has a vastly larger agricultural output.

These experiments are mostly aimed at the two most widely used GE traits: herbicide resistance (like Roundup Ready crops) and insect control (like the insecticidal Bt corn). But they also include research on biopharmaceutical crops – plants that produce pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals in their tissues – and has also included the controversial “Terminator” crops, which produce sterile seed.

Why Puerto Rico?

The island’s friendly tropical weather permits as many as four harvests per year, making it a favorite for seed breeders for agribusiness and biotechnology corporations like Dow, Syngenta, Pioneer and Monsanto, which got together in 1996 to form the PR Seed Research Association (AISPR).

But another reason for choosing Puerto Rico is its “good political climate.” Puerto Rico is not an independent country, nor is it a state of the American union. It is an “unincorporated territory.” Puerto Ricans are US citizens subject to US laws, yet they cannot vote in presidential elections and have no representation in Congress. There are no anti-biotech campaigns or protesters, not even the mildest criticism. If the American people are for the most part unaware of genetic engineering and food biotechnology issues, the people of Puerto Rico are blissfully in the dark.

Is agricultural biotechnology safe? The US government and the biotech industry argue vehemently that biotech crops and products are safe, are extremely well tested and regulated, and present no new risks to public health or the environment. But many scientists, farmers and environmental NGOs beg to differ.

Genetic Contamination

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate GE foods,” stated the environmental group Friends of the Earth USA (FoE USA) in a report issued in 2003. Instead, says the report, the FDA has a “voluntary consultation” process that allows biotechnology companies to decide which, if any, safety tests to conduct and how they will be performed. “The company determines which data, if any, are shared with regulators. In fact, the company even determines whether it will consult with the FDA at all.”

Other groups, like the UK-based Institute of Science in Society and the US-based Center for Critical Genetics, claim that the scientific assumptions behind genetic engineering are plain wrong and obsolete.

One of the biotech critics’ main concerns is genetic contamination – the uncontrolled proliferation of GE crops through pollination, inventory errors and other means. In late 2002 I gave a presentation at a symposium on biotechnology organized by the Puerto Rico Agricultural Extension Service in which I warned that it is only a matter of time before a biopharmaceutical crop (for example one that produces a powerful pharmaceutical substance) accidentally ends up on supermarket shelves, causing a biological Chernobyl, a public health emergency of horrific and unprecedented nature.

After my talk, Dow corporation representative Victor Torres-Collazo, himself a former AISPR president, respectfully disagreed with me. He assured me that genetic contamination is not a problem because of very strict precautionary measures mandated by law.

But fears of GE contamination are indeed well founded. In 2000, over 300 US supermarket products were found to be tainted with Starlink, a variety of GE corn that the FDA had deemed unfit for human consumption. Some 140 million bushels were contaminated, food processors and grain traders spent around $1 billion over six months trying to locate it and get rid of it, and even today traces of Starlink keep showing up occasionally in American corn exports.

The following year GE corn was discovered growing in Mexico’s rural communities, a development whose long-term consequences for biodiversity, agriculture and human health remain uncertain.

In February 2004 the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) unveiled a pilot study that shows that breeders’ varieties of corn, soy, canola and cotton seed in the United States are contaminated with GE material. This means that farmers in the USA – and wherever American seed is exported – could be planting GE seed without knowing it.

“Seeds will be our only recourse if the prevailing belief in the safety of genetic engineering proves wrong,” warns UCS. “Heedlessly allowing the contamination of traditional plant varieties with genetically engineered sequences amounts to a huge wager on our ability to understand a complicated technology that manipulates life at the most elemental level.”

Uncontrolled Experiments

The aforementioned genetic experiments in Puerto Rico are not carried out in sealed greenhouses or fermentation vats. “These are outdoor, uncontrolled experiments,” said Bill Freese, of FoE USA. “These experimental GE traits are almost certainly contaminating conventional crops just as the commercialized GE traits are. And the experimental GE crops aren’t even subject to the cursory rubber-stamp ‘approval’ process that commercialized GE crops go through – so I think the high concentration of experimental GE crop trials in Puerto Rico is definitely cause for concern.”

I asked P.R. agriculture secretary Luis Rivero-Cubano if he thought GE crops were any reason for concern. He said that the GE fields here are “just experimental.” The agriculture secretary himself seemed unaware of the massive commercial production of GE seed right here in Puerto Rico.

I then spoke with P.R. Farm Bureau president Ramon Gonzalez, who told a somewhat different story. According to Gonzalez, there are no GE experiments in Puerto Rico; all biotech crops grown here are for commercial use.

Gonzalez himself grows GE corn and soy – for export to the USA as seed – in his farm in the town of Salinas. He claimed to be particularly happy with the soy, which is genetically engineered to be resistant to the Roundup herbicide. He said Roundup is “environmentally benign,” a claim disputed by environmentalists and organic farmers.

Next on my list was the USDA, which has to approve every open-air biotech crop field test. None of Department’s employees seemed to know anything about genetically engineered crops. After an exasperating and fruitless exchange, one of them provided me a USDA phone number in Washington, which turned out to be that of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Service.

The local office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proved no more helpful. Its spokesman Jose Font stated that agriculture does not concern the agency unless toxic pesticides are used.

Finally, I tried the P.R. Environmental Quality Board. No dice. A spokeswoman said that since Puerto Rico has no laws or regulations for GM crops, it has no mandate to intervene or investigate.

Civil society organizations? Forget it. Their leaders have no position on the issue, to the extent that any of them even know what biotech is.

A “good political climate,” indeed.

No protests, no opposition. Not yet, anyway.

Puerto Rican journalist Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero directs the Puerto Rico Project on Biosafety. He is also a Research Associate of the Institute for Social Ecology, a fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and a senior fellow of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

SEE RELATED ARTICLE AT:
http://www.checkbiotech.org/blocks/dsp_document.cfm?doc_id=4093

8/21/2005

Boriken Ceremonial Park Occupation Follow Up

Follow Up on Boriken Ceremonial Park Occupation

Utuado, Puerto Rico - Following the arrests of Taino protesters last
week in Utuado, Puerto Rico a number of follow up activities have
been initiated to continue to highlight the lack of indigenous
rights on the island as well as the on-going destruction of sacred
places and ancestral remains.

On Monday, August 15, 2005 a group of Taino youth lobbied the 80
member Puerto Rican legislature hand delivering the demands the
Boriken Taino leadership who courageously and at great personal
hardship occupied the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center for over
two and a half weeks. The youth group called 'Joventud Indigena de
Boriken' was established in response to Caguana occupation as Taino
youth at the university level were inspired by the action of their
community leaders. The youth were accompanied by several Taino
leaders who were part of the occupation as well as other community
members. The students also attempted to meet with the Governor but
were unable to do so. Taino community leader Naniki Reyes Ocasio
noted that the continued lack of responsive of the current
administration demonstrates that there is no forum for Taino People
in Boriken (Puerto Rico) to voice their concerns.

Another member of the Caguana occupation, Guatibiri Baez joined
Naniki Reyes Ocasio and Taino community elder and spiritual leader
Manuel Galagarza on the television show 'Andar pa Ca'ar' on
Wednesday August 17, to present their views on the events in Utuado.
The Taíno representatives spoke on a variety of issues on the
nationally broadcast program. In this coming week, members of the
occupation will also appear on 'Radio Isla' having an opportunity to
again broadcast their perspectives throughout the island for a full
45 minutes.

This weekend Taino community leaders are meeting in the Caguana area
to discuss and evaluate the occupation and follow up strategies.

A detailed account of the arrests in Caguana will soon be posted on
the website of the United Confederation of Taino People (http://www.uctp.org/)
demonstrating the brutality of the police against the peaceful
protesters.

8/15/2005

Dominica: A Role Model for Sustainable Tourism Development

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Caribbean destination Dominica was featured as a role model for sustainable tourism development yesterday, at the First International Conference on Environmental and Sustainable Development held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 10-12, 2005.

In a presentation entitled “Adopting Geotourism Strategies for Sustainable Tourism Development,” Deirdre Shurland, Director of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), analyzed the case of Dominica, which is currently pursuing destination certification under the Green Globe 21 Community standard and as reported in a 2003 study funded by USAID and conducted by PA Consulting Group.

She highlighted the challenges faced by the island, and the opportunities presented by this certification. Shurland then brought to light some of the challenges faced by Caribbean destinations around the region and emphasized the necessity for committed leadership to drive the charge for tourism sustainability.

“Green Globe 21 destination certification can offer critical opportunities for Dominica to reverse the declining trend in visitor arrivals since 1999. Everyone should assist, wherever possible, to ensure that Dominica successfully attains its objective,” says Shurland.

Relatively undeveloped, lacking main tourism infrastructures and resources, and suffering from a poorly defined country-identity in the tourism market, Dominica would benefit significantly from marketing, environmental, social and political opportunities of the Green Globe 21 certification. These benefits include:

*

marketing: increasing awareness of Dominica as an international case study on sustainable tourism for small island states;
*

environmental: enhance the quality of its nature-based product through the provision of accurate data for decision-making;
*

social: create island-wide environmental awareness by linking the growth of tourism to the quality of the environment, and stimulate the participation and integration of local communities into the tourism sector;
*

political: institutionalization of a permanent dialogue between public and private sectors with regards to the development of tourism.

At a regional level, similar challenges faced by some Caribbean destinations include weakness of public/private partnerships; lack of infrastructure; insufficient awareness at political and communities level; insufficient financial and technical resources; and tourism product sameness.

Shurland also demonstrated the similarities between sustainable tourism principles and strategies, such as Green Globe 21 certification – a program endorsed and promoted by CAST – and geotourism principles.

GREEN GLOBE 21 is a global benchmarking and certification program managed by Green Globe Asia Pacific (GGAP) from Canberra, Australia, which facilitates sustainable travel and tourism for consumers, companies and communities.

This global program is based on Agenda 21 and the principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 governments at the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992.

The Caribbean is the region that holds the highest number of Green Globe 21 properties worldwide, with 66 certified and 12 benchmarked properties.

Delegates from across the Caribbean, the United States, Central and South America, the Pacific, and Europe delved into the theme “Environment: Our Partner in Development” over a three-day meeting.

8/13/2005

Occupation Ends in Arrests but Taíno Claim Victory in Boriken


Utuado, Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) – After their arrests on Wednesday, August 10, Taino community leaders celebrated a victory in court on Friday, when a local Judge refused to give an order to prevent them from re-entering a state run archeological park they consider sacred. The court did find however that the Taíno did not have the right to "exert dominion and control of the park", at least temporarily. A decision will be made on the issue of dominion at an upcoming hearing.

The Taíno occupied the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Utuado for over two and a half weeks to bring attention to island wide destruction of sacred sites and the lack of recognition of their rights as indigenous peoples.

"The court basically is reviewing an injunction that seeks to temporarily or permanently prevent us [Taino] from staying over night on the grounds, which is a direct violation of our religious freedoms" said Naniki Reyes Ocasio, founder of the Caney Quinto Mundo. "The court and the [Puerto Rican] Institute of Culture view `dominion' as a form of possession so it is obvious that they have no concept of indigenous perspectives as they relate to those terms"

She continued, "If the Institute had their way they would have barred any one identifying themselves as Taino from entering the park permanently but this did not happen".

Reyes Ocasio was observing her 16th day of a hunger strike when she and two other community member supporters, Guatibiri Baez and Juana Griselle Martinez Prieto, were arrested Wednesday inside Caguana Ceremonial Center.

"Seeing those officers trotting down to us in rows of five was like watching something out of an old Western movie when the Calvary moves in to attack an unsuspecting Native village" observed Reyes Ocasio. With no arrest warrants presented, the three peaceful protesters were forcibly shackled by hands and feet by a 15 member special police tactical unit in full assault armor.

Reyes Ocasio, Baez, and Martinez Prieto noted that the police did all they could to attempt to frighten and humiliate them. A previous court negotiation assured the protesters they would be arrested with their lawyer present and that Naniki would be provided a wheel chair as she was having trouble walking; a result of her long hunger strike. "They did not comply with any of conditions they agreed to in court; this was a well calculated assault with intent to harm us" she stated as she ended her 17 day fast late Thursday night.

Three other protesters, members of the Consejo General, Elba Anaca Lugo, Taino Rosado and Margarita Shashira Muñoz, turned themselves over to the authorities on Thursday morning. They were outside the park at the time of the arrests. Charges were dropped against additional participants of the occupation.

"Despite the harsh treatment, which even included a strip search of two of our community members, we are celebrating a victory here in Caguana for a number of reasons" said Reyes Ocasio.

The action has reportedly been an inspiration to many Taino descendants around the island and beyond. A delegation of elders, leaders and youth now plan to take the group's concerns and petition to San Juan on Monday and deliver them to legislative representatives, the Mayor of San Juan and of course to the Governor.

"We have exposed the Executive Branch of the Government and the Institute of Culture not only for failing to recognize indigenous rights but they are now well documented to be publicly hostile to the Taino People on the island" said Roger Atihuibancesh Hernandez, a representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People.

"The Caguana action is a victory for all Taíno People as we have raised the issue of Taíno rights, as well as the desecration of sacred sites, ancestral remains, and sacred artifacts to an unprecedented level here in Borikén" he continued. "We had regular coverage in local papers and our leaders were interviewed on radio and television throughout the occupation".

"Whether the press has been favorable or not is not the point, what matters is that no one can say we have been silent on this issue" said Atihuibancesh.

During the occupation local support gained momentum for the Taíno as a group of prominent archeologists publicly supported the group's actions. Although they were ignored by Puerto Rican Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila, they were supported at the municipal level with a special proclamation by the honorable Mayor of Utuado, Alan González Cancel.

As the group celebrated their victories in Caguana, many lessons have been learned and all the leaders remain extremely grateful for the overwhelming support they have received from the local and international communities.

8/10/2005

Taíno Indians Still Awaiting Arrest in Puerto Rico

Some of the neglected stones at the Caguana Ceremonial Center. (Photo: Elba Anaca Lugo)

Utuado, Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) - On Monday August 8th, legal advisor Maurico Hernandez secured another interm victory on Monday for the Taíno protesters still occupying the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Hernandez was able to secure a continuance of the injunction of criminal charges for Friday August 12.

The impasse is creating mounting pressure on the Office of Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila, which continues to publicly ignore the Taino’s call for recognition of their basic human rights.

“The Governor is well aware of the situation but it seems that his administration is seeking resolution of the occupation through the decision of the courts” said Hernandez. “We have demonstrated to the Governor not only that we will not be moved so easily but we have growing local and international support”.

On August 8th, a call from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was made to the Governor’s Office to inquire about the health of Naniki Reyes Ocasio, a Taino leader who has been on a hunger strike for 16 days. The Governor’s representative reported to the UN official that “Naniki” was not on an actual hunger strike nor could the group prove their aboriginal claims. In an attempt to display Governor Acevedo Vila’s humanity, his representative also reported to the UN that they have sent rain gear and shelters for the protesters.

The Taíno protesters vehemently deny all these claims.

“Until yesterday, no one, not even the Mayor of Utuado has been allowed into the Ceremonial park with the exception of 911 paramedics" stated Hernandez.

As a result of the allegations being perpetuated against them, yesterday August 9th, the protesters secured Dr. Carlos Morales who entered the park and certified that Naniki Reyes Ocasio has indeed been engaging in a hunger strike for 15 days.

While the group will follow up on the criminal charges on Friday, they are still awaiting their imminent arrest for failing to appear before an Utuado judge last week. Arrests of the protesters are expected as early as this afternoon but no conditions restricting their return to the state run archeological park were stipulated.

Chavez Gives Land Titles to the Indigenous


Members of the Karina tribe applaud Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his speech during a land title ceremony in the Eastern Santa Rosa de Takata, Venezuela, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005. Chavez presented land titles to six indigenous groups, seeking to recognize their rights to traditional lands and reverse what he says have been centuries of discrimination. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)


By THAIS LEON, Associated Press Writer Tue Aug 9,10:02 PM ET

KARI'NA LA ISLA, Venezuela - Six of Venezuela's indigenous communities received title to their ancestral lands on Tuesday in a ceremony that Venezuela's president said reversed centuries of injustice.

President Hugo Chavez said he hoped the government would be able to turn over titles to 15 other indigenous communities by the end of the year.

"What we're recognizing is the original ownership of these lands," Chavez said during the ceremony. "Now no one will be able to come and trample over you in the future."
He was joined by Kari'na Indians wearing traditional dress, face paint and strings of colored beads.

But Chavez warned that the process of granting legal ownership must respect Venezuela's "territorial unity," and he urged other indigenous groups not to ask for "infinite expanses of territory."

"Don't ask me to give you the state's rights to exploit mines, to exploit oil," Chavez said. "Before all else comes national unity."

The documents recognize land ownership by six indigenous communities with some 4,000 people and territory covering 314,000 acres in the eastern states of Anzoategui and Monagas.

One woman from the Kari'na community thanked Chavez, saying: "He has been the first president who has kept his word to a people who have been stripped of their lands."
An estimated 300,000 Venezuelans belong to 28 indigenous groups, many living in the country's sparsely populated southeast.

South American countries have made various efforts to grant indigenous groups legal ownership and control over their traditional territories.

In neighboring Colombia, indigenous groups in officially recognized communities can administer justice, receive state funds and have their own government. Brazil has set aside more than 12 percent of its territory for indigenous communities, and in Peru various laws declare the rights of indigenous groups to ancestral territory in the Amazon.

But problems have arisen in some countries as miners and loggers have moved onto Indian lands. And in various countries, a key debate has revolved around the state's rights to what lies underground, such as oil and mineral wealth.

8/09/2005

UN MARKS INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY

UN MARKS INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY WITH CALL FOR ACTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

New York, NY - The global community must move from words to action to protect the rights of its indigenous peoples, from their lives to their livelihoods and their lands to their languages, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message marking the International Day of the World's Indigenous People.

"We rejoice in the richness of indigenous cultures and the special contributions they make to the human family," he declared, noting that the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People launched in 1995 helped make their voices heard more clearly around the world.

"We also recall the tremendous challenges which so many indigenous peoples face, ranging from unacceptable levels of poverty and disease to dispossession, discrimination and denial of basic human rights," he added.

"This year, we enter a Second Decade, and as we do so, let us remember that dialogue alone is not enough. Our focus must be on action to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and improve their situations with respect to their lands, their languages, their livelihoods, and their cultures."

The Day was being marked throughout the whole UN system with special observances ranging from artistic performance to panel discussions and messages from specialized agencies highlighting the issues within their purview.

For example, the Director General of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Kamil Idris, highlighted the need to protect traditional cultural expressions and knowledge and associated genetic resources against misappropriation and misuse, thus helping indigenous peoples to exercise greater authority over how these vital elements of their cultural identity are used and disseminated.

At UN Headquarters in New York, indigenous artists were staging performances in the Public Lobby and a panel discussion was being held in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium.

The celebrations also included the screening of a documentary film, 'Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations,' which is intended to raise awareness about indigenous issues among government officials and staff of UN agencies, funds and programmes.

2005-08-09

For full program of the International Day's events and information see:

http://www.un.org/events/indigenous/sg.htm

http://www.un.org/events/indigenous/
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

8/08/2005

RIGHTS-PUERTO RICO: The Taíno's Last Stand

by Katherine Stapp

NEW YORK, Aug 8 (IPS) - A group of indigenous Puerto Ricans is occupying a cultural centre in hopes of pressuring Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá to meet with them and address what they say are continuing violations of human rights and desecration of sacred sites around the Caribbean island.

On Aug. 4, a judge issued arrest warrants for five protesters at the Caguana Ceremonial Centre in Utuado, in northwestern Puerto Rico. One of them, Naniki Reyes Ocasio, has now been on a hunger strike for 14 days. The police have yet to enforce the warrants, however, and the activists are scheduled to appear in court again Monday.

''What is happening is that as more and more development hits the island, they keep running into Taíno burial sites and old villages,'' said Roberto Borrero, president of the U.S. Regional Coordinating Office of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) in New York.

''Sometimes the construction stops until an archaeologist can verify if it is an 'important' site or not. What usually happens is that sites are not considered important and the archaeologist takes the artefacts and construction keeps going,'' he told IPS on the eve of International Day of the World's Indigenous People, Aug. 9.

Borrero said that 52 families have also been protesting in the northern coastal town of Arecibo, and another group in Caguitas has been fighting to keep a sacred area from being developed into a parking lot and a strip mall.

Although the mayor of Utuado has expressed support for the protesters, who began their occupation of the state-run archaeological park on Jul. 24, the head of Puerto Rico's Institute of Culture has been generally hostile, apparently stating that the Institute "would not allow cannibalism or the sacrifice of captured enemies to take place there" -- hardly among the protesters' demands.

The Taíno are a subgroup of the Arawak Indians of northeastern South America, who inhabited the Greater Antilles -- Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico -- when Spanish explorer and conqueror Christopher Columbus arrived in the so-called New World five centuries ago.

When the European settlers first came in 1508, there were an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 Taíno, but maltreatment, disease, flight, and unsuccessful rebellion had diminished their number to 4,000 by 1515. In 1544, a Spanish bishop counted only 60, but these too were soon lost.

However, their cultural influence persisted. Taíno place names are still used for such Puerto Rican towns as Utuado, Mayagüez, Caguas, and Humacao, and many Taíno implements and techniques were copied by the Europeans, including the bohío (straw hut), hamaca (hammock), the musical instrument known as the maracas, and the method of making cassava bread.

Juan Carlos Martínez Cruzado, a genetics professor at the University of Puerto Rico, recently completed a research project funded by the National Science Foundation, an independent U.S. federal agency, to determine the continental origin of the mitochondrial DNA of Puerto Ricans.

He found that analyses of some 300 hair root samples from Puerto Ricans chosen randomly by a computer identified 62 percent as Amerindian, 30 percent as African blacks and eight percent as Caucasian, casting doubt on the notion that the Taínos disappeared from Puerto Rico by the end of the 16th century.

"One of the biggest disgraces for the Taíno is the display of our ancestral remains in museums," Borrero said. "We know what our ancestors wanted because the archaeologist found them buried in distinctive positions and with funerary objects. They did not want to be dug up and placed in museums."

"As we come from an ancient agricultural society, it is important that our ancestors finish their mission and become part of the soil or 'Mother Earth' again."

He said that many other artefacts and even human remains are being sold on the popular Internet auction site Ebay, and there has been no attempt by the Puerto Rican government to stop it.

"We as a community want to have input into the way the artefacts are dealt with, how archaeological parks are managed, and we especially want to rebury or ancestors and let them rest in peace," Borrero said.

"Would others like their grandparents or great-grandparents to be dug up and put on display? How do you explain to your children why their ancestors are on display and not other groups?"

Governor Vila, Puerto Rico's top government official, has not issued any public statement or indicated whether he would meet with the protesters. Calls to his spokesperson's office in Washington were not returned by the time this story was published.

Puerto Rico is described as a ''commonwealth'' which is a ''free associated state'' of the United States. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but cannot vote for president. The island has no lawmakers in the U.S. Congress.

In May, the Taíno people of Puerto Rico, together with the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, the Hoboshirima Arawak Community of Venezuela, the Nación Taína de las Antillas and the UCTP called on the United Nations to schedule a trip by members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, including the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to the region to gain first-hand knowledge of the situation of indigenous peoples there.

They urged the U.N. and other donors to allocate funding for meetings in the Caribbean relating to indigenous issues, and to ensure the effective participation of indigenous women, particularly with regard to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs include a 50 percent reduction in poverty and hunger; universal primary education; reduction of child mortality by two- thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; the promotion of gender equality; and the reversal of the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases by 2015.

(END/2005)

8/07/2005

Candle Light Vigil Scheduled For Taíno Hunger Striker in Puerto Rico


Taino Elder Manuel Galagarza Supporting Hunger Striker Naniki Reyes Ocasio at Caguana (Photo:R. Atihuibancesh)

Utuado, Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) It is the 13th day of a hunger strike for Naniki Reyes Ocasio, a Taíno Indian leader who is trying to bring attention to the lack of recognition of Taíno Rights in Puerto Rico. She and several other Taíno leaders from around the island have been occupying the state run archeological park, the Caguana Ceremonial Center, in Utuado Puerto Rico for over two weeks. The group inside the park and their supporters outside the park have stated they will leave the grounds, which they consider sacred, if a meeting with Puerto Rico’s Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila can be secured. As of today, there has been no official communication from the Governor to the protesters or any statement from his administration on this issue.

“The desecration of sacred sites and our ancestor’s remains has been going on for far too long, and our pleas for change and dialogue have been ignored” stated Naniki Reyes Ocasio. “We will continue here in Caguana for as long as we can to bring attention to this issue”

The candle light vigil that we will observe tonight from 8-8:30pm tonight is a call for solidarity for our sister and leader Naniki” said Roger Atihuibancesh, a representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People who is supporting the action with others outside the park. “We obviously are concerned for her health but we know our ancestors and all the prayers coming from around the world are sustaining her”. Although the Taíno entered the park on Sunday July 24th, the first official day of the occupation was set to coincide with the celebrations of the Day of the Puerto Rico Constitution on the 25th. The Taíno chose this day to highlight the lack of recognition of indigenous rights in the constitution of Puerto Rico.

While there has been no word from the Governor, and the island’s Institute of Culture has been hostile to the peaceful protesters, the Taíno continue to gain support from island residents and the international community.


Supporters Gather Outside Park in Utuado (Photo: Maurico Hernandez)

Yesterday, the Mayor of Utuado, the Hon. Alan González Cancel, expressed his support for the Taíno protesters in a meeting held with the protesters in front of the park. With about 250 supporters in attendance, Mayor González Cancel read an official Proclamation, which supported the action, the Taíno protesters, and the importance of Caguana Ceremonial Center. He proclaimed the 25th of July a special day of commemoration for the Taíno action in Utuado. The Taíno responded positively as elders accepted the Mayor’s Proclamation on behalf of the local community. Taíno presented songs and dances, which were enjoyed by community residents and the Mayor’s entire cabinet.

Native American organizations and communities have also been supportive with some originations, like United Native America, calling for a tourism boycott of Puerto Rico until the Governor meets with the protesters to hear their proposals. United Native America represents thousands of Native Americans across the U.S.

The protesters are due to appear before a local judge tomorrow to answer to additional charges being pursued by the Institute of Culture against the Taíno for the occupation. Last Thursday, arrest warrants were issued for 5 protesters including Naniki Reyes Ocasio but police have not come forth to remove them.

Along with calling for prays for Naniki Reyes Ocasio, the Taíno hope the candle light vigil tonight will help the Governor to see that they have wide support and he will finally decide to meet with them.
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● To contact the United Confederation of Taíno People: 1(212)604-4186

8/05/2005

United Nations Art Indigenous Exhibition Ends


United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - As part of the activities held in recognition of the 2005 Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an Art Exhibition entitled "In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples" opened Tuesday May 16th and closed yesterday, August 2nd 2005. Curated by Jan Arneson of the United Nations Exhibitions Unit, the show featured indigenous artistry from around the world. As in previous years and since the establishment of the UN Indigenous Forum, Taino artists were featured in the Caribbean Indigenous section. This year featured artists included the paintings of Millie "Mucara" Torres Speeg and Charlie Rosario.

The participation of Caribbean indigenous artists from throughout the region was coordinated by the UCTP and also featured selected crafts in collaboration with the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), the Carib Community of Dominica, and the Joboshirima Lokono Arawak Community of Venezuela. Over 250,000 visitors are estimated to have viewed the exhibition from May through August.

Relevant Information on Caguana Ceremonial Center

Taino'ti Guaitiao (Greetings Relatives):

It is my hope that at the time you receive this message you are in good health and Spirit. On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), I am writing to share some background information on the issue of sacred sites, ancestral remains and the Caguana Ceremonial Center in Utuado, Puerto Rico. This information may be helpful in understanding the importance of the current occupation of Caguana and the efforts to secure Taino rights in Puerto Rico and beyond.

Oma'bahari (With respect),
Roberto Mukaro Borrero,
President and Chairman, UCTP
Office of International Relations and
Regional Coordination
PO Box 4515
New York, NY 10163
http://www.uctp.org/
http://www.uctp.blogspot.com
1(212)604-4186

----------------------------------------


Sacred Stone Carvings at Caguana Ceremonial Center

1.) Taíno Perspectives on the Sacred Sites and Reburial

THE ISSUE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND SACRED SITES: A FOCUS ON THE CARIBBEAN (2003): http://www.iccsus.org/IstConf/424.html

TAINO SACRED SITES: AN INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS FOR A DOMESTIC SOLUTION (2003) by DeAnna Sarobei Rivera:
http://www.law.arizona.edu/Journals/AJICL/AJICL2003/Vol202/Rivera.pdf

UCTP Submission to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, under Item 4(e) CULTURE (May 2003): http://www.uctp.org/pfsub.html

They Must Be Re-Interred And Allowed To Rest In Peace (By Naniki Reyes Ocasio):
http://www.uctp.org/funeralcustoms.html

An Overview of the `Health of Mother Earth' Sacred Places Conference in San Diego, CA (by DeAnna Sarobei Rivera): http://www.uctp.org/Volume5/OctDec2002/

UCTP Sacred Sites Presentation to UNESCO (May 2002):
http://www.uctp.org/UNCulturalHeritage.html


2.) Information on the Caguana Ceremonial Center in Utuado, Puerto
Rico

Puerto Rican Tourism Information on Caguana Ceremonial Center:
http://www.gotopuertorico.com/go_cultureHistory.php?language=english&page=50

Puerto Rico Culture Center Publications on Caguana Ceremonial Grounds (en Espanol):
http://www.indio.net/taino/pdf/arc.htm

Caguana: A Potential Solar Observatory? Angel Rodriguez Alvarez sends a report of his ongoing research on the Caguana Ceremonial Center, an ancient ball court in Puerto Rico. The archaeological remains of ball courts are found throughout the American Southwest, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Area. Of all the Antilles, the greatest number of ball courts are found in Puerto Rico. These plazas are characterized by rows of upright stones embedded in the ground to delimit the area. In Puerto Rico, the most important of these sites is the Caguana
Ceremonial Center. The Caguana Site is a large ceremonial center constructed during the late prehistoric and early protohistoric Capa Phase (A.D.1200-1500), and occupied by the Tahino indians up through contact with the Spaniards. The site consist of 10 earth and stone line ball courts, making this the largest of its kind in the entire West Indies.

In essence, The Caguana Site, as a ball court and ceremonial center had different functions: First, it was used for ceremonial dances, religious rituals and other rites; second, it was used for playing ball games in which two teams of equal in numbers tossed a ball to each other; and third, we believe it was used to make astronomical observations . The aim of the present study is to determine if there is any relationship between the aligment of the ball courts in Caguana with the sunrise during the solstices and equinoxes. Results indicate that two row of slabs on Plaza A are aligned toward the Autumn and Spring Sunrise. Also, the two shorter sides of Plaza B are aligned toward the Summer Solstice Sunrise. In addition to the Summer Solstice and Equinox Sunrise, the Tahino Indians could also observed the Full Moonrise along Plaza A.

Source: http://www.wam.umd.edu/~tlaloc/archastro/ae32.html

8/03/2005

Judge Orders Arrest of Indigenous Taíno Protesters at PR Sacred Ceremonial Grounds



Utuado Mayor Alan González Cancel Meets with Elba Anaca Lugo, Carmen Rodriguez and other Taino community members at Caguana to offer his support. Photo: Roger Atihuibancex Hernandez

Utuado, Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) – After 10 days of occupying the state run Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Utuado, Puerto Rico arrest warrants have been issued for the indigenous Taíno protesters. Utuado Judge Concepcion Figueroa has charged five of the activists with contempt of court for failing to appear before her this morning. Bail has been set at one thousand dollars for each one of the activists and a trial has been set for the fourth of October . The Taíno reclaimed the ceremonial center in an effort to draws attention to the island wide desecration of sacred sites, and the lack of recognition of their basic human rights.

The Taíno now await the arresting police officers to appear at Caguana and remove them from the grounds that they consider sacred. One protester, Naniki Reyes Ocasio, has been on a hunger for nine days will need medical assistance as she is having trouble walking. The other six hunger strikers have ended their fast but remain vigilant at the site. “Spiritually I feel so strong and I know that it is the prayers of the people and the ancient ones who are sustaining me” said Reyes Ocasio. “I am very clear in my thoughts and I am aware that many supporters have concerns for my health but I want everyone to know that I will continue to fast for as long as I can so that our petition can be heard.”

Roger Atihuibancex, a representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People added “The fact that the Governor’s Office has not officially responded to the petitioners who have been engaged in a hunger strike for over a week should make it clear to the world that the Taíno and our concerns are being completely ignored”

Reyes Ocasio, who is the founder of the Caney Quinto Mundo (Fith World Learning Center), continued by stating “In denying the people he was elected to serve access to his offices, the Governor and his administration have demonstrated to the world their inhumanity and feelings toward Indigenous Peoples”. She has requested that supporters continue to apply pressure on Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila to meet with the Taíno protestors.

The Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center is an archeological park run by Puerto Rico’s Institute of Culture and the Taíno have received no sympathy from this agency. The Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Tio, has publicly denounced the activists, comparing them to cannibals and terrorists. The Director is currently facing her own problems with her own staff as calls for her resignation are being made. For the last two days her staff members have picketed in front of the Institute’s offices in San Juan citing her dictatorial management style. In yesterday’s edition of Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia, Dr. Tio has stated that increased security at the Institute which barred the protesting employees from entering the premises was necessary because of the action of the “alleged Taínos in Caguana”.

The Taíno and their action in Caguana have not gone unnoticed or unsupported by island residents or the international community. Yesterday, the Mayor of Utuado, the Hon. Alan González Cancel, expressed his concerns for the Taíno protesters as well as the importance of the ceremonial center. Representatives of the Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos (General Council of Borikén Taíno) will meet with him to discuss their concerns on Friday.


===============================================

● To contact the United Confederation of Taino People: 1(212)604-4186

AÚN SIN RESPUESTA DEL ALTO EJECUTIVO / STILL NO RESPONSE FROM THE HIGH EXECUTIVE















Mauricio "Guatuel" Hernandez, the legal advisor to the Taino protesters at Caguana explains the situation to some Taino community members. Photo: Roger Atihuibancex Hernandez

Utuado, Puerto Rico - Hoy, octavo día de huelga de hambre, aún no hay respuesta del gobernador (Hon. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.). El Pueblo Taíno recurre a su sensibilidad humana, ya que nos preocupa mucho la salud de nuestra compañera y portavoz, Naniki Reyes Ocasio. Esperamos su pronta respuesta (787-519-3551.)

El alcalde del municipio de Utuado (Hon. Alan González Cancel) apoya y auspicia indígenas ubicados en el Caguana. Consejo General de Taínos Borincanos y el Hon. Alan González Cancel (alcalde del municipio de Utuado)convocan al Pueblo Boricua a que hagan acto de presencia a un arieto (dialogo) entre los portavoces del Consejo y el alcalde, el viernes, 5 de agosto, 2005, a las 6:00 p.m. enfrente al Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana en Utuado. En una visita
inesperada, el Hon. Alan González Cancel nos expresó su preocupación genuina por el estado actual en que se encuentra el Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana, lugar que, según él afirma, es tradicionalmente valioso en lo histórico / cultural al nivel local, e internacional.

Reconoció, también, la seriedad y la importancia de nuestro Reclamo Sagrado. Le agradecemos por su visita, palabras alentadoras y apoyo genuino.

--- Fin ---

ENGLISH TRANSLATION


STILL NO RESPONSE FROM THE HIGH EXECUTIVE

Utuado, Puerto Rico - Today, eighth day of the hunger strike, there is still no response from the governor (Hon. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.). The Taíno People appeal to his human sensitivity, since we are very worried about the health of our companion and spokesperson, Naniki Reyes Ocasio. We await a quick response (787-519-3551.)

The mayor of the municipality of Utuado (Hon. Alan González Cancel) supports and promotes natives located in Caguana. "Consejo General de Taínos Borincanos" and the Hon. Alan González Cancel (mayor of the municipality of Utuado) summon the Boricua People to make a formal appearance at an "arieto" (dialog) between the spokespersons of the "Consejo" and the mayor, Friday, August 5, 2005, the 6:00 p.m. in front of the Indigenous Ceremonial Center of Caguana in Utuado. In an unexpected visit, the Hon. Alan González Cancel expressed his genuine concern regarding the present state of the Indigenous Ceremonial Center of Caguana, a place that is, according to him, traditionally valuable, historically / culturally at the local, and international, level. He also recognized the seriousness and importance of our Sacred Reclamation. We are thankful for his visit, encouraging words and genuine support. --- End ---

8/01/2005

Respuesta de los líderes Taíno en Caguana

The following comments from the Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos, the Caney Quinto Mundo and the United Confederation of Taino People are forwarded in Spanish as no english translation is available at this time. - RMB

---------------------------------------------

Saludos:

La directora ejecutivo del instituto de cultura puertorriqueña, la doctora Teresa Tió, hizo ayer comentarios discriminatorios sobre el pueblo indígena Taíno y el grupo que hace ocho días se mantiene en huelga de hambre en el Parque Ceremonial Indígena Caguana (Utuado, Puerto Rico).

Aquí está la respuesta de los líderes Taíno en Caguana:

July 31, 2005

Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos

Asunto: Respuesta funcionaria Insta Violar Derechos

Es increible que una representante de agencia gubernamental I.C.P. como en este pueblo y descendiente directa de la lider nacionalista patriotica, la querida, Lola Rodriguez de Tio lleve ese mensaje discriminatorio y racista, violando asi los derechos constitucionales que aparecen en nuestra carta de derechos y citamos:

ARTICULO II Carta de Derechos

Seccion I. Dignidad e Igualidad del Ser Humano
Que no podra establecerse discrimen alguno por motivo de raza, color, sexo, nacionalidad, origen o condicion social, ni ideas politicas o religiosas.

Seccion 3. Libertad de Culto
No se aprobara ley alguna relativa al establecimiento de cualquier religion ni se prohibira el libre ejercicio del culto religioso.

Seccion 4. Libertad de Palabra y de Prensa
No se aprobara ley alguna que restrinja la libertad de palabra o de prensa o el derecho a una reunion pacifica, peticion para reparar agravios.

Seccion 8. Proteccion contra ataques a la honra, a la reputacion y a la vida privada.

Obviamente, Sra. Tio, las expresiones en el articulo con fecha July 30, 2005 demuestra el pleno desconocimiento de aspectos fundamentales de nuestra cultura asi como de la ley constitucional
de derechos. Hace muchos anos que estas se estan violando en contra de nuestra gente y aqui estamos para hacerlos defender y respetar.

En el espiritu de nuestros antepasados,

Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Fundadora
Caney 5to Mundo, Centro de Aprendizaje
1-787-597-4815

Elba (Anaca) Lugo, Directora
Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos
1-787-519-3551

Roberto (Mucaro) Borrero, Presidente
Confederacion Unida del Pueblo Taino
1(212)604-4186
http://www.uctp.blogspot.com/


*Comentario discriminatorio y racista de la dra. Tio aparecido adentro de El Nuevo Dia http://www.endi.com/ :

"Les reconocemos el derecho a asociarse y a practicar todo tipo de ritual y ceremonia que deseen. Claro está, siempre todo ello sujeto a las leyes y el orden de nuestra sociedad puertorriqueña y de los reglamentos sobre uso de las instalaciones del ICP que aplican a todos. Pues si entre los `yorubas' es aceptada la poligamia, ello no podría tolerarse en Puerto Rico. Como tampoco se les permitiría la práctica del canibalismo ni el sacrificio de los enemigos capturados en combates", señaló el ICP.

La directora de la agencia, la doctora Teresa Tió, añadió que "estos llamados `taínos' mantienen una actitud de supremacía sobre los demás puertorriqueños. Se consideran ser los únicos `boricuas' auténticos. Quieren que se les concedan privilegios y prerrogativas que se les negarían a todos los demás. Asumen una actitud de rechazo y confrontación hacia quienes, con válidas razones, no les reconocen sus alegaciones de `herencia taína ancestral'.

Finalmente, Tió enfatizó que "no podemos, ni debemos reconocerles lo que no son, ni dar legitimidad a un reclamo que no tiene fundamento".