“We understand that poems should not have the power to change our land’s history. This river commences to stream in “Barrio Espino” in San Lorenzo and it’s called “Río Cayrabón”, as it’s well mentioned in songs by Ismael González and Rafaelito Muñoz because the brook begins at the San Lorenzo Barrio and not in Loíza”. Appealing before the San Lorenzo Bicentenary Committee (Comité del Bicentenario de San Lorenzo) and Mayor Hon. José R. Román Abreu, this element of history should be correctly used to educate people from San Lorenzo and Puerto Rico.
The appeals committee position has ample historic fundaments, for which while they were doing theses researches about Loíza they found that the “conquistadors came to the territory known today as Loíza, governed by a “cacica” named “Loíza” or “Yuisa” in a territory known as “Jaymanio” in the Cayrabón’s channel.
This reveals that the river’s name existed even before that the foundation of Loíza’s County. Calling it “Río Grande de Loíza” is an ignominy to San Lorenzo’s citizens and to the indigenous legacy that named it as “Cayrabón”.
This river is born at the top of the mountains at “La Sierra de Cayey” at 3,500 ft over sea level. It passes through the municipalities of San Lorenzo, Caguas, Gurabo, Trujillo Alto, Carolina, Canóvanas and Loíza. It is forty miles long until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
In the “US Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System”, the “Río Grande de Loíza” appears with this name and includes variations of its name, all related to Loíza, but it does not mention “El Río Cayrabán”. This information was compiled by the Federal Agency in 1983, for which the citizens of San Lorenzo are requesting to the Bicentenary Committee to make the necessary procedures intended to rectify this embarrassing blunder in official, federal and local documents.
And, a number of poets have written songs using the correct name of the river, like Rafael Marcano Blanco in “Río Grande Cayrabón”; “ Great Lord of the waters, dear older brother, of my early childhood – Gran Señor de las Aguas, querido hermano mayor, de mi temprana infancia”. And Elliot Dávila Galarza; “Río Cayrabón, Río Cayrabón, where your heartbeat starts, at Barrio Espino” - “Río Cayrabón, Río Cayrabón, que comienza a latir tu corazón, en el Barrio Espino.
Autor: Salvador Lasanta
Translated by Nichole Bodin