Category: Puerto Rico: The Island and Beyond

God Needs No Passport

For a practicing Buddhist, my first Mass attendance at St. Ambrose two years ago was a memorable event. I had spent the earlier part of the day visiting…

Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua

Stephen Kinzer, New York Times Bureau Chief in Nicaragua for most of the war years, pauses in his compelling account of the war and its politics to explain the Socratic method needed to give…

Santiago’s Children

There are five reasons I jumped at the chance to write a preface to Steve Reifenberg’s memoir about living and working in the early 1980s in a home for Chilean children who would otherwise…

Crossings: Photographs From the U.S.-Mexico Border

While photographing in areas of the Amazon, Alex Webb felt as if he “had stepped into the setting of a Mario Vargas Llosa or Gabriel García Márquez novel because of the sense of magic…

A Look at Cayo Santiago

It doesn’t look like a zoo. Indeed, on Cayo Santiago, a 38-acre tropical island off Puerto Rico’s coast, the only mammals in cages are human beings. Edmundo Kraiselburd, the affable director…

Monkeys and Men

What does who opens the door on a date on a frigid Cambridge evening have to do with a lush island off the shores of Puerto Rico? For that matter, what does this island, teaming with…

A Green Classroom

“Aula Verde” is the name of an ecological park and science center for school children in Puerto Rico. It was an appropriate visit for the third Puerto Rico Winter Institute, dedicated to water and…

Stretching in January

The Puerto Rico Winter Institute is a major January “happening” at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. For the past four years, students from Harvard and the…

Equal Marriage Between My Two Homes

We all should have the right to decide if we want to marry or not. We all should be able to fall in love, and decide if we want to share “the rest of our lives” with one person with whom we share…

The Seeds of Villa Victoria

When I arrived at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1981 to work on my doctorate, I got involved in Boston’s Villa Victoria out of family necessity. Even though I had been a…

The Creation of the Villa Victoria

I can’t help thinking of New Year’s Eve at the Boston housing development Villa Victoria. Even as I stroll through the streets of Boston’s South End in the emerging spring, I reminisce how the…

Restoring Economic Growth in Puerto Rico

There are about eight million Puerto Ricans living in the world; half of them living in the United States of America and half of them living in the Island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are the…

The Struggle of Piñones

Maricruz Rivera-Clemente has shown pride in her African heritage ever since she was a child by dancing the Puerto Rican national folkloric dances, bomba and plena. Today, students…

Inequality in Puerto Rico

When Hurricane George ravaged Puerto Rico in 1998, it also blew apart Puerto Ricans’ shared perceptions of relative well-being based on a narrative of quasi-linear economic, political…

Women Writers in the 21st Century

English + Español
ust as I was returning to Caribbean studies, Mayra Santos-Febres suggested that I write the introduction for Las espinas del erizo: antología de escritoras boricuas del siglo XXI…

The Coming of the Salsa Machine

English + Español
Faced with the deceptively straightforward question: “How did you arrive at the idea for your book La máquina de la salsa. Tránsitos del sabor?” I can’t help but think on the comings and…

Open Mic

In recent years there has been a notable and unprecedented literary rapprochement between the Island and the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York, particularly among the generation of…

Listening Speaks (I)

Some ten years ago I was living in the Washington Heights area of New York City, in what local Dominican New Yorkers refer to affectionately as Quisqueya Heights, when I received a call from…

Photoessay: Feet in Both Worlds

A sea change has transformed migration scholarship in the last two decades. Most scholars now recognize that many migrants maintain ties to their home countries at the same time that…

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