Motives and Principles.
I find myself writing here, because friends and the road led me to the home of Jesús Salvador Treviño and our conversation made clear we have a common purpose. The shared essence of la Raza Latina made us immediate brothers and opened the opportunity for Boricuas to have more visibility in his Latinopia. La Causa ( the purpose) that brings us together is to register and contribute to enhance the contributions Latinos make to our and to to open a space for the opinions and the talent of that wide range of nationalities that have migrated to the United States of America.
There are millions of us who speak Spanish as a first or second language rooted in another nation, divided in dozens of ethnic groups that adhere to their roots and defend their identities. We are millions of legal and illegal citizens, dispersed, object to prejudice and discrimination, lacking in rights, politically marginalized and economically underestimated. That Latino population constitutes the most significant minority in the US.
Because of my mother´s wish, I was not born in my home land, I am the son of two born and bred Puertoricans, who lived their life in the Island. I agree up and was educated in Puerto Rico, spent several years outside studying, worked 40 years in the Island. My professional life started as a high School teacher and ended as a university professor. I am one of the ones who stayed in the Island and am aware of the Diaspora, half the population who live outside the Island.
Among the brothers of darker skin and thick accent, we are the privileged ones. The only Hispanics that have North American nationality since the beginning of the last century. For generations we have had a US Passport, and freedom to enter and leave the US. It does not come without a price, check the number of soldiers lost in the wars, as well as the migrants who fled north looking for a better pay and found the ghettoes of New York, Chicago, and Hartford. Object of the same prejudices and disdain, with or without citizenship.
I have chosen Burundanga for it’s melodious sound attractive to the ear, a word made up by one of our foremost poets (Luis Pales Matos) that for me constitutes the most precise metaphor to depict our culture. A mixed tangle of complex causality that can be toxic and dissociative, as well as inciting and inspirational. As with all cultures, we respond to the geographic and climate determinants of the tropics, and to being surrounded by water. We are also a mixture of races and have the singularity of having two flags. With all it’s riddles and contradictions, we have a culture with a vibrant pulse in its music, literature, theater, painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as in feast and celebrations. We have given the world beauty queens, athletes and scientist to fill libraries.
Jesús seemed to like the sound of my nick name (Gugo) and initially proposed I used it as title. I would rather be the Zocotroco; I have always felt apprehensive of the spotlight and prefer to see myself as vehicle instead of protagonist. If I am to express opinions, let it be as Zocotroco; it means a hefty chunk part of something. My weight and size qualify me as hefty, not that it would be decisive. As with Burundanga, I like the sound of it.
Zocotroco is a curious animal, tries to be observant and thoughtful, at times he understands, many times he does not, a critical skeptic, brought up in the scientific method, doubtful that objectivity exists, normality even less real; suspicious of authority, anarchist given the chance, a gentle mannered, non believer, respectful and irreverent, motivated by freedom and justice. Convinced that we need to be strict, generous and demanding.
With that prism, Zocotroco intends to take on the X task at hand, to deliver a monthly column on the Burundanga Boricua. Thoughts and feelings on people and events in the arts and sciences in the Island and by our people up North. Focusing on the ones that have an echo for the Latino community that helps to strengthen the fabric of our collaboration
Copyright 2015 by José Umpierre.