Culture

26 Signs You Grew Up Puerto Rican AF

Whether you grew up in the home isla, Miami or Alaska, when you grow up Puerto Rican, we might as well be from the same family. TBH, we’re probably cousins.

Have a healthy fear of your mom’s moods? Puerto Rican. Can you dance merengue and eat it, too? Puerto Rican. I could go on.

1. Saying hi to your family at every holiday.

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CREDIT: @GenericName76 / Twitter

Be prepared to be greeted with open arms, all the hugs and kisses on each cheek. You have 147 cousins, so the parties go on till the morning.

2. You don’t play dominoes.

CREDIT: @mjulio777pr / Twitter

You compete at longanas, and you expect your mom to cheat or make up a new rule halfway through. You also have a sneaking suspicion that your abuelita is an evil genius who could win every time but is an actual angel so she lets someone else win.

3. You had a janky Barney at your party.

CREDIT: @nicole.allyn_ / Instagram

And your parents swear you had a good time, but the home videos prove otherwise. The only thing I was caught saying on video was, “Barney sucio.”

4. You had this bracelet with your name on it.

CREDIT: @the_notorious_idv / Twitter

It’s how they kept track of all us screaming Latino kids on the playground. This is practical AF and the tradition will live on, IMO.

5. You had your ears pierced when you were 5 seconds old.

CREDIT: @thelacquerhouse / Twitter

I swear there is not a single photo of me without gold studs. Does Miami-Dade hospital have an infant ear piercer on call?

6. You also started drinking café con leche when you were an infant.

CREDIT: “Cuba cafe con leche with crackers” Digital Image. Best Cuba Guide. 29 May 2018.

And it was all about soaking the cracker for as long as you could without it falling to the bottom.

7. You know who el Cuco is but have no idea what they look like.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Wikipedia. 30 May 2018.

Is she an alligator or a boogeyman? IDK, except for that she’s always watching to see if I’m behaving, and if I don’t, she’s going to eat me. Growing up Puerto Rican means growing up scared… like all the time.

8. Chancletas were child’s play.

CREDIT: @Qsportsm / Twitter

The most terrifying phrase, “Do you want the belt?” We all give our mom’s shit for it at Christmas but low key, I don’t own a belt.

9. Marc Anthony and J.Lo were also your parents.

CREDIT: “Image: File photo of Marc Anthony and wife Jennifer Lopez arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit in New York” Digital Image. Today. 30 May 2018.

When they split up, it was a global life event for every Puerto Rican on the Earth. You remember your mom or tia crying and questioning their own marriages if the Puerto Rican Royalty couldn’t make it.

10. You know not to leave a single fork in the sink.

“Nadie me alman.” “If you loved me, you wouldn’t disrespect me like this.” “No, now I know how you really think of me.”

For real, we all started mothering our mothers when we were children. Including my own mom con su mama.

11. The Cuban Mop is universally accepted as the only way to clean a house.

CREDIT: @tinaaxox1 / Twitter

When I moved out and bought a steam mop, my mom flipped her shit. “Nothing works as well as the Cuban mop, Dani, c’mon.” Spoiler: she admitted that she likes the steam mop now. But she’ll never buy one when she has a perfectly good Cuban mop.

12. All your pots and pans were in the oven.

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And cutting boards, and strainers, and basically anything that could fit. It’s fine though because you pretty much fried all your food.

13. Like bacalítos y croquetas.

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There is nada ni nadie as comforting as a lime-doused codfish fritter with jamón croquetas. Oh, and you know not to ever turn down a second helping of arroz con gandules or any other food or risk deeply offending your mother.

14. You don’t need an oven because you roasted the pig outside.

CREDIT: @latintouchproducts / Instagram

He’s going to have arroz con frijoles stuffed up his culo and you’re going to eat it, entiende?

15. You can’t remember not drinking coqui at the holidays.

CREDIT: @pietri_dish / Instagram

Your earliest memory is when you were 6 years old and the family watched you for your reaction and then exploded with, “ayyyy” when you pretended to like the taste of rum. Puerto Ricans don’t follow silly American laws.

16. You know not to even whisper “mofongo” unless it is immediately available.

CREDIT: @fulanathefoodie / Instagram

Or risk getting slapped upside the head for teasing your mother. Then, you’ll have to comfort them while they throw a tantrum for trying to make fools out of them.

17. Everything tastes like the Pickapeppa brown sauce.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Pickapeppa. 29 May 2018.

It’s her not-so-secret sauce for arroz con habichuelas, pot roast, picadillo, todo y todo. At least, if you’re from Miami and your boricua mom married a Jamaican. 😛 Either way, there was mango in your food.

18. One shelf of your fridge was dedicated to homemade sofrito.

CREDIT: @izzy_money85 / Instagram

Your mom made this in bulk because this was your actual base for all your food. I grew up in Miami, so the ajices dulces and culantro were easy to pick up but since moving, it’s still rico without it.

19. Vienna sausages were life.

CREDIT: @14mangualv / Twitter

If your mom could open a can and make it into a pot before me or my brothers could eat them straight from the can, it was a win. Weekend mornings were the best because you knew you were getting some sautéed sausages and leftover crispy rice for breakfast.

20. Another favorite breakfast food was arroz con huevo frito.

CREDIT: @foodyatheart1

As kids, this was the No. 1 ultimate comfort food. The yolk would run through all the white rice and then we felt fancy for having arroz amarillo. 💅

21. We cannot forget the “Egg in the Hole” brekkie.

CREDIT: @fredsabbag / Instagram

A buttered crispy toast and egg all in one?! I honestly don’t know which one is more satisfying because they were equally as exciting as kids.

22. You probably had at least two of these in your house.

CREDIT: @miss__imperfectly_perfect / Instagram

Don’t call it a mortar and pestle, because it’s just not. It’s a pilón and the plantain-based food that must not be named is served in it. I’m upsetting myself just thinking about it.

23. These merengue cookies were everywhere.

CREDIT: @kevinqcarmona / Twitter

You had to buy a box of merengue every day for a family of five, but this giant tin of cookies felt bottomless, y gracias a Dios por eso. Oh, and nobody speaks Spanish or English. It’s Spanglish, mami.

24. You also had an emergency stock of banana peppers.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Seasons. 29 May 2018.

Your pantry was ready for the next hurricane at all times. Twelve jars of vienna sausages and at least six jars of banana peppers. Isn’t the rule for emergencies to have a week’s supply? 👅

25. You were shocked to find masa in tamales after growing up with pasteles puertoriqueño.

CREDIT: @katycorn87 / Instagram

Made from yucca, olives and, of course, sofrito, and wrapped in a boiled banana leaf, these have a totally different flavor than Mexican tamales. When you brought them to your white school and friends asked if you were Mexican, you were also afraid your face would freeze in an eye roll. It’s what your mamma taught you.

26. Your abuelita slayed at making flan.

CREDIT: @el_chalet_express / Instagram

Every time we went over, she had flan for us and even though we were stuffed from being forced to eat two full plates of picadillo, a jar of banana peppers, and arroz con habichuelas, we eagerly ate up the flan. When you’re Puerto Rican, there’s always room for dessert. 🇵🇷

House Democrats Are Demanding Answers About Why The Government Is Withholding Aid For Puerto Rico

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House Democrats Are Demanding Answers About Why The Government Is Withholding Aid For Puerto Rico

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The recovery process in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria has been exponentially slowed down by a lack of adequate help from the Trump administration. If there was any more proof of that, it came last week as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Department held up $18 billion in aid that was designated for disaster relief in Puerto Rico.

The mandated deadline for those funds came back on Oct. 4 but no money was ever released. Ninety days later, Democratic lawmakers are looking for answers as to why Puerto Rico has been left in the dark here as recovery efforts continue more than two years after Maria hit the island. Even though HUD employees have testified that they know withholding this aid is illegal, they are continuing to withhold it. 

Recovery aid is needed in Puerto Rico now more than ever but as of now, it’s being withheld due to the Trump administration’s fears that it will be put in corrupt hands. 

Back in September, Congress had asked the agency to publish funding notices to 18 disaster-stricken states and territories. Seventeen were published with Puerto Rico being the lone exception. The funding notice was supposed to be $10.2 billion in aid to help build much-needed infrastructure reinforcement in anticipation of future storms.  

“This is not meant to be a suggestion, it’s mandated,” Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. David Price, D-N.C. told NBC News. “It’s time to release this notice and the longer this goes on, the more one has to wonder about the political influences that might be taking place at the top.”

In total, the agency is holding up $18.5 billion, the largest single amount of disaster aid awarded in the agency’s history. The reasoning behind the delay stems from fears that the money could be in corrupt hands, something that the agency’s secretary Ben Carson and President Trump have previously said

 According to NBC News, Price said the “Trump administration is exaggerating the corruption allegations since the Office of Inspector General didn’t find widespread corruption within Puerto Rico’s housing agency, which would be managing the federal housing aid at stake.”

In a statement to Newsweek, an unnamed HUD spokesperson reiterated Carson and Trump’s belief in the withheld funds being misused. The statement also notes that Puerto Rico has only used a fraction of the already allocated funds available to it already.  

“The Administration has taken historic action to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. Given the Puerto Rican government’s history of financial mismanagement, corruption, and other abuses; we must ensure that any HUD assistance provided helps those on the island who need it the most. This process must be handled in a prudent manner with strong financial controls to mitigate the risk to Federal taxpayers. In addition, it is worth noting that Puerto Rico already has access to $1.5 billion and has so far only spent $5.8 million—less than one percent of those funds.”

Now Congress has a problem on its hands that has many Democrats calling for answers about when this disaster aid will be released, if ever.  

One of the members of Congress leading the charge is chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas who told reporters last week that “the Trump administration knowingly broke the law by failing to comply with the deadline to issue a federal notice for over $10 billion in aid to Puerto Rico.”

According to John Hudak, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution told NBC News these types of congressional deadlines do at times get missed but there is also a level of transparency from agencies.  

“When these conversations do not happen, it means that something else is going on and it raises concerns that something improper might be happening,” Hudak said. “Instead, they silently missed the deadline.”

Hudak said that there are a few options that Congress can take to make HUD begin dispersing the disaster aid. The first option being halting the funding that the agency uses every day to operate but there is resistance from some Democrats in going that far right now. There is also the possibility that Congress and the Puerto Rican government could take legal action and sue the agency for basically not doing its job. 

Over 850 organizations as of Saturday had joined members of Congress in calling out the agency for not complying with the law. Many of them have stressed the importance of the aid and how critical that it gets released in a timely manner.

There is increased urgency coming from over 850 various organizations that have joined together with members of Congress in denouncing HUD for its actions. At stake is Puerto Rico, which still has ways to go in terms of full recovery from Hurricane Maria.

“It is outrageous that Secretary Carson continues to withhold critical mitigation funding for Puerto Rico approved by Congress nearly two years ago,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of National Low Income Housing Coalition, one of the 850 organizations that have denounced HUD. “Secretary Carson’s decision to ignore Congress and refuse to release these funds makes it nearly impossible for Puerto Ricans to prepare for future disasters. Congress must hold him accountable – every day of inaction puts American lives at risk.”

READ: ‘We’re The Ones Making Wigs Modern’: These Female Entrepreneurs Want You To Support Black-Owned Hair Businesses

A New Report Finds That Puerto Rico Is The Most Vulnerable Country When It Comes To Climate Change

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A New Report Finds That Puerto Rico Is The Most Vulnerable Country When It Comes To Climate Change

Credit: Unsplash

According to a new report released on Tuesday, Puerto Rico was the most vulnerable country to extreme weather events over the last 20 years. The grim news comes from the Global Climate Risk Index 2020 by environmental and development organization Germanwatch. The report analyzed various countries and the impacts of weather-related events have had on these areas which include how often the extreme weather events occur and their impact, including death tolls. The study looked specifically at the 20-year period from 1999 to 2018 and the climate change effects that have struck all over the globe. 

In the case of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island was ranked the highest in terms of being most affected by climate change in those 20 years, followed it was Myanmar and Haiti. Puerto Rico and Haiti were the sole Latin American representatives on the list.  

“The Climate Risk Index may serve as a red flag for already existing vulnerabilities that may further increase as extreme events will become more frequent or more severe due to climate change,” the report reads.

The report makes it clear that countries should look at its findings to serve as a warning sign in order to foresee more frequent or more severe natural disasters in the future.

There is no denying that the earth is getting warmer as record temperatures have struck across the globe over the past five years. This has led many researchers to believe it may be connected to extreme weather events becoming more frequent as a result of this changing climate. Another startling finding in the study shows the number of lives that been lost due to extreme weather events, 526,000, while economic losses have amounted close to $3.47 trillion. 

“In many cases (e.g. Puerto Rico), single exceptional disasters have such a strong impact that the countries and territories concerned also have a high ranking in the long-term index,” the report reads. This relates to the natural disasters that have hit Puerto Rico, most notably Hurricane Maria which struck in the fall of 2017. The Category 4 storm hit the small island and destroyed a majority of it’s electrical grid, homes and killed 2,975, a number that is still being disputed.

The report makes the argument that poorer developing countries have been a frequent target of these natural disasters and the death toll numbers highlight their vulnerability to future weather events. These countries at times rely on loans to deal with the consequences of these climate changes, meaning they will be threatened by excessive indebtedness, which undermines already vulnerable economies. During the 20-year period, Myanmar, 70th in GDP rank, leads all countries when it comes to fatalities per year on average with 7,000 deaths. In relation to financial losses related to the climate crisis, they are significantly greater in wealthier countries. 

Japan was the most weather-affected country in 2018, most notably by rising heat, which has been a relatively frequent effect of this climate change. The country last year was affected by extreme summer heat, killing 138 people, and the most powerful typhoon in 25 years. 

“Recent science has confirmed the long-established link between climate change and the frequency and severity of extreme heat,” the report reads. 

The report has got a lot of people talking about what it means about climate change, particularly how to use this information to prepare for future events. 

Climate change is an issue that should be discussed more frequently and has seen its share of critics. Many have taken to social media to express their frustrations with the report findings and what actions should be taken. 

“For older adults, the changing climate brings heightened vulnerability to environmental risks, temperature changes, and increased susceptibility of disease. However, in #PuertoRico, these vulnerabilities are exacerbated with the health care crisis. We need to talk about this,” one Twitter user wrote. 

The issue has even reached the attention of Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren who took to Twitter to discuss the importance of listening to the report. She has made climate change one of her key platform issues for her campaign and has vowed to invest money to help curtail this crisis. 

“The devastating impacts of climate change in Puerto Rico have been made worse by decades of neglect and racism. Justice must be at the center of our response to the climate crisis and that’s why I will invest $1 trillion in vulnerable communities,” 

READ: Activists Interrupt Harvard-Yale Football Game To Protest Climate Change And Cancel Puerto Rico Debt Holdings