Things That Matter

5 Creative Ways The People Of Puerto Rico Are Persevering

Puerto Ricans are inventors — and not just of arresting music and mouthwatering dishes. Boricuas have developed technology that makes space travel more efficient for NASA astronauts, helps physicians operate on the tiniest parts of the human body and enables people around the world to filter water. So it’s no surprise that islanders are getting creative in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean island, wiping out electricity and potable water, everyday puertorriqueños tapped into their inner innovator, developing machinery to help them persevere without the most basic necessities. Here, just five ways the people of Puerto Rico are using their hands and minds to create tools for survival and leisure.

1. Collecting Water

Hay que inventársela para poder tener agua. ?

Posted by Puerto Rico Tiene Cojone on Monday, October 2, 2017

Video Credit:  Puerto Rico Tiene Cojone

Throughout the island, everyday people are using pipes to funnel water from natural springs into towns, where community members gather with buckets and empty soda bottles to collect water they’ll use to bathe, clean and cook.

2. Filtering Water

Video Credit:  Kat Lazo / PR on The Map

In Río Piedras, Jornada: Se Acabron las Promesas, an organization providing free breakfast for the community, connects a portable filter to a bucket, providing clean water for the people to drink or make coffee with.

3. Showering

Photo Credit:  Raquel Reichard / PR on The Map

In Vega Baja, Tito Kayak, an activist and founder of the Puerto Rican environmental group Amig@s Del Mar, hangs a bucket above his bathtub and connects it to a shower head. When he places water in the bucket and turns the knob, he and his family are able to take showers even without running water.

4. Washing Clothes

Mi esposo y la nueva maquina de lavar ropa

Posted by Jenny Mejias on Sunday, October 22, 2017

Video Credit:  Jenny Mejias

Across Puerto Rico, people are coming up with innovative ways to wash clothes. Here, a man uses a barrel to construct a manual washing machine. In other towns, folks have made similar designs with buckets and hand ringers.

5. Enjoying Movie Nights

Photo Credit:  Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi / Defend PR

While adults and elders are concerned about basic necessities to survive, children, who don’t have as much of a grasp of the humanitarian, climate and debt crises, are looking for entertainment. Without electricity or Internet access, video games and TV are not options. But a group of people are providing a traveling Cine Solar, an outdoor movie night for kids powered entirely by solar panels. The free event, made possible by local activists Edgardo Larregui and Coco de Oro and stateside Puerto Ricans like FistUpTv, Defend Puerto Rico and Bay Area Boricuas, even comes with popcorn. Cine Solar has so far gone to Santurce, Yabucoa, Lloren and Palomas.

Reporting for this article was made possible through PR on The Map, a Latinx independent media team put together by grassroots organizer and former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente to produce unfiltered, unapologetic and intergenerational coverage on Puerto Rico. Donate to PR on The Map here.


READ: Donald Trump Said Puerto Rico Wants ‘Everything To Be Done For Them,’ But These Women Are Proving Him Wrong

These are just some of the inventions we’ve seen in Puerto Rico. Let us know of the innovations you’ve heard about or came across in the comments.

Nicky Jam And Daddy Yankee Allegedly Had To Flee Puerto Rico After Death Threats

Entertainment

Nicky Jam And Daddy Yankee Allegedly Had To Flee Puerto Rico After Death Threats

nickyjampr / Instagram

Nicky Jam just confessed to a wide range of shocking statements while on a popular talk show in Spain. The reggaetonero sat down with El Hormiguero to promote his newly released album, Intimo, and Netflix’s “Nicky Jam: El Ganador,” the dramatized retelling of Nicky Jam’s life story, and the launch of reggaeton itself. Those who have seen “El Ganador” know about the artist’s previous drug addiction, but nobody knew about the death threats.

The 38-year-old Grammy winner told El Hormiguero host Pablo Motos that Daddy Yankee and he had to flee Puerto Rico because of death threats. 

Los Cangris only returned to Puerto Rico when the person threatening them died in a street fight.

Credit: @AudienciaSerie1 / Twitter

Nicky Jam and Daddy Yankee first rose to fame as the Los Cangris duo. During that time, they were still in dangerous neighborhoods. Nicky Jam recalls how a music business parter to Los Cangris was murdered, which prompted a slew of threats. Both Yankee and Nicky Jam received a death threat, which Nicky Jam says is the reason they fled to New York City. “Let’s go back and confront that guy who wants to kill us and let’s make music,” Nicky told Yankee. “Porque es que nosotros lo que hacemos es música!”

According to The Dial, that person who continued to threaten the duo ended up dying in a separate street brawl, which effectively ended Nicky Jam and Daddy Yankee’s bar from the island.

Though Nicky Jam made sure his audience knew that Puerto Rico produces “high society” people like Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony.

Credit: @nickyjampr / Instagram

No way Nicky Jam was going to let people think his candid story is a blanket statement on his island. “Don’t go thinking that we’re all from the hood,” Nicky jam assured his audience. “There are Puerto Ricans of high society who do not speak like me…,” he joked. He went onto list Luis Fonsi, Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony as “normal Puerto Ricans.” No te preocupes, Nicky Jam, not even a man armed with paper towels could tarnish the hard-working, resilient and brilliant nature of Boricuas. For good measure, he encouraged the audience to visit Puerto Rico, saying “Puerto Rico is a beautiful country… you can go and enjoy the beaches.”

He acknowledged that the graphic depiction of his childhood in “El Ganador” and subsequent drug abuse was intentional.

Credit: @alvaroher78 / Twitter

He told Motos that he knew he could have presented a rosy picture of his teenage years, but that it would accomplish nothing for the young people watching. “I wanted them to see that there are two roads,” he said. “If you take the negative, all the bad things that happened to me will happen to you.” He was candid about his drug addiction and how it overtook his family. He told the audience that even his doctor told him that “tienes dos opciones: morirte o quitarte,” you have two options, kill yourself or get clean. He told the cheering crowd that he’s been clean of drugs and alcohol for ten years, “gracias a Dios.”

Nicky Jam said that his sobriety prompted both his parents to get clean as well.

Credit: @nickyjampr / Instagram

I was the one who broke the chains and the whole family got ready,” he said. More than that, he talked about how his mother was a huge driver of his success, but not for the reasons you’d expect. Nick Rivera Caminero was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father. When he was ten years old, they moved to Barrio Obrero in Puerto Rico. As Nicky Jam’s addiction progressed to 39 pills a day of Percocet mixed with other drugs, his relationship with his parents disintegrated. By the time he was 30 years old, he didn’t know how to find his mother, and hoped that fame might bring her to him. One day, he said, “I went to do a show in the Dominican Republic and my bodyguard told me that there was a lady outside saying she was my mother.” Both his parents were struggling with their own addictions, and, reunited, he helped them gain sobriety.

Needless to say, the Internet is deeply emotionally shaken.

Credit: @jonlearreta / Twitter

“El Ganador” is no longer available on Netflix, though it’s finally been made available to Univision subscribers. You can listen to his new album “Intimo,” streaming worldwide, which was just released to patient fans on Nov. 1. We’re glad you made it out okay, Nicky Jam. Felicidades.

READ: Watch These Celebs And Dancers Take Nicky Jam And J Balvin’s ‘X Challenge’

A Puerto Rican Man Was Denied Cold Medicine From A CVS Because Employees Wouldn’t Accept His Puerto Rico License

Things That Matter

A Puerto Rican Man Was Denied Cold Medicine From A CVS Because Employees Wouldn’t Accept His Puerto Rico License

KART / ABC

An Indiana Purdue University engineering student says CVS employees would not sell him over-the-counter cold medicine after demanding immigration papers. Jose Guzman Payano, who is Puerto Rican and therefore an American citizen, said that he presented his driver’s license issued from Puerto Rico but the workers rejected it. The employees insisted he needed a “valid” U.S. ID and began to interrogate Guzman Payano about his immigration status. 

The student formally filed a complaint with CVS, but because of the debacle, he wasn’t able to purchase the cold medicine he needed. His mother Arlene Payano Burgos shared his story on Facebook, where it went viral and began to receive attention from reporters. CVS says it is investigating the situation. 

CVS employee allegedly claims Puerto Rican driver’s license is not valid U.S. ID. 

“She said she needed a U.S.-issued ID, Canada or Mexico license. That’s when I tell her that was a U.S. issued license, and I didn’t need anything else but that license,” said Guzman Payano explained to WUSA. 

He claimes the cashier of the store refused to accept his driver’s license from Puerto Rico, but would have accepted one from Canada or Mexico, when he went to purchase Mucinex. Guzman Payano was all the more stunned when she asked him for a visa— the presumption being he must not be a citizen. 

“And then when she asked me for a visa, I was in shock at that time. And we went back and forth, and I said this is a U.S.-issued license,” said Guzman Payano. Sadly this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to the student. 

He showed the cashier his United States-issued passport and he says she still refused to sell him the medicine. 

“I carry around my passport on my bookbag because of things like this,” he said.

Guzman Payan files a formal complaint with CVS. 

Update in my comments:My family and I are Puerto Rican. For those of you who don’t know, we are a United States…

Posted by Arlene Payano Burgos on Friday, October 25, 2019

Guzman Payano left the store without his cold medicine and called his mother, Arlene Payano Burgos in Puerto Rico. Payano Burgos took the incident to Facebook where her story was shared over 10,000 times. 

“A Puerto Rican driver’s license is a valid form of US identification, and is even accepted by the Transportation Security Administration for travel within the United States. In an effort to wrap up the transaction and get back to school, he then proceeded to show her his United States Passport which she also refused to accept,” the mother wrote.

Adding that the employees refused to give Guzman Payano their information for the complaint. 

“She then subsequently refused to sell him the medication. The shift manager then came out and gave him the same explanation. My son then asked them for their names to file a complaint. Both employees refused to give him their information and he was forced to leave the store without the medication.”

Payano Burgos thought it was outrageous that any customer would be forced to disclose their immigration status to CVS whether they were a citizen or not. 

“Needless to say my son, or any other consumer, is not obligated to disclose his immigration status to any CVS employee! What caused this employee to ask him for his visa? Was it his accent? Was it his skin color? Was it the Puerto Rican flag on the license? Whatever triggered her to discriminate against my son embodies exactly what is wrong in the United States of America today,” she wrote. 

CVS releases a statement about the incident. 

Guzman Payano said it took nine days for CVS to contact him about the complaint, according to WUSA

“I felt ignored basically like something did happen, but they didn’t want to take care of it,” he said.

A CBS spokesperson released a statement to WUSA Eyewitness News that included an apology to Guzman Payano saying that Puerto Rican driver license’s are a valid form of U.S. identification. 

“CVS Pharmacy is committed to ensuring that every customer receives courteous, outstanding service in our stores. We sincerely apologize to our customer in West Lafayette for his recent experience in one of our stores. We do, in fact, recognize Puerto Rican driver’s licenses to be a valid form of U.S. identification. We are reinforcing with employees the correct procedures to follow when requesting identification that is required by law for the purchase of certain over-the-counter medications.”

According to the New York Times, a 2017 Morning Consult poll found that 46 percent of Americans don’t know people born in Puerto Rico are United States citizens by birthright. 

“There’s a lack of education — especially here in the states — of how Puerto Rico came to be part of the U.S. Some people don’t even know where Puerto Rico is located,” Guzman Payano said.