Today's Liberal News

Denise Oliver Velez

Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced arrested by the FBI, charged with bribery

Although it’s public knowledge that the former governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez Garced, and some of her cronies have been under investigation for corruption, Puerto Ricans woke up Thursday morning to the surprising news that she had been arrested by the FBI, along with two other unidentified people.

Ironically enough, prior to being appointed governor in August 2019, Vázquez served as the island’s Secretary of Justice.

Caribbean Matters: EPA’s Michael Regan takes ‘Journey to Justice Tour’ to Puerto Rico

Back in November 2021, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan embarked on a Journey to Justice tour of historically marginalized communities in the southern United States. In July of this year, he took the latest leg of the tour to Puerto Rico. There, he met with community groups and environmental activists and visited areas of the island still struggling to recover from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

The Memorial Day history forgot: The Martyrs of the Race Course

It has become a Daily Kos tradition for me to republish this Memorial Day story I first wrote in 2014. I have ancestors, Black and white, who fought for the Union during the Civil War. This is posted in their honor. —DOV

A pencil drawing and a grainy photo in the Library of Congress are all that is left of the cemetery where 257 Union soldiers were buried after the Civil War, on what had been a race course in Charleston, South Carolina.

Caribbean Matters: CARICOM meets in Belize to discuss food insecurity, COVID, tourism, and Ukraine

While most of our focus here in the U.S. has been on events in Ukraine and on President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, key figures in the Caribbean were gathered for the 33rd session of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in Belize on March 1-2. No matter how far away from Europe, events taking place there will have a global impact, and the Caribbean is no exception.

That does not mean that Ukraine was a primary focus of the gathering.

Caribbean Matters: Remembering and honoring Stuart Hall, the ‘Godfather of Multiculturalism’

The month of February marks both the birth and passing of Stuart Hall, one of the key architects of cultural studies, explorations on race and the diaspora, and the globalization of culture. We’re facing Republican attacks on multiculturalism, as well as right-wing supremacist zealots across the U.S. foaming at the mouth around the term critical race theory (CRT)—not that they even know what it was or is.

Caribbean Matters: Statue of Puerto Rico exploiter Ponce de León toppled, even as gentrifiers invade

Puerto Rico has recently made headlines for stories that may seem unconnected; they are related, however. The common factor? Puerto Rico’s status as a colony—first under Spanish rule, and now as a “territory” of the United States. 

King Felipe VI of Spain arrived in Puerto Rico on Monday to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of San Juan.

Caribbean Matters: Untenable political situation in Haiti worsens amid new assassination revelations

As we mark the anniversary of the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010—a natural disaster from which the island nation has never recovered—Haitians are now confronting more issues that will continue to destabilize them. These shockwaves emanate not from geology, but from the increasingly disastrous realm of politics.

Caribbean Matters: COVID-19 surges as a coup anniversary tarnishes Three Kings Day

While Jan. 6 is now known as the date of the failed coup attempt in the United States, throughout the Caribbean, in both Spanish- and French-speaking nations, it is the feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, Dia de los Reyes, or Le Jour des Rois. Here in the U.S., communities of the Caribbean diaspora celebrate, too. For example, Epiphany kicks off the beginning of Carnival in New Orleans, which ends on Mardi Gras, when folks will be eating king cake.

Caribbean Matters: Cruise ships, COVID-19, and the economics of tourism

When winter cold sweeps through parts of the United States, the desire for warmer weather has always sent Americans to places like the Caribbean. Even during this pandemic, U.S. tourists long to go somewhere, no matter the possible risks to their health or to the health of the people who call their holiday destinations home.

Though many tourists arrive by air, pleasure cruising to the Caribbean has a long history.

Caribbean Matters: Congratulations to Barbados, a republic after nearly 400 years

In a dramatic overnight ceremony and celebration in Barbados, which began Monday, Nov. 29, and continued into Tuesday, Nov. 30, the sun set on Barbados’ status as a colony of the British Empire, with Queen Elizabeth as its titular head of state. Barbados is now a parliamentary republic and though it will retain membership in the commonwealth, after close to 400 years of being a colony, the island will no longer bow to royalty.

Caribbean Matters: So much more than a place hurricanes pass over on the way to Florida or Louisiana

When I see the Caribbean mentioned in U.S. headlines, it is most often brought up in passing in weather forecasts about storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean and heading towards the mainland U.S., or when there is a natural disaster, like the recent earthquake in Haiti, or last spring’s eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Rep. Maxine Waters, who many of us affectionately call ‘Auntie Maxine,’ is celebrating birthday #83

I will never forget the time in 2018 when California Democratic Representative Maxine Waters said “If you shoot me, you better shoot straight,” after repeatedly receiving death threats from the Trump Klan—threats that continue in 2021. No matter the danger to herself, she continues to serve her  district and the nation and will be celebrating her 83rd birthday on Sunday.

The Memorial Day history forgot: The Martyrs of the Race Course

It has become a Daily Kos tradition for me to republish this Memorial Day story I wrote in 2016. I have ancestors, Black and white, who fought for the Union during the Civil War. This is posted in their honor. —DOV

A pencil drawing and a grainy photo in the Library of Congress are all that is left of the cemetery where 257 Union soldiers were buried after the Civil War, on what had been a race course in Charleston, South Carolina.

Puerto Rican feminists and transactivists continue the fight against the gender violence epidemic

The Junta, (the islanders’ name for the unelected Fiscal Control Board that governs the island’s finances) has finally decided to authorize $7 million dollars requested by newly elected Gov. Pedro Pierluisi to combat what has been declared a state of emergency.

That state of emergency declaration on gender violence was formally issued by Pierluisi in January, after years of pressure from island activists.

A tale of two bills: Competing legislation on the status of Puerto Rico

On Wednesday, April 14, the House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Arizona Democrat Raúl M. Grijalva, will hold a full committee hearing on two pieces of legislation which take oppositional positions on the future status of Puerto Rico. They are H.R.1522, “To provide for the admission of the State of Puerto Rico into the Union,” and H.R.

Postmaster Frazier Baker and his infant daughter were lynched in South Carolina, on Feb. 22, 1898

When we celebrate Black History Month, we should also ensure that we don’t erase its ugly underbelly. Watching the television news shows this weekend as a host of Republican white supremacy supporters and insurrectionists got interviewed, and continued to spew lies, I was thinking about this portrait. 

Do you know this family? My guess would be probably you don’t—because so much of Black folks’ history gets erased.

Their music will not ‘be forgot’: RIP 2020

This was a year when a host of musicians transitioned. As we ring out the old year and bring in the new, I’d like to honor some of them who shaped my musical tastes over the years spanning multiple genres.

For those folks who believe in heaven, the choir up above is certainly rocking, the jazz band has St. Peter swingin’, and there are soulful serenades harmonizing with angel’s harps. I like to think about it that way.

Twitter sends new Biden-Harris ad full of Black folks drumming and dancing straight to Peggy Noonan

Is a new ad posted to Twitter by Kamala Harris an epic 51 seconds of shade in response to the recent nasty diss of Harris by Republican columnist Peggy Noonan?

The Harris-supporting Twitterati seemed to think so, because as soon as the tweet dropped, it was being forwarded to Peggy Noonan, who, in a Wall Street Journal column, described Harris as “giddy,” “insubstantial,” and “frivolous.