Like every Puerto Rican I was curious of Obama’s visit an when I had a break after Obama had left the Island I decided to watch his speech. I was shocked at how superficial I found Obama’s speech to be. I guess most politicians have generic and superficial speeches but I am used to Obama being a great speaker and having something to say that touches many.
I do understand Obama wanted to reach out and mention a term that people could relate too but comparing as American as Apple pie to as American as Arroz Con Gandules Really did not click (although as a vegetarian I have to say I did prefer that option towards arroz with the carcass of a chicken or as meat eater call it Arroz con Pollo). But in many ways the purpose of the visit was to click with those who paid to see him so I hope that they got a better speech.
I did see a few interesting tweets which inspired this post. I also wanted to in a poke a bit of fun towards the Obama short Visit on why I think there where things very Puerto Rican and others that where not.
Things that where very Puerto Rican
A Politician Getting a Free Meal
Alfredo (thanks to @gisela_m for pointing out the correction. Although for me most local politicians are the same so I mix up their names) Alejandro Garcia Padilla had Obama pay for his meal. Politicians locally get huge perks and spend taxpayer money at will at extravagant restaurants. At least in this occasion they went to an overpriced bakery not an overpriced restaurant. If only they would actually repay the people with work that would not be much of an issue.
No Reason For a Politician To Mingle with the Common Individual
It is extremely difficult to get in touch with any politician here and they will not talk to you unless you are extremely important (even a mayor of a small town). Even worst if you say anything that challenges their behaviors on a social network they will seek to silence you. Just like we had Pedro Pierluisi’s staff blocked our friend @julito77 from their Facebook page. I think that if it took that long for a U.S. President to return to the island he could of at least addressed everyone if he really cared.
If you can also ask Mr. Pierluisi why they block people like @julito77 on facebook even when they are respectful.
Meeting the Minimum Requirements
I guess since most people here voted for Hillary in the primaries (which is the only part of the election the residents of the colony are able to participate in). Obama fulfilled the promise to those who supported him. He did come back but was he here for everyone. In Puerto Rico it is very common for people to meet the requirements at a minimum (something that being a Colony for over centuries has been instilled in many of our minds). Did Obama just Meet the Minimum Requirements.
Speaking About Politics at Lunch
It is normal to always talk about politics when you are eating lunch. Although many people find it offensive others end up doing exactly that. I guess what a better option for two politicians than to talk about politics at a bakery instead of the real problems of our island.
Just getting part of it
Our many centuries under colonial rule have taught many Puerto Ricans to conform to whatever is available. We can’t vote for president but we can serve in the U.S. Military. There are so many things that are limited due to our status as a Colony. Because of this we are use to getting what we can, like for example : a pit stop every 50 years by the President of the U.S. who many veterans have fought for and service members lost their life.
A whole entourage when to pick him up at the airport!
As the Puerto Rican Movie La Guagua Aerea depicts; Puerto Ricans love to take the family, extended family members and others to greet people once they arrive at the airport (Or as you can see in the short video to take people to the airport). This normally happens with individuals who don’t visit the Island often as the case of a U.S. President. You see even fellow NuYorican Marc Anthony was here to receive him. What sparks my curiosity with Marc receiving him was that Marc does not live here. I think Marc was trying to grab a Ride back on Air Force One.
Things that Where Not Very Puerto Rican
Here in Puerto Rico when someone visits and leaves quickly we say they made a doctor’s visit. It is not acceptable and people force you to stay longer. If you leave you might have offended those you visited. My advice to Obama if you are coming in for a few hours too find something more useful to do and save U.S. taxpayer money.
Don’t Be That Family or Friend That comes by to eat and collect money
I read an awesome tweet by my friend @nelsonbermejo on how he has an uncle who does just like Obama visits to grab a meal and collect money and then he exits. I think we all have a relative who is interested in visiting us when they need something. I think Obama obviously came through with his promise with the only interest of collecting money not visiting the Island.
Nobody Applauded when Air Force One Landed
Somebody should have made the arrangements to have everyone applaud when they touched down. As every Puerto Rican knows, when a plane lands there is a requirement to applaud if you arrived safely. Someone commented on facebook that maybe someone did and the secret service tacked him.
Overall seeing the political stunt for Obama made me lose part of the respect and fascination I had for our biggest landlord.
Just as my friend Lamberto celebrating that Obama was visiting the island is the same as celebrating when the Landlord comes to collect the rent.
What where your thoughts on Obama’s visit? Do you see any benefits coming out of it?
Or even better can you see what else was very Puerto Rican or not that happened yesterday?
photo credit by Emily Barney