Volume XXVIII Number 5 February 6, 2004

FrontPage Stories

There Was Never No Tomorrow,

Nuyorican Pedro Pietri In His Own Words

a storytelling edited by Raymond R. Beltrán

I have to admit that when I received a chain letter from the Nuyorican Poets Café, I hadn’t the faintest clue who Pedro Pietri was. I hadn’t read the book Puerto Rican Obituaries, or any other world-renowned plays or poems he’s written, The Masses Are Asses, Traffic Violations, or Invisible Poetry. Although, the Nuyorican culture he helped to create is a name that stands firm in the ground of poetic minds across the world.

The letter said that this man, Pedro, is struggling with a tumor in his stomach, one side effect related to the exposure to Agent Orange, while serving time as a draftee in the U.S. Army during the climax of the Vietnam War. The letter read that after surviving exploratory surgery at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center last month in New York, Pedro sought out holistic healing at Oasis of Hope Hospital in Playas de Tijuana, México, no more than thirty minutes from my neighborhood in National City.

Nuyorican Poet, El Reverendo Pedro Pietri, tells his story from Oasis of Hope Hospital in Playas de Tijuana, México. Photo by Cal A. Vera

In hitching a ride across the border with Calaca Press to visit Pedro in hopes of raising his spirits and interviewing him for a story, I came across a man whose experience and whose story helped to create a Nuyorican culture, not far from the Chicano experience in the past and in the present. In fact, they parallel. To ask questions and to receive answers was not a problem. The problem was writing his story in a way that you, the reader, would understand him. In wrestling with words, I’ve come to the conclusion that only Pedro, El Reverendo de La Iglesia de Tomates; Pedro, product of Operation Boot Strap; Pedro, Nuyorican Poet; Pedro, Spanglish Metaphor Consultant of the Latin Insomniacs Motorcycle Club Without Motorcycles; Pedro, Young Lords Poet-Laureate; Pedro, honorary member of the Royal Chicano Air Force; Pedro, a person who won’t let anyone determine his fate, and only Pedro, has the right to tell his story. In conclusion, the following is only an attempt at that story, through an interview from Oasis Hospital, and only after a careful editing process. Meet one of the original Nuyorican Poets, Pedro Pietri, in his own words ...
It was in New York City where I was trying to cure myself, thinking I was a physician, and suddenly, I couldn’t hold food. So, I asked my brother and sister to take me to the hospital, and it was at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center where the bad news happened. They did a CAT scan, then they did exploratory surgery, and they found the cancer. That’s when they cut me up and got scared, sewed me up and sent me home, so I could waste away.


Local Leaders Meet to Stop the Final Three Miles of the Triple Border Fence
By Perlita R. Dicochea
Five panelists representing local human rights and environmental groups as well as political representatives spoke to an audience of 100 last Friday night at the Joyce Beers Center in Hillcrest to discuss the negative cultural, environmental and political impacts of the triple border fence – Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) latest plan for curbing undocumented border crossers.

Joey Torres: Back Behind Bars
By Fiona Manning
Joey Torres wanted the world to believe he was a hard-luck guy wrongfully imprisoned in the prime of his boxing career for a murder he said he committed in self defense.

We Young People Get Our News Wherever We Can
By Russell Morse
The primaries are in full swing. So far, Kerry is smiling, Dean is shooting Red Bull in his veins to prepare for next week and Lieberman has probably resigned himself to checking IDs at movie theaters for the rest of his political career. It’s all very exciting. But there’s one story that shouldn’t go unmentioned in all the hoopla.

Entertainers encourage young adults to vote
By Melissa Sanchez
WASHINGTON – The character lineup was a bit unusual.



No Crying in Baseball
A conspiracy of Latinos to take over America’s pastime

By Al Carlos Hernandez
There is a Chicken Little guy named Daniel Sheehy who has his boxers in a bunch. Hee has uncovered what he considers a conspiracy of Hispanics taking over America via Major League baseball.

Piñata: Party’s Game Is Ancient History
By Katia Lopez-Hodoyan
It’s four o clock’ in the morning. While the city sleeps, Gustavo Lomelí heads to his backyard in Tijuana where he begins his daily routine of designing, cutting and assembling colorful piñatas to be enjoyed by children in their birthday celebrations. Just like Lomelí, thousands of piñateros begin their own artistic routine by creating dozens of piñatas for local candy shops as well as successful supermarket chains for the Tijuana market. By purchasing great amounts of cardboard, paper maché and wire, the creation process begins as piñateros put their creativity to test on a daily basis. Amongst the mass production of these national icons, however, looms an imposing cloud of unfamiliarity with the true significance and origin of the piñata.

Las Cuotas Estudiantiles se Incrementaron en un 64% en los Colegios Comunitarios de California
Por Arthur López
El otoño del 2003, las cuotas estudiantiles en los colegios comunitarios de California aumentaron de $11 a $18 dólares la unidad, un incremento de un 64 por ciento. Ahora, el gobernador de California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, está proponiendo aumentarlas de nuevo; esta vez a $26 la unidad.

Consulado de México Entrega Premios a Ganadores de Concurso
Estudiantes que se encuentran cursando en el Condado de San Diego entre el noveno y doceavo grado, fueron convocados a participar en el concurso de pintura intitulado: Miguel Hidalgo, iniciador de la Independencia de México.

Southwest Middle Students Raise Their Grades—and a Piñata
Nearly 100 students eliminate their ‘F’ grades
Just six weeks ago, more than 300 students at Southwest Middle School were on track to fail one or more courses. Today, nearly one-third of the students experienced a turnaround.

Southwest High School Wins Library of Latino Literature, Visit from Latino Author
Two students also win $1,000 scholarships—all from Denny’s restaurants
Southwest High Counselor Maggie Padilla had a simple goal: books for the school’s Mexican-American Studies class. So when Denny’s restaurants offered a complete Library of Latino Literature for the school with the highest percentage of Denny’s scholarship applicants, Padilla jumped at the opportunity. Thanks to a multi-pronged outreach effort, more than 170 Southwest High students applied to the Denny’s 2003 Scholastic Stars Sweepstakes—the highest rate of participation from among 300 high schools in five states.

Keeping Parent’s ‘In The Loop’ About College:
Special ‘College: Making It Happen’ Events Help Families Keep Children on Track For Higher Education
Parents are vitally important to the academic success and college-going rates of their children, but many mothers and fathers – often because of busy work schedules or lack of knowledge about their role in the education process — do not participate as actively as they would like in their children’s educational future.

Por German E. Velasco

Este año, a presentar los impuestos por Internet
Este año, más de la mitad de la gente en el país tiene la oportunidad de simplificar la obligación federal que más pereza genera.

Aztec Softball All-League Player Out For Season
Vaca is suffering from Lupus nephritis; begins chemotherapy immediately

San Diego State catcher/first baseman Jacque Vaca will not be able to compete for the 2004 Aztec softball team. She is suffering from Lupus nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease of the immune system. Her red and white blood cell counts are low and her blood pressure is up. The disease started affecting Vaca just before Christmas.


Proposition A: Bad deal for the Cities of San Diego
Proposition A: County of San Diego. Rural Lands Initiative. The Rural Lands Initiative requires any newly subdivided parcels on approximately 694,000 acres of rural land in northern and eastern San Diego County to be a minimum of 40, 80 or 160 acres, be approved? This proposition requires approval by a simple majority (over 50%) of the voters.

Propostion B is just plain wrong!
Proposition B. City of San Diego. Amends the Charter of the City of San Diego by Adding Section 94.4, Construction Manager At Rick Contracts. Shall the City Charter be amended to permit the award of public works construction contracts using a combination of (1) design review and management services, and (2) construction and construction management services; for a guaranteed maximum price pursuant to a process of competitive negotiation conducted as required by the Charter or Municipal Code?

Prop. 55: Promises made do not mean promises kept
Proposition 55. Kindergarten -University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2004 — State of California (Bond Act Put on the Ballot by the Legislature - Majority Approval Required). Should the state sell twelve billion three hundred million dollars ($12,300,000,000) in general obligation bonds for construction and renovation of K-12 school facilities and higher education facilities?

El Mar Boliviano de Vargas Lloza: Sentimientos encontrados
Por Humberto Caspa, Ph.D
Yo también Sr. Vargas Lloza, desde kinder hasta el bachillerato, todos los días, previo al inicio de clases, el director del Colegio San Francisco en La Paz, Bolivia, nos preguntaba solemnemente, “¿Cuál es nuestro deber?” Todos en coro contestábamos, “estudiar y trabajar para volver al mar, al mar”. También recuerdo, como cadete en el Politécnico Militar de Aviación, los jefes y suboficiales nos incitaban a repetir en las marchas, trotes, incluso durante los deplorables castigos, “el mar nos pertenece por derecho, recuperarlo es un deber”.

La Convención Nacional Hacendaria
Por: Paco Zavala
En un marco de expectación política y de barruntos de tempestad por los sectores más desamparados, el día de ayer jueves 5 de febrero, Día de la Consitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, la que cumple 87 años de haber sido promulgada, dió inicio en la ciudad de Querétaro, la Convención Nacional Hacendaria, la que de acuerdo con información recabada no se realizaba desde el año de 1947, nada más y nada menos que 57 años de haber transcurrido desde la última Convención. Durante estos 57 años transcurridos se han realizado convenciones fiscales, pero no convencionales nacionales hacendarias.

Etc. Etc. Etc.
Reviews, Sporting news, and other tid bits

Vamos al Cine:
Viva la vida simple
Barbershop 2 expone la lucha del trabajador con gusto

Por Jose Daniel Bort

Cuando Calvin (Ice Cube) le pregunta a Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) que habría hecho con su vida si no tuviera la silla gratis que ha gozado en la barbería por más de veinte años, Barbershop desnuda su alma y pregunta la idea principal del film. La respuesta es que cualquier trabajo, por simple o sencillo que sea, dignifica. No es necesario acumular grandes cantidades de dinero para vivir una vida ejemplar, o dejar de asumir la pequeña batalla ganada cada día como la verdadera.

Creando Conciencia, un tabú a la vez
Cristina Pérez, ‘La juez de la familia’, revela su lado humano

Por Jose Daniel Bort
Sofisticada. Es la primera impresión que se recibe de su abundante cabellera rubia, facciones cortantes e impresionante delgadez, a pesar de que dió a luz apenas seis meses atrás. Su programa “La corte de familia” es transmitido por la cadena telemundo en las tardes de lunes a viernes. La juez sabe que “La corte...” es televisión y, por ende, entretenimiento. Pero la juez aprovecha esta plataforma para hablar sobre los temas que le interesan.

Peru Negro re-connects its people with their culture
By Francisco Ciriza
In the early 1900’s, Peru, suffered in similar fashion, as did much of the “new” world. Communities, perhaps, in desperate searches for identity, clamored for the ever elusive, European ideal while indigenous and anything else close to home was first ignored then nearly forgotten.

Exposición Pictórica de Mónica Belmontes “En privado” en la Galería del Café Giuseppis Delli del Instituto de Cultura de Baja California
Por: Paco Zavala
Posiblemente algunas pinturas encontradas en España, Francia o en ciertas regiones de Africa, pertenecientes al periodo magdaliniense del paleolítico superior, hayan respondido a las primeras concepciones mágicas del hombre fundadas en la imitación. Se cree que esos pintores representaban al animal que combatían para dominarlo más fácilmente. Es posible que hayan practicado algún otro procedimiento inundado de magia que se revela en dibujos, pinturas y grabados rupestres. En este concepto, tampoco se debe descartar el naciente apoyo e impulso a la creación artística.

Mosaico de Actividades Culturales en Tijuana
Por: Paco Zavala
La inseguridad es un flagelo que está azotando a la comunidad tijuanense, las autoridades hacen todo lo posible por controlarla, pero a la fecha no se ha encontrado aún el antídoto que la cure.

Alvarez Trades in his Running Shoes for a Microscope
By John Philip Wyllie
In the spring and the fall Abraham Alvarez demonstrates his athleticism and determination as half of one of the best long distance running tandems in San Diego County. He and Bonita Vista High teammate, Ryan Becijos formed the foundation last fall of Barons’ Mesa League cross-country championship team. When the prep track season begins later this month, the Barons dynamic duo will no doubt again be leading the pack.

Estrada Leading Barons into Uncharted Waters
By John Philip Wyllie
For years, Bonita Vista High School has fielded a competitive women’s water polo team. Though consistently ranked among the county’s best, they have never won a CIF championship. That could change this year with the help of two-meter offense star, Brittany Estrada.

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