Puerto Rican poet Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, is tired of the injustice the Caribbean the island has witnessed.
The situation in Puerto Rico has become so dire “it seems like it’s 1942 all over again,” de la Luz said during the NAHJ Latina reception on Aug. 5 in Washington D.C. The spoken word artist then recited a powerful poem about Puerto Rico’s resilience and strength from the perspective of the island.
“I have been a refuge politico (political refuge) to the French, the Dutch, the Spanish, the English, the Catholics, the soldiers, the tourists ― I’ve treated everyone as equal and now there is war against my Puerto Rican people,” she said. “We are fighting an elusive creature that owns me as its paraíso (paradise).”
De la Luz then recounts how the island was essentially colonized by the United States, and now is left to deal with a crippling debt crisis that’s taken a massive human toll:
We were offered fool’s gold while they robbed us of a share hold. While the nacionalistas (nationalists) foretold the takeover of control, we danced and fell into the American mold. We warmed ourselves with tropical memories while facing the American cold. But what is untold we will expose. There are no more cheeks to turn, though the hypocrisy has left us holding two faces. We’ve been slapped with debt we didn’t earn. Told to strap up our boots but left without shoelaces.
The boricua continues with references to Puerto Rico’s case for statehood, foreign sector’s preying on the island and the island’s biggest mass exodus since the 1950s.
“And if you ask me right now what it is that I am thinking. I’m holding my people in a foot of water to stop them from sinking,” she recited. “They would see the richness of my power if they started interlinking and the colonial mindset would start collectively shrinking. So stand up my children, we will always be connected.”
The poem closes with a powerful message to everyone who views the island as inferior or property: “We are not poor but rico. We are not yours but equal.”
Watch the full poem in the video above.