Friday, July 04, 2014

#FridayReads: The Feast of San Sebastian By Jonathan Marcantoni

Have you read The Feast of San Sebastian By Jonathan Marcantoni? It's a "raw, gritty and frightening socio-political thriller set in the island paradise of Puerto Rico," according to reviews that debuted last year:

Two Haitians are smuggled into Puerto Rico with promises of work and a better future, but are instead forced into slave labor at an American factory. Ilan is a middleman on the black market whose guilty conscience has led to alcoholism and gambling debts to the biggest crime boss in Puerto Rico. These three men's lives will collide when Ilan is forced to pay his debt by arranging for the assassination of the corrupt Superintendent of Police. 

What follows is an examination of the decadence and injustice of a colonial society on the brink of self-destruction.



Jonathan Marcantoni is the author of Traveler’s Rest and Communion (with Jean Blasiar), both published by Savant Books and Publications. He has been a freelance writer and editor since 2004. His family is from Utuado and Fajardo, Puerto Rico. He currently lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and three daughters.

Author Jonathan Marcantoni
His intention with this book is to educate, and hopefully, to create action in its readers. The problems facing Puerto Rico can be remedied, but only if we work together as a people to make a better future for our families and for our country.

This book was inspired by the study “Trafficking of Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge” by César A. Rey Hernández, Ph.D. and Luisa Hernández Angueira, Ph.D. The crimes and criminal syndicates depicted in the book are based on cases described in that study and in articles published in the newspaper El Nuevo Día and reported by Wapa TV. 

The raids on slum communities, including La Perla, occurred between 2009 and 2011, with the raid on La Perla leading to the resignation of then-Superintendent of Police José Figueroa Sancha, who is the basis for the Superintendent in the book.
 
The yola operation that brings the Haitians over still exists and has grown rather than decreased over the last several years. It should be understood that the immigrants who come to Puerto Rico do so largely to go to the United States, making Puerto Rico a transit state for illegal immigrants, and in turn, for smugglers. 

Puerto Rico’s human trafficking problem is in direct relation with its relationship to the United States, and not because life there is any better than the immigrant’s homeland. While Dominicans make up the majority of immigrants who use the Canal de Mona to travel to Puerto Rico, there are also large numbers of Haitians, Chinese and Cuban immigrants who use the route as well.

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