Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Papaya Art

I came across a Papaya Art card while on honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii. The day before my birthday, we rented a convertible and toured the island. Of course, that day the heavens opened up and we drove cautiously around the entire island, through the heavy rainstorm. When we stopped at the shops in Hanalei, I came across the card below, which we bought and now i'm obsessed with their design aesthetic. See more below.

























Monday, December 29, 2014

Home Grown

















Because a place can do many things against you, and if it's your home or if it was your one at one time, you still love it. [Even if it only exists in the memories inside of you and is no longer a real place on a map] That's how it works. 
- Cristina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bold, Consistent, Flawless: 2015

Just a reminder to myself:

BOLD STRATEGY. CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION. FLAWLESS EXECUTION.
Define and cement your purpose and what you want to get done in 2015. Map a clear and bold strategy for the most important initiatives you’ll embark upon. Communicate successes, failures, rockstar moments and misses. Do this often, celebrate the small wins and share the losses. Remember, actions speak louder than words. 
via PSFK, Will You Go Through 2015 or Grow Through 2015?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A Wrinkle in Time: Singing in the Rain

Numb.
Amadou Diallo [Say it “Amado”. Loved one]
Not one but 41.
Multiply it.
I place all of Heaven with its power
The skies gone gray, pouring from L.A. to Harlem, USA.
Umi’s light dims
The Goddess frowns
The Star on the Tree lost in the haze
of acrimony at 30 Rock.
Anthony Baez
My chest tightens
#Ican’tbreathe
Again
No playing ball allowed.
But he’s just a boy
#IamTrayvon
Taste the rainbow
of blood-splattered skittles
I have a dream
I will color my hoodie
with the tears of my pain.
#YaMeCanse
Protect my daughters
Kiss my brothers
Bendición
Bless me, Ultima
I still dream of Avonte’s little face.
How did we lose you,
when we left you safe at school?
And the fire with all the strength it hath
Ferguson burns
Candlelight vigils lit in vain
This type of warfare isn’t new or a shock…
Just hit rewind, again
1993 mad kids are getting tense
We didn’t start the fire
And the winds with its swiftness on its path
#Don’tshoot
And the bombs
in my head
in my head
Oscar Grant.
Don’t turn ya back.
We come in peace
Where is Daddy?
Who shot ya?
Mercy, mercy, me
Defeat and sorrow
I cannot carry the weight
of the heavy world
All these, I place
with the Universe’s almighty help and grace

Between myself and the powers of darkness

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

NYC: Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon

Puerto Rican people
 (Photo: Wikipedia)
You are invited to Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon:

A study of poet and political activist Julia de Burgos’ development as a writer, her experience of migration and her legacy in New York. Come celebrate on release of Centro’s Journal’s special issue on Julia.

Author: Vanessa Pérez Rosario
Moderator: Oscar Montero
Presenter: Lena Burgos Lafuente

Thursday, December 4
6:00-8:00 pm
Hunter College, Faculty Dining Room,
West Building, 8th Floor
Co-sponsored with El Museo del Barrio

RSVP for this event emailing centro.events@hunter.cuny.edu or call (212) 772-5714.

Friday, November 07, 2014

#FridayReads: The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Duenas

English: San Francisco harbor (Yerba Buena Cov...
 San Francisco harbor (Yerba Buena Cove), 1850 or 1851, with Yerba Buena Island in the background. Daguerrotype. . (Photo: Wikipedia)
Declared “a writer to watch” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), New York Times bestselling author María Dueñas pours heart and soul into this story of a woman who discovers the power of second chances.

With her debut novel The Time in Between, María Dueñas garnered outstanding acclaim and inspired a TV series, dubbed the “Spanish Downton Abbey” by the media. 

USA TODAY said of the book: “From a terrific opening line to the final page, chapters zip by at a pulsing pace.” Now Dueñas returns with a novel about a heartbroken woman’s attempt to pick up the pieces of her shattered world.

Blanca Perea is a college professor in Madrid who seems to have it all. But her perfect career and marriage start to unravel when her husband of twenty years suddenly leaves her for another woman. Devastated, Blanca is forced to question the life she once had and how well she truly knows herself. 

She leaves Madrid for San Francisco, where she becomes entrenched in the history of an enigmatic Spanish writer who died decades earlier. The more Blanca discovers about this man, the more she is enthralled by the ill-fated loves, half truths, and silent ambitions that haunted his life.

With lush, imaginative prose and unforgettable characters, The Heart Has Its Reasons is a journey of the soul that takes readers from Spain to California, between the thorny past and all-too-real present. It is a story about the thrill of creating one’s life anew.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#FridayReads: ¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico by Marie Gaytán

Italy has grappa, Russia has vodka, Jamaica has rum. Around the world, certain drinks—especially those of the intoxicating kind—are synonymous with their peoples and cultures. For Mexico, this drink is tequila. 

For many, tequila can conjure up scenes of body shots on Cancún bars and coolly garnished margaritas on sandy beaches. Its power is equally strong within Mexico, though there the drink is more often sipped rather than shot, enjoyed casually among friends, and used to commemorate occasions from the everyday to the sacred. Despite these competing images, tequila is universally regarded as an enduring symbol of lo mexicano.

¡Tequila! Distilling the Spirit of Mexico traces how and why tequila became and remains Mexico's national drink and symbol. Starting in Mexico's colonial era and tracing the drink's rise through the present day, Marie Sarita Gaytán reveals the formative roles played by some unlikely characters. 

Although the notorious Pancho Villa was a teetotaler, his image is now plastered across the labels of all manner of tequila producers—he's even the namesake of a popular brand. Mexican films from the 1940s and 50s, especially Western melodramas, buoyed tequila's popularity at home while World War II caused a spike in sales within the whisky-starved United States. 

Today, cultural attractions such as Jose Cuervo's Mundo Cuervo and the Tequila Express let visitors insert themselves into the Jaliscan countryside—now a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site—and relish in the nostalgia of pre-industrial Mexico.

Our understanding of tequila as Mexico's spirit is not the result of some natural affinity but rather the cumulative effect of U.S.-Mexican relations, technology, regulation, the heritage and tourism industries, shifting gender roles, film, music, and literature. Like all stories about national symbols, the rise of tequila forms a complicated, unexpected, and poignant tale. 

By unraveling its inner workings, Gaytán encourages us to think critically about national symbols more generally, and the ways in which they both reveal and conceal to tell a story about a place, a culture, and a people. In many ways, the story of tequila is the story of Mexico.

Marie Sarita Gaytán is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah.

Friday, October 10, 2014

#FridayReads: Voyage of Strangers by Elizabeth Zelvin

Taino symbol of a sun
Taino symbol of a sun (Photo: Wikipedia)
The year is 1493, and young Jewish sailor Diego Mendoza has returned from Columbus’s triumphant first voyage with tales of lush landscapes, rivers running with gold, and welcoming locals. But back home in Spain, Diego finds the Inquisition at its terrifying peak, and he must protect his spirited sister, Rachel, from betrayal and death.

Disguising herself as a boy, Rachel sneaks onto Columbus’s second expedition, bound for the new lands they call the Indies. As the Spaniards build their first settlements and search for gold, Diego and Rachel fall in love with the place, people, and customs. Still forced to hide their religious faith and Rachel’s true identity, the brother and sister witness the Spaniards’ devastation of the island in their haste to harvest riches.

This unflinching look at Columbus’s exploration and its terrible cost to the native Taino people introduces two valiant young people who struggle against the inevitable destruction of paradise.

Elizabeth Zelvin is a New York City psychotherapist and author of a mystery series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler. Liz is a three-time Agatha Award nominee and a Derringer Award nominee for Best Short Story. 

She is currently working on the sequel to Voyage of Strangers. Liz is also an award-winning poet with two books of poetry and a singer-songwriter whose album of original songs is titled Outrageous Older Woman. After many years in private practice and directing alcohol treatment programs, she now sees clients from all over the world online. Her author website is at www.elizabethzelvin.com. 

Visit www.lizzelvin.com for Liz’s music and www.LZcybershrink.com for online therapy. Liz is a veteran blogger, posting weekly for seven years on Poe’s Deadly Daughters and, most recently, on SleuthSayers.

Friday, October 03, 2014

#FridayReads: Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

This will be big:  Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free
When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. The entire world watched what transpired above-ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, but the saga of the miners' experiences below the Earth's surface—and the lives that led them there—has never been heard until now. 
     For Deep Down Dark, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. These thirty-three men came to think of the mine, a cavern inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer. Even while still buried, they all agreed that if by some miracle any of them escaped alive, they would share their story only collectively. Héctor Tobar was the person they chose to hear, and now to tell, that story. 
     The result is a masterwork or narrative journalism—a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event. Deep Down Dark brings to haunting, tactile life the experience of being imprisoned inside a mountain of stone, the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and the spiritual and mystical elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place. In its stirring final chapters, it captures the profound way in which the lives of everyone involved in the disaster were forever changed.
Héctor Tobar is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and a novelist. He is the author of The Barbarian Nurseries, Translation Nation, and The Tattooed Soldier. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Visit him hectortobar.com and follow him @TobarWriter


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sometimes The King is a Woman

Via JWT San Juan, this mini documentary explores boxing greats Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto talk about what it takes to win the Greatest Fight, and then turn the tables on preconceived notions of "strength."


Friday, September 26, 2014

#FridayReads: The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by Richard Blanco

A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life. 

Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968 and immigrated as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to New York, then Miami, where he was raised and educated, earning a BS in civil engineering and an MFA in creative writing. An accomplished author, engineer, and educator, Blanco is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. Following in the footsteps of such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, in 2013 Blanco was chosen as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, becoming the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first gay writer to hold the honor. 

His prizewinning books include City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, Looking for The Gulf Motel, and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey. His awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Patterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award.

Friday, September 19, 2014

#FridayReads: The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami

In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record.

In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés.

But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril—navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes’s Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.

The Moor’s Account brilliantly captures Estebanico’s voice and vision, giving us an alternate narrative for this famed expedition. As the dramatic chronicle unfolds, we come to understand that, contrary to popular belief, black men played a significant part in New World exploration and Native American men and women were not merely silent witnesses to it. In Laila Lalami’s deft hands, Estebanico’s memoir illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, even as storytelling can offer a chance for redemption and survival.

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. She is the author of the short story collection Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, and the novel Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize long list. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and in many anthologies. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship and is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. She lives in Los Angeles.

Friday, September 12, 2014

#FridayReads: A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernandez

A coming-of-age memoir by a Colombian-Cuban woman about shaping lessons from home into a new, queer life

In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race. Her mother warns her about envidia and men who seduce you with pastries, while one tía bemoans that her niece is turning out to be “una india” instead of an American. Another auntie instructs that when two people are close, they are bound to become like uña y mugre, fingernails and dirt, and that no, Daisy’s father is not godless. He’s simply praying to a candy dish that can be traced back to Africa. 

These lessons—rooted in women’s experiences of migration, colonization, y cariño—define in evocative detail what it means to grow up female in an immigrant home. In one story, Daisy sets out to defy the dictates of race and class that preoccupy her mother and tías, but dating women and transmen, and coming to identify as bisexual, leads her to unexpected questions. In another piece, NAFTA shuts local factories in her hometown on the outskirts of New York City, and she begins translating unemployment forms for her parents, moving between English and Spanish, as well as private and collective fears. In prose that is both memoir and commentary, Daisy reflects on reporting for the New York Times as the paper is rocked by the biggest plagiarism scandal in its history and plunged into debates about the role of race in the newsroom.

A heartfelt exploration of family, identity, and language, A Cup of Water Under My Bed is ultimately a daughter’s story of finding herself and her community, and of creating a new, queer life.

Daisy Hernández grew up in Fairview, New Jersey in a Cuban-Colombian family. She's worked at the New York Times, Jenny Craigs, McDonald's, and ColorLines magazine (though not in that order) and has made home in Virginia, Florida, California, England, and the Upper East Side (though again not in that order). She is the author of "A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir" (Beacon Press, 2014) and coeditor of the anthology "Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism" (Seal Press, 2002). 

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, bitch magazine, Ms. magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, Fourth Genre, and Bellingham Review. A former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has an MFA in fiction from the University of Miami and an MA in Latin American Studies and Journalism from New York University.

Friday, September 05, 2014

#FridayReads: The Beat of My Own Drum by Sheila E.

Out this week is "The Beat of My Own Drum" a memoir from Sheila E.

 From the Grammy Award–nominated singer, drummer, and percussionist who has shared the stage with countless musicians and is renowned for her contributions throughout the music industry, a moving memoir about the healing power of music inspired by five decades of life and love on the stage.

Sheila E., born Sheila Escovedo in 1957, picked up the drumsticks and started making music at the precocious age of three, inspired by her legendary father, percussionist Pete Escovedo. Two years later, she delivered her first solo performance to a live audience. By nineteen, she had fallen in love with Carlos Santana. By twenty-one, she met Prince.


The Beat of My Own Drum is both a walk through four decades of Latin and pop music—from her tours with Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Prince, and Ringo Starr—to her own solo career. At the same time, it’s also a heartbreaking, ultimately redemptive look at how the sanctity of music can save a person’s life. Having endured sexual abuse as a child, Sheila credits her parents, music, and God with giving her the will to carry on and to build a lasting legacy.

Rich in musical detail, pop and Latin music history from the ’70s and ’80s, and Sheila’s personal story, this memoir is a unique glimpse into a drummer’s singular life—a treat for both new and longtime fans of Sheila E. And above all, it is a testament to how the positive power of music serves as the heartbeat of her life.

Emmy and Grammy Award–nominee Sheila E. is one of the most talented percussionist/drummers in the world, performing and/or recording with Prince, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Con Funk Shun, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Ringo Starr, Hans Zimmer, and countless others. She maintains a heavy involvement in charitable organizations as a philanthropist by promoting music and arts education as an alternative form of therapy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

#FridayReads: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Years ago, my coworker told me how amazing the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon was and now that tit has been picked up by Starz as a series, I've putting it on the list:

Written by Diana J. Gabaldon, who is of Mexican-American and English descent, the 8-book series "focuses on 20th-century nurse Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th-century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing James Fraser. Set in Scotland, France, the West Indies, England and North America, the novels merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy."" via Wikipedia.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life . . . and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire . . . and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Read Diana's Blog: dianagabaldon.com/blog and follow her @Writer_DG

Thursday, July 24, 2014

She Had Lots to Say

Here's to standing in your own power:


“She was fierce, she was strong, she wasn’t simple. She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. She always had something to say. She had flaws and that was ok. And when she was down, she got right back up. She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best.

She was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile.” ― Drake

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Want to Design your own Fitbit Band? Let's make it happen!

Fitbit recently announced their collaboration with designer Tory Burch offering a pendant, print silicone band or a metal hinged one. As a Fitbit owner, I was relieved to hear that they finally offered users of their wearable tech, a few options outside of the standard unappealing silicone band available only in a few solid colors.

My excitement was quickly squelched because the new line is really limited in variety and the most stylish, the pendant and the metal band, cost even more than the actual tracker costs.

Did Fitbit Miss the Mark?

Another thing of note for Fitbit is that the Tory Burch aesthetic isn't exactly suited for everyone. While Tory Burch's mission to be a "luxury brand defined by classic American sportswear with an eclectic sensibility and attainable price point" seems on point, her Soccer Mom, BabyBoomer consumer demographic with sky-high credit limits;, echoed by her somewhat cultish and basic New-York-City-uniform following, is a turn off.

Was this just a strategic play to go after this market by Fitbit rather than fulfilling the needs of their dynamic user base?

It makes my head spin a bit if so. Did your marketing and design team do their homework?

While colossally plugged-in and influential Millennials and Gen Z crave the ability to go against the grain - design, own and make their own mark in the world in order to stand out, this offering seems to be in exact opposition to this global trend. Are we just not important? I know health, fitness, and wellness are incredibly important to many of us who track our goals, sleep, food and exercise because we want to be a better person in a better world.

I love to express myself visually. I change my style, hair, makeup constantly. I want either an accessory that is timeless and classy - a neutral that will go with everything or I want the ability to change out what I am wearing easily and not break the bank. My ideas for a fitbit band? A white silicone one, a woven thread or leather one, an interchangeable pendant that wasn't so conventional. Maybe even something more retro, steampunkish or vintage like verdigris or something dainty and delicate. I mean, I have ideas, lots of them!

And what about more fashionable options for men? In the past couple of years, there has been an upswing in what marketers are referring to as "Yummies" or Young Urban Males who are super trendy and love to shop.

Tory Burch for Fitbit

I would love to see a future offering that allows for creative, inspired individual expression for all Fitbit users. 

I think a collaboration with a Quirky-like crowdsourcing or Constrvct platform, where inventive and creative users can submit their own designs and ideas for accessories could take Fitbit to the next level. Why not just open it up to all your fans?

Imagine a studio for your consumers, powered by their designs that produces amazing, ingenious designs produced by a global tribe of techies who wear, share and advocate for fitbit. A golden, win-win opportunity to profit if you ask me.

I hope you're reading this, Fitbit, folks.



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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