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Letters to the Editor

Puerto Rico Herald

"We Were Very Much Focused On The Needs Of Our Community"

October 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Puerto Rico Herald. All Rights Reserved.

RE: New PRFAA Offices To Open

"We Were Very Much Focused On The Needs Of Our Community"

During my tenure at PRFAA from 1994-1998, we were very much focused on the needs of our community in New England. A partial list of our accomplishments includes the following:

  • Sponsoring the 1st Puerto Rico Film Festival of Massachusetts
  • Organizing a Fundraising, Capacity-building and Technical Assistance Seminar for Community Based Organizations in Massachusetts.
  • Co-sponsoring various educational/cultural events highlighting the artistic and cultural heritage of Puerto Rico.
  • Established working partnerships with the Boston Management Consortium, Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce, American Jewish Committee, Wainwright Bank, University of Massachusetts, American Red Cross and the Anti-Defamation League.
  • Produced a leadership development guide for educators and students
  • Lobbied and advocated for passage of the Young Bill and Section 30A.

Our lobbying and advocacy work on behalf of our community was not done "at the expense of those Puerto Ricans living in the cities and regions in which the offices" were located. We did not want to duplicate any of the social services already being offered by various Puerto Rican agencies. As a result, we were able to be entrepreneurial in our approach to the civic, cultural and educational challenges of our mainland communities.

If the Governor is looking for an example of the offices being used for partisan purposes, she need look no further than the tenure of Nydia Velazquez as the NY PRFAA Director under former Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon. Velazquez used the bully pulpit of her office to prepare her run for Congress. Now she represents a mainland congressional district as a VOTING representative. Talk about self-serving hypocrisy!

I had the privilege of serving under a governor (Rossello) who believed that our community was an asset to the Nation as a whole. He demonstrated this through his service with the Democratic Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, and the National Governors’ Association. Calderon’s colonial mentality protects the privileged status of her own immediate family while promoting an institutional form of inferiority for the rest of the Island.

The Governor’s celebrated double standard is now plain for all to see yet again!


Gene Roman
Former Massachusetts Regional Director
Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration


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