Wednesday, January 31, 2007


by Rafael Marteinez Alequín

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg became Mayor, the city was divided along racial and ethnic lines. Under the administration of former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, now a hopeful republican presidential candidate, the racial tension in the city was palpable. The anger that people felt was obvious. Former Mayor Giuliani was one of the leaders who created racial tension in our city. However, he was not the only one. Both mayor Edward Koch and David Dinkins were contributors to that tension. Mayor Koch, when he turned his back on the racial killing of Yusef Hawkins, and Mayor Dinkins, during the Korean boycott for his fear of the late Sonny Carson.

When Michael Bloommberg became the city’s mayor he was able to bring the city together, by meeting with the people that then Mayor Giuliani refused to meet with. Mayor Giuliani refused to acknowledge the existing not only of Rev. Alfred Sharpton, but more importantly with former elected officials such as Mayor Dinkins, and elected officials, like Congressman Charles Rangel, former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Field, and many other minoritiy officials. Mayor Bloomberg took a different approach and the city is better for that.

When the history of the Bloomberg administration is written, this will be his great accomplishment —today New Yorkers have a sense of union.

Thursday, February first, the Mayor will be in Israel to dedicate a medical facility in honor of his late father. There, he will join his mother. Then he will go to Irelansd. It seem that years ago, politicians seeking higher office would travel to what is known amongst political aficionados as the three "I's". Israel, Ireland, and Italy. However, the mayor will not visit Italy on this trip. He will substitute the the Italian I's for the I.R.T. line, unless, his presidential bug intensifies.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Many people in this country are salivating for the demise of President Fidel Castro. Death is the only thing we mortals have in common. We must now look with an objective eye at the history of the United States toward the Latin-American countries beginning in 1823. Then, President James Monroe and his secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, unilaterally imposed what is known today as the Monroe Doctrine. With this doctrine, the United States informed the European powers that the American continent was no longer open to European colonization. This was the start of a history of betrayal and exploitation of the Latin-American countries by the United States.

On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war against Spain. The United States, under questionable circumstances, used as a pretext the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana to invade Cuba. The United States at that time stated, that they sent troops to Cuba “for humanitarian reasons.” Simultaneously, they imposed the Platt Amendment on the Cuban people.

The Platt Amendment was a rider appended to the Army Appropriations Act. It was a United States federal law passed on March 2, 1901 that stipulated the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops remaining in Cuba since the Spanish-American War. It defined the terms of Cuban-U.S. relations until 1934. Formulated by the U.S. Secretary of War Elihu Root, the amendment was presented to the Senate by, and named for, Connecticut Republican Senator Orville H. Platt.

The amendment granted the United States the naval base in Cuba (Guantánamo Bay). It stipulated that Cuba would not transfer Cuban land to any power other than the United States. It mandated that Cuba would contract no foreign debt without guarantees. It further states that the interest could be served from ordinary revenues, ensured U.S. intervention in Cuban affairs when the United States deemed necessary, prohibited Cuba from negotiating treaties with any country other than the United States “which will impair or tend to impair the independence of Cuba” or “permit any foreign power or powers to obtain or control over any portion” of Cuba, and provided for a formal treaty detailing all the foregoing provisions. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” toward Latin -American repealed the amendment in 1934.

The shameful history of the United States didn’t began in Cuba in 1959. That was the year President Fidel Castro defeated dictator Fulgencio Batista. He was a puppet of the United States during the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower and his secretary of state Dean Acheson.

Today, in Latin America, Fidel Castro has been an inspiration to the oppressed people of the 21 Latin republics. One has to be closed minded not to see the winds of change in the continent. The shameful, news coming from Miami, that the city is planning an official celebration at the Orange Bowl when President Castro dies, is an abomination.

Ramon Saul Sanchez, leader of the Miami-based Democracy Movement organization, worries about how a party to celebrate a man’s death would be perceived by people outside the Cuban exile community.

Sanchez also pointed out that, even after Castro dies, his communist government still will be in place.

“The notion of a big party, I think, should be removed from all this,” Sanchez said. “Although everybody will be very happy that the dictator cannot continue to oppress us himself, I think everybody is still very sad because there are still prisons full of prisoners, many people executed, and families divided.”

Castro's legacy will live forever in the minds and hearts not only in the Spanish-speaking world but also among decent Americans. When he departs this world, his mantel will continue with world leaders such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the newly elected presidents of Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador.

When the United States views it’s Latin neighbors with respect, then we may finally have a good neighbor policy. This is the fable of the shark and the sardines. One of the sardines (Cuba) in 1959 defeated the shark (United States). Ever since,The United States have been traumatize.

Friday, January 26, 2007


By Rafael Martínez Alequín

Since the dreadful killing of Sean Bell, several elected and community leaders, within the Afro-American community are calling for the head of commissioner Kelly. This may play well with some of their constituencies, however, this is not the predominant view of a majority of Latinos and African Americans.

Raymon Kelly is probably one of the best police commissioners that the city of New York has ever had. Kelly, a Vietnam veteran, holds two masters and a law degree. Soft spoken and affable, Kelly worked in 25 precincts in thirty-one years. Some of those were in Harlem. Kelly, known for his class and consideration has been very instrumental in easing racial tension due to police shootings. He was one of the first to declare an unjustifiable shooting in at least three instances.

This particular opinion has been rare amongst previous commissioners. But, one can say that he has the “cojones” to call the shots as he sees them. Amidst criticism of the likes of Charles Baron, et al, Kelly remains the calm in the eye of the storm. There is and lamentably always will be a rift between the minority communities and the NYC Police Department. Perhaps this will change with an increase in minority recruitment. But as long as the department is dominated with a GED, non-urban culture, opinions will remain the same.

Spend a few minutes on the cop website NYPD RANT. A real eye opener as to how many cops think. Kelly however is the glue that keeps the place together. And Kelly is the one who will continue to improve the rank and file. His is not an easy job. But, perhaps the Charles Barons of this world would do better chastising the mayor. Ray Kelly is a true blessing in blue.

Not one of those officials calling for commissioner Kelly’s resignation has yet to name a substitute to replace him. Perhaps, Councilmember Charles Barron and his cohorts are trying to resurrect Bull Connor to replace Kelly.

Mr. Wilbur Chapman, Former Chief of Patrol of the New York Police Department, and former New York City Commissioner of the Department Of Transportation said, “I have served under eleven police commissioners during the course of my 30 years in the Department, and Raymond Kelly is clearly the best commissioner this city has ever had. 1971 Sgt. Kelly appoints the first two black officers to the 23rd Precinct Anti-Crime Unit. The population of the Precinct was 90% Black and Latino. Only whites had been selected prior. 1992 Commissioner Kelly leads the largest minority recruitment drive in the history of the NYPD. He spends every weekend going to different Black churches. The drive yields 15,000 Blacks, 14,500 Latinos, and 1,000 Asians. 1993 Commissioner Kelly appoints Sandra Marsh as the first African American Deputy Commissioner of Equal Employment Opportunity and George Sanchez as the first Latino Deputy Commissioner of Recruitment. During his current term Kelly appointed the first two Latino Bureau Chiefs, Piñeiro and Estavillo and the first woman Bureau Chief Jaffe. He also assigned African American commanders to the 103, 105, and 113 Precincts. This is the first time in history that three African Americans have been assigned to Precincts in the same borough”

City Councilmember John Liu of Queens, said: “There does remain some gap between the community and the police, especially in communities of color. However, without the efforts and insight of Commissioner Kelly these past few years, that gap would be a chasm. This commissioner does in fact deserve much credit for strengthening police community relations"

The members of the police department are highly visible. Among them are bad apples that disregard department policies on how to conduct themselves with the public. We can’t paint the whole department with the stroke of a brush. There are more unsung heroes in the NYPD than malcontents.
Councilmember, Peter Vallone, said: “I think Kelly is one of the world's foremost experts on security and we are lucky to have him.” So, it is the task of Ray Kelly to continue the good job that he has done. Many are called, but few are chosen.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


The US government has announced that American citizens must have a passport to travel. This extends to countries that previously admitted us with a wink and a nod. In the interests of Homeland Security, this is meant to sacre the "be jesus" out of anyone who might dare cross the American border under nefarious means. Yeah, it might work for a few minutes but the market in fake passports is alive and thriving. Not only is that market booming but imagine what this will do for the paper industry. The paper industry employs 700,000 people. Not bad you say.

Along comes the passport mandate and up goes the staffing in the mills. Good for industry but bad for Arbor Day. One magazine consumes one hundred and seventy seven trees. Multiply that times all the junk publications you get in the mail and the number is staggering. Is this the beginning of a campaign sacraficing shade for safety? Or do we just fan ourselves with our passports.
A new law grows in Washington. Now let a tree grow once more in Brooklyn. Enough already with the documents.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Hillary Clinton now has a new dilemma. Who to chose as a running mate. With Bill Richardson throwing his sombrero in the ring, the situation becomes complicated. Both candidates do not have the wherewithal to win the nomination. Perhaps, they are hoping that the odds of that mystical nomination lotto will fall in their favor.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson does have a long résumé of involvement in international relations and politics, from dealing with the North Korean regime to recently arranging a cease-fire between the government of Sudan and rebels in the Darfur region. He was elected to Congress eight-times representing the Santa Fe area, United State ambassador to the United Nation, and secretary of energy appointed by former President Bill Clinton. He is also a Mexican American.
Senator Barak Obama, is a second year senator from Illinois. He is articulate and extremely charismatic. But he falls short in experience compared to Governor Richardson . If Ms. Clinton choses either, her selection will be interpreted as allegiance to a particular community. Thus, this creates a political landmine that only a skilled politician like her can navigate.

One might liken the situation to a choice of vehicles. Let us imagine for a second that Ms. Clinton has to travel a long distance and has a choice of vehicles in which to drive. There is the new and environmentally efficient electric car. It boasts of innovative hardware and fuel efficiency. It appeals to a younger and more enlightened generation. The problem is that is comes without a sufficient track record. And although it has a novel appeal, she would be taking a chance on driving it for a long distance. The other car is a traditional one. The engine runs on gasoline and although it may cost a bit more, it is a known quantity. More people use this type of car. The chances of Ms. Clinton arriving at her destination without mechanical problems are greater with the latter. This does not preclude the electric car, it just leaves more room for it to be tested.

Sunday, January 21, 2007



Dear Rafael,

I'm in. And I'm in to win.

Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president.

And I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country -- about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures.

I am going to take this conversation directly to the people of America, and I'm starting by inviting all of you to join me in a series of web chats over the next few days.

The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush's mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

Only a new president can renew the promise of America -- the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day.

And only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world.

I believe that change is coming November 4, 2008. And I am forming my exploratory committee because I believe that together we can bring the leadership that this country needs. I'm going to start this campaign with a national conversation about how we can work to get our country back on track.

This is a big election with some very big questions. How do we bring the war in Iraq to the right end? How can we make sure every American has access to adequate health care? How will we ensure our children inherit a clean environment and energy independence? How can we reduce the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare?

No matter where you live, no matter what your political views, I want you to be a part of this important conversation right at the start. So to begin, I'm going to spend the next several days answering your questions in a series of live video web discussions. Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I'll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website.

Sign up to join the conversation here:

I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our values.

Team Hillary
I have worked on issues critical to our country almost all my life. I've fought for children for more than 30 years. In Arkansas, I pushed for education reform. As first lady, I helped to expand health care coverage to millions of children and to pass legislation that dramatically increased adoptions. I also traveled to China to affirm that women's rights are human rights.

And in the Senate, I have worked across party lines to get billions more for children's health care, to stop the president's plan to privatize Social Security, and to make sure the victims and heroes of 9/11 and our men and women in uniform receive the fair treatment they deserve. In 2006, I led the successful fight to make Plan B contraception available to women without a prescription.

I have spent a lifetime opening opportunities for tens of millions who are working hard to raise a family: new immigrants, families living in poverty, people who have no health care or face an uncertain retirement.

The promise of America is that all of us will have access to opportunity, and I want to run a 2008 campaign that renews that promise, a campaign built on a lifetime record of results.

I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine. After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them.

I need you to be a part of this campaign, and I hope you'll start by joining me in this national conversation. Visit my new website at to learn how you can join in:

As we campaign to win the White House, we will make history and remake our future. We can only break barriers if we dare to confront them, and if we have the determined and committed support of others.

This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the principles and values that we cherish; to bring new ideas, energy, and leadership to a uniquely challenging time. It's our chance to say "we can" and "we will."

Let's go to work. America's future is calling us.

Hillary Rodham Clinton


Finally, the long awaited decision to run for the presidency is no longer a whispering campaign by media and political pundits. Her decision to form an exploratory committee will send chills to the declared and non-declared aspirants to the oval office.

Ms. Clinton brings to the nation’s political landscape a long resume of accomplishments. As a First Lady, she advocated during her husband's presidency for universal health care. Other countries are providing universal health care. The United States is far behind it's European allies.

As a United States Senator, she has been able to work together with other senators on both sides of the aisle on issues confronting the nation and New York State. She has been outspoken on providing health benefits to the victims and first responders to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001.

Yes, she voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the use of military force In Iraq. This will be a major obstacle in her quest for the presidency. However, on a recent trip to Baghdad, she was able to see that the present posture of President George W. Bush sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq was wrong. Hillary Clinton’s recent proclamation on Iraq— calling for caps on troops levels, but not advocating cutting funds for the war will be a major obstacle to satisfy the war opponents who are now the vast majority of America. The results of the last election showed that voters across the political landscape of this country, voted to keep the Republicans out of control of both house of congress. Now, Bush is again sending more troops to Iraq without congressional authorization. At least 19 American service members were killed in military operations Saturday in the deadliest day for U.S. forces in two years, including 12 who died in a helicopter crash and five slain in an attack by militia fighters in the holy city of Karbala, military officials said.

Saturday's toll was the third-highest of any single day since the war began in March 2003.
The heavy toll comes at a critical time of rising congressional opposition to President Bush's decision to dispatch 21,500 additional soldiers to the conflict to try to curb sectarian slaughter.

Meanwhile, other Democratic presidential aspirants are playing the Republican Party cards by dividing the Democrats against each other’s. The Republican Party with the assistance of the national media has catapulted junior Illinois Senator Barak Obama to the leading rival of Senator Clinton. The Republicans are aware that they may lose the Oval Office after the disaster of President George W. Bush's administration. The only hope they have is to divide the Democrats—and Senator Obama is their ideal candidate. This is not dispersion on the Illinois senator. He is young, intelligent and above all charismatic. But he is not ready yet, for prime time.
However, there is always the scenario that she would choose Obama as her running mate. Politically, she has earned the allegiance of the African American and Spanish Speaking community. Both by association with her husband and by being on the right side of minority issues, Clinton has credibility. There is always the possibility that she would align with Obama as insurance. Is America ready for a woman president and a black vice president? This is open to debate. But then again, whoever thought that an ill spoken, awol governor from Texas could lead the nation.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, during his State of the City annual message, offers to share with condominium and homeowners the city cash surplus. They will get what amounts to a tax break of $200.00 for the year. That can evaporate in one weekend of family entertainment.

The home owner remembers that when Bloomberg became mayor, he requested the city council raise the real estate tax to 25% more. The city council, under the leadership of former Speaker Gifford Miller lowered the mayor's request to 18%. Later, when the city economy recuperated from the terrorist attack on 9/11, the mayor requested the city council and the state legislature to refund homeowners $400.00 annually. The offer today and the one three years ago, looks like a three card monty game. The taxpayers are not getting money back, they are getting a tiny portion of what they are already paid for.

Meanwhile, the city police are lauded every moment by city leaders for the outstanding job they did during the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, and praised for the job of bringing crime down. What do they have instead? A $25,000 a year rookie officer, or rather the equivalent of a salary below the poverty level. Many of them are on food stamps. Every other county in New York State and perhaps Borat's Kazhakstan are paying police more.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that poverty is the ingredient that breeds crime. City leaders want to eradicate corruption within the Police Department, however, an annual salary as low as $25,000 will lead some officers to corruption. A police officer makes $17,000 a year after taxes. Now imagine the irony. In a city where the average condo price is $1.1 million, the doorman earns more than a cop. Yes, the doorman performs a vital function. But you don't call the doorman when your apartment is being robbed.

The culprit of this scheme is not only the mayor, but it is the president of the Police Benevolent Association, Mr. Patrick Lynch. A police officer told this writer on the condition of anonymity that “Mr. Lynch met with the same city’s negotiation teams that Ms. Randi Weingarten, the president of the teacher association, negotiated for her membership. Ms. Weingarten secured a raise for her membership, and Mr. Lynch settled. A rookie cop training in the Police Academy for the first six months is paid a yearly salary of 25,000. After six months, his salary increases to $32,000 yearly.

Our billionaire mayor would have done better by giving the cops a raise with a thank you note. Disgruntled cops lead to an ineffective work force. That has a ripple effect on the public and crime in general. A $200 appeasement fee is not a lot to ask from property owners. Forget the tax giveback shuffle.

But the mayor is accustomed to opening a $300.00 bottle champagne. What does he know about the working class?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


As we watch the news emanating from the television screen and read the daily newspapers, one has to be a vegetable not to see that the over 3,000 lives wasted in the war in Iraq are those of young Americans that chose the army to escape a life of poverty.

As was published recently in the New York Times, photographs reveal that most died in the prime of their life. They were babies from19 to 30 years old.

The volunteer army has been used as a vehicle to attract young people with offers of travel, and a future of improving their life. The government propaganda to lure these kids must be the envy of the advertising agencies of Madison Avenue.

As it is well known most of the youngsters lost in Iraq were Afro-American, Latino and poor white. These people were sold a bill with insufficient funds. The government is using them as political ammunition.

People who love and care for this country must be united and support Congressman Charles Rangel's (Chairman Ways and Means Committee), bill to bring back the draft. Why should the poor carry the burden of the misguided policy of the government? With the draft, everybody will have to serve. The present system is geared to protect the privileged families of this country. How many members of the United Stated Senate and Congress have their sons and daughters serving in Iraq?

The President of the United State is a draft dodger. During the Vietnam War, it was convenient for him to avoid serving in Vietnam
by joining the Texas air force. Records show that he was actually AWOL from that unit too.
Now, our brainless president announced that the United States Army has an opening for 21,500 young kids to serve as sacrificial
lambs for his misguided policy.

If you are unemployed, he is offering a job to enjoy the beauty of exotic Baghdad. All expenses paid if you live long enough to cash the checks.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chat with a Cat

Here I am. Rafael Martinez Alequin.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


On January 8, 2007, while I was at New York's City Hall, covering Mayor's Bloomberg news conference in the Blue Room, I went to ask an assistant press secretary what was the mayor's announcement. I stood up by the door leading to the mayor's press office and I asked what was the subject matter of the newsconference to assistant press secretary Mike Kelly. Suddenly, the mayor's press secretary came with an angry look screaming from the top of his lungs, and his eyes about to explode out of his cornea. shouting at me to get out of there and threatening me that he will take my press card away from me. The echo of his shouting resounded all over the main floor of City Hall.

After 20-years covering news conferences at City Hall this is the first time in my memory that a Mayor's Press Secretary has been disrepectful to a member of the press. That date, I wondered why Mr. Loeser, behaved in such a provocative matter. I was wondering wheather, it was my being a Puerto Rican instead of an anglo from the mainstream media. The position of a mayor's press secretary is an important one, and very demanding, however, there is no excuse to be belligerent and intimidating.

I am well aware, that the mayor and his press entourage don't like the questions that I asked during news conferences. My questions, to New York City mayors, from Mayor Dinkins, Mayor Giuliani and to Mayor Bloomberg, are questions relevant to issue affecting the people of this great city, especially, to Latinos, Blacks, and Asians.

I have never seen Mr. Loeser threatening a white reporter. Perhaps, his last name described him appropiately—a LOSER.

The mayor's aides say as much about him as his ties. There is an old adage that says "If you sleep with dogs, you get fleas" Hopefully, Mayor Bloomberg will fumigate his staff before he is contaminated with infestation.

By: Rafael Martínez Alequín

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Events of the Day

Welcome to the Free Press. I will post daily and bring you the truth whether people like it or not.