I take exception to Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez’s public ranting and raving over Sen. Scott Brown’s decision to meet the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Square Association (PRVMSA) at El Oriental de Cuba in Jamaica Plain on Aug. 16. (“Sen. Brown visits JP, backs vets memorial,” Aug. 31.) El Oriental is owned by Mr. Nobel Garcia, who is apolitical and welcomes politicians of all stripes.
Sen. Scott Brown was invited by the PRVMSA to discuss ways he could help raise the $450,000 needed to build a monument in the South End in honor of all Puerto Ricans who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our country and the Constitution of the United States. The PRVMSA did not expect the senator to personally show up. He came to meet the veterans. We are not “outraged” that Senator Scott chose to exercise his constitutional rights in the “heart of the Latino community.” Veterans everywhere have a special affinity and trust in others who have worn the uniform, whether it’s Sen. John Kerry, Vietnam veteran, or our junior Sen. Scott Brown, who’s served for 30 years and is now a colonel in the Army National Guard. Mr. Tony Molina, PRVMSA project director, reminded everyone that Puerto Ricans died for all Americans.
The PRVMSA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The meeting at El Oriental was not political in any nature.
I don’t understand why El Mundo’s appearance at the event makes it a political event. El Mundo covers “all the news that’s fit to print” for the Spanish-speaking community. The Spanish weeklies El Planeta and El Siglo 21 and other media were present. El Mundo and the Vasallo family have steadfastly provided political and economic support to the Puerto Rican veterans for over 10 years. The paper’s association with the Red Sox Latino events at Fenway cemented the Red Sox Foundation to support the PRVSMA politically and economically.
By far, however, it’s been Mayor Thomas M. Menino who has walked the walk by committing the City’s coffers, through the Ingersoll Browne Fund, of up to 80 percent of the costs to build the monument. Steward Health Care Systems has also generously supported the PRVMSA. Regla Gonzalez of Massachusetts LULAC, Aida Sierra of Aida’s Bridal Shop, Miguel Fuentes of Fuentes Market, Esperanza Chavo of All Checks Cashed and a host of others have contributed over $25 at our various fundraisers, mainly in Jamaica Plain (Cedar Hall).
In short, Sen. Brown enjoyed meeting the Hispanic community, but it was the veterans who invited him and we appreciated that. Everyone else showed up for their own reasons and motives. The senator had the Cuban dish ropa vieja, I had the Cuban sandwich, and Rep. Sánchez just merited rice and beans, no meat, for his bad behavior.
Rafael N. Rodriguez
Editor’s Note: The writer is a member of the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Square Association.