The Dark Truth, of the Puerto Rican Day Parade

Book - 12-10


The Puerto Rican Day Parade has a dark secret.

It has nothing to do with celebrities, rich corporations, or slick politicians.

It is a deep mystery, from the heart and history of Puerto Rico, which explains the whole parade…

Seventy years ago, Boricuas were given the worst jobs and housing in New York City. They were also beaten by their neighbors and the NYPD.

And yet in 1958, some brave Boricuas dared to hold a humble parade where they could march with pride, arm-in-arm, through the heart of Manhattan.

Mothers clapped their hands…to the bombas and plenas of their childhood.

Fathers schooled their children…explaining the floats dedicated to Puerto Rican towns known for sugar cane, tobacco, coffee, pineapples and plantains. 

The Puerto Rican pride spread rapidly.

By 1966, the parade was already a “must do” event for politicians and celebrities.

Today, the parade is a celebrity spectacle with 2 million spectators, 100,000 marchers, and a stampede of corporate sponsors.

Rita Moreno, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Hillary Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg have all “starred” in it.

This year Rosario Dawson, Carmelo Anthony, Ednita Nazario and Adam Rodríguez will lead the parade up Fifth Avenue.

But even as “The Parade” has become one of the nation’s largest outdoor celebrations, there is a secret that few people suspect…

A secret that reaches into the heart of every Puerto Rican, without their even knowing it.

It is the secret of the Puerto Rican flag.


Have you ever noticed the wild, uncontrollable, impassioned display of flags at every Puerto Rican Day Parade?  

No matter where you look…it is a tidal wave of flags!

Mile after mile, you see this:

And this:  

And this:

And even this:

This is no coincidence.

There is a deep reason for this emotional attachment.

There is a reason why Que Bonita Bandera and Preciosa bring tears to our eyes…and sometimes we don’t even know why.

It is because this flag represents an ideal…the ideal of lost youth and forgotten illusions…just like last night’s dream, or tomorrow’s TV advertisement.

But there is one more reason, why this flag is the emotional heart of the parade.

It is the secret which explains everything.

We adore our flag because for many years, any Puerto Rican who owned one, would go to jail for ten years.


For many years, the United States wanted only one flag in Puerto Rico.

Here is that flag, in the inauguration of the first US Governor of Puerto Rico, in April 1900:

Pedro Albizu Campos refused to salute this flag.

In order to crush Don Pedro and the Nationalist movement, a law was passed in 1948, right after Don Pedro got out of jail.

It was called Public Law 53, and also known as La Ley de la Mordaza…the Gag Law.

Law 53 made it a felony to sing a song, whistle a tune, or utter one word against the US government, or in favor of Puerto Rican independence.

This included singing La Borinqueña, or owning a Puerto Rican flag.

Own a flag…ten years in jail.

Every day, the FBI and Insular Police raided people’s homes, searched for flags, and hauled Puerto Ricans off to jail. 

They did it all over the island.

In November 1950, they arrested 3,000 Puerto Ricans within one week! Some of them were only eight years old.

In many cases the flag – all by itself – was the sole piece of evidence.

Own a flag…ten years in jail.


The Gag Law violated the US constitution. But it took nine years to repeal it, in 1957. 

The very next year, in 1958, the first Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in New York City.


The Puerto Rican flags and celebration were everywhere…the passion was astonishing…New York had never seen anything like it!

The Puerto Rican Day parade exploded into New York City, with the emotion and power of an entire people…that had finally found a voice…for one day…on Fifth Avenue. 

The politicians couldn’t explain it, but they did know one thing…that they better get in front of this parade, and yell “¡Que viva Puerto Rico!”

That much they did understand.


The deep secret of the Puerto Rican Day Parade is this: 

The parade was born in the hearts of an entire nation…where everyone was declared a criminal…         if they dared to show their flag.

And now for one beautiful day, through the heart of New York City, we show that flag to the whole world.

Let them throw a Financial Control Board at us.

Let the US Supreme Court call us a “territorial possession.”

We all know what is in our hearts, and in our memory…

We will never give up our island…

And that is why we will win.

Que bonita bandera 

Que bonita bandera 

Que bonita bandera es la bandera Puertorriqueña



Book - 12-10

34 Comments on “The Dark Truth, of the Puerto Rican Day Parade

  1. Everyone should read “War Against All Puerto Ricans ” by Nelson Denis. This book will answer other questions about our heritage. ISBN 978-1-56858-501-7(hardcover). ISBN. 978-1-56858-502-4 (electronic). If you buy the book take a picture of receipt email your PayPal name and I’ll pay in full The First Three book to each account electronically.


  2. I had no idea…
    I’ve always been proud of my heritage and more than willing to show it, but I had no idea that the true reasoning behind it was originally stemmed from this…. Today, I stand educated and even prouder to be what I am.. PUERTO RICAN!!! Que Bonita Bandera!!!! Wepa!!!


  3. Victor Alvarado, when I think of the segregation of the 1960’s I just can’t believe it. It is something so repulsive, just because the white man thinks he is superior so African Americans were treated like animals – but we have a just God, so beware America.


  4. Wow I’m 53yrs old and today I learned what the Puerto ricand went thru with the American government I was born in Newark n.j but both of my parent we’re Puerto Ricans my mother was born in ponce and my father in villaba it’s sad of the ignorants of the governments of yesters year but now we now why the afro Americans and the American Indians don’t want to know about the American or the governments world wide sad but true lone live Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican people


  5. I’m so proud to be puertorican no one can take that away from me QUE VIVA PUERTO RICO PALANTE


  6. This is very interesting. I never knew the deepest history and secret of the puerto rican parade. Now that i know i will share it and spread the puerto rican parade deepest secret and inform our youth and adults as well of the history of our flag. La bandera puertorriqueña.


  7. At the end of this great article the author said “we will never give up Puerto Rico ” well we have. It is still a colony not matter you rater call it a common wealth. There is noting common in our wealth which American Imperialism stold. So fucken them and let’s really take our country back and demand independence like Cuba and the Phillipines did. Hopefully hawaiian can fight for theirs. I, for one refused to pledge the legend in school and when my father was called in to principles office, in his army uniform, he asked my why I didn’t know the pledge alligence. I answered, “because I’m Puerto Rican ” he then turned to principle and said, “he’s Puerto rican” this was in 1966 and I have not changed get my mind set. Viva Puerto Rico indenpendent!!!!!


  8. Law 53 of 1948, also known as the Gag Law, was enacted by the Puerto Rican legislature with the purpose of suppressing the independence movement in Puerto Rico. The act made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, to sing a patriotic tune, to speak or write of independence, or meet with anyone, or hold any assembly, in favor of Puerto Rican independence.

    It was passed by a legislature overwhelmingly dominated by members of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which supported developing an alternative political status for the island. The bill was signed into law on June 10, 1948 by Jesús T. Piñero, the United States-appointed governor. Opponents tried to have the law declared unconstitutional but did not succeed until 1957 when it was repealed on the basis that displaying the Puerto Rican flag and singing patriotic songs was protected free speech and banning free speech was unconstitutional by Article II of the Constitution of Puerto Rico and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


  9. Que bonita bandera la bandera puertorriqueña pero más bonita fuera si los yankis no la tuvieran!!!!!


  10. Well said Jose Angel Figueroa. Today the relationship between Puerto Ricans and the United States has evolved and many Puerto Ricans are proud to be U.S. citizens but that doesn’t change the fact that this country committed unspeakable crimes against our people and Puerto Rico continues to be what it is – a slave of another country.


  11. Carlos Rivera Jr….you are correct, we DID lose Puerto Rico a long time ago. We lost it to rampant and blatant US military aggression in 1898, when the US invaded the Island in an un-provoked act of unilateral war-making that has NEVER been acknowledged in over a century by ANY US president, including the current bumbling “people’s, hope-and-change” president. Nor will it be acknowledged by Hillaria or “el Trumpo”…you can BET on that.

    However, one day the “capture” and “pillage” of the Island and its residents will be acknowledged when our history is written by honest scholars other than American amnesiacs with PhDs in something more honest than trendy faux-political, faux-historical clap-trap like “FREE EAST TIMOR”, who will actually acknowledge the need to FREE the oldest colony in the hemisphere which has been under their OWN “intellectual” noses for over a century!

    And as for writing our history as it really is and was, I certainly hold-out ABSOLUTELY NO hope for our own sold-out “scholars” in the American academy who not-too-surprisingly are VERY noticeably ABSENT from this very dialogue today. No doubt they’re too busy at the annual campus “La Tino Diaspora” broom-jumping competitions or attending blonde hair-extension workshops for “reel” La Tinos” in “duh struggo”.

    Yeah, they used to be “Puerto Rican” once upon a time, but today they’re just generic, 1-size-fits-nadie “La Tinos”…cause it’s a lot easier to go over the pop-faux-cultural cliff with all the other culturally-obliterated “La Tinos” than embrace their OWN history with the fervor and authenticity that is once was and still deserves today.

    THEN….. we lost Puerto Rico AGAIN in the ghettoes of NYC, where our history has been re-written by cheap, misinformed, rabid, afro-centric, mind-numbing political agendas intended to capture the vacant minds of the innocent and gullible to the point where it is not rare to meet Nuyoricans today who think that Puerto Rico is just another Haiti or Jamaica and that the Bronx is the capitol of the Island and J-Low’s ass is the governor.

    And if you need proof of this SECOND cultural hi-jacking, identity-rape and the Island’s history revision, look at news-reels of this parade from the late 1950s – 1970s for proof…de vera’ chico!

    In its early days the parade truly reflected the culture, history and people of the ISLAND with lots of cultural representation FROM the Island’s 77 towns. BUT today “La Parada” is little more than a Goya Bean commercial with Banco Popular signing-up thousands of “Boreekwas” and assorted other “La Tinos” for their VISA cards with $5 limits to a hip-hop beat…(eye-roll and SMH)….que bochorno, dio’ mio!

    Today, “La Parada” is undeniably one big ghetto-banger fest of blaring hip-hop, vulgar “inner-city” DJ’s grabbing the asses of young girls and complimenting them with such pleasantries as…”ju lookin’ goo’ mami” and violently-shaking booties, barely-covered bouncing boobies and sweaty thongs and head-rags made out of our defiled and disgraced flag. So if there is an argument to be made for a NEW flag for Puerto Rico, this is it!

    This parade is a HUGE departure from what “Puerto Rican” identity on the US Mainland was in the early 1900s when my grand-father came by steamer-ship to work in a Spanish cigar factory in Manhattan with his twin brother where they worked 18 hour days without air-conditioning or the benefits of walking around with their asses hanging-out of their pants to stay cool. He is turning in his grave to see what “Puerto Rican” has become in NYC today.

    He returned to the Island during WW1 to witness other male family members go off to die in US military uniforms when they were “encouraged” to fight for Uncle Sam on the beaches of Normandy…something that NONE of the new-age “La Tino-Fulano-Mengano-Diasporians” will ever tell you because their view of our history, identity and culture doesn’t ever leave the ghettos and their idiot “narratives” are just eternal-victim-hood BS they write in their climate-controlled offices in the Ivy League, “Big 10” and West Coast Ivy-Wannabe schools like UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford while they sip their Starbucks delights and fret about their itchy crotch-stubble.

    So… are more than correct that we DID lose Puerto Rico a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry long time ago.

    And that “loss” doesn’t look like it will be recovered anytime soon by the Island’s century-old infestation of political corruption and collusion and it CERTAINLY will NOT be recovered by the Pseudo-Rican “intelligentsia” on the US Mainland selling-out our history, our culture and our people so that they can cling to that very soiled and caca’d “La Tino Studies” perch in the American academy that they have become so “stuck” on.

    Yes, Puerto Rico was lost a long time ago and that “loss” is NOWHERE near over!


  12. To all my sisters and brothers, regardless of what your political views are, or your class; we lost Puerto Rico to the thugs. Puerto Ricans are leaving the island in droves. We lost our island a long time ago.


  13. Its all a plot to make you love the flag that represents the new Puerto Rican while making the Taino culture and pride disappear.


  14. It is a political oxymoron to be called an American citizen while Puerto Rico remains prime real estate as the oldest, captive Caribbean colonial cash cow of the U.S. This “dark truth” about the origins of the Puerto Rican parade and its connection to our beloved flag also highlights the Promethean curse that true Puerto Rican patriots experience when they fight to defend the U.S.’s wars, but return home condemned when they become the flame-keepers of our own freedom. I believe in the independence of a people, first and foremost. Public Law 53 forced Puerto Ricans to hide their love of patriotism, of country, and as a result, become Nobodies searching for the American Dream while becoming invisible to themselves. Truth be told, Borinquenos never stopped loving who they were, or have become, as universal citizens of the world. The difference between then and now is that we are creating our own history while striving to own the future as independent spirits with a voice among many. As long as Puerto Rico remains a perfumed colony or economic mistress of the U.S. Congress; and its children are forced to play global mercenaries when the U.S. is war-deprived; or be seduced by the Financial Control Board to pimp for the Wall Street bull…these dark secrets will become nuclear hypocrisy. Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre! – Jose Angel Figueroa, Poeta

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Se acerca una tormenta,
    Por Hector Lopez

    Se acerca una tormenta,
    Se ennegrecen las nubes
    Se oyen los primeros
    Truenos y relampaguea,
    Es la voz estruendosa del

    Aquí empiezan sus discursos
    Como las centellas con los
    Truenos que acompañan
    Su voz redentora en esta
    Oscuridad colonial.

    Empieza a llover, huele a tierra,
    los pájaros vuelan, la esperanza
    cae con esa lluvia que nos lava
    del veneno del Imperio.

    Truena otra vez la voz del Maestro
    la Voz de la Patria.

    ¡De pie Boricuas escuchad esa voz
    Para que entiendan esos relámpagos
    que alumbran sus conciencias!


  16. We visited this beautiful place with beautiful people two months ago . This is so sad.


  17. Que Viva Puerto Rico!

    No Importa El Tirano Te Trate Con Negra Maldad…….
    Te Llaman Los Hijos de la


  18. It does display pride,,,u would never know,,,,,and being in NY,,,the world has no choice but to see it,,,,Puerto Rico and its people on the island and abroad,,have been here for many years,,,,,we have history and its about time the world see it and understand it


  19. “Seventy years ago, Boricuas were given the worst jobs and housing in New York City. They were also beaten by their neighbors and the NYPD”

    Sounds like what has happened to the Dominican community in Puerto Rico, what a shame!


    The treatment of Haitians in the DR is truly a shame.


    Liked by 2 people

  20. Puerto Rico does not need a control board. That’s just another Ponzi scheme strategy. They need to booth out out those corrupt PPD and PNP politicians, repeal the Jone’s Act and finally declare themselves Independent from their slave masters. Also last if not least educate the people on the history ( true history ) of Puerto Rico. Don’t do like the PNP or PPD would do and offer the people gifts of a new washer or dryer a new car or to paint their house for free and little education if any. Puerto Rico deserves better than that. Long live a free Puert Rico.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Dawn…thanks for lending a note of reasoned reality to an otherwise hyper-hysterical, politically-poisoned, emotionally-exploitive faux-non-dialogue of a grave and dismal situation in Puerto Rico in reference to a parade that represents Puerto Rico and its people and culture as much as Pizza Hut represents the people and culture of Italy.


  22. Evelyn…I think you might want to look at your passport and see what nation issued it.
    I doubt that it says “ISSUED BY PUERTO RICO” or by that “Nation of Atlantis” or by “Chupacabra Land”.

    And as for Jefferson…he not only kept slaves, but he raped them and kept them in his bed as concubines.
    Check with Sally Hemmings about that not-so-benevolent inconvenient “truth”.

    Don’t go off the deep end with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s minstrel ghetto rap routines about our “founding fathers” on Broadway.
    THAT is fiction and not reality.

    And that glitter and confetti is not angel tears.


  23. The FBI arrested even 8 year old children for 10 years just for the
    PR flag.. Puerto Ricans have been
    fighting in wars alongside Americans
    before this.


  24. All that you say is true historically. Thank you for this informative treatise on “La Parada”.

    However, let me take you down MY memory lane with regard to the “parade”.

    When we were little boys, my parents would dress us in little white shorts, little white shirts and a clip-on tie. Me and my brother Radames Sebastian, waved our little “banderitas” as our parents pointed to the different floats with teen-aged beauty queens who were typically the winners from the Island of “Las Fiestas Patronales”, which in our case meant those pretty girls came from San Sebastian, Lares, Utuado, Moca, Quebradillas, Hatillo, Camuy, Barceloneta, Arecibo and other towns of the northwest quadrant, which was settled primarily by European immigrants in the mid-to-late 1800s, which historically-speaking, yesterday.

    These young girls were typically-escorted on the floats by their parents. They wore white gloves, very little make-up and a sequined chest-banner inscribed with the name of their particular home-town. It made my parents and even grand-parents beam with REAL pride to see these girls who made them REALLY proud. Often these young girls were college students and headed for lives of success and dignity. They made their families proud and made us proud too. They represented the people of the Island, its culture and its history with dignity.

    You could see in their faces, that the girls were jubilant with pride to be in “Nuyol” to represent their hometowns to those of us who had come to the US mainland to work in garment district sweatshops, become “supers” in tenement slums or to vacuum offices in soaring sky-scrapers on Madison Avenue taking the jobs previously held by the “Shanty” Irish working class. In the late 50s and 60s we had YET to become cops, firemen or teachers…those socio-economic achievements were a couple of decades away for most of us.

    I still have Brownie Kodak photos of me and my brother grinning for the camera with our faces and white shirts and white shorts stained from the turquoise, pink and orange piraguas that our parents would buy us when the Summer heat got to us. The piraguas ALWAYS calmed us down and the adults could enjoy the parade as we stood along 5th Avenue behind the police barriers slurping the rapidly-melting and very sticky ice-cones.

    Eventually, going away to college, being drafted into the Vietnam War, moving back to the Island or even going to work in Mallorca, Spain for a distant relative, took its toll on our family’s presence at the parade, but most of us did get to read reports in the US Mainland newspaper or watch snippets of “La Parada” on TV, regardless of where we lived.

    But slowly over time we ALL began to see a marked change in “La Parada”, its theme, the participants and the overall tone of the once innocent and authentic cultural statement in Manhattan and it wasn’t a positive or very pretty one.

    The increasing number of incidents of muggings, car break-ins, sexual harassment of young girls (“mira mami I got somethin’ real good for ju puta”), incidents of public urination, indecent exposure, harassment of tourists and even the attempted rape of DOZENS of women in the Central Park bushes in 2000 scarred all the happy memories we once held of “La Parada”.

    And SHOCKINGLY never a word from the predictable Pseudo-Rican “Spokes-payasos” condemning such disgraceful activity at a cultural venue that families attend with children and is witnessed via television and the internet ALL OVER THE PLANET!

    My elderly grandfather stopped coming from Puerto Rico to see the parade years ago. Even with his 3rd grade education he SAW decades ago where “La Parada” was headed. Having come initially to Manhattan during WW1 in 1914 to work in a Spanish cigar factory owned by a distant relative, with his twin brother, Bartolomeo, he had a very different vision of his people and their future in US one day and it is NOT represented in this “parade”.

    And so today even fewer in our family attend or even watch for it on television. Sure, apologists will defend that in any gathering of so many people there will always be those whose behavior goes beyond reckless to disrespectful and certainly is NOT very “pride-filled”…and there is little we can do about it, but “abuelo” is turning in his grave in the Terra Nova Cemetery in Quebradillas each year when this “parade” takes over Manhattan.

    Unquestionably, since the 90s “La Parada” has degenerated into a culturally hi-jacked spectacle that represents the culture and people of Puerto Rico as much as Pizza Hut represents the culture and people of Tuscany…not at all!

    Today’s parade is a loud, garish, shamelessly commercialized and cheaply politicized spectacle pushing Goya Beans, Banco Popular VISA cards with $5 limits and every vote-grubbing 3rd-rate political hacks that slithers out of their limousines to do a few steps of “La Cucaracha” (our national “dance”).

    Limbo-dancing “natives” in grass-skirts and doing Rain Dances in MADE-IN-KOREA “authentic” loin-cloths (aka “Taparrabos), wearing Hopi war paint are not unusual either. The only problem is that NO ONE in Puerto Rico has ever danced for rain, since it typically rains everyday for a few minutes.

    To make matters even worse, In the name of fake and forced “diversity-at-all-costs” it is not uncommon to see ghetto-thugs “repppin” as they scream “Soy Boreekwa” in their greasy head-rags made of shreds of the Puerto Rico flag with their asses hanging out of their pants.

    And not to be outdone, their female counter-parts are only too willing to do their frenetic booty-shakin’, booby-bouncing and furious twerking “dance routines” as they shove their behinds into the camera lenses of international news reporters and photographers who will scatter those”cultural” images of “Our People and Our Culture” in their sweaty thongs and bikini tops ALSO made of shreds of our flag for the world to gawk at.

    In response, most of us have closed our Banco Popular accounts, don’t buy any more Goya Beans and we definitely don’t attend “La Parada”.

    As my Mallorca-born great-grandfather used to say often:

    “Mi’jo, cuando el hombre pierde la verguenza, no hay NADIE que se la devuelva”.

    “La Parada lost its “verguenza” the day Rita Moreno sang “Everything free in America” and no one has had the “pride” to even look for it since.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Then why aren’t these people organizing support for what is going on now in Puerto Rico? What better day,what better time and venue to show the US government that these Puerto Ricans marching with pride in what happens at home in their homeland? Being in N.Y.doesn’t display pride of anything except being Puerto Rican. The need for verbal and an actual display of support and knowledge to the U.S.government as to the care and concern needs to be today ! When all of the world is a stage ! Thats where the pride should begin.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Yes, we will never give up our beautiful island. PROUD to be Puerto Rican – NOT American. LOVE my beautiful proud people, voted the happiest people in the world. You will never crush us, America. And like Thomas Jefferson said “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” One day you will have to give an account America.


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