Our nation is mourning the death of 50 innocent people at the Pulse night club in Orlando, FL. It is a great national tragedy, and the media focus on LGBT victims.
But our nation must also be clear: in addition to the tragic targeting of innocent LGBT victims, the Florida Department of State has confirmed that 23 people – almost half of all those killed – were Puerto Rican.
THE KILLER WAS A REGULAR AT THE PULSE CLUB
Many details about the killer Omar Mateen are still unclear.
The New York Daily News reports that for the last three years, Mateen had been a regular at the Pulse nightclub…where he drank heavily and danced with other men.
Many other Pulse club patrons – and even a security guard – report seeing Mateen drinking and dancing with men at the club, on many prior occasions.
THE NUMBERS ARE CLEAR
Mateen’s sexual history is currently unclear, and “breaking news” is pouring in from many sources.
But one thing IS clear:
The largest newspaper in Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Dia, consulted the Florida Department of State.
They confirmed that many of the victims in the Pulse nightclub tragedy, were Puerto Rican:
The Miami Herald released some of the first named victims. It is a sad list:
Every name is Latino.
It was “Latin Night” at Pulse when the tragedy occurred on June 11…and the two main scheduled entertainers, Kenya Michaels and Yara Sofia, were both Puerto Rican.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of Latinos in Orlando are Puerto Rican.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Readers may reasonably ask, “What difference does it make? 49 HUMAN BEINGS were killed….end of story.”
But it is not the end of the story.
When a Puerto Rican wins the Powerball, the internet explodes with racist invective.
When a Jones Act strangles the entire island, the Puerto Rican people “owe” $72 billion and a Financial Control Board lands on their head.
When a Puerto Rican is murdered in Wisconsin for speaking Spanish to his son, we barely hear about it.
We need to stop being invisible.
That is why this matters.
THE U.S. is REPONSIBLE…but PUERTO RICANS are INVISIBLE
US economics forced these Puerto Ricans into Orlando.
Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans reach Orlando as economic refugees. The press in Puerto Rico has recognized this.
If they were shoved off their island, and forced to re-create their lives in Orlando, they should at least be safe from insane political murders.
US politics enthralled a warped ISIS sympathizer named Omar Mateen, who shot and maimed and killed dozens of Puerto Ricans at the Pulse club.
Immediately after the mass murder of Puerto Ricans in Orlando, Pres. Obama called Mateen’s murders “an act of hate” and added that “This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
There was not ONE mention from Obama of “Our friends who are Puerto Rican, and came here from the island.”
In other words, we are invisible.
Even the Democratic Party – which lives by creating categories, and sub-categories, and then pandering to them – does not bother to recognize the PUERTO RICANS who are being killed.
They turn this tragedy into a gun control issue, and a gay rights issue, and completely ignore the tragedy of Puerto Ricans who are: 1) abused by capitalists, 2) betrayed by politicians, and finally 3) murdered by madmen.
THERE IS A NAME FOR ALL THIS
Hannah Arendt had a name for this type of genocide…THE BANALITY OF EVIL
Gabriel Garcia Marquez called it…100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE
Eduardo Galeano…OPEN VEINS OF LATIN AMERICA
Chinua Achebe…THINGS FALL APART
Ralph Ellison…INVISIBLE MAN
The Jews call it a pogrom.
Whatever the name, please recognize that it exists.
When Puerto Ricans are slaughtered in Orlando, we need to see it.
We cannot ignore the life story…and the people…and the powerful forces…that turned them into victims.
Let us always commemorate, and always remember them.