Puerto Ricans discuss leadership

By Alberto Suris

Following, if not before, the celebration in Lowell of the Puerto Rican Festival held last Sunday, August 4, a discontent has arisen between the organizers of the current festival and the founders of it.

Under the name of Hijos de Borinquen, Inc, the group that directs Haggeo Hernandez as president organized and carried out the festival, which we were lucky to cover in our edition # 682 of August 8, 2019.

Several days later, on Friday, August 23, Rumbo was invited to participate in a meeting where several topics would be discussed. The group that founded the Puerto Rican Festival in 1980 was composed of Ana Ocasio, Dolores Cruz, and Alberto Echevarria, among others. The group complained about the poor organization of the event. “In my day we brought artists from Puerto Rico, and when they sang the National Anthem they presented it as the Flag Anthem,” said Ocasio, considering it disrespectful.

Alberto Echevarría said he wanted a new directive and also claimed reimbursement for the amount of an ad he placed in the book and it was not published.

For her part, Dolores Cruz highlighted the case of the “The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Constitution states that its Coat of Arms cannot be used as an emblem of political parties or candidates for the ballot,” said Cruz, “and they are using it on their correspondence”.

Haggeo Hernandez, better known by Canito, explained that he has worked at the Puerto Rican Festival for 30 years with Ana Ocasio but that the organization was never registered with the state until 2000, to which Ocasio replied that, since 1980, while she was in charge, the committee was always registered as Hijos(Children of) de Borinquen.

“I claim 39 years of work,” said Ocasio. “If the group wants to make a festival, they can do it, but not with the name of Sons of (Hijos de) Borinquen. I put the festival in your hands,” Ocasio said to which Canito replied, “Because it was failing.”

According to the Massachusetts State Corporation Division, Hijos de Borinquen, Inc. was registered with ID #000721436 dated September 18, 2000, with Ana Ocasio as President; Hilda Fernandez, Treasurer and Minerva Colón, Clerk. Twelve years later, on June 18, 2012, said corporation was canceled by Involuntary Revocation. Only one annual report appears in the files of the Corporation Division.

Likewise, the Massachusetts State Corporation Division, dated August 8, 2019, registered in its files Hijos de Borinquen, Inc, with #001396704, where Haggeo Hernández appears as President; Juan Gonzalez, Treasurer and Wanda Melendez, Clerk.

According to Ana Ocasio, she was invited by Haggeo Hernández to be part of the new group. We would be very honored if you participate,” Ocasio said Hernández told her. “But he never let me know and they held the meeting behind closed doors,” Ocasio concluded.