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Every time it seems like The Island cannot take any more abuse and it’s about to flounder in a sea of crime and corruption, the chupacabra makes an alleged appearance.  I don’t know if the mythical creature reads El Nuevo Dia and decides when it’s time to give us Puerto Ricans (there and abroad) a little comic relief, but it always surfaces when the economy collapses and the Dept. of Families is buried under abuse cases. It never competes with Maripily and it doesn’t appear when we’re mourning a national hero or welcoming a beauty queen or an athlete at the San Juan airport. It waits its turn.

This year, it intuitively knew we needed a boost before the holidays. A college professor and a town mayor (the usual suspects) led the carnival parade to an old sugar mill in Guanica. Yes, that’s the site of the previous colonizer’s means of exploitation AND the same town where our current colonizers first set foot on The Island during the Spanish American War.  (Do you see a connection between the left-wing independentistas and the chupacabra?)

The carnival parade received the Standard Puertorrican Reception (SPR): joketelling, beerdrinking and stonethrowing. No surprises there. There were more journalists than bona fide chupacabra experts. And here I put together “bona fide” and “experts” in the same sense I would put together “tranquil” and “three-year-old birthday party.” Or maybe “healthy” and “cuchifrito.” (And let’s not mention the fried-food-road-stand, err, restaurant that burned down recently. That was truly sad news from The Island.) At any rate, the chupacabra has its mythology and its place in the hierarchical imaginary of boricua symbolism – and it’s not to be confused with “the gargoyle,” which according to one female bystander might be ensconced in a certain part of her anatomy. (You have to read the story. I don’t make this stuff up.)    

So, what’s the deal with the chupacabra coming to the rescue of the remains of our pinch of faith and our shred of hope(or is it shreded demure)?  I’m starting to think this chupacabra fetish is more than a gimmick. It has played the part, effectively for some time, of a thinly veiled collective coping mechanism in times of despair.

I hope this means The Island can only go up from (t)here.

Read the whole story in Spanish:


Reclama tu territorio en cualquier idioma

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