Wednesday - Apr 24, 2019

Residente shares his view on the independence of Puerto Rico


by the El Reportero’s news services

MEXICO CITY – Following the interest in the policy that has characterized it throughout his career, Residente, whose birth name is René Pérez Joglar, claimed the lack of attention that the United States has had with Puerto Rico, which supposedly owes $73,000 millions and has been in recession for a decade.

“They do not do anything. What are they going to do with Puerto Rico, which for them is nothing but a small island with only lizards and monkeys? “Said the interpreter from Latin America and Baile de los pobres, who also blamed local authorities who refuse to do an audit to the debt.

Being an unincorporated territory, the island does not receive the same protections as the States of the American Union, where cities and counties can declare themselves bankrupt. In Puerto Rico, neither municipalities nor public agencies can do so.

The island pays Social Security and Medicare, however, it receives less federal funds compared to the United States.

Residente is rapper, writer, producer and founder of the alternative rap group Calle 13. Together with the group he has won 24 Latin Grammy awards in total, making him the Latin artist who has won the most gold-plated gramophones.

Puerto Rico is very present in Resident’s first solo album that begins with the monologue of a distant relative, the famous composer and playwright of Puerto Rican origin Lin-Manuel Miranda, talking about his ancestors.

“Primo, you and I descended from Gilberto Concepción de Gracia, founder of the Puerto Rican independence party,” recited the Broadway superstar on the subject “Intro ADN / DNA.”

Like that ancestor, Residente has said that he is an independentist, but the Puerto Rican rapper clarifies that “independence is not against the United States.” The independentista movement has tended different currents in Puerto Rico, some pacific, others tending to the revolution and others to the socialism.

“There are people who misunderstand it and associate it with a communism, with a socialism. Forget about it, do not associate it with anything, it’s about owning your stuff,” the musician said in a recent interview with The Associated Press in Mexico City, where he presented the first concert of the world tour of his self-titled album.

“Independence has no limits, no ceiling. You grow as long as you want to grow, “he added.

In June, Puerto Rico held a non-binding referendum in which more than half a million voters (97 percent of the participating voters) supported statehood, more than 7,600 free association with independence and nearly 6,700 independence. The influx at the ballot box was only 23 percent of the electorate so their detractors questioned the validity of the vote, which several parties had boycotted.

The government of Puerto Rico announced that it would not hold official celebrations on July 4, the day of US independence, due to the economic situation that the island is going through.

To perform “Resident,” which Rolling Stone recently included in its list of the 50 best albums so far in 2017, the artist toured Siberia, China, Europe and Africa in search of their roots, inspired by DNA tests that had made. With the theme “Hijos del cañaveral”, a delicate song with clave, bongo and guitar, makes the complete circle and returns to his land.

Resident is as international as his project: he lives between Argentina, New York and Puerto Rico. And for the tour he looked for a band that reflected this diversity of cultures.

“There is a German, there is a Moroccan, there is an Argentine, there are two Puerto Ricans, there are two Americans, there are people from different parts collaborating to make the sound feel universal,” he said.