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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

Address: : 2012 Ernest St. Kissimmee, Florida 34741

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and finished a Master�s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx in 1994. He has coordinated symposiums, produced and coordinated television interviews on the literature written by Puerto Rican and Latino/a writers from the Diaspora. He has done numerous presentations, workshops and seminars on how to integrate latino/a literature in the English classroom. In 2014, he participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. He is the author of three books, , Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Imprenta Sifre. 2008) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (Imprenta Sifre, 2013). He is a Language Arts teacher at Osceola School District in Florida.

The President’s Visit to Puerto Rico: Purpose and History
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright

There has been a lot of talk about the President’s visit to Puerto Rico. When Air force One landed in Puerto Rico, there were a lot of hopes and dreams being founded in President Barack Obama’s visit to the so-called “Isla del Encanto”. After two months of intense planning by the White House administration, June 14th finally arrived and the Governor and superstar entertainer Marc Anthony awaited his arrival in the burning sun in the Isla Verde runway of Puerto Rico’s stellar airport. The doors of the legendary plane opened, and President Barack Obama and Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner came down the stairs and touched soil.

What was the purpose of the Presidential visit? Was there a specific purpose? What was the agenda? Why was the visit significant? These are just four questions of many that may remain unanswered, while many speculate about the true reasons of the historical event. There is no doubt that Puerto Rico has become a focal point of Barack Obama’s administration. The eternal tug of war between local Puerto Rican politicians and their particular positions concerning status, the economy, federal funds and other issues have caught the attention of the White House and those interested in luring the interest of the Puerto Rican people on the Island and in the United States.

While the debate between the current reigning political party in Puerto Rico and its political counterpart dwell in whether the economy in Puerto Rico has shown improvement or not, the President designed a four hour visit to shake the hands of a chosen group of politicians, entrepreneurs, business giants and a few ordinary people that could afford his personal presence, even if it was for a few minutes. The purpose of the visit was to primarily commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s visit to Puerto Rico. The specifics of the visit were nevertheless confusing.

Puerto Rico is a United States territory, and one hundred and a dozen years later after the 1898 historical encounter, that remains a fact. There are other speculations, but the truth is that the Presidential elections are a year and a bit away, and the Latino vote continues to be key for Obama and his Republican Party political adversaries. Who can forget the Bush-Gore electoral struggles for votes in Florida? The winner of the judicial claim in 2000 became the President of the United States thereafter. Eleven years later, Puerto Ricans have become a strong political and economic voice in many of Florida’s cities, including the top two, Orlando and Miami. The Latino population growth is extraordinary and significant to anyone interested in holding on or obtaining additional political power.

While the purpose and historical nature of the Presidential visit were made clear before, during and after the visit; the true nature of the trip still remains to be seen. The truth is that the accomplished mega entertainer and actor Marc Anthony represents the sons and daughters of the working class Puerto Ricans that left the Island before, during and after President Kennedy’s stay in Puerto Rico fifty years ago. Yes, the visit was historical and no doubt, there was purpose, but the results of the four hour stay remain a mystery until we get closer to the 2012 Presidential electoral debate.