100 Ideas That Changed Photography

24 OCTOBER, 2012

100 Ideas That Changed Photography


From the camera obscura to the iPhone, or why photography is an art of continuous reinvention.

Earlier this year, British publisher Laurence King brought us 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design, 100 Ideas That Changed Film, and 100 Ideas That Changed Architecture. Now comes 100 Ideas That Changed Photography (public library) — an equally concise and intelligent chronicle of the most seminal developments in the history of today’s most prevalent visual art. From technical innovations like the cyanotype (#12), the advent of color (#23), the Polaroid (#84), and moving pictures (#20) to paradigms like photojournalism (#66) and fabrication (#93) to new ways of looking at the world like aerial photography (#54), micro/macro (#55), and stopping time (#49), each of the ideas is accompanied by a short essay contextualizing its history and significance.

Syracuse University fine art professor Mary Warner Marien writes in the introduction:

Before it materialized as the camera and lens, photography was an idea. The desire to make a special kind of representation, originating in the object itself, is as old as humankind. It appears in the stencil paintings of hands in prehistoric art. In Western culture, the legend of the Corinthian woman who traced the shadow of her lover on a wall before he departed for war has evolved into an origin story for figurative art and, in the 1840s, for photography. Soon after the medium was disclosed to the world in 1839, the word ‘facsimile’ was adapted to describe the photograph’s unprecedented authenticity. Samuel F. B. Morse observed that a photograph could not be called a copy, but was a portion of nature itself. That notion, which persisted throughout the nineteenth century, found new life in the late twentieth-century language theory, in which the photograph was characterized as an imprint or transfer of the real, like a fingerprint.

Marien goes on to illuminate the history of photography alongside the parallel history of innovations in science and technology, as well as social and cultural developments across philosophy, politics, and aesthetics.



When Christian Gobrecht illustrated the workings of a camera obscura for Abraham Rees’s The Cyclopedia or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature (1805-22), he was careful to show how the device created an inverted image.



The latent image was coaxed from the daguerreotype plate by being exposed to mercury fumes in a so-called ‘bath’ like this one.



The negative formed the basis of photography until the digital age. It is based on the reversal of dark and light tone.



Specially designed weights or impromptu inventions were attached to the shutter to create timed lens exposures.



The cyanotype allowed builders and engineers to create durable and detailed drawings.



Anna Atkins was one of the first scientists to use the cyanotype to record delicate specimens, as in Himanthalia lorea, from her 1843 book on algae.



Photographers who used the collodion process had to process their glass plates before and after exposure. They brought a portable darkroom and sometimes employed assistants to help.



Disdéri’s multiple portraits of a ballet dancer is entitled Petipa (c. 1862), for the renowned French dance master and choreographer. Performers and public figures often had cartes de visite made in great numbers, which they either gave away or sold.



In 1925, the French children’s magazine Le Petit Inventeur captured the wonder of projected images.



For the cover of a 1929 issue of the German publication The Worker Photographer, Ernst Thormann chose a close-up of a Roma child.



In this anonymous early Kodak snapshot from about 1888, the maker’s shadow is clearly visible on the lower left side.



In her 1896 Self-Portrait (as New Woman) successful Washington, D.C. photographer and business owner, Frances Benjamin Johnston, poses cross-legged, as a man might do, while holding a cigarette and a beer stein.

Ultimately, what emerges from 100 Ideas That Changed Photography, besides the fascinating historical perspective, is an underlying message that our present-day fears about the alleged affronts to photography are misplaced, oblivious to the perpetually evolving heart of the art of recording light. As Marien puts it:

While it may seem that a new photo technology is born every day, photography is still what we make it, not what it makes us.

Images and captions courtesy of Laurence King

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Tomado de http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/24/100-ideas-that-changed-photography/

8 Atrocities Committed Against Puerto Rico by the US

8 Atrocities Committed Against Puerto Rico by the US.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the Caribbean Sea. It is a small island with a population of almost four million citizens. On July 25, 1898, during the Spanish American War, United States invaded Puerto Rico and commenced a long relationship between the two. With this list, I’ll try to underline eight atrocities committed by the United States in Puerto Rico.

La Operacion is a documentary that highlights the female sterilization policy. This policy was implanted by the United States as part of FDR’s “Operation Bootstrap” in a move toward industrialization. By 1974 35% of the Puerto Rican women were sterile and this number reached 39% by 1981. The problem with this sterilization policy is that most of the Puerto Rican women were misinformed about the sterilization process and most of the women didn’t know what the consequences would be.



041808 Vieques2 Story

Vieques is an island municipality of Puerto Rico located in the northeastern Caribbean, it is also known as “La isla nena.” Vieques has a total area of 134.4sq miles and is inhabited by more than 9,000 viequenses. From 1941 to May 1, 2003 the United States Navy used Vieques for naval training and testing. From 1941 to 1942 the U.S. Navy expropriated 22,000 of Vieques 33,000 acres, by 1963 the Navy owned 22,600 acres of Vieques, almost 70% of the island.

In 1948 they commenced bombing exercise which continued for 55 years. Over the course of their stay, more than 22 million pounds of military and industrial waste was deposited on the island. The island was bombarded an average 180 days per year and in 1998 the Navy dropped 23,000 bombs on the island. Professor Jose Seguinot Barbosa, Director of the Geography Department in the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, states in his study “Vieques, the Ecology of an island under siege” that the eastern tip of the island constitutes an area with more craters per kilometer than the moon.

As a result of all this, the cancer rate in Vieques is 27% higher than in the mainland. Most of the elements and toxic compounds dumped in the island were arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, depleted uranium and napalm. Studies show that the ground water in Vieques is contaminated by nitrates and explosives. Testing done in the Lcacos Bay showed concentrations of cadmium in crabs 1,000 times greater than the World Health Organizations tolerable ingestion maximum dosage. Heavy metals have been found in other species of fish.


Radiation Experiments

Pedro Albizu Campos

Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a prominent leader in the independence movement of Puerto Rico. Albizu was imprisoned numerous times for seditious conspiracy against the United States. While in prison, Albizu said he was a subject of human experimentation without consent or warning. The U.S. Government’s response was that Albizu was insane. The president of the Cuban Cancer Association, Dr. Orlando Damuy, traveled to Puerto Rico to examine Albizu. Dr.Damuy reported burns on Albizu’s body caused by intense radiation. It is said that they placed a metal clip and film on Albizu’s skin and the clip radiated into the film.

Albizu died in 1965 and more than 75,000 Puerto Ricans carried his remains to the Old San Juan Cemetery. In 1994, under the administration of ex-president Bill Clinton, the United States Department of Energy disclosed that human radiation experiments had been conducted without consent on prisoners in Puerto Rico during the 1950s and 1970s.


Dr. Cornelius Rhoads

Tumblr Lzmwvp4Vuv1Qerzk1O1 400

Dr. Cornelius Rhoads was an American doctor and pathologist that became infamous for performing several objectionable experiments with human beings. In 1931, sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute, Rhoads deliberately infected several Puerto Rican citizens with cancer cells. Supposedly, thirteen of the patients died. Dr. Rhoads once said in a written document: “The Porto Ricans [sic] are the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men ever to inhabit this sphere… I have done my best to further the process of extermination by killing off eight and transplanting cancer into several more… All physicians take delight in the abuse and torture of the unfortunate subjects.” An investigation done in 2003 by bioethicist Dr. Jay Katz found that the accusations were well founded and documented.


Ponce Massacre


The Ponce Massacre, which took place on March 21, 1937, was one of the most violent episodes in the history of the twentieth century in Puerto Rico. The activity was announced in El Mundo newspaper on March 19, indicating that the meeting of the Nationalists in Ponce and adjacent areas would be at 2pm in front of the Nationalist Party Headquarters in Ponce. That morning, Colonel Orbeta, the chief of police, traveled to Ponce with the intention of prohibiting the Nationalist activity. A week before, the Nationalists had requested authorization for the march from Mayor José Tormos Diego, who was away from Puerto Rico on vacation and had left Dr. William Gelpí as acting mayor. Gelpí authorized Casimiro Berenguer, the military instructor of the “Cadetes de la Republica” to disseminate information to the effect that permission had to be granted by Mayor Tormos Diego. The Nationalists had filed the request despite the fact that the laws of Puerto Rico allowed parades or public acts to be held without the need to ask permission.

The police under the command of Guillermo Soldevila, the head of the force in Juana Díaz, and Felipe Blanco cordoned off the demonstrators, using expert marksmen mobilized from all the police stations in Puerto Rico. The police covered the corner where the Nationalist Council was located on Marina Street, between Aurora and Jobos Streets. Meanwhile, the Cadets of the Republic and the Nurses Corps organized in three columns. The cadets wore a uniform of white trousers, black shirts, black caps, and on the left sleeve, a Calatravian cross. Leading the column was cadet captain Tomás López de Victoria. The young women formed up as the nurses corps, wearing white uniforms and marching behind the young men. Bringing up the rear was the band, made up of five or six musicians. Nearby, on Aurora and Marina Streets, almost in front of where the Council was located, the families of the cadets came together with other Nationalists who had come to see the parade. The band played “La Borinqueña,” and the captain of the Cadet Corps, Tomás López de Victoria, immediately gave the order to step off. At the precise moment when they were about to do so, Soldevila raised a whip, put it to the chest of López de Victoria, and told him that they could not march. Police officer Armando Martínez ran from the corner in front of the Nationalist Council toward Marina Street, firing once into the air, which unleashed volleys of shots from arms of different calibers. Eight people died instantly and others died later, for a total of nineteen. Police officers Ceferino Loyola and Eusebio Sánchez died victims of the crossfire of their fellows. Georgina Maldonado, a 13 year old-girl, an employee of a nearby gas station, José Antonio Delgado, a member of the National Guard who was passing by, and fourteen Nationalists also died.

A number of citizens of Ponce requested that the American Civil Liberties Union investigate what happened on March 21. An Investigating Commission on the causes of the Ponce Massacre was established, presided over by Atty. Arthur Garfield Hays, a US citizen delegated by the ACLU, with Emilio S. Belaval, the president of the Puerto Rico Atheneum, Mariano Acosta Velarde, the president of the Puerto Rico Bar Association, Francisco M. Zeno, the editor of La Correspondencia newspaper, Antonio Ayuso Valdivieso, the director of El Imparcial newspaper, and Manuel Díaz García, a former president of the Medical Association. The commission carried out an exhaustive investigation of the facts and in its report placed the blame on Governor Winship. It referred to the happenings as the Ponce Massacre. [source]


The Pill

220Px-Gregory Pincus

In the early 1950s the Puerto Rican women were used for experimentation in the making of the first birth control pill. The Pill was invented by Dr. Gregory Goodwin Pincus but strict laws in the U.S. didn’t permit full scale experimentation. In 1955 Dr. Pincus and his colleague, Harvard obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. John Rock visited Puerto Rico and then decided it was a perfect place to test out their pill due to the lack of anti-birth control laws.

The trials began in Rio Piedras but quickly moved throughout the poor sectors in the island. The experiments was based on poor and working class women; these women were not told the pill was experimental and were not told the negative effects the pill could have on them. Three young women died during these experiments and no investigations were conducted to determine cause of death.




The effect of the colonization is very evident on the Puerto Rican people. “La ley de mordaza” was implanted by Governor Jesus T. Piñero on May 21, 1948 which did not permit any Puerto Rican to show any patriotism or even display the Puerto Rican Flag. Puerto Ricans were given citizenship in 1917 with the Jones Act, Puerto Ricans were considered alien in United States but once the Jones Act took effect more than 20,000 Puerto Ricans were drafted by the army. With the United States came huge changes in the educational system making American values and principles the main teachings in schools and even forcing teachers to teach English. It wasn’t until 1998 that Puerto Ricans changed back to Spanish as their main language in schools.

The United States implanted an economy that depended on them; this destroyed the agriculture in Puerto Rico. In less than 20 years, 90 cents of each dollar that a Puerto Rican spent went to the United States. This made Puerto Rico one of the poorest countries in America. The Puerto Ricans still do not have a defined status; Puerto Rico has one of the worst economies in America and an unemployment rate of more than 16%. Puerto Ricans don’t have the same rights for their social security or even veterans’ benefits, even though they meet the same requirements than the people that live in the states.


Puerto Rico’s Status

Puerto Rico Us

Puerto Rico has been a US territory for more than 100 years and has been defined as a commonwealth since 1952. Puerto Ricans cannot vote for the US President or Congress but they have to obey federal laws. A Resident Commissioner represents Puerto Ricans in Congress but he cannot vote on legislation. This affects Puerto Ricans every day. An example of this is the Cabotage laws implanted in 1920 by the Jones Act. This law says that Puerto Ricans must use the U.S. Merchant Marine for the oceanic transportation of any goods bought by Puerto Rico. This is a problem because Puerto Rico, being an island, does not produce everything it consumes and is obliged in the use of the U.S. Merchant Marine. The U.S. Merchant Marine is one of the most expensive merchant marines in the world. It is estimated that if Puerto Ricans were not forced to use the U.S. Merchant Marine prices in all imported products would drop 40% and it would save Puerto Ricans $150 million in product export, this would lower the prices of the exported products and make Puerto Rico a more competitive country in the world market.

You could think that Puerto Rico has the Cabotage laws applied because it hasn’t defined their political status but this in not true because other US territories like the US Virgin Islands don’t have to comply with these laws. Another fact is that the Puerto Rican trade produces 25% of The U.S. Merchant Marine’s income.

Photojournalism in the Age of New Media

Photojournalism in the Age of New Media

By Jared Keller

Social media have given photojournalists a million extra eyes in conflict zones. But if a picture can say a thousand words, the trick is finding the right one.


An elderly woman kisses a riot soldier in the streets of Cairo. A building collapses in Tokyo. Bloodied bodies and dismembered limbs fill an infirmary in Benghazi. The images come to us through Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, captured through mobile phones or Web-ready digital cameras. Far from the grit of revolutionary unrest or the tumult of a natural disaster, average people sit, transfixed.

This story is a familiar one. As new media tools and social networks have become more widely utilized, the powerful images of the world’s crises are delivered directly to the laptops and smartphones of people around the globe. Since Iranian citizens filled the streets of Tehran in 2009 in defiance of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime, social media has allowed even the least tech-savvy people around the world to become bystanders to history.

While new media’s value as an organizational tool during global crises has been much debated since the Iranian election protests in 2009, its role in the process of narrative storytelling is palpable. In places like Libya where journalists are outlawed — or disaster zones like post-quake Haiti where regular means of communication are interrupted —  the linkages of social networks can be turned into a means of observing (or, in the case of a tech-savvy dictatorship, surveilling) the origins of political unrest or the makings of a world historical moment. But new media also comes with challenges for photojournalists: while a single snapshot may tell a thousand-word story, the trick is to get that story right.

The technical benefits of new media to photojournalists in crisis zones are equivalent to unrefined digital omniscience. A whole universe of photojournalists, both amateur and professional, is made available to the public through social networks, allowing news organizations to ferret out important stories using tools beyond their existing technical capabilities.

“With regards to Twitter, it’s a very useful tool in order to point journalistic organizations towrads potential leads and potential developments in stories,” said Santiago Lyon, director of photography for the Associated Press. The AP, alongside Reuters and Getty Images, provides the vast majority of editorial photos used by American news organizations. “When there’s a breaking story, whether it’s an ongoing crisis or a spot development — like a plane down in the Hudson — we’re very actively trolling social media sites for imagery: performing searches, scraping Twitter and Facebook, soliciting information. There’s a fairly robust mechanism within the AP to identify and capture citizen journalism … once we find something of interest, then it’s incumbent on a specialist to take care of it. Content goes through a specific department for vetting. We look, apply, crosscheck, reference.”

Since the camera phone has essentially turned any casual observor into a potential photojournalist, an extra pair of eyeballs in Libya could eventually become a temporary appendage of a larger news collecting organization. Lyon provides the example of Alaguri, a Benghazi resident who become the AP’s sole set of eyes in Libya in mid-February as Western journalists were just entering the country. “We found a guy in Benghazi in Libya who had posted some pictures onto the Internet,” Lyon said. “We tracked him down through his Facebook account. We made contact, had a conversation, asked relevant questions, ascertained that he was who he said he was, got permissions for his photos and retained him for a couple days of work. Because of that, we were able to have an exclusive look into the vents in Benghazi last weekend when there was no other imagery coming out of Libya. Our customers were using that. It was a great journalistic scoop on the strength of good, virtual, shoeleather reporting and verification.”

While verification can be a minor obstacle for photojournalists using social media as a resource, it lies at the heart of the ethical and aesthetic issues of crisis reporting.

But verification can often be problematic, and the proper context and attribution are often lost in the space between retweets and Facebook shares. If they happen to make contact, how does a news organization know they’re dealing with the photographer or copyright owner? How do we make arrangements to distribute the content? Is there a financial transaction involved? Even determining the original owner of a photograph becomes problematic. “It’s very complicated because what happens on the social media becomes something of an echo chamber,” said Lyon. “People scrape stuff off each others’ accounts, or a contextual claim is far from good or solid.”

If the original source of a photograph cannot be verified, the value of content is called into question. “We have to look at these things on a case-by-case basis. There’s no general blanket approach other than ‘they must be sure’ that the content is what is says to be and the person is in a position to deal with it (the owner, or a proxy),” said Lyon. “Everything is assessed on its value … we see this at times when the material is superseded or overshadowed by our staff material (not as good so we don’t need it), or it’s stuff that we absolutely need because we don’t have it or it’s from a hard-to-get-to location or whatever that may be.”

The Agence France-Presse and Getty Images found themselves in hot water over copyright infringement shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Photographer Daniel Morel managed to post exclusive post-quake images from the devastation in Port-Au-Prince on his Flickr and Twitter accounts. The images were stolen and re-distributed on Twitpic by a Dominican named Lisandro Suero. AFP and Getty licensed and distributed the photos with attribution to Suero to major news organizations — the New York Times, Time Inc, the Washington Post. In December 2010, Morel won a pre-trial victory in federal court against AFP and Getty for copyright infringement. “A news organization didn’t do due diligence,” said Lyon. “It’s absolutely critical. No matter how compelling the content is, we always make sure to deal with the copyright owner.”

While verification can be a technical or legal obstacle for photojournalists utilizing new media as a newsgathering resource, it lies at the heart of the ethical and aesthetic issues of photojournalism and crisis reporting. The sudden influx of raw images from areas ravaged by political conflict and natural disasters may be a wealth of information, and news organizations with limited budgets may be more inclined to rely on citizen journalists on the ground, but they do not necessarily constitute the narrative storytelling at the heart of valuable photojournalism.

I spoke to the staff at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, an independent organization that sponsors reporting on global affairs, about the evolving role of new media in photojournalism. Founded in 2006, the Pulitzer Center treats news coverage of systemic global issues as long-term media campaigns maintaining a spotlight on often-ignored topics, ranging from water and food insecurity to homophobia and stigma to fragile states and women and children in crisis.

“The Pulitzer definition of ‘crisis’ differs from the usual conception of the term,” said Nathalie Applewhite, managing director of the Pulitzer Center. “It’s not that crisis doesnt mean immediate crises, like earthquake and floods, but the perspective of the Pulitzer Center has to do primarily with systemic crises: what happens before, after, the underlying causes. New media is very significant in immediacy, but not totally in long term. It doesn’t matter if there are a thousand cameras, it’s the storytelling that’s important. A photojournalist with an artistic vision that transcends superficial coverage. It’s a different media space.”


Applewhite points to the work of Andre Lambertson, a New York-based photographer, as an example of high-quality photojournalism. Lambertson traveled to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake to document the spread of HIV and AIDS in Port-au-Prince for the Pulitzer Center project After the Quake: HIV/AIDS in Haiti. “The Haitian government estimated that 24,000 Haitians were accessing ARVs before the earthquake; by mid summer, according to UNAIDS, fewer than 40 percent had access,” wrote Lisa Armstrong, a print journalist accompanying Lambertson on the project, which launched on the Pulitzer Center’s website in August 2010. “Hundreds of HIV positive people live in tent cities for internally displaced persons, where their weakened immunity, and the unrelenting heat and rain, make them more vulnerable to diseases. Sex in these IDP camps — both forced and consensual — will likely increase the spread of HIV.”* His work in Haiti exemplifies the qualities that define valuable photojournalism, according to Applewhite: “sensitive vs. sensational, images that really tell a story.”

“We want images that stand the test of time,” Applewhite explained. “Snapshots and photos taken by camera phones are not things we can come back to learn from and understand something deeper. Images from Haiti and the Congo, these images are telling a much bigger story than what’s in front of them that moment.”

What happens to the traditional photojournalist in the new media landscape? “It could be a really negative thing,” Applewhite said. “News agencies are often happy with random snapshots from Egypt and they don’t necessarily need professional, thoughtful content all the time.”

Applewhite noted that crowdsourced content can be complementary for professional photojournalists just as it is for the AP and Reuters, allowing photojournalists and news organizations to explore and gauge new networks. “Direct feeds are absolutely complementary from citizen journalists and bloggers can draw attention to an issue,” she said, echoing the AP’s Santiago Lyon. “But we would want to verify sources, make sure that information is telling the story that it’s telling before it’s publicized.”

The staff at the Pulitzer Center is particularly sensitive to issues of verification. In crisis situations, verification often goes far beyond the copyright issues and associated legal ramifications cited that are a major concern for major news services like the Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters. An out-of-context photograph can prove disastrous in a post-conflict zone.

People take images as truth much more than words. And images can be manipulated.

“People take images as truth much more than words,” Applewhite emphasized. “And images can be manipulated. They can be used by someone with a vested interest to frame things in a certain way. There’s a certain caution that comes from a large news organization.”

Senior editor Tom Hundley witnessed the effect of unverified or out of context images well before the advent of social media. During the NATO bombing in Kosovo and Serbia, the Serbian Ministry of War published an elaborate set of volumes, full of pictures and stories of civilians who had been killed, as part of a propaganda campaign. “It was full of gory pictures, people’s grandmothers with bodies blown apart,” Hundley recalled. “During much of that I was there along with 40 or 50 other reporters. We were basically prisoners at the Belgrade Hyatt except when we were trotted out to report on civilian casualties and collateral damage. The Croatian/Serbian governments all made horrendous use of radio, newspaper and television.”

Government manipulation of imagery is certainly an issue, but the high velocity of social networks that makes verification so problematic means that conflict imagery is often left open to misinterpretation and, subsequently, reactionary violence. “With images, there’s a huge danger of producing false impressions or false information with bad analysis,” said Jake Naughton, who does outreach and production at the Pulitzer Center. “Now it only takes 30 minutes to make a correction, but a lot can happen in a half hour in a conflict zone, especially with the speed that information travels.”

Despite social media’s drawbacks — the increasingly uncertain problem of verification and a shifting emphasis to raw, immediate photographs — new media technology affords professional journalists and news organizations the right tools to engage in the type of storytelling that makes for valuable photojournalism. Social media, like so many other tools, isn’t inherently good or bad; it simply needs to be deployed in the appropriate manner to accurately tell a story. With regards to longer and less-immediate crisis stories — famine, environmental decay or post-conflict reconstruction — social media can keep an audience engaged long after bloody images are dropped from the evening newscasts.

“One of the things that helps us creatively is playing out content over a long period of time,” explained Maura Youngman, a new media strategist at the Pulitzer Center. “Sometimes the things we produce may fall off the map after a couple of weeks, and stories may not be as digestible. Using new media and social media to create creative inroads allows people to come in and digest and enjoy information.”

Youngman points to Lambertson’s work in Haiti as an example of social media’s power to keep a story alive. “Eight months after Andre’s project was completed, we’re re-releasing photos along with poems in English and Creole. New media allows us to find additional channels to take these stories and keep them alive. With the systemic crises we’re dealing with, we’re not just running to stay on top of the news cycle but trying to keep things in people’s minds. This is the power of our social media channels.”

The real test for working photojournalists is to reconcile the technical realities of the new media landscape with the aesthetic and ethical requirements of practical journalism. “Never has there been a time when you needed a professional class of journalists more than right now,” Naughton said. “There’s a real resurgence in formal and aesthetic qualities in contemporary journalism, the idea of aesthetics and photographers as storytellers, not just people who are be able to break the news.”

In the past three years, new media has essentially experienced a baptism in fire as a newsgathering tool. The goal for institutions like the Pulitzer Center is to merge new media tools with the traditional. Mainstream journalists tell a story while creating links with local journalists and local channels through social media, and use new media tools to effectively convey a narrative to readers around the world. Maintaining the aesthetic balance with the speed of social media and keeping technology alive is important for us to keep stories going.

Images: 1. Buildings at the entrance to a security forces compound are seen burning in Benghazi, Libya on Feb. 21, 2011. The photos were captured by a Libyan photographer, recruited and retained by the AP. (AP Photo/Alaguri); 2. A Haitian woman awaits the results of an HIV test. (Andre Lambertson/Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting).

*The post originally attributed writing by Lisa Armstrong from the After The Quake: HIV/AIDS in Haiti project to Andre Lambertson. The Pulitzer Center’s Maura Youngman e-mailed to note that this was incorrect. We regret this error.

Tomado de: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/photojournalism-in-the-age-of-new-media/73083/2/?single_page=true

Claves para un buen fotoperiodismo

Claves para un buen fotoperiodismo

Soledad Puente y William Porath, Ponticia Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile. [spuente@uc.cl]  [wporath@uc.cl].



Este artículo presenta el desarrollo de un instrumento de medición creado para analizar la capacidad de los diarios de entregar información con valor noticioso a través de sus fotografías. Los autores primero exponen los principios teóricos y la metodología empleada en el diseño de la herramienta, para luego, una vez comprobada su relevancia estadística, aplicar esta última a una muestra conformada por imágenes del diario Las Últimas Noticias.

El trabajo es parte de un proyecto de investigación de mayor alcance, con nanciamiento Fondecyt 1, que contempla la evaluación y análisis del peso informativo de las imágenes de diarios y noticiarios de TV.

Palabras clave: Fotografía periodística, imágenes de prensa, valor noti­cioso, principios composicionales.


This article presents the development of a measurement tool created to analyze the capacity of the newspapers to deliver newsworthy information through their pictures. The authors rst expose the theoretical principles and methodology used in the design of the tool, to then, after testing its statistical signi cance, apply it into a set of images from the Chilean newspaper Las Últimas Noticias. The work is part of a wider research proyect, nanced by Fondecyt, aimed to evaluate and analyse the informative value of the images showed by newspapers and TV news shows.

Keywords: Journalism photography, newspaper pictures, newsworthyness, compositional principles.

La visualidad ha marcado la historia de la humanidad, tanto por su capacidad de síntesis como por sus posibilidades narrativas. En su Tratado de la Pintura, Leonardo Da Vinci alaba la capacidad que tiene la imagen de un lienzo sobre un texto para transmitir información, con una frase perfectamente asimilable al siglo XXI: “La pintura presenta las obras de la naturaleza a los sentidos con verdad y certeza mayores que las letras o las palabras”  (2004, p. 17).  Es decir, el espectador se relaciona con la imagen de un cuadro, primero en su totalidad e inmediatez, sin necesidad de una lectura, y desde allí la interpreta o saca sus conclusiones.

Esta preocupación del artista visual por desarrollar su capacidad narrativa sólo con los elementos dispuestos en la tela, es también valioso para el periodismo. El fotoperiodista, al igual que el artista, no sólo debe encuadrar los elementos que desea presentar sino también darles orden en un plano visual, bajo ciertos criterios de composición (que en cierta medida son comunes y universales y que se vuelven más relevantes que nunca en una época cargada a lo visual). De hecho, tal como explica Julianne Newton, Una característica signi cativa de la cultura del siglo XX es su atención a lo visual. Los teóricos han notado una vuelta a lo Pictórico a través de la cual nos damos cuenta de que los medios donde la imagen es dominante han superado a aquellos donde la palabra es dominante (2001, p.83). En ese sentido, esta mayor participación de la imagen en la apropiación de los contenidos también incluye al periodismo, donde ha aumentado la necesidad de comunicar rápida y sintéticamente los hechos informativamente relevantes.

Más aún, el historiador Martin Jay (2007, p.2) ha denominado esta época como la del centrismo ocular (ocularcentrism), pues el predominio de lo visual que se inicia con el modernismo llega a su máxima expresión en el postmodernismo. Siguiendo esta idea, Mirzoeff explica, por su parte, que mientras más visual se torna la cultura, más postmoderna es: Si bien la cultura impresa no desaparecerá, la fascinación con lo visual y sus efectos que marcaron al modernismo ha generado una cultura que es cada vez más postmoderna mientras más visual lo sea (1999, p.3). Esto se complementa con los estudios de Fyfe y Law (1988) o Berger (1972), quienes sitúan en la década de los 70 un cambio cultural en el cual el sentido de la vista adquiere un poder superior al resto.

Todo esto ha in uido en la prensa. Hace unos meses Sara Quinn y Peggie Stark, del grupo de investigación EyeTrack del Poynter Institute, entregaron los resultados del proyecto EyeTrack 07[ii] que analiza el comportamiento de la vista frente a páginas de diarios y que este año incluyó, por primera vez, prensa en web. Una de sus principales conclusiones fue que las fotografías atraen más a los lectores que lo escrito, y que las imágenes documentales (de gente haciendo cosas reales) son mejor recibidas que las de estudio. También se constató que las fotografías en color se pre eren sobre aquellas en blanco y negro; que las de mayor tamaño atraen la vista de los lectores en un 50%, versus un 20% de las imágenes pequeñas; y que los lectores dirigen su vista a los grandes titulares y fotografías, más que a los pequeños con imágenes reducidas.

Los medios impresos chilenos tampoco han estado ajenos a estas transformaciones visuales y tecnológicas, pues el público chileno (al igual que el del resto del mundo) se ha tornado un “animal visual” que pide sencillez, claridad, síntesis y, por sobretodo, explicaciones visuales antes que textuales.

Esto es lo que parece explicar gran parte de los cambios que se han ido produciendo en los diarios chilenos más importantes. A sus crónicas se les ha incorporado una mayor cantidad de blanco, de infografías, fotografías de mayor tamaño y un diseño más amigable. Desde 1995[iii] el diario El Mercurio, conocido como un diario de referencia en Chile, ha venido reduciendo el ancho de sus páginas, disminuyendo la cantidad de palabras por crónica, y re-ajustando la cantidad de imágenes de llamada del diario (Edwards, 2004). Al igual que El Mercurio, el diario La Tercera se ha sometido a un proceso de remodelación[iv] cuyo objetivo es consolidar su lectoría en la clase media y ampliarla hacia públicos de ingresos más altos. Para eso, el diario integró a su estrategia una preocupación estética, considerando que el diseño era tan importante como el contenido (Heredia, 2004). Y Las Últimas Noticias, un diario popular cuyo crecimiento en lectoría e in uencia lo han convertido en un caso de análisis universitario, sólo comenzó a nanciarse con sus ventas cuando decidió transformar su portada en un gancho de compra, al combinar palabras e imágenes para contar historias de actualidad.

Si el énfasis editorial de Las Ultimas Noticias ha tenido éxito, la sistematización de este modelo de narración de historias a través de imágenes puede servir de referente para otros medios y profesionales como periodistas y reporteros grá cos. La fotografía puede pensarse más que sólo como un adorno estético y parte de un diseño. Entonces, ¿Por qué no potenciar la capacidad narrativa de las fotografías en los diarios para convertirlas en un aporte informativo? ¿Por qué no proponer estrategias que aumenten la capacidad de las imágenes para entregar información periodística, ajustándose a esta época más visual que ilustrada?


A lo largo de dos años, un equipo de investigadores de la Facultad de Comunicaciones ha estado trabajando en el análisis y la propuesta de un método que permita revisar y evaluar la calidad de las imágenes periodísticas, para así contribuir a potenciar su uso en la prensa escrita y en la televisión[v]. El punto de partida se centra en los llamados principios composicionales que Gillian Rose (2001) usa en su metodología de análisis (interpretación composicional) y que están basados en las relaciones de medida y proporción descubiertas por Pitágoras, al notar que la naturaleza tenía patrones y ritmos que podían expresarse en fórmulas cuantitativas. Estos principios (incluyendo la perspectiva), que fueron aplicados durante siglos por pintores y grandes artistas como un modo de ordenar los elementos en el cuadro, posteriormente les han servido a fotógrafos y cineastas para estructurar sus encuadres y así guiar de modo más e ciente la atención del espectador. Básicamente, éstos se organizan en un rectángulo de proporción de 5/8, que sirve para encuadrar y se divide en tercios horizontales y verticales (secciones áureas), en cuyas uniones están los llamados puntos fuertes . Además, se agregan la relación signi cativa entre los planos, el uso de color y el enfoque/desenfoque, como modos de dar relevancia a los diferentes elementos presentes en el cuadro.

En base a estos principios, el equipo ha trabajado en la elaboración de un instrumento de medición capaz de dar cuenta de su grado de utilización en el registro de imágenes periodísticas. Ahora bien, aunque la investigación Fondecyt contempla propuestas para fotografías e historias periodísticas de televisión, el presente artículo está centrado en prensa y en el análisis del caso de Las Ultimas Noticias.



Una de las primeras dificultades en la elaboración del instrumento fue la necesidad de organizar los principios de composición en torno a un objetivo periodístico. Era insu ciente analizar la fotografía sólo desde el punto de vista del cumplimiento de las variables composicionales, pues se dejaba de lado el componente propiamente informativo. Para ello se desarrolló el concepto de “Foco Editorial” (Puente & Marinello, 2006) como el indicador eje y que serviría de patrón para el análisis de la disposición de los elementos en el cuadro.

Para el periodismo la palabra y la imagen no son lenguajes excluyentes, sino complementarios y necesarios el uno para el otro, con objetivos comunes. De hecho, los fotoperiodistas consideran ambos elementos como piezas claves para comprender la real magnitud del hecho registrado por una cámara: “(…) the root of what photojournalism is: the marriage of words and pictures” (Zavoina, 2006, p.12). El problema es que esta relación armónica de matrimonio entre imagen y palabra no siempre se da de modo natural o inmediato, pues no sólo cada una de ellas puede denotar cosas diferentes, sino que además poseen distinta densidad semántica. Ronald Barthes (1970) fue uno de los primeros en abordar este problema desde una perspectiva teórica, acuñando los términos “anclaje” y “relevo” como un modo de disminuir la polisemia natural de las imágenes. El anclaje se refiere al hecho de que una imagen denota (revela) muchas cosas o da cuenta de todos sus sentidos posibles, y el relevo se da cuando ésta necesita la complementariedad de las palabras de un texto.

Para disminuir la polisemia de la imagen periodística se necesitaba entonces un aglutinador de sentido. Es por eso que el equipo propuso, para nes pedagógicos y de investigación, el concepto “Foco Editorial”, que es la idea central de la información que se extrae del titular (en el caso de los diarios) y del lead (en el caso de los noticiarios de TV), pues se asume que a través de ellos los editores y periodistas sintetizan la promesa informativa.

Para efectos de su análisis y uso instrumental, esta idea se convierte en una oración con sujeto, verbo y predicado al que se denomina “Foco Editorial Textual”(FET) como un modo de diferenciarlo de la idea que transmite por sí sola la imagen y que se denominó Foco Editorial Visual (FEV). Con un FET claro, se precisa tanto el objetivo informativo de la crónica o nota, como el de la fotografía. Nuestro estudio se ha enfocado principalmente en la relación que existe entre el FET y la imagen, bajo el supuesto de que la composición de esta última debe apuntar a resaltar, reforzar o complementar los elementos centrales del FET. En términos concretos para el caso de los medios de prensa escrita, este análisis busca detectar la correspondencia entre el titular de la información y las imágenes de la misma.

Ahora bien, una historia es más que un tema. Lajos Egri en su texto clásico de guión Cómo escribir un drama plantea que toda obra debe tener una premisa “que le conducirá inequívocamente a la meta que su drama espera alcanzar” (1947, p. 25). En ese sentido, el drama requiere una cierta claridad, una premisa elemental que lo recorre desde el principio hasta el nal, para que así el espectador no se pierda y se integre (Seger, 1991). Los periodistas son narradores de historias y como tales no les es ajena la necesidad de incorporar estos conceptos a sus crónicas. Entonces, para que el público comprenda mejor lo que se le quiere comunicar, tanto el periodista como el reportero gráfico deberían ser capaces de sintetizar en una frase el foco editorial de su historia, el cual a su vez debería ser el mismo que haga propio el receptor.

En síntesis, la investigación se basa en dos supuestos: por un parte, se considera que las buenas imágenes periodísticas son aquellas que se encuentran directa o indirectamente vinculadas con el Foco Editorial Textual de la noticia, y por otra, que son las variables composicionales las que resaltan en la imagen aquellos elementos centrales de la información sintetizados en el FET. Las imágenes que logren estos atributos serían, por lo tanto, las que contribuyen mejor a la historia y poseen un mayor valor periodístico.



Para analizar las fotografías de prensa, comprobar su relación con el FET del titular y examinar si su composición aporta a la transmisión de dicha información, se elaboró un instrumento de medición compuesto por cinco ítems:

1.  Descripción del objeto: mediante cuatro variables (una abierta y tres cerradas) se apunta a clari car el FET de la noticia (quién actúa en ella y qué hace), si los elementos de dicho foco están presentes en la imagen, y cuál es la relación existente entre fotografía y FET.

 Hay que considerar que, para aplicar correctamente el instrumento que se desarrolla aquí, es fundamental determinar el FET de la noticia correspondiente para cada fotografía analizada. Es así como, a partir del titular de la noticia en la cual se inserta la imagen (si es necesario se analizan también el epígrafe y las bajadas), de dicho titular debía obtenerse:

*  El término que define al sujeto activo que realiza la acción (el quién).

*  El núcleo del predicado, es decir, el verbo que de ne la acción realizada por dicho quién (el qué).

*  El complemento (directo, indirecto, etc.) del verbo, es decir, el predicado en su conjunto, con todos aquellos datos que permitan contestar la pregunta qué hace el quién.

 El quién no tiene que ser necesariamente una persona en particular. Puede ser cualquier agrupación social, pero también objetos animados o inanimados, animales, situaciones, etc. En muchos casos es imposible que en la imagen aparezcan todos los que corresponden a dicho quién, por lo que bastaba que estuviera presente al menos un representante de dicho sujeto plural o un símbolo que hiciera referencia al mismo, para que en el instrumento se a rmara que el quién sí se encontraba presente.

2.  Dimensiones: consiste en cuatro indicadores que permiten dejar constancia de la posición de la fotografía en la nota, de sus dimensiones, de la proporción existente entre texto, fotografías e infografías, y también respecto del plano utilizado.

3.  Composición: se trata de 15 indicadores (todos cerrados) que buscan detectar la presencia de las principales variables composicionales en la imagen (uso de puntos fuertes, uso de los tercios, equilibrio, nitidez, legibilidad, uso de diagonales y camino visual). En cada caso la evaluación de si hay un uso adecuado de estos recursos está en directa relación respecto de los elementos del FET: es así como se trata de determinar si son ellos los que están en los puntos fuertes, por ejemplo.

4.  Uso del color e iluminación: se usan 8 indicadores (todos cerrados) cuyo objetivo es detectar el correcto uso de los colores amarillo, rojo, verde y azul en la imagen, además de determinar si existen diferencias de iluminación en la misma.

Sin embargo, como muchas veces se publica una imagen que, no cumpliendo requisitos básicos de una buena composición, se estima que su mero contendido es algo que vale la pena transmitir al público, se decidió, entonces, agregar un quinto grupo de variables para controlar esta situación, llamadas aquí aciertos fotográficos:

5.  Aciertos o Momentos: son cinco variables (todas cerradas) que buscan determinar si la imagen es fortuita, si su ángulo es original, si existe movimiento (acción inconclusa) en ella, si permite apreciar un gesto en sus protagonistas y qué tan estadísticamente inusual es.

Con esta estructura se elaboró una ficha y su respectivo libro de códigos, que en su versión preliminar se aplicó a ocho ediciones de La Tercera, El Mercurio y Las Últimas Noticias, analizándose en cada caso diez fotos de cada ejemplar, lográndose así una muestra de 240 imágenes. Con los resultados de esa medición se realizó una primera prueba de con abilidad de intercodi cadores a 58 casos de imágenes seleccionadas al azar[vi]. Los resultados de esta prueba arrojaron un índice de coincidencias superior a 0,7 en 30 de las 35 preguntas comparadas, pero un índice Kappa superior a 0,7 en sólo 15[vii] (ver Tabla 1). Especí camente se logró un nivel aceptable de Kappa en las preguntas relacionadas con la presencia del FET en la imagen, el uso del color, la iluminación y la nitidez.

Se decidió entonces que el equipo realizara un ajuste y perfeccionamiento del instrumento, por lo que se de nieron mejor algunas variables, se fundieron algunas preguntas y se agregaron 18 referidas a la relación entre las variables composicionales y el FET. Con este nuevo instrumento (y su respectivo libro de código o manual) se desarrolló una nueva medición con una muestra de 8 ejemplares de Las Últimas Noticias, seleccionados entre los meses de mayo y julio de 2006 con el método de la Semana Construida [viii]. Los resultados de esta segunda medición son los que se presentan en este trabajo.

De Las Últimas Noticias se chó una nota por hoja del diario, eligiendo la más importante de cada página (fundamentalmente la que ocupaba más espacio). El objetivo era tener por lo menos trece fotografías por edición. Se descartaron del análisis todas las noticias sobre temas internacionales, pues las fotos suelen ser de agencias. Tampoco se charon las recortadas o silueteadas , pues en ellas sólo se puede apreciar el personaje y no el encuadre. Se evitó además char imágenes muy similares dentro de una misma nota que tuviera más de una imagen, para evitar sesgos.

Así, fueron fichadas 104 fotografías por dos personas distintas, para realizar una segunda prueba de con abilidad al instrumento. Los resultados de esta segunda prueba de con abilidad (Tabla 1) arrojaron un índice de coincidencias superior a 0,7 en 50 de las 51 preguntas comparadas, y un índice Kappa superior a 0,7 en 27 de ellas. Esta segunda medición demuestra un avance en relación a la anterior en cuanto a una mayor claridad en la de nición de las categorías incluidas en el instrumento. Los aspectos cuya medición sigue siendo insatisfactoria tienen que ver principalmente con el uso de diagonales en la imagen, el camino visual, la sección áurea y si hay rareza estadística.

Con estos resultados y siguiendo a Lombard et al. (2002), podemos señalar que aquellas variables con un índice Kappa superior a 0,8 (16 ítems) estarían listas para su aplicación en estudios posteriores. A ellas se pueden agregar otras cuatro, en las que Kappa no se pudo calcular, pero que tienen índices de coincidencias superiores a 0,97. Respecto de aquellas con un índice Kappa superior a 0,7 (11 preguntas), serían utilizables en estudios exploratorios. A ellas se pueden agregar otras 5 que, a pesar de tener un Kappa inferior a 0,7 pero superior a 0,6, presentan índices de coincidencias superiores a 0,9[ix]. Las restantes 15, con índices Kappa y de coincidencias inferiores, deben seguir trabajándose.



La selección de Las Últimas Noticias (LUN) como caso de análisis no es casual; se debe a la claridad de la propuesta visual que tiene este medio, algo que es capaz de percibir el lector en el quiosco y el académico en las aulas. El editor grá co de LUN, Miguel Ángel Felipe, piensa que la imagen es la historia. Según él, esto se ha hecho más claro para su equipo luego de constatar que las buenas imágenes les ayudaban a vender más diarios, lo que les llevó a tomar conciencia de que ésta podía ser algo más que un mero complemento de la noticia. “Al pensar en una imagen hay que ir a buscar emoción, personajes, intención en la mirada, (…) Las fotos de Robert Capa del desembarco en Normandía no son excelentes en calidad, sí en contenido y oportunidad. Se genera una estética fotográ ca con un ordenamiento pictorialista” [x]. Para LUN, la portada no es producto del azar sino el resultado de un trabajo que termina al final de la jornada y bastante tarde en la noche, cuando el editor da el visto bueno, pues ya es poco probable que alguna información nueva y más atractiva aparezca. El tratamiento narrativo de la imagen no es sólo para la portada, sino que también es posible reconocerlo en las páginas interiores del diario y en su contratapa. Gracias a esto, Las Últimas Noticias se ha convertido en una de las pruebas más concluyentes para los medios del valor de las imágenes en sí mismas.



Descripción del objeto: En el 67,3% de las imágenes analizadas del diario LUN aparece el quién del titular de la nota (FET) pero sólo en el 33,7% se plasma el qué hace dicho quién. Esto era esperado pues habitualmente la prensa nacional no se hace cargo del desafío que significa buscar imágenes que grafiquen claramente el FET en su complejidad, es decir, mostrando también la acción que realiza el sujeto de la noticia. Se asume sí que es más difícil encontrar imágenes que representen ideas de mayor abstracción.

A partir de estos datos se construyó una tipología de imágenes que resulta del cruce de ambas variables. De esta forma se obtuvo que, de las 104 imágenes analizadas, en 21 casos (20,2%) no aparece ni el quién ni el qué (y por ende no guardan relación con el FET de la nota); mientras que en otros 22 casos (21,2%) aparecen ambos, lográndose en ellos el desafío de hacer coincidir el FEV con el FET, plasmando el Foco Editorial de la nota. En 48 casos (46,2%) en tanto, aparece sólo el quién y en 13 imágenes (12,5%) aparece sólo el qué del FET.

Relación entre la imagen evaluada y el texto de la información (FET): De acuerdo a lo esperado por el amplio predominio de imágenes en que sólo aparece el quién del FET, se obtuvo un amplio predominio de las fotografías de ilustración (57,7%), que corresponden a aquellas imágenes en que está presente sólo el quién, o sólo el qué, o sólo parte de este último (Tabla 2) Por otra parte, aquellas imágenes que principalmente refuerzan el texto, (pues en ellas está presente la totalidad del Foco Editorial Textual, es decir, la relación quién hace qué,) representan el 21,2% del total de casos.

Aquellos 21 casos en los que no estaban presentes ninguno de los elementos centrales del FET, se dividieron entre aquellas fotografías que complementan al FET (entregando nueva información relacionada con el quién o el qué) y un porcentaje un tanto mayor que, por no contener ninguno de los elementos del FET, resultan equívocas o contradictorias con el FET, es decir, proponen un Foco Editorial Visual distinto.

La Tabla 2 también evidencia una correspondencia entre la tipología construida en torno a la presencia de los elementos centrales del FET, por un lado, y por otro la relación entre el texto y la imagen.

Plano: En cuanto al plano utilizado, hay una clara preeminencia del plano medio o plano americano[xi] (60,6%), situación que se repite en los cuatro tipos de relaciones de la imagen con el FET, con una salvedad: en aquellas tipologías donde está presente el quién se aprecia un mayor uso del primer plano o close-up, dado que es un plano destinado a resaltar los rostros y lógicamente estos tenderán a asociarse al quién del FET. Por su parte, la ausencia del quién y del qué del FET coincide con una mayor tendencia a utilizar el plano general o gran general, y también al uso de imágenes que complementan el FET, por ejemplo, entregando información respecto de dónde se efectúa la acción.

Uso de puntos fuertes en el FET: En cuanto al uso correcto de los Puntos Fuertes, es decir, a ubicar al quién en alguno de los puntos fuertes del cuadro, esto se da en casi un 83% de los 70 casos en que el quién está presente (Tabla 4). Además, en aquellos 35 casos donde la imagen contiene elementos del qué, se constató que en un 83% de ellos se ubicó estos elementos en por lo menos uno de los puntos fuertes (Tabla 5).

Es decir, al momento de encuadrar la fotografía, este elemento de la composición tradicional está mayoritariamente presente en el fotoperiodismo de LUN. Y aún en las 21 fotos en que no estaba el qué o quién del FET, la tendencia a situar elementos destacados de la imagen en puntos fuertes es también superior al 80%. Existe, eso sí, casi un quinto (17%) de las imágenes donde este recurso no se utiliza.

Por su parte, el recurso de ubicar estos elementos centrales del mensaje en puntos fuertes del lado izquierdo del cuadro (tradicionalmente el de mayor atracción a la vista del público) es también mayoritario y alcanza al 65,7% de aquellas imágenes en que está presente el quién o el qué (Tabla 6). Pero este porcentaje baja si se consideran aquellas fotografías en que solamente está presente uno de los elementos centrales del FET: por ejemplo, cuando sólo está el quién, éste se ubica al lado izquierdo en el 56,4% de las imágenes (obviamente cuando están ambos, casi por necesidad de espacio, uno de ellos está al lado izquierdo). Por último, entre aquellas 21 imágenes en que no estaba presente ni el qué ni el quién, en 15 se ubicaron elementos centrales de la foto en el lado izquierdo.[xii]

Equilibrio: La tendencia a utilizar el recurso de equilibrar la presencia del elemento central (qué y/o quién) del FET en uno de los puntos fuertes con la presencia de un elemento secundario en otro de los puntos fuertes, es claramente mayoritaria. Si consideramos sólo aquellos casos en que esto se puede evaluar (en que los elementos del FET están ubicados en alguno de los puntos fuertes del cuadro), de los 70 casos evaluados, 44 utilizaron este recurso. En otros 10 casos el uso del Primer plano (Close Up) otorga de por sí equilibrio, dada la con guración natural del rostro humano.

En el caso de las imágenes que no incluían ni el quién ni el qué del FET, 15 de 21 utilizaron este recurso.

Uso de los tercios: Un recurso de composición mucho menos utilizado es establecer una línea de horizonte en, por lo menos, uno de los tercios horizontales de la imagen: sólo en el 14,4% de las imágenes analizadas se utilizó este procedimiento. Y es en las imágenes en que sólo está presente el quién donde menos se utiliza este recurso (cinco de 48 casos).

En cuanto al uso de los tercios verticales[xiii], su utilización aumenta, llegando a un 32,7% de las 104 imágenes evaluadas. Además, según nuestros evaluadores, de esos 34 casos, 20 veces contribuyó a realzar o comprender mejor los elementos y las relaciones expresadas en el FET.

Si se cruzan ambas variables (Tabla 8), se observa que, en de nitiva, en un 62,5% de todos los casos no se utiliza el recurso de destacar en la fotografía los elementos centrales del FET a través del uso de secciones áureas, ya sean horizontales o verticales.

Uso de Planos: Así como hay un bajo uso de los tercios horizontales, también es baja la incidencia de imágenes en las que hay juegos de planos con enfoques y desenfoques: sólo 17 de las 104 fotos analizadas tienen esta característica. Éstas son en su gran mayoría (14) imágenes donde sólo aparece el quién, lo que sugiere el uso de esta técnica como recurso para destacar al actor central de la nota.

Correcto uso de las diagonales: Utilizar diagonales en la composición de la imagen en el cuadro, es mayor que en el caso anterior, proporción que llega al 30,8% de la muestra. Hay que precisar, sin embargo, que se evaluó la presencia de diagonales reales en el objeto fotogra ado, es decir, líneas de composición evidentes a la vista.

De estas 32 imágenes, 11 de las diagonales comienzan o terminan en un elemento del quién o del qué del FET, contribuyendo así a destacar dichos elementos (ver Tabla 9). Además, 21 diagonales comienzan o terminan en puntos fuertes o en los vértices de los tercios del cuadro. Así, en de nitiva, sólo cuatro de ellas tienen diagonales técnicamente mal encuadradas (en otros cuatro casos no se pudo determinar).

Camino Visual: Otro recurso de la composición clásica y que es poco usado en el fotoperiodismo de LUN es establecer un camino visual en el cuadro. Es decir, cuando las miradas de uno a más actores en la foto convergen en un punto concreto dentro o fuera del cuadro. Lo importante es que el objetivo de la imagen sea mostrar una o varias miradas que se dirijan en una dirección especí ca distinta del lente de la cámara. Este recurso sólo alcanza a 10 imágenes de la muestra analizada. Además, el equipo consideró que en sólo dos ocasiones el efecto logrado aportaba de alguna manera en la mejor comprensión del FET.

Uso del color: Entre las fotografías importantes de LUN predomina claramente el color, las imágenes en blanco y negro no superan el 11%. Hay que recordar eso sí, que se charon las imágenes más importantes por página.

Para evaluar su correcto uso en una imagen, se debe tener en cuenta que algunos colores tienen la capacidad de atraer o atrapar con mayor fuerza la mirada. Es así que, a iguales condiciones de brillo, el valor visual es el siguiente, en escala decreciente: Amarillo, Rojo, Verde y Azul. Es por esto que, de existir estos colores en la imagen, su ubicación debe ser cuidadosamente seleccionada e idealmente estar presentes en los elementos centrales del FET, como el quién o el qué. En este caso, de las 66 fotografías susceptibles de ser evaluadas[xiv], en 44 imágenes el color predominante estaba en alguno de estos elementos del FET, lográndose así, por lo menos en este aspecto, el perfecto acople entre la composición de la imagen y el foco editorial denotado en el titular de la nota.

Por su parte, en otros 15 casos que no contenían elementos del FET pero que eran susceptibles de ser evaluados en relación al FEV, en 10 de ellos el color fuerte fue ubicado en los elementos centrales de la imagen, lo que muestra que, en lo que se re ere a composición, este es un recurso bastante utilizado por los fotógrafos de LUN.

De las 81 imágenes en color que contenían alguno de los cuatro colores fuertes, en 52 de ellas dicho color fue ubicado en alguno de los puntos fuertes del cuadro (64,2%), lo que rea rma la tendencia a utilizar correctamente dicho recurso. Sin embargo, aún es alto el número de imágenes en que los colores fuertes no son ubicados en estos puntos.

Otro posible uso correcto del color fuerte es su utilización para marcar las secciones áureas del cuadro (horizontal o vertical), recurso que sólo se observa en siete de estas 81 fotos.

Respecto al más adecuado uso del color (cuando sirve para atraer la mirada sobre el Foco Editorial) existen 61 casos que reúnen el requisito de ser foto en colores, tener elementos del FET y que el color no se haya usado para destacar la sección áurea. De ellos, 28 casos, una mayoría relativa pero no absoluta, coinciden con tener el color fuerte sobre elementos del FET y al mismo tiempo estar ubicados en uno de los puntos fuertes. También se constataron 15 casos donde el color fuerte predominante está sobre uno de los elementos centrales del FET pero no sobre un punto fuerte, afectando la armonía del encuadre y también la transmisión del mensaje. Además, existen 9 casos en que este color ni está en un punto fuerte ni sobre algún elemento del FET, situación que no contribuye a facilitar la comprensión del mensaje por parte del público.

Iluminación: Otro recurso escasamente utilizado en las imágenes analizadas es establecer diferencias de iluminación en el cuadro. Claramente este recurso es difícil de aplicar en fotoperiodismo, dado que normalmente no se tiene control sobre la situación en que ocurren los hechos. Sin embargo, su presencia en sólo 4 casos de 104 puede resultar escasa para ocho ediciones de un diario que intenta explotar al máximo el recurso de la imagen.


Fotografías fortuitas: Sólo en uno de los casos analizados se estimó que la imagen correspondía a un hecho que se desvía de lo previsible y que sería, por ende, un acierto periodístico (es decir, aquello que, aunque haya ocurrido en un lugar donde la presencia del fotógrafo era previsible, ocurrió de manera inesperada). Obviamente este tipo de imágenes, si bien deseables, son difíciles de obtener, sobre todo si se han analizado sólo las que han sido producto del trabajo de los propios reporteros del diario, descartándose las obtenidas por agencias.

Tipo de ángulo: Otro recurso que permite romper la rutina de imágenes predecibles y que sí puede estar en manos del fotoperiodista, es buscar un ángulo original, que normalmente se obtiene cuando la fotografía se capta desde una perspectiva evidentemente distinta del nivel de los ojos. Esto se observó en 30 casos (28,8%) del total de la muestra, dando cuenta así de una clara iniciativa por obtener estos ángulos. Es interesante destacar que esta tendencia es mayor cuando en la foto no está el quién del FET. Ahora, si este recurso contribuyó o no a apoyar la comprensión del FET, sólo en 9 de dichos 30 casos se estimó que fue un aporte en este sentido, lo que podría dar cuenta de que se pre ere la originalidad de la foto, pero no se busca la coherencia de todo el mensaje informativo.

Actitud o gesto: Otra posibilidad de tener imágenes que sean un acierto o re ejen un momento especial es cuando se captura la expresión del rostro del protagonista principal (quién), re ejando claramente su estado de ánimo o el momento interior . Esta es una situación que no está bajo el control del fotoperiodista y es, por lo tanto, difícil de obtener. En el caso analizado ocurrió sólo en seis ocasiones.

Acción inconclusa o movimiento: El cuarto recurso analizado con este instrumento, y que también permite decir que se trata de un acierto o de la captura de un momento especial, es captar en la imagen una acción inconclusa y/o que sugiere movimiento. Esto ocurrió en nueve de las 104 fotos analizadas, pero en sólo dos de ellas se estimó que capturar dicho momento contribuía a la comprensión del FET. Aunque el resto probablemente hayan sido resultado de una buena iniciativa del fotoperiodista, éstas re ejan una posible falta de coordinación entre editores, periodistas y fotoperiodistas para lograr la transmisión uniforme de un foco editorial.

Rareza: Finalmente, se evaluó si la imagen presentaba situaciones que son estadísticamente habituales o inusuales, es decir, con qué frecuencia se ven en la prensa.

De acuerdo a nuestro instrumento, las imágenes clasi cadas como muy habituales resultaron ser una amplia mayoría (60,6%). Una imagen así se repite todos los días, semanas o por lo menos una vez al mes en los diarios chilenos. En el otro extremo, sólo ocho fueron clasi cadas como inusuales (una imagen así no se ve publicada en frecuencias anuales sino que, en el mejor de los casos, se recuerda ver algo así cada tres a cinco años, por dar una cifra de referencia) y nueve como muy inusuales (es un hecho absolutamente inhabitual que no se ve casi nunca). De este modo, lo inusual en conjunto abarca nalmente el 16,4% de la muestra. Ahora bien, dado lo estricto del criterio de inusual, se puede estimar que este porcentaje no es bajo.

En definitiva, considerando que hemos analizado cinco criterios diferentes que tienen la potencialidad de hacer de una imagen un acierto fotográfico, podemos afirmar que exactamente la mitad de nuestra muestra (52 imágenes analizadas) poseen por lo menos uno de estos criterios y que por lo tanto pueden ser clasificadas en esta categoría, lo que claramente da cuenta de la preocupación del diario de obtener imágenes potentes y no rutinarias, como lo ha definido uno de sus editores en el presente trabajo.


               El análisis previamente descrito ha permitido ha­cer una primera estimación de la calidad de las imágenes utilizadas por el diario Las Últimas Noticias. En términos generales, ha permitido comprobar que efectivamente existe una preocupación por utilizar fotografías que sean un aporte en términos de la composición utilizada, de modo de atraer la atención de los lectores hacia los aspectos importantes de la noticia. 

Respecto de la composición de las imágenes, en LUN predomina un correcto uso de los puntos fuertes y del equilibrio de las tomas. Lo mismo ocurre con el uso del color, que es mucho más recurrente que el blanco y negro. Se observa una preocupación por la distribución de los colores predominantes en puntos fuertes y en elementos pertenecientes al FET de la noticia correspondiente. 

Como aspectos de cientes se pueden considerar la tendencia al menor uso de los recursos de enmarcar en sección áurea las fotografías (uso de los tercios), realizar juegos de planos con enfoques y desenfoques (o con diferencias de iluminación) y componer en diagonales o plantear un camino visual en la imagen.

Por otra parte, si bien es poco recurrente en Las Últimas Noticias el uso de fotografías fortuitas, que muestren el gesto de sus protagonistas, y que retraten movimiento, se observa un esfuerzo por publicar imágenes tomadas desde un ángulo original y no rutinarias, aunque persiste el desafío de que dicho ángulo ayude a la mejor comprensión del FET. 

Ahora, en términos generales y en relación a los objetivos últimos del proyecto de investigación, la principal conclusión obtenida luego de aplicar el instrumento desarrollado a las muestras anteriormente descritas, es que se ha podido comprobar que dicho instrumento es una herramienta utilizable para describir las diferentes dimensiones de la calidad periodística de las imágenes presentes en nuestros medios de prensa escrita. Este sería el primer paso para luego proponer lineamientos concretos que posibiliten a quienes trabajan en prensa y televisión entregar un producto que satisfaga la demanda informativa de una población cada día más visual que textual. 

Además, los resultados presentes en la muestra de imágenes de LUN analizados aquí, han permitido reforzar la idea de que el equipo periodístico, compuesto por editor, periodista y reportero grá co, debería trabajar en conjunto en la construcción de un Foco Editorial, tanto antes de salir a reportear como en la edición nal del producto periodístico. De esta manera, el reportero y el reportero grá co de prensa y TV serían capaces de ordenar (siguiendo los principios composicionales) los elementos visuales de la noticia (Foco Editorial Visual) con un objetivo informativo común y que se plasma también en un Foco Editorial Textual.


Barthes, Ronald (1970). La semiología. Buenos Aires: Editorial Tiempo Contemporáneo.

Berger, John (1972). Ways of seeing, based on the BBC television series. Londres: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Da vinci, Leonardo (2004). Tratado de la pintura. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Libertador.

Edwards, Cristóbal (2003-2004) El Mercurio y su nuevo formato: Menos puede ser más, en Cuadernos de Información, 16-17, pp. 27-35

Egri, Lajos (1947). Cómo escribir un drama. Buenos Aires: Editorial Bell.

Fyfe, Gordon y LAW, John (1988). Introduction: On the invisibility of the visible, en Fyfe, G. y Law, J. (eds.) Picturing power: Visual depiction and social relations. Londres: Routledge.

Heredia, Angélica (2003-2004). La Tercera: Nuevo diseño, nueva identidad, en Cuadernos de Información, 16-17, pp. 36-47.

Jay, Martin (2007). Researching visual materials en Rose, Gillian, Visual Methodologies, an Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. (segunda edición). Londres: Sage.

Lombard, Matthew; Jennifer Snyder-Duch y Cheryl Campanella Bracken: (2002). Content Analysis in Mass Communication. Assessment and Reporting of Intercoder Reliability, en Human Communication Research, vol. 28, pp. 587-604.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas (1999). An introduction to visual culture. Londres: Routledge.

Newton, Julianne (2001). The Burden of Visual Truth: The Role of Photojournalism in Mediating Reality. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Puente, S. y Marinello, D. (2006). El concepto de la imagen: El foco editorial, en Cuadernos de la Información N 19, pp. 97-101.

Riffe, Daniel, Ch. F. Aust y St. R. Lacy, (1993). Effectiveness of Random, consecutive Day and Constructed Week in Newspaper Content Analysis, en Journalism Quarterly, vol. 70, pp. 133-139.

Rose, Gillian (2001). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. Londres: Sage Publications.

Seger, Linda (1991). Cómo convertir un buen guión en un guión excelente. Madrid: Ediciones Rialp.

Stempel, G.H. (1981). Content Analysis, en Stempel, G.h. y B.H. Westley (eds.), Research Methods in Mass Communication, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Zavoina, Susan (2006). Both sides of the visual story. Online or in print, it s still words and pictures, en News Photographer, Revista de National Press Photographers Association, Junio, p.12.


[i] Este trabajo es parte de la investigación Análisis, evaluación, diagnóstico y aplicación de los principios de lenguaje visual a las narraciones periodísticas de prensa y televisión para aumentar la comprensión de las historias periodísticas.  Proyecto Fondecyt 1050989.

[ii] Véase http://www.eyetrack.poynter.org

[iii] En especial entre 1995 y 2004.

[iv] En especial entre 1994 y 2003.

[v] Es una investigación de tres años. En el equipo participan, además de los autores de este artículo, el profesor Juan Domingo Marinello y la asistente de investigación Daniela Grassau.

[vi] En el fichaje trabajó un equipo de cuatro fichadoras (Paula Díaz, Melissa Quiroga, Marcela Carrasco) encabezadas por Daniela Grassau. Todas ellas son periodistas recién recibidas.

[vii] El índice Kappa es una prueba de confiabilidad más exigente que la anterior.

[viii] El método de la Semana construida es sugerido comúnmente en la bibliografía para este tipo de análisis (Cfr. Stempel, 1989, p. 125). Este puede ser más e ciente que un muestreo aleatorio simple pues permite seleccionar una muestra aleatoria de ediciones de un medio evitando distorsiones propias de un momento informativo reducido, al tiempo que conserva las particularidades del ciclo que constituyen los distintos días de la semana. De esta forma, actúa como una muestra estrati cada por días de la semana . (Riffe et al., 1993, p. 139

[ix] Cuando una variable no se distribuye normal u homogéneamente entre sus diferentes categorías y por el contrario tienden a concentrarse en una, se pueden obtener Kappas muy bajas, a pesar de haber altas coincidencias entre los codi cadores.

[x] Felipe, Miguel Ángel. Conversación personal sobre su trabajo como editor fotográ co en jefe, del diario Las Últimas Noticias, con los investigadores, 26 de julio de 2006.

[xi] Plano medio es el encuadre de la acción. En el caso de la figura humana se le reconoce también como americano pues el corte inferior es bajo las pistolas del cowboy, a media pierna.

[xii] De aquellas 21 imágenes sólo 19 fueron susceptibles de evaluar.

[xiii] Aquí hemos denominado este recurso como uso de sección áurea .

[xiv] No se evaluaron, además de las fotos en blanco/negro, aquellas que siendo en color, no contenían ninguno de los cuatro colores fuertes mencionados. Tampoco se podía evaluar el correcto uso del color si no estaba el quién ni el qué del FET.

Artículo en Pdf.

Tomado de: http://comunicaciones.uc.cl/prontus_fcom/site/artic/20071127/pags/20071127175437.html

The Puerto Rican Experience at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School 1898-1918


Acculturation Under Duress:

The Puerto Rican Experience at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School 1898-1918

In memory of Patria Rivera de Navarro (1920-2004)




Pablo Navarro-Rivera[i]

Pablo Navarro-Rivera is Associate Professor

at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



The Indians are just like other men, only minus their environment. Take a new born baby from the arms of a cultivated white woman, and give it to the nurture of a Zulu woman in Africa; take the Zulu’s baby away from her and give it to the cultivated white woman. Twenty-five years later you would have a white savage in Africa, and a black scholar, gentleman, and Christian in America. This sharply illustrates what I mean.

Richard H. Pratt

Juan José Osuna arrived at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at six o’clock on the morning of May 2, 1901. He was fifteen years old, stood four feet six inches in height, and weighed just 80 pounds. Osuna, who would become a noted Puerto Rican educator, wrote of his arrival at Carlisle:

We looked at the windows of the buildings, and very peculiar-looking faces peered out at us. We had never seen such people before. The buildings seemed full of them. Behold, we had arrived at the Carlisle Indian School! The United States of America, our new rulers, thought that the people of Puerto Rico were Indians; hence they should be sent to an Indian school, and Carlisle happened to be the nearest.[ii]

Carlisle was a massive molino de piedra, a set of millstones through which some 10,700 human beings would be sent from the time that it opened its doors in 1879 until the last student left in 1918. The mission of this institution operated by the United States (U.S.) federal government on a former military base in Carlisle, Pennsylvania was formulated by its founder Richard H. Pratt, who directed the school until 1904. Pratt stated:

A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man (Pratt 1892).

By the time the school was closed in 1918, almost 11,000 human beings had been subjected to one of the most ambitious experiments in the the destruction of cultural identity and forced acculturation destruction of cultural identity and forced acculturation in United States history.[iii]  Research is very limited on the human tragedy represented by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Research is very limited on the human tragedy represented by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. What is even less well known is that about sixty young Puerto Ricans were subjected to the experiment at Carlisle, almost all of them sent there by the United States colonial government on the island.[iv]

In her research on the CIIS, Bell (op. cit.) found that the school’s history had received very little attention. The studies that had been conducted, she said, had not sufficiently examined the school “within a broader socio-cultural system of federal/Indian relations, nor do they document the range of individual responses to institutionalization at Carlisle” (Ibid., p.6). Carlisle has barely been examined in Puerto Rican historiography, despite its importance for understanding the first efforts of the United States government to adapt Puerto Rican society to its colonial status.  The presence of Puerto Rican youth at the CIIS is mentioned in passing in the works of Bell (op. cit.) and Landis (op. cit.). Osuna (1949), and Negrón de Montilla (1971) also mention the sending of Puerto Ricans to study in the United States, but specify neither the schools to which they were sent nor their missions or objectives. In his doctoral dissertation, José Manuel Navarro (1995) alludes to the sending of Puerto Ricans to Carlisle, and includes a summary of the school’s origin and goals.[v]

In 2003, the online journal Kacike: Journal of Amerindian Caribbean History and Anthropology[vi] published an article by Sonia M. Rosa about the Puerto Ricans who studied at Carlisle. In this article, which suffers from weaknesses of content and methodology, the author brings up the possible Taíno Indian origin of the Puerto Rican students at Carlisle: “An important question remains: Were those kids who were sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School Taíno Indians? I believe that there is no right answer to that question.”[vii]

To support her suggestion, Rosa refers to the work of Juan Martínez Cruzado, also published in the journal Kacike. Martínez Cruzado maintains that he has found a Taíno genetic heritage in the populations of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.[viii]  However, Martínez Cruzado´s article makes no reference to tthe CIIS or to the Puerto Rican students sent there. With regard to Carlisle, the subject of this essay, there is no evidence that the United States specifically sent Taíno Indians who had presumably survived the Spanish conquest.

To the leadership of the United States, both Puerto Ricans and Cubans were “colored” and should be educated in the same way as the Blacks and Indians in the United States. They established public school systems in Cuba and Puerto Rico and established scholarships to send students to schools in the United States such as the Hampton Institute in Virginia, the Tuskegee Normal School in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The selection of Puerto Rican students was based not on any possible Taíno origin, but on other factors such as other factors such as the connections between their families and the regime implanted in Puerto Rico.

In this essay I will examine the history, mission, goals, and program of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I will also discuss the context of the school’s founding, and its relation to the sending of male and female Puerto Rican students there, as well as what was known in Puerto Rico about Carlisle and the impact that the Carlisle experience had on those who were sent.


The wave of U.S. expansionism in the nineteenth century very closely followed the pattern set previously by the British Empire. Economic interests that drove the expansion were interwoven with theories of natural superiority and divine mandates or manifest destiny. However, the United States government did not adopt the British practice of governing its colonies indirectly. In fact, the United States did not formally recognize that it had “colonies,” preferring to establish “territories.”  U.S. soldiers arrived in Puerto Rico in 1898 in order to impose United States doctrine and economic interests. According to principal leadership elements in the United States, Puerto Rico was an economically and militarily important country, but was inhabited by inferior beings who would need to be “civilized” in order to maximize the potential benefits of the conquest. This was the same evaluation that they made of Indians and Blacks in the United States, as well as Cubans and Filipinos (Zimmerman 2002). In the words of Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University at the time of the 1898 colonial war, and one of the most influential educators in the United States, “I am inclined to the belief that we shall be able to do Cuba and Porto Rico some good; though to do so we shall have to better very much our previous and existing practices in dealing with inferior peoples.” [ix]

Notwithstanding the above, to some Puerto Rican sectors at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, the advent of United States rule represented possibilities for social justice and a democratic political system that had been unimaginable under Spain. These people regarded the 1898 invasion with optimism. However, their idealization of the United States was not borne out. After an initial period of military rule, the occupation forces established a civilian government under their own absolute control.

In the wake of its military victory in 1898, the United States government initiated in the Caribbean what the dominant discourse called the “civilizing,” “Americanizing,” or “assimilationist” mission to be applied to Cubans and Puerto Ricans, the same process that had previously been applied to North American Indians, Africans, African-Americans, and that would subsequently be extended to the Pacific in Hawaii and the Philippines. However, rather than any            “civilizing,” “Americanizing,” or “assimilationist” mission, the process of domination in fact was to grind down or “pulverize” the constituent elements of conquered people’s cultural identities.

A process of reacculturation went hand in hand with the grinding down of the young among conquered peoples, a process constituted by the integration and forced adaptation of students within the educational environment. To this end the United States established a public school system in Puerto Rico in 1898 and a Normal School for teacher education in 1900, following the model already in use in the United States for the education of Indians and African-Americans (Torres, 2003). In 1899, the U.S. government established a series of scholarships for vocational and university study in the United States, and in 1903 it founded the University of Puerto Rico.

With the use of the new scholarship funds, the colonial legislature in Puerto Rico began to send Puerto Rican students to institutions such as Carlisle, Hampton and Tuskegee. Among the stated goals of these schools was the adaptation of students to the expectations of the dominant society and their instruction in vocational arts. In order to set up an initial teaching corps appropriate to the new colonial order, the United States government sent 1,600 Cuban teachers to Harvard University in the summer of 1900 and more than 400 Puerto Rican teachers to Harvard and Cornell Universities in 1904.

The leaders of the U.S. Government, sponsor of the scholarships, knew the director of Tuskegee very well and considered that the work he had been doing with African-Americans should be extended to Cubans and Puerto Ricans. Booker T. Washington [x] was by this time a leading educational and political figure in the country and a supporter of the 1898 war. On March 15, 1898, Washington wrote a letter to John Davis Long, United States Navy Secretary from March 1897 to May 1902, stating that:

The climate of Cuba is peculiar and dangerus (sic) to the unaclimated (sic) white man. The Negro race in the South is accustomed to this climate. In the event of war I would be responsible for placing at the service of the government at least ten thousand loyal, brave, strong black men in the South who crave an opportunity to show their loyalty to our land …[xi]

In reference to Cubans, Washington, the first director of Tuskegee wrote that:

I believe all will agree that it is our duty to follow the work of destruction in Cuba with that of construction. One-half of the population of Cuba is composed of mulattoes or Negroes. All who have visited Cuba agree that they need to put them on their feet the strength that they can get by thorough intellectual, religious and industrial training, such as given at Hampton and Tuskegee. In the present depleted condition of the island, industrial education for the young men and women is a matter of the first importance. It will do for them what it is doing for our people in the South.

If the funds can be secured, it is the plan of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute at Tuskegee, Ala., to bring a number of the most promising Negro young men and women to this institution to receive training, that they may return to Cuba, and start in the interest of the people industrial training on the island. Tuskegee is so near Cuba that it is conveniently located for this work.[xii]

Washington added that “What I have said about Cuba applies as well to Porto Rico, where over half the population are Negroes.”[xiii] The first Cubans arrived at Tuskegee in 1899.

The first to be put in charge of Puerto Rican education after 1898 was General John Eaton, who was a great friend and sympathizer of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. In January 1899, the same month in which General Eaton was appointed to his post on the island, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School’s periodical, The Indian Helper, published the following:

It is eminently fitting that the school teacher should follow the soldier into Porto Rico. If there is anyone who can successfully light the lamp of learning in the island it should be General Eaton, who started so successfully the same work among the freedmen of the south at the close of the civil war.

General Eaton is one of Carlisle’s staunchest friends, and we are glad that he has been selected for such an honored position as Commissioner of Education in Porto Rico, which he so eminently fortified by experience and influence to fill.[xiv]

Soon thereafter, Eaton initiated the process by which young Puerto Ricans would be sent to Carlisle. Serious health problems forced Eaton to resign his post about a year after arriving in Puerto Rico to organize the public school system.

Martin G. Brumbaugh, Commissioner of Education for the colonial government in Puerto Rico in 1900 and 1901, indicated in his 1900 annual report that the island had neither good schools nor institutions of higher education, and that it lacked the resources to establish them. On this basis he recommended that the colonial legislature establish scholarships to send 45 students to study in the United States each year. Twenty five males would be sent to preparatory schools and universities and a second group of twenty males and females would receive scholarships of $250 each per year to study in Institutes such as Carlisle, Tuskegee, and Hampton (Commissioner of Education 1904: 25). Brumbaugh, who characterized his educational policy for Puerto Rico as part of a program for “the Americanization of the island,” mandated that English be imposed as the language of instruction.[xv]  By winning scholarships for Puerto Rican students to study in the United States, he extended the scope and range of the education policy that the colonial government had been developing on the island itself since 1898.

Samuel McCune Lindsay came from the University of Pennsylvania to serve as Commissioner of Education in Puerto Rico from 1902 to 1904. In his annual report for 1904, Lindsay specified that:

Under sections 68 to 77 of the “compiled school law” a number of students are maintained in various schools in the United States at the expense of the government of Porto Rico. These sections comprise two separate acts, which are known as “house bill 35″ and “council bill 12.” Under house bill 35, 25 young men are sent to the United States for literary and professional training in such institutions as may be determined by a commission consisting of the president of the executive council, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the commissioner of education (Ibid. p. 25).

In another section of the same report, Lindsay further stated:

Under council bill 12, for the technical education of Porto Rican young men and women, 20 young men and women are awarded scholarships with the understanding that they are to be sent to a technical or industrial school.

In the same 1904 report (Ibid., pp. 26-27), Lindsay listed the following recipients of scholarships for vocational studies, and specified the place where each one would be sent to study:

Jasper, N. Y.:

Antonio Pérez

Tongaloo University, Tongaloo, Ala. [The correct name was Tougaloo University, Tougaloo, Mississippi]:

Carlos Schmidt

Jesús Negrón

Felipe Orta

Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Tuskegee, Ala.:

Lola Tizol

Josefina Trilla

Berenice Rodríguez

Félix Reina

María Rodríguez Avilés

María Moreno

Virginia Aponte

Eugenio Lecompte

Luis Méndez

Francisco Barrios

Antonio Arroyo

Luisa González Nieves

Felipe Sagardía


In this report, however, the Commissioner of Education made no mention of the students at Carlisle, and did not explain the omission. He also failed to mention the Cuban students who had been sent to Tuskegee.

In 1901, as part of his effort to see that Puerto Rican students would study in the United States, Brumbaugh communicated with educators such as Booker T. Washington, who was president of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. In his letter to Washington, Brumbaugh said that:

The Legislature of Porto Rico has recently made provision to send from this Island to your school and to Hampton, Va., and to other similar institutions, twenty boys and girls, who will be able to leave this Island as soon after July 1st as you advise in view of the conditions at your school. How many of these twenty can you receive, and at what cost per capita, and under what conditions would you be willing to accept them? It is my desire to send as many to you as you can conveniently accommodate, as I believe you are doing the best work for the colored race that is now being done anywhere in the United States.[xvi]

In the same letter, Brumbaugh added:

It has occurred to me that in order to break up their Spanish language we might scatter some of them into similar institutions; upon this subject, however, I am not clear and I write to you in perfect frankness for your advise (sic). Would you recommend any other schools besides your own and Hampton for these colored children? If so, will you be kind enough to give me the name and address of such institutions in order that I can take up the question with them? I write this frankly to you because I know that you have the interests of the race at heart and my whole purpose is to do the largest good for these twenty children (Ibid.).

In his book A History of Education in Puerto Rico, Osuna (1949, p. 158) states that a total of 219 Puerto Ricans were studying in the United States in 1901, though he identifies neither the students nor the institutions involved. Osuna says the following:

Besides the teachers, picked youths from the public schools were sent to preparatory schools in the United States. By the summer of 1901, 219 pupils had been sent North and were under the personal oversight of the Commissioner of Education. Some of these pupils were sent to very good schools, while others were not so fortunate, mistakes having been made in selecting some of the schools. Nevertheless the majority of them succeeded, and many of them returned later and made and are making their contribution to the educational as well as to the general progress of the Island.

Osuna was himself one of those students who traveled to THE CIIS in May 1901. In his book, he does not specify the errors that were made in selecting United States schools, nor does he explain his view on the implications of such errors.

For her part, Negrón de Montilla (1971, p. 38) limits herself to stating, in reference to Education Commissioner Martin. G. Brumbaugh, that:

…through his personal effort young men and women were sent to the States for advanced study. The legislative assembly under Dr. Brumbaugh’s pressure enacted two laws, “H. B. 35″ and “S. B. 12″ providing for the education in the United States of 25 young men, each of whom was given $400 for each year of maintenance and education.

Negrón de Montilla does not mention the schools or the aims of their programs. She limits herself to stating that 25 males were given scholarships to study at preparatory schools and universities.

In her study of Carlisle, Genevieve Bell (op. cit.) offers a perspective on the school that was absent from previous studies, particularly that of Ryan (1962). In the preface to her doctoral dissertation, Bell states that “This dissertation revisits the Carlisle Indian Industrial School- the flagship of the American Assimilation era’s education program.” (op. cit., p. vi) Bell adds:


So I went to the federal records in Washington, D.C., looking for the State, but what I found instead were people- lives and faces that I could not forget. My first encounters with “the boxes” of records were frustrating. All I caught were little glimpses into lives lived, no more than a couple of years: small windows through which I could view someone’s world. Every night I came home with a new anecdote, some new injustice or travesty or silly fact that I could not wrap my mind around. Someone was fudging the school’s death statistics by failing to report those who died during the summer when school was technically out of session. The school was pocketing a quarter of student wages and using them for the physical plant and grounds. There were Puerto Ricans at Carlisle: fifty-nine of them. Carlisle students were working in the factories of Ford, General Electric and Bethlehem Iron and Steel. Girls were getting pregnant. There were prostitutes and bootleggers in town supplying the school’s needs. Some students were at Carlisle for twenty years, some stayed only a month. Of all the students who attended Carlisle only 600 graduated (Ibid., pp. vi-vii).


Further along, Bell continues:

To understand the Carlisle Indian School is to interrogate its popularized representations, and arguably the most powerful images of the Carlisle Indian School consist of a series of photographs taken before and after students’ admission. At the time, these photographs were seen and sold as irrefutable proof that it was possible to raise Indians out of savagery and transform them into model pupils and citizens. A century later, those same photographs seem shocking, serving as an enduring reminder of the power and brutality of the American State (Ibid., p. 5).


Bell’s thesis is that:

“In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the American nation-state, operating through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and various other federal agencies, engaged in a policy of assimilation: indigenous peoples were to be detribalized and incorporated as individual citizens into the American nation” (Ibid., p. 6). She adds that “In a very real sense, the students who attended Carlisle were not only learning how to read, write and have a trade, but they were also learning how to be Indian.” (Ibid., p. 6). Bell also points out that “It is important to remember that within this context ‘Indian’ and thus ‘Indianness’ are the products of ongoing colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and the American Nation-State” (Ibid., p. 9).

My findings in researching the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle are consistent with those of Bell for North American Indian students there; thus the extensive use of material from Bell’s work in the introductory portions of this monograph. The philosophical principles at work at Carlisle and the corresponding practices instituted at the school did not fundamentally differ with regard to Indians and Puerto Ricans. The information available in the existing studies of THE CIIS, particularly those of Bell and Ryan, provides a context for understanding the experiences of students from other nations such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines.


Carlisle operated along the lines of a military institute. Upon arriving there, students would pose for a “before” photograph which would later be used to contrast their savage appearance with the civilized persons that they were to become. The student would then get a bath, a haircut, “civilized” clothing, and a Christian name. The use of vernacular languages was forbidden; English was the only language permitted both day and night (Ryan 1962; Lesiak 1991; Navarro 1995; Bell 1998). By the time that the first Puerto Rican student arrived at Carlisle in 1898, the practice of taking “before” and “after” photographs had been discontinued.

Students at Carlisle were constantly observed and measures were taken to ensure that they did not socialize with others from the same nation or language community. According to Bell:

Students were subject to constant surveillance, both explicit and implicit. Most activities occurred under the watchful eye of teachers, wardens and peers who were prefects. They socialized in restricted areas, and associations between students from the same tribal/National group were actively discouraged. Dormitories, overseen by wardens, were arranged in such a way that students never roomed with someone from their home community or language group (Bell, op. cit., p. 249).


Just as the “Negro Problem” in the United States had led to the founding of the Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, the “Indian problem” led to the founding of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1879. The conquest of additional new peoples in 1898 added yet another such “problem,” and the Hampton, Tuskegee, and Carlisle models were useful in devising methods for their adaptation. In the case of the Indians, the perceived “problem” was their resistance to the United States appropriation of their national territories and the Federal campaign to destroy them as peoples. In addition to military force, the government used the educational system to suppress indigenous resistance. Between 1873 and 1880, the number of government and religious schools for Indians[xvii] increased from 286 to 393, with an increase in student population from 6,061 to 13,338 (Ryan, op. cit., p. 64). According to Ryan, the proportion of school age Indians who were attending school was still only one in twelve, despite these increases.

Pratt, who proposed the creation of Carlisle, had dedicated his military career to fighting Indians, and then to their “civilization,” when he was administrator of 72 Indian prisoners of war at Fort Marion, in St. Augustine, Florida. The “success” of Pratt, at that point a lieutenant, in Indian education, first at Fort Marion and then at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, led to the establishment of THE CIIS and the naming of Pratt as its first director. Carlisle was established on the grounds of an inactive military base in the town of Carlisle in central Pennsylvania, 19 miles from Harrisburg. Modeled after Hampton Institute, the vocational school for African-Americans, Carlisle was the first Indian school to be founded by the Federal government off of a reservation. When the school was formally inaugurated on November 1, 1879, it had 147 students from various Indian reservations and agencies, including 11 of the former prisoners from Fort Marion.[xviii]

The guiding policy of Pratt’s “civilizing mission” was called “acculturation under duress” (Ryan, op. cit., p. 23). The rationale for this policy was the supposition that once “thoroughly subjugated” (Ibid.), Indians would have no means by which to resist their forced acculturation in institutions such as Carlisle. Three important components of the acculturation program were vocational education, the exposure of students to the dominant model of social and economic organization, and the strenuous imposition of Protestant principles.

On March 3, 1819, the Federal government had established a “Civilization Fund” for the purpose of “civilizing” Indians, and made an initial appropriation of $10,000 for this purpose.[xix] The operation of THE CIIS was financed through this fund from 1879 to 1882, when it began to receive a dedicated appropriation from Congress.

This was Pratt’s description of the Carlisle academic mission:

… to teach English and give a primary education and a knowledge of some common and practical industry and means of self-support among civilized people. To this end regular shops and farms were provided, where the principal mechanical arts and farming are taught the boys, and the girls taught cooking, sewing, laundry, and housework (Ibid.).


In 1901, the Federal government approved a curriculum for Indian schools stipulating that “This course is designed to give teachers a definite idea of the work that should be done in the schools to advance the pupils as speedily as possible to usefulness and citizenship.” (Reel, op. cit., p. 5). In Reel’s view, the stated curriculum would make it possible for students to develop a higher level of morality, as well as become more patriotic and Christian citizens.

The day at Carlisle started early and ended late. Pratt made sure that every minute was accounted for. As he indicated, “We keep them moving and they have no time for homesickness – none for mischief – none for regret.” (Bell, op. cit., p. 121). A typical day at Carlisle followed this schedule: [xx]


Rising Bell and Reveille                                                                        6:00

Assembly Call                                                                                     6:15

Mess Call and Breakfast Bell                           First 6:25;     Second 6:30

Work Whistle                                                 First 7:25;     Second 7:30

School Bell                                                      First 8:30;     Second 8:35

Recall Bell from School                          First 11:30,   Second 11:35

Recall Whistle from Work                                                               11:30

Assembly Call                                                                                     11:45

Mess Call and Dinner Bell                              First 11:55;    Second 12:00




Work Whistle                                                 First 12:55;    Second 1:00

School Bell                                                      First 1:10;      Second 1:15

Recall Bell from School                          First 4:00;      Second             4:05

Flag Salute                                                   Spring & Summer            5:45

Flag Salute                                                   Fall & Winter              5:25

Supper                                                             Spring & Summer            6:00

Supper                                                             Fall & Winter              5:30

Evening Hour                                        Spring & Summer            7:30 to 8:30

Evening Hour                                        Fall & Winter              7:00 to 8:00

Roll Call and Prayer                         First Call 8:45;      Assembly            9:00

Taps and Inspection of Rooms                                                         9:30


Bell comments on Carlisle and the program there:

Carlisle and schools like it existed to promulgate a federal policy of assimilation. Carlisle parents did not have the same range of choices that most parents have: their children were taken away from them, and resistance could result in a cessation of rations or other government benefits.


Bell also observes that “Letters from family members concerned about their children were frequently ignored or used as an opportunity to castigate individuals for their lack of resolve.” (Bell, op. cit., p. 115).

Bell also found that:

Carlisle students were monitored at school, but they were also tracked after they left the institution. Their behavior at school had lasting consequences for their ability to obtain work or citizenship. What students did at Carlisle followed them for life (Ibid.).


The power that Carlisle had over its students, and the manner in which that power was wielded as an instrument of control, had a great impact on the students, including the Puerto Ricans. Bell mentions that Carlisle, as an agency of the Federal government, utilized its enormous power to facilitate or hinder the employment of its Native American students. Federal power over Indian individuals was enhanced by the fact that Indians were not granted United States citizenship until 1924, six years after Carlisle closed.[xxi]  The reality of this legal inferiority and political disenfranchisement also affected the Puerto Rican students, as Puerto Rico was a colony at the time that they attended THE CIIS. The United States would not grant citizenship to Puerto Ricans until 1917, just one year before the school closed.

A document describing the history of Carlisle states that “In pursuance of this policy every inducement was offered to retain pupils, to prevent their return to reservation life, and to aid them to make for themselves a place among the people of the east.” (Ibid.).  Concerning the task of Carlisle, Pratt said that “We are doing what we can to make the Indians like other people, capable of meeting the obligations of life in this country,” and in the same letter, Pratt added that “Until that is accomplished, there is an Indian problem.”[xxii]

In an 1888 statement by Pratt to Frances E. Willard, he said that:

There are about two hundred sixty thousand Indians in the United States, and there are twenty-seven hundred counties. I would divide them up, in the proportion of about nine Indians to a county, and find them homes and work among our people; that would solve the knotty problem in three years’ time, and there would be no more an “Indian Question.” [xxiii]


In his conversation with Willard, Pratt added the following:

The Indians are just like other men, only minus their environment. Take a new born baby from the arms of a cultivated white woman, and give it to the nurture of a Zulu woman in Africa; take the Zulu’s baby away from her and give it to the cultivated white woman. Twenty-five years later you would have a white savage in Africa, and a black scholar, gentleman, and Christian in America. This sharply illustrates what I mean.


In the view of Pratt and that of the United States government, the fundamental objectives of Indian education were the obliteration of native identities and the definitive displacement of indigenous people from their traditional lands.

As stated in a 1905 document issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

In his first annual report on the conduct of the school, Lieut. Pratt announced that two boys and one girl had been placed in the families of prosperous citizens of Massachusetts, and subsequently that five girls and sixteen boys had found homes with white families in the vicinity of Carlisle during the summer months, thus enabling them by direct example and association to learn the ways of civilization. This was the commencement of the “outing system” that has come to be a distinctive civilizing feature not only of the Carlisle school but of the Indian school service generally (Ibid.).


This report, issued 25 years after the founding of Carlisle, states that:

“Notwithstanding the efforts of the school to induce its graduates to remain in the east instead of returning to their reservation homes, the plan has not been successful and has therefore necessitated a change in harmony with the conditions.”

The document does not indicate what adjustments were made in response to the policy’s failure.

As I have pointed out, many Carlisle graduates returned to their indigenous communities. However, only 600 of Carlisle’s 10,700 students actually graduated. In the documents consulted for this study, no information has been found with regard to the proportion of Carlisle students, including Puerto Ricans, who later returned to their communities of origin. This lack of information makes it difficult to analyze the phenomenon of return. We do know, however, that a significant number of Puerto Ricans who left the island to go to Carlisle either stayed in the United States or migrated frequently between the two countries.

The fact that many students fled Carlisle, including five Puerto Ricans, is not given much attention in official reports. However, between 1879 and 1918, at least 1,850 students escaped from the school (Bell, op. cit., p. 210). [xxiv]  Considering that a student’s return to his or her community would typically require a rail journey of several days duration, we can understand Bell’s assertion that a student’s decision to flee must have been in response to quite serious problems. This would have been even truer for Puerto Rican students, who would have had to return home by sea.





Carlisle as an Educational Model

Carlisle generated a great deal of interest both in the United States and in other countries. People from many parts of the world visited the school. The following names and their respective places of origin are entered in the Carlisle Register of Visitors for the years 1910 to 1912: [xxv]


Dorothy Marlit: Bayamo, Cuba; February 25, 1910

Woodrow Wilson:[xxvi] Princeton, New Jersey; June 27, 1910

Andrés Martínez: Havana, Cuba; August 12, 1910

Mrs. L.E. Brownawell Tabernilla: Panama; September 8, 1910

Ignacio Cabrera: Cuba; March 17, 1911

Ricardo Torres: Argentina; March 17, 1911

Illegible Signature: Representative of the Republic of Cuba; May 27, 1911

Julio Contel: Orizaba, Mexico; May 27, 1911

Woodrow Wilson: Princeton, New Jersey; August 1, 1911

Charles H. Williams: Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia; September 12, 1911

L. Miller, Africa; December 27, 1911

Illegible Signature: Burma, India; December 27, 1911

John Martínez: Andover, Massachusetts; April 1, 1912

Y. Ono, Tokyo: Japan; May 28, 1912


Carlisle was also visited by representatives of educational institutions interested in Pratt’s “civilizing” and “assimilationist” experiment. Among the institutions that sent representatives were Bucknell, Millersville State Normal School, Wyoming Seminary, Keystone Academy, Gettysburg, Ursinus, Dickinson, and Lafayette Colleges.

The nature of visits by Cubans to Carlisle is a matter of some interest. We know that Cubans, like Puerto Ricans, were viewed as inferior people by U.S. government officials, and that institutions such as Carlisle, Hampton, and Tuskegee could serve as models for the work that the United States would undertake in the newly acquired colonies such as Cuba. The Register, unfortunately, does not include the reasons for the visits and school records do not list any of its students as Cuban.

Visits to Carlisle by distinguished persons were promoted by Pratt in his campaign to portray the school as a successful experiment in “civilization” that could play a role in solving the “Inndian problem.” To this end, Pratt invited visits from prominent state and federal legislators and other important government officials. Pratt stated that these visits were important factors in winning public and private funding for the school. He stressed that it was of great importance that visitors leave with a good impression of the institution.

With an eye to the impression produced by the school upon visitors, Pratt was unhappy that federal agencies for indigenous affairs were sending him students who did not appear sufficiently Indian. In a letter to Captain O.C. Applegate of the United States Army, Pratt complained about a group of young people who had been selected to study at Carlisle:

“… you have notice (sic) that Mr. Allen, a white man, has agreed to the sending of three of his girls in the party. Between you and I, I do feel that the government is constantly gouged in being called upon to educate the children of white men who have married Indian women or women who are part Indian. It is a most pernicious system and ought to be broken up.”


In the same letter, Pratt added that “We are under the observation of thousands of visitors and people of distinction are constantly visiting us and it is imperative that I maintain the appearance of an Indian school.”[xxvii]

Thus, it was very important to Pratt that the CIIS be seen as a school specifically for Indians. Carlisle was founded “to resolve the Indian problem” in the United States, and it received both federal funds and large donations from elite sectors of United States society to accomplish that goal. It was imperative to the school’s first superintendent that there be clear criteria for the admission of students. To this end, the school’s application forms and student records included the student’s Indian name and his or her proportion of Indian blood, indigenous nation of origin, and the federal agency for indigenous affairs that had referred him or her to the school. The same application forms and transcripts were used for all students, including the Puerto Ricans. Although some school documents do describe the races of Puerto Rican students Vicente Figueroa and Dolores Nieves, their applications and student records do not; thus they were not officially categorized as to race. This was very probably due to the fact that Pratt founded Carlisle as a school for Indians, and he did not in fact favor educating Native and African-Americans in the same institution (Ryan). This very problem was among the reasons that Pratt, in 1879, had left the Hampton Institute, which was a vocational school for African-Americans in Virginia where he had directed a special program for Indians. Pratt believed that the white population was more tolerant of Indians than of African-Americans, and that mixing the two populations would hinder the acceptance of the former (Ryan).

One important factor that merits further examination is the racial and ethnic discourse common in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the manner in which the residents of new United States colonies were characterized within that discourse, and how this was reflected at institutions like Tuskegee, Hampton, and Carlisle (Duany, 2002; Guridy, 2002).

On the list of tribes represented at Carlisle, for example, there is one by the name of “Porto Rico.” Osuna had no doubt that Puerto Ricans were considered Indians at Carlisle: thus the name of his 1932 article on his experiences at the school: “An Indian In Spite of Myself.” The staff at Carlisle wrote “Porto Rico” on the records of Puerto Rican students in the space indicated for tribe of origin. Duany (op. cit.) likewise found that the Smithsonian Institution referred to Puerto Ricans as Indians during this period.

However, others, such as Martin G. Brumbaugh put Puerto Ricans and Cubans in the category “colored.” In a letter to Brumbaugh, Booker T. Washington referred to the populations of Puerto Rico and Cuba as predominantly Black. As Duany has suggested, this suggests an ambivalence in the use of ethnic and racial categories. It is interesting to note that Puerto Rican students invariably crossed off the terms “Indian” and “Tribe,” replacing them with “Puerto Rico” or “Puerto Rican.”

Notwithstanding any possible ambivalence in U.S. racial and ethnic discourse, however, the perceived inferiority of Blacks, Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the United States and its new colonies was a constant.  It was therefore critical, as Pratt proposed in The Indian Helper in 1899, to “light the lamp of learning” for these peoples.

The Puerto Rican Experience at Carlisle

The first Puerto Ricans to study at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School were brought to the mainland by U. S. soldiers returning to their country after serving in its colonialist war of 1898. These young Puerto Ricans were sent to Carlisle upon arriving in the United States. On October 8, 1900, Richard H. Pratt, the founder of Carlisle, wrote to Martin G. Brumbaugh, United States Commissioner of Education:

The little party of four girls and one boy reached here safely and are apparently happily located. Two years ago we took a Porto Rican boy who had been brought to America by some of the soldiers returning from service in that island, and subsequently three others, brought to America in the same way, were admitted.[xxviii]


On November 25, 1898, the following information appeared in The Indian Helper, a Carlisle School periodical (Vol. XIV, Number 6): “The Major [Pratt] told the school last Saturday night that we were to have a Portorican [sic] student before long. Hurrah! The Indians will give him a warm welcome and treat him well.” [xxix]  On December 2, 1898, the same periodical (Vol. XIV, Number 7) reported that :


The young man from Porto Rico has arrived. He is about 16, speaks very little English, but is fast making friends among the California and New Mexico boys who speak Spanish. He will soon learn English. In his first interview with Major Pratt he volunteered this information: “Me Boston; Me Concord; Me come Carlisle.” When he saw it snowing this week he thought it was ice cream, such as he had been treated to in Boston, coming down from the clouds, “but this no sweet.” His name is Juan Sultano [Juan Santana], now an Americano.[xxx]


José Ayarro was another Puerto Rican brought to the United States by its returning soldiers. In March 1899, The Indian Helper (Vol. XIV, Number 21) contained this item:

We have another addition of a Porto Rican who was brought from New Castle, this State, by Mr. James M. Hamilton. The boy’s name is Jose Ayarro. That he will do his best to obey orders was evidenced the other day when the bell rang, without waiting to fall in. He had not learned that he was to go in line with the others. His one idea was to get to school as soon after the bell rang as possible, and not until he arrived in his class room did he find his mistake.[xxxi]


None of the sources consulted up to this point have revealed very much of what was known in Puerto Rico about Carlisle or why the parents and guardians of young people 11 to 19 years old would have decided to send them there. Nevertheless, it is clear from the documents encountered so far that at least until the middle of 1901 neither the young people nor their parents or guardians had much information at all about the institution to which the government was sending them. In their view, Carlisle was simply one of the schools in the United States for which the colonial government had approved scholarships. One may suppose, however, that both students and adults thought that they would be attending an institution where they would learn English and other subjects prerequisite to professional studies. In addition, based on the content of Osuna’s “An Indian In Spite of Myself” and of letters written by other Puerto Rican students, one can conclude that their reactions upon arriving at Carlisle were of complete surprise and profound fear.

Neither John Eaton nor Martin Grove Brumbaugh can be accused of the same ignorance. They each played a key role in the sending of Puerto Ricans to Hampton, Tuskegee, and Carlisle, and were very familiar with the missions and goals of these schools. Brumbaugh was a Pennsylvania native and a distinguished citizen of that state, serving as its governor from 1915 to 1919. He was familiar with the kind of school to which he was sending Puerto Ricans in 1900 and 1901, when most of them were sent. Nevertheless, it seems that he did not share that knowledge with the students or their parents on the island.

When Osuna (1932) was selected to study at Carlisle, for example, he was working as a bookkeeper at a tobacco company in Caguas run by Quintiliano Cádiz. Cádiz asked Osuna if he would be interested in studying in the United States. When Osuna answered that he would be very interested in doing so, Cádiz arranged for Osuna to be interviewed by his friend Martin G. Brumbaugh, the Commissioner of Education. Since Osuna spoke no English, Cádiz accompanied him to the interview with Brumbaugh. According to Osuna, he was informed at the interview that the United States was providing Puerto Rican youth with scholarships for professional studies there. Osuna traveled to Carlisle with the impression that he would receive a professional education and preparation for the field of law.

In other applications to Carlisle, however, potential students mention their interest in learning English and receiving a vocational or business education. Eduardo Pasarell, of Yauco, attended THE CIIS intending to learn English and later transfer to a university. He arrived in April 1901 at the age of 17 and transferred out in October of the same year.[xxxii]  Some students, such as Providencia Martínez, of Ponce, are said to have been unaware that Carlisle was a school for Indians.

Researchers have not found much of the correspondence produced by Puerto Rican students at Carlisle. The limited correspondence that is available was mostly found among the school’s student records and is almost exclusively between students or their families and school officials. This correspondence does not present a representative sample of the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle, since most of the Puerto Rican students chose not to maintain contact with the school.

Although we do not have letters or applications from the Puerto Ricans who attended Carlisle between 1898 and 1900, the documents that have been found, particularly those pertaining to the group of 43 students who arrived at Carlisle in 1901, do not paint a very positive picture of the Puerto Rican experience there. In the correspondence included in this work we find veiled criticisms of the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle. We also find very critical testimonies such as that of Osuna (1932) mentioned above and that published by Ángela Rivera in La Correspondencia de Puerto Rico in January 1931[xxxiii].

Complaints of students and parents that Carlisle was not what they had been promised led to the 1901 visit there by Puerto Rican journalist and politician Luis Muñoz Rivera. A number of Puerto Ricans escaped from Carlisle and others made use of their stay at the institution as a means to enter business schools or universities. Eleven students returned to Puerto Rico on orders of their parents and only 7 out of the 60 students finally graduated from Carlisle.

Nevertheless, the correspondence that is available clearly has historical value. Many of the letters included here contain numerous orthographic and grammatical errors. They are included here as they were written so that the reader will have the opportunity to examine them in their original form.

In a letter to the then superintendent of Carlisle, M. Friedman, Providencia Martínez stated the following:

Some time I begin to talk about the Indian school and I think it is a dream. Really, we did not know that the school was a regular school for Indians when we went there, because Miss. Weekly never told us the real truth. We thought that there were Americans as well as Puerto Ricans, after all I was glad because I took lots of experience while there. I lernt to like the Indians very much. That is some of the refine one. They were very nice to the porto rican although at first they hated us.[xxxiv]


Martínez also commented on her father’s view of Carlisle:

After I came to P. R. lots and lots of time I talk to my dear papa about the Indian school and the poor father he used to cry thinking that that place was not a place where we could be happy. You can imagine why he thought so. Down here we do not know anything about good Indians but of those that you read in books that are regular animals (Ibid.).


Matilde Garnier, of Ponce, arrived at the CIIS in 1900. She felt that the school represented an opportunity that she would not have had in Puerto Rico. In response to a questionnaire sent out by Carlisle in June of 1911, Garnier indicated that:

I have nothing of interest to tell you but I will tell you that the education in Porto Rico has improved a great deal since the Americans came up here. We have at the present time great many public schools all over the Island even in the far away countries where the teachers have to go on Mondays at horse back and returned home on Friday afternoon. Besides we have two Normal schools one in San Juan (the capital) and another in Ponce from this my small sister is going to graduated next week and is going to San Juan to get her diploma.

I always remember Carlisle for what I learned there and wish to see Porto Ricans getting an education there.[xxxv]

Since research focusing specifically on the history of Puerto Ricans at Carlisle is so limited, we do not know very much about their specific experiences there. At this time it is not clear just how much can be learned about the experience of these adolescents there or the impact that it may have had on their lives. Records were kept for some of the students, but for others there is only a registration card containing very little information. Very few letters from students and family members have been found and few of the photographs in the archives identify students as Puerto Rican.[xxxvi]  Nevertheless, the documentation that is available through the school archives and through its students, including the Puerto Ricans, does provide some insight into the nature of this school run by the U.S. government and attended by Puerto Rican students from 1898 to 1918.[xxxvii]

Documentary sources indicate that all the students at Carlisle were treated equally, whether they were Indians, Alaskans, African-Americans, Filipinos, or Puerto Ricans. No study makes any reference to a distinctive Puerto Rican experience there. For example, Osuna (1932) describes his first day at the school:

Our lives as Indians began May 2nd, 1901, at six o’clock in the morning. I was assigned to the small boys quarters. Mother Given[xxxviii] had me take a bath, and she gave me the school uniform. It felt good to be dressed in warm woolen clothes. The first and second days we were allowed to roam around the grounds, but soon we came under the rigorous discipline of the school. By the second day we had received our working outfit: overalls, checkered shirts and heavy shoes.


José Prado, for example, complained in 1917 because he was assigned kitchen work at Carlisle. Prado, who studied there from November 1913 to August 1918, asserted that since his family was paying his tuition, he should be allowed to choose the kind of work he would do. However, a Carlisle official replied that “As long as he was a member of our school, we would plan for him just as we would for the Indian boys who do not pay tuition.”[xxxix]  It was clear to THE CIIS officials that while the goals of THE CIIS had been initially formulated for Indian students, they would be applied to the Puerto Ricans as well.

Between 1898 and 1900, ten Puerto Ricans went to study at Carlisle. Of these ten students, only Zoraida Valdezate graduated, in 1904. In 1901, 43 Puerto Ricans arrived at Carlisle from cities and towns around the island. Shortly after arriving, several of these 43 students wrote to Luis Muñoz Rivera, then editor of The Puerto Rico Herald,[xl] to complain about Carlisle. Some of their parents wrote to him as well. These letters are not available, and in none of the documents studied are their authors identified. According to Muñoz Rivera (1901), the students and their parents alleged that Carlisle was not what they had been promised. This led Muñoz Rivera to visit Carlisle in August 1901, and he reported on his findings in The Puerto Rican Herald:

Letters from a number of students and their parents from various points on the island gave me the clear idea that instruction at the Indian School was abysmal and that the food was atrocious. And since I was there with the sole intention of verifying or rectifying these impressions, I inquired individually of each student, seeking his personal view. All agreed with the two negative evaluations: “We eat poorly here and learn little.” (Muñoz 1901)



Muñoz Rivera asked the students if they would prefer to leave Carlisle and, according to his report, they initially hesitated but then answered that they would not like to return to their country without having learned English. In the same article, Muñoz Rivera mentions that both students and parents alleged that in Puerto Rico they had been told that they could study medicine, law, and architecture at Carlisle. Addressing this matter, Muñoz Rivera wrote:

The instruction of boys is centered around the mechanical arts of blacksmithing, masonry, tailoring, agricultural work, etc. For the girls there are cooking, seamstressing, laundry skills, and domestic work. Those who thought that their children would become medical doctors, jurists, or architects in that school were deceived. Some say that those courses of study had been offered to them in Puerto Rico. I would hesitate to accept the idea that Mr. Brumbaugh, who I take to be an intelligent educator and an upright person, would promise things that in fact were not quite so. If it were to be proven that such offers were indeed made, a most grave accusation would be warranted against the department of education. (Ibid.)



It has not been determined if the allegations of deception were ever investigated. However, it has been documented that Indian leaders and parents were deceived in order to convince them to send their sons and daughters to Carlisle (Lesiak, op. cit.). Muñoz Rivera spent several hours with the Puerto Rican students at Carlisle. In his article, he concluded that the CIIS was an excellent vocational school and a suitable place to learn English. However, he advised families with economic resources that Carlisle was not an appropriate option if they aspired to professional education for their children. Finally, he stated that “This is my opinion, which I have reached as a result of meticulous and direct observation. I offer it to the families of my country in order to alleviate their fears with regard to the exaggerated reports that are circulating around the island” (op. cit.).

Although in his article in The Puerto Rico Herald Muñoz Rivera minimizes the complaints of the students and their relatives on the island, the article describes a situation that is not made explicit in the documentary sources that have been examined. References to the environment at Carlisle described by Muñoz are found in the articles “The ‘Indians’ of Puerto Rico” (1931) by Ángela Rivera and  “An Indian in Spite of Myself,” written by Osuna in 1932.

The only year in which a significant number of Puerto Ricans arrived at Carlisle was 1901.[xli]  According to the student records that have been found, a total of 43 Puerto Ricans arrived at Carlisle at different times that year. While at Carlisle, Muñoz Rivera met with 37 students, of whom 26 had arrived at Carlisle in May of that year.

Muñoz Rivera’s article is also evidence of concern in Puerto Rico about the experiences of the young people that the government had sent to Carlisle. The article also speaks to parent and student discontent and to the allegations of false promises that Muñoz Rivera mentions. In his article in The Puerto Rico Herald, Muñoz Rivera concludes that he left Carlisle on the afternoon of August 29 with the impression that there was nothing to worry about. All was well at Carlisle and the students would soon become accustomed to their new environment.
On the other hand, one month before Muñoz Rivera’s visit, Santiago Montano, of Mayagüez, one of the students who had arrived at Carlisle on May 2, 1901, ran away from the school, as did Luis Sánchez on August 1, and Antonio Pagán five days before Muñoz Rivera’s arrival. In 1902, Cástulo Rodríguez, of Barranquitas, and Rafael Gaudier, of Mayagüez, fled. Four of the five students who fled Carlisle appeared in the photograph of 37 students that Muñoz Rivera published in The Puerto Rico Herald on September 14, 1901. It is notable that Muñoz Rivera did not mention the flight of Puerto Rican students from the school in his article. However, it is not known whether at the time of his visit the Puerto Rican journalist and politician or even the students knew what had happened.
At least 11 of the students who arrived at Carlisle in 1901 left the school at the request of their parents. Four students left Carlisle for health reasons: Pedro Enrique Musignac (1903), Ramón López (1903), Luis de Jesús (1905), and Felícita Medina (1902). Only five Puerto Rican students were admitted to Carlisle after 1901: Luis de Jesús (1902), Manuel Hidalgo Ballesters (1909), Emilio de Arce Pagán (1911), José Gonzalo (1912), and José Prado (1913). One student, Paul Vargas, was at Carlisle as a short-term student between June and August 1910. José Gonzalo, of San Juan, studied at Carlisle from September 1912 until January 1917.[xlii]  He arrived at Carlisle at the age of 12 years, and was one of the young Puerto Ricans who attended the school without the benefit of a scholarship from the island’s colonial government. As far as is known, José and Esperanza Gonzalo represent the only case of siblings who both studied at Carlisle.

The only Puerto Ricans to graduate from Carlisle were Zoraida Valdezate in 1904 and José Osuna, Emiliano Padín, Manuel Ruiz Rexach, Ángela Rivera, Antonio Rodríguez, and María Santaella in 1905.

In his article “An Indian in Spite of Myself,” Osuna offers a negative perspective of the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle:

Among the many experiences at Carlisle, those connected with the industrial work were most interesting. All the large boys had to choose a trade, while we smaller ones were assigned all sorts of duties from house cleaning to serving as orderly to General Pratts, the founder and at that time the Superintendent of the School. One day, two or three hundred of us were set to work weeding a large onion field. We were strung out in a long line with task master Bennett, the farmer, keeping the line of progress as straight as he could by the aid of a whip, which he used freely when any one lagged behind. I always managed to keep a bit ahead of the main line. However, this type of education was not exactly in keeping with my preconceived ideas of the “land of promise.”

I worked there for the summer and went to school during the academic year of 1901-1902. Of the rest of my companions, some stayed like myself to work and study; some ran away and returned to Puerto Rico; and the parents of the well-to-do either sent for their children or transferred them to other schools. We were a very disappointed lot. I had decided to become a lawyer, but I did not see that in this school I would ever get nearer my goal.


At this time Osuna found out about Carlisle’s “outing” program. Under this program, the students lived, usually during the summer, in private homes in places such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. As part of the program, the students worked for their host families in return for room and board and a small salary. In March 1902, Osuna was placed with the Welsh family in Orangeville, Pennsylvania, and did not return to Carlisle until 1905. This was Osuna’s way to escape from Carlisle. Osuna described these events in his article:

As I was different from the Indians and also somewhat different from the Americans, I became a curiosity. On Sunday afternoons, the place was visited by people from all over that section of the country who came purposely to see Miss. Mira’s new boy. They had heard that he was not an Indian, that he had come from Puerto Rico; and they wanted to see what Puerto Ricans looked like.

Although I knew very little English when I arrived at Orangeville, within five months- being compelled to speak English exclusively- I had picked up a good working knowledge of the language. In fact, by June it was hard to distinguish any great difference between the Puerto Rican “Indian” and the rest of the farm boys. Here I was introduced into a strict, puritanic life. The bible was put in my hands. We had daily prayers and grace at the table; on Sundays, we had Sunday School at 9 a.m., Church at 10:30, Christian Endeavor at 6 p.m., and Church again at 7:30 p.m. And in order to fill in the day correctly, every Sunday afternoon I was taught the Sunday School lessons for the following Sunday. No work was left for Sunday except that which was absolutely necessary. Once in a while my Spanish blood would long for some sort of expression and I would whistle a tune. I was immediately reminded that it was Sunday.

Instead of returning in the fall of 1902 to Carlisle, I remained with my employer and went to a rural school. I did not want to return to Carlisle. Frankly, I did not like the place. I never thought it was the school for me. I was not an Indian; I was a Puerto Rican of Spanish descent. However, I was a student of the Federal Government, supposed to be located at Carlisle, but with permission to stay at Orangeville, Pennsylvania.

After going as far as I could at Orangeville, I secured permission from Carlisle to attend the Bloomsburg State Normal School which I entered in the fall of 1903.

In the spring of 1905, I received a letter reminding me that I was still a Carlisle student, but that the authorities felt that I was advanced enough to graduate from the institution and sever my relationship with the Federal Government. I was furthermore informed that the Government would pay my railroad fare to Carlisle and back, that I would be supplied with two suits of clothes, shoes, and all sorts of wearing apparel, if I desired to go to Carlisle to graduate. At the time I was working my way through Bloomsburg Normal and had very little of anything that I could call my own. I naturally accepted the proposition. I went to Carlisle, attended commencement, and received all that had been promised me in the way of this world’s goods. Moreover, I received a diploma of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I graduated with the class of 1905; I am an alumnus of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I am an Indian in spite of myself.

According to Pratt, the “outing” program was the most effective “civilizing” tool at the school’s disposal. In this sense, Osuna never left Carlisle. Orangeville was an extension of Carlisle, or rather Carlisle was an extension of Orangeville, a Protestant town representing the ideal that Pratt and the federal government of those years sought for the acculturation of the students at Carlisle.

While there are records of thousands of personal letters, reports, and other documents received by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School,[xliii] unfortunately very few letters from Puerto Rican students or their relatives have been found. In this section I will refer, however, to letters written by 16 of the 60 Puerto Rican students.

Generally speaking, the letters and other documents that have been found present a positive image of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. This image conflicts with the situation described by the students and their relatives in 1901 that motivated Muñoz Rivera to visit the school in August of that year. Student dissatisfaction was also evidenced by the five students who escaped from Carlisle, the 11 who returned to Puerto Rico on their parents’ orders, and the number of students who transferred to other educational institutions shortly after arriving at Carlisle. As has been pointed out, only seven Puerto Ricans graduated from the CIIS, including Osuna, who only attended for one year. All of these factors seem to indicate that most Puerto Ricans shared the opinions expressed by Osuna and Ángela Rivera in the journalistic articles of the 1930s that have been cited. Evidence also suggests that the negative experiences of the Puerto Ricans at Carlisle led the United States government to suspend the granting of scholarships in Puerto Rico for studies at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and finally, to order Puerto Ricans holding scholarships to leave Carlisle in 1905.

According to student records, the great majority of the Puerto Ricans, 44 out of 60, did not keep in touch with the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. However, the available correspondence of 16 former students with officials at Carlisle does offer some perspective on what its authors apparently thought about Carlisle and the United States and how that school and that country had influenced their lives. As in the case of the correspondence included above, these excerpts appear here as they were written.

Enrique Urrutia, of San Juan (1901-1905), wrote as follows:

I am satisfy with my present situation. I think to be an officer in the U. S. Army is one of the greatest honors a man can have. I am and will always be ready to defend the constitution of the United States, all its officers and the American flag.

Carlisle was my steping stone. I am able to perform my duties, no doubt through the education that I received at Carlisle while at the great Indian school.[xliv]


Rafael Ortega, of San Juan, attended Carlisle from May 1901 until May 1904. Although he did not graduate from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, he did graduate from a business school in the town of Carlisle. In 1911, THE CIIS sent him and the other former students a questionnaire to fill out in order to keep his records up to date. When he received the questionnaire in 1912, Ortega was 26 years old and was working in New York City. He answered as follows:

As I was not quite a regular student at Carlisle, and did not graduate, I am not filling the blank you sent me. Furthermore I doubt if the information that I could give you would be of any use to you at this late date.

The writer was one of the party of Puerto Ricans who attended Carlisle for a few years, and like the majority of us was obliged to leave the school before finishing, as the government decided we were taking up room that rightfully belong to the Indians. When I left Carlisle, I was a junior under Miss. Wood. It was very unfortunate for me as well as for two or three other of us who were in that class that we were not allowed to stay until we could graduate. However the training and knowledge which I acquired at Carlisle has been of great help to me in the past, and I always feel greatly indebted to Carlisle, as an institution, and to my teachers and superiors individually, for I shall never forget the interest and kindness which they showed me during the period of some three years which I remained at Carlisle.

I often think of Carlisle, and whenever its foot-ball team has come to this City or West Point to play I have always been on hand to cheer for the Red and Old Gold.

While I was at Carlisle I also attended, in the evening, what was then known as the Carlisle Commercial School from which I graduated. I have not attended any other school, but I am glad to say, that the training which I received at Carlisle has anable me to battle, with a certain degree of success against the many trials and difficulties which are encountered in this great City in the struggle to get to the top.

I have held two or three different positions since I left Carlisle, and at present I am holding the position of Chief Export Clerk with the above concern, and earning a good salary.

I am still single, but have a good home in Brooklyn, New York, with an American Family. All my relatives live in Porto Rico.

As it is now some eight years since I attended Carlisle, no doubt most if not all of the teachers and superiors of my time, have left, but if there should be any left, kindly remember me to them and express to them my tokens of respect and gratitude.

I shall always be interested in the welfare of Carlisle, and may it long live to continue doing the good work which it was doing while I was there, and which no doubt has been continued and pushed along under your able directorship.[xlv]


Another former student who filled out the Record of Graduates and Returned Students was Paul Seguí, of Ponce, in 1912. Seguí had arrived at Carlisle in October 1900 and moved to Philadelphia when he left Carlisle on December 31, 1904, at the age of 22. In Philadelphia he married María Gibbons and by 1913 they had two children. He studied printing and worked at that trade for several years before becoming a funeral director in San Juan in 1913.  In a note to the Alumni Association, he informed them that things had gone very well for him after leaving Carlisle.[xlvi]

Fernando Vásquez, of Guayama, was 13 when he arrived at Carlisle with the group of May 1901. He stayed at Carlisle until June 30, 1905, when he returned to Guayama and began work in the office of the Porto Rico Irrigation Service (Ibid.).

Antonio Pagán arrived at Carlisle in July 1901 at the age of 16, and fled the school on August 24 of the same year. He indicated on Carlisle’s 1911 questionnaire that he had studied at Bloomsburg State Normal School in Pennsylvania, but did not complete his studies. He also indicated that in 1911 he was working as a train dispatcher at the Guánica sugar refinery for a salary of $100 per month. Pagán also reported that he had married Catalina Vivaldi, from the town of Yauco. Things, he said, were going very well for him, and he was living in a good house within the refinery complex (Ibid.).

Antonio Piñero Rodríguez, of Río Piedras, was 15 when he arrived at Carlisle on May 21, 1901. He was there until September 1902, when his father requested that he return to Puerto Rico. In his response on the 1911 Record of Graduates and Returned Students, Piñero Rodríguez stated that he had studied in 1902-1903 at the Normal School in Río Piedras and that in 1911 he had finished his first year as a law student. He was married to María Abrams Álvarez and they lived in Quebradillas, where he was working as the principal of the local school (Ibid.).

José Rodríguez, of San Juan, also arrived at Carlisle in May 1901. He was 17 when he left in June 1905. From Carlisle Rodríguez moved to Philadelphia, where he worked for several years for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. Rodríguez communicated regularly with Carlisle until 1913, frequently attending its football games. Later he returned to Puerto Rico and according to his communications with the school, worked for the United States government there in the Auditor’s office, where he earned an annual salary of $2,000 (Ibid.).

Miguel de Jesús Martínez, of Ciales, was 18 when he arrived at Carlisle on April 25, 1901. He was there until January 8, 1904, and then studied that year at the Carlisle Business School. De Jesús Martínez kept in touch with Carlisle until December 1918, the school’s last year. His records do not indicate when he returned to Puerto Rico, but in the 1911 Record of Graduate and Returned Students, he reported that he was living in San Sebastián, where he was working as a tax collector and was in charge of the post office. By that time he was married to Elisa Roure and they owned their own home. This is the way that de Jesús described San Sebastián: “This is a small town of three thousand people but the surrounding country is very thickly settled and produces fine coffee, bananas, sugar cane, citrus fruits. The climate is equable and we have abundance of rain.” With regard to Carlisle, de Jesús commented that:

I shall be very glad to receive the ‘Arrow’ [the CIIS periodical], the winged messenger from Carlisle Indian School which will not doubt brings me many interesting items of news of my old school and schoolmates. My thoughts often go back to the happy days I spent under its care and protection that hope to be worthy of the school (Ibid.).


Vicente Figueroa, of Guayama, arrived at Carlisle in September 1899 and was there until August 8, 1904. Figueroa married Louise Taylor, a resident of Carlisle, and according to his records, stayed in Pennsylvania to work as a mason. On Carlisle’s 1911 questionnaire, Figueroa spoke of his last visit to Puerto Rico, saying: “The last time I was home the United States had did a great deal improve to Porto Rico” (Ibid.). On the same form, Figueroa added that:

Well all I got to say about my home and that is every things go very pleasent since the America took position of Porto Rico. When I first came to the Indian School I found out it go very hard with me, at first but I was there 5 years I learn a whole lot, and I thank the Carlisle Indian School for what it did for me” (Ibid.).


In 1911, Figueroa applied for work at the federal agency on Indian affairs in Denver, Colorado. M. Friedman, the superintendent of Carlisle at that time, wrote the agency a letter of recommendation in support of Figueroa’s employment application and that of another former student. In the letter, Friedman stated:

The other young man is Vincente Figueroa, a Porto Rican, mostly negro, who attended school here until the Porto Ricans were asked lo leave when, instead of going back to the Island, he remained at Carlisle. He is a machinist and also a concrete finisher. He is good at the latter occupation and finds steady work in a good season (Ibid.).


According to his records, Figueroa wasn’t offered the work that he wanted in Colorado. Figueroa stayed in frequent contact with Carlisle, and in February 1915 he wrote to Friedman that “I can never for-get Dear Old Carlisle Indian School. She is one of the great school for Education of the Indian and Porto Rico.” Figueroa seems to have had problems when he drank; in the same letter he wrote that “I am always sober industry clean man and having respect for every body any where that I been stoping at” (Ibid.).

Ramón López Fagundo, of Humacao, was 16 when he arrived at Carlisle in May 1901. On February 28, 1903, he returned to the island for health reasons. He specialized in printing, and became supervisor of the Carlisle print shop during his last year there. In his response to the 1911 census he reported having married Dolores García Rivera, of Río Piedras. In Puerto Rico López Fagundo first worked for five years in the Police Department and then went to work in a legal office. In 1911, he stated that “In the month of April, this year, I was admitted to examination before the Board of Medical Examiners of Porto Rico and had the good luck of winning by hard work and much study my certificate of Minor Surgeon” (Ibid.).

After leaving Carlisle, Providencia Martínez went to work in New Jersey. Shortly thereafter, she moved in with a sister and brother in New York City, where she lived for three years. In a June 16, 1911 letter to Superintendent Friedman, Martínez stated that she was living in Ponce, where she was a homemaker.[xlvii]

Belén María Nin, of San Juan, was 17 when she arrived at Carlisle in May 1901. She was there until March 1905. In a letter dated July 24, Nin told Friedman the following:

Since I left Carlisle in the year 1905 I went to school at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Scranton, Pa., and stayed there till the year 1909 when I returned to my own home in Porto Rico. A year after I came home I begun to work as a stenographer in the private office of Mr. R. A. Macfie, an Englishman. I am working yet at the same place.

I am always delighted to hear about Carlisle, and it will be a great pleasure for me if I ever make another trip to the United States, to visit this beautiful school of which I have such pleasant remembrances.[xlviii]


Adela Borelli, of Ponce, was 17 when she arrived at Carlisle on September 30, 1900. She stayed until April 4, 1905. From Carlisle she returned to Ponce, where she lived until 1914, when she and her husband moved to Cuba. In a March 27, 1913 letter, Borelli wrote Superintendent Friedman that:

After seven years away from the States I expect to return soon, and I will be very glad to go some day and see dear old Carlisle.

Excuse me for my delay to write but I have work so hard these last years, that some times make me forget my old friends, although I never forget dear old Carlisle where I past so many happy days. Here in Porto Rico I have work as stenographer for different corporations and also as girl’s Inspector in a milk pasteurizing plant and always very satisfactorily. I married soon after I got home to a very nice man and as we are poor, I help him a great deal (Ibid.).


On January 20, 1914, Borelli wrote the following to Friedman:

I just received a letter from Porto Rico that you sent me there. I will say that I am not living in Porto Rico now, we are in our way to Cuba, we have been here in New York for about a month but we are going to Cuba as my husband is in the tabacco business there.

I will send you my address from there as I always like to hear from that school although I am not an Indian (Ibid.).


Matilda Garnier, of Ponce, was 17 when she arrived at Carlisle on September 30, 1900. On the 1911 census form, she reported that she had three children and was raising them full time. She had retuned to Ponce after her stay at Carlisle. At that time, she said, “I was teaching in an industrial school here for a while and after I was doing some fancy works of embroidery and drawing work” (Ibid.). She had married Manuel Casanovas, who worked in Ponce’s largest hat factory, and they lived in Ponce at Number 42 Calle Victoria.

According to school records, Concebida Duchesne, of Fajardo, was 13 when she arrived at Carlisle on May 21, 1901. A few months later, on January 18, 1902, she went to live with a woman named I. F. Merrill, of Pennsylvania, as part of Carlisle’s “outing program.” The record indicates that Merrill adopted Duchesne, who then lived with her adoptive mother for the next 10 years. In 1911, Duchesne was studying at the Normal School in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and was planning to return to Puerto Rico and teach upon completing her studies.

Esperanza Gonzalo, of San Juan, began her studies at Carlisle in May 1901, at the age of 14.[xlix]  She was there until April 1905. Her brother José also studied at Carlisle from 1912 until 1917. When she completed the census in 1911, Esperanza Gonzalo was living with her husband José Castro Feliú at the Vannina refinery complex in Río Piedras. In addition to her studies at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Gonzalo also studied at the Carlisle Commercial College in 1905, together with some of the other Puerto Ricans. She  graduated that year from the business school. When she responded to the questionnaire in 1911, she was a full time mother of two daughters. She wrote that  “I am very happy with my two little girls. I have a pleasant home out in the country and enjoy teaching my little daughters to be good” (Ibid.). With regard to her work, Gonzalo wrote that “I have been employed as Spanish Stenographer at the office of the District Attorney of the District Court of San Juan and as English Stenographer of the lawyers firm Sweet, Rossy & Campillo” (Ibid.). She added:

Since leaving Carlisle I have been employed and have enjoyed my work very much, until three years later when I got married to Mr. Castro who has been very kind to me, and we are both very happy with our two little girls. Soon after my marriage I left my position and engaged in housekeeping until the present time (Ibid.).


Along with the completed questionnaire, Gonzalo sent a letter to the superintendent of Carlisle that ended with the following thought: “I have always felt glad to hear something about Carlisle School from which I obtained such a good training and will highly appreciate to receive the Arrow and catalogue referred to in your letter.” (Ibid.)

Dolores Nieves, of Caguas, was 14 years old when she arrived in May 1901. After leaving Carlisle in the spring of 1905, she worked in Pennsylvania for a few months and returned to the island toward the end of that year. A few months later she moved to the Pennsylvania home where she had worked during her last Carlisle “outing.”[l]  Nieves attended high school for one year in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and then married Herbert Norton, with whom she had one son. In 1911, her husband had been dead for several years and she was living in Kirkwood, New Jersey. She seems to have lived in Caguas in 1912 and 1913 with her mother and a 16-year-old boy that her mother had raised.

From Caguas, Nieves contacted Carlisle hoping to gain admission to the school for the adolescent boy being raised by her mother, or to get help in placing him with a family. Nieves wrote to Friedman:

… both his parents are dead, he is such a smart boy in everything, he is in the eighth grade in school, he is also in the band here, yet he is not more than sixteen years old, and my mother would like him to get a good education and learn the English well, but as he can not do that here, she would like him to go to the States and make a man of him … (Ibid.).


In the same letter, Nieves also wrote:

I have told him (the boy) everything that he will have to do, and how he shall have to behave and everything, in fact, I have anticipated him of the rough times that he shall to put up with. I know that we had it hard sometimes in the home that we used to go to, we used to think that such places were hard, at the time, but we didn’t know then that in order to taste the sweet, we first must taste the bitter, as the saying is in this country.

Today I thank God for the hardest time that I had at any country homes[li] and at Carlisle (Ibid.).


Carlisle responded that the boy would have to pay school tuition of $167 per year, and could only be admitted if the federal office of Indian affairs so authorized.  Friedman turned Nieves down in August 1913 and suggested that if she wanted the boy to live in Pennsylvania, she should contact families that had previously “helped” Puerto Rican youth. Some of the families that might be interested in a placement were listed in a letter signed with the initials NRD. According to other documents consulted, those are the initials of Nellie R. Denney, the person then in charge of “outing” at Carlisle. In the note that included the list of suggested families, it was stated that Nieves “was a Negro Porto Rican. The boy, being no blood relation, may not be negro.”[lii]  There is no further reference to this case in Nieves’ records.

Toward the end of 1915, Nieves was again living in Kirkwood, New Jersey, from where she wrote to Friedman asking him to admit her seven-year-old son to Carlisle. In her letter to Friedman, Nieves said that it was impossible for her to both care for her son and work a sufficient number of hours to make even a bare living. On December 8, 1915, the superintendent informed Nieves that Carlisle was not then accepting students of her son’s age and recommended that she contact Father Deering in Philadelphia. That letter is the last document in Nieves’ file.


According to representatives of the United States government, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, North American Indians, African-Americans, and other colonized peoples such as Filipinos and the Hawaiians all needed to be “civilized”. To make this “civilization” possible, according to Pratt, it was critical to “light the lamp of learning”. “light the lamp of learning”.

The process of “civilization”, which was more of a grinding down of salient cultural features, made possible the transformation of “inferior peoples” into “colored scholars.”  Through schooling, according to Eaton, Brumbaugh, and Pratt, this process would result in the adaptation of the conquered peoples to their colonial status. The underlying educational principle adopted for the “civilizing mission” was “acculturation under duress”.. The United States established a number of institutional structures for this purpose, of which Carlisle was but one. The same strategy was followed in Cuba and Puerto Rico, where the educational system itself acted as a broadly conceived colonizing mechanism.

English was imposed as the language of instruction in Puerto Rico, just as it was at Carlisle. As a corollary, educational leaders from the United States like Martin Brumbaugh and Henry Pratt imposed educational policies intended to obliterate the vernacular language of the student population. This re-education project was as brutal in Puerto Rican public schools as it was at Carlisle. Under the principle of “acculturation under duress”, students on the island were fed through the same kind of molino de piedra, grindstones intended to pulverize their cultural identity, as the one operative in Pennsylvania.

The Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes played the same rolee with regard to young Cubans and Puerto Ricans sent there by the United States government at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Further north, at the request of the United States government, Harvard University offered a similar acculturation program for 1,600 Cuban teachers during the summer of 1900, and together with Cornell University, for more than 500 Puerto Rican teachers in July and August of 1904.

I first encountered the concept of the “molino de piedra” in a 1961 speech by Fidel Castro, Palabras a los intelectuales, or Words to Intellectuals. Referring to his own education in Cuba, Castro remarked that he was made to “pass between those grindstones where by some miracle one was not mentally pulverized for good” (Castro, 1975). In 1901, Booker T. Washington also referred metaphorically to a grindstone, or millstone, but in a very different sense. Washington referred to the millstone as a weight around the necks of the white people of the United States, a weight representing the burden resulting from the subjugation of the Black population, which represented one third of the total population in the United States South[liii]  Castro, on the other hand, was alluding to a metaphorical set of millstones that grind and pulverize the human material that is passed between them, not just to their weight and the burden that they could represent.

Between 1879 and 1918, Carlisle functioned as a molino de piedra intended to mentally crush its students. Nearly 11,000 North American Indians, Blacks, Filipinos, Alaskans and 60 Puerto Ricans passed between these millstones. Almost all of those who came from Puerto Rico expected that they would receive a professional education and their families on the island had been given the same impression.  Although the existing correspondence between the students and their families is not abundant, other studies of Carlisle and the available documents of the school itself indicate that its objective was to adapt students to the roles and identities prescribed by Pratt and his concept of “civilization.” This adaptation necessarily began with the destruction of incoming students’ cultural identities, most particularly the substitution of English for their vernacular languages.

According to Pratt, the substitution of “civilization” for the students’ native cultural identities would make it impossible for them to return to their societies of origin. In fact, this itself was one of Pratt’s principal goals: to ensure that the Indian students of Carlisle did not return to the communities from which they had come. Pratt failed in his attempt to keep the Indian students in the East. However, while many students opted to return home, the Indians who left Carlisle had lost much of the identity that defined them when they began the eastern journey years before. They returned as strangers in their their own communities, as foreign in those environments now as they had been to those in the East who perceived them as savages.[liv]

It is not clear to what extent the Puerto Rican experience in Pennsylvania coincided with that described above. The dearth of information available makes it difficult to reconstruct the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle with a degree of historical accuracy. For example, we do not know how many of the Puerto Ricans returned to their country or how they experienced that return. Other than what can be gleaned from a small number of letters, we know little about these young people, participants in the initial stage of what would later be known as the Puerto Rican diaspora.

No evidence at all has been found that the United States had a policy of sending Taíno survivors of the Spanish conquest to Carlisle.  When the new Puerto Rican government distributed circulars announcing scholarships for study in the United States, they made no mention of Taíno identity as a criterion for selection. The student records of Puerto Ricans at Carlisle, which include their initial applications, contain no references to Taíno heritage, and no such reference has been found in any documentary source that was consulted for this study.

Language is one of the evident preoccupations encountered in the relevant documentary sources. More than 100 years after the founding of Carlisle, words like “Americanization” and “assimilation” continue to have currency. We still hear the word “American” used to mean “from or having to do with the United States.” These words and definitions, which were used by Brumbaugh, Pratt, and many others, were repeated by Ryan in 1962 and Bell in 1998, among other scholars, without any reflection or criticism of their meaning, contextual effect, or descriptive imprecision. These words and concepts used in historical reflection and discussion remain those brought to prominence by the architects of colonial wars like that of 1898 and of identity-crushing grindstones like Carlisle.

The impact that the CIIS had on its Puerto Rican students is one of the areas that warrant further study. The adaptive, identity-molding influence of the institution and its ideology extended beyond the school’s grounds in Carlisle.  According to Pratt, the “outing” program was Carlisle’s “supreme Americanizer.” Based on an examination of the letters and other communications between officials at Carlisle and its former students, this program must certainly be taken into account. Though the great majority of the Puerto Ricans did not stay in touch with the school, some did write letters and/or complete the questionnaire that was sent to former students.

In this correspondence we find positive evaluations of the experience that some students had at the school. For example, in 1911 Enrique Urrutia thanked Carlisle for the education that made possible his career in the United States Army. In Urruutia’s opinion, there is no greater honor for a human being than to serve in the United States Army. Urrutia must have been one of the first Puerto Ricans ever to serve in the United States armed forces, just 13 years after they had invaded his country. A very small minority, Urrutia among them, stayed in touch with the school, and even fewer commented favorably on their experiences there. Even after his retirement, Pratt continued to receive letters from about 300 former students, in which they addressed him as “Dear Father,” and described how thankful they were to him, as Carlisle’s first director, for the education they had received there (Ryan).

Other former students reproached the officials of Carlisle for the way they had been treated.  Dolores Nieves rebuked Carlisle for its role in the difficult times she had to endure under its auspices, particularly in the “outing” program. Osuna, who apparently did not stay in touch with Carlisle, wrote in “An Indian in Spite of Myself” that his overall experience there was negative. To a great extent, Osuna’s evaluation of Carlisle coincided with that expressed by the Puerto Rican students to Muñoz Rivera in 1901 when they said that the authorities in Puerto Rico who were administering the legislatively established scholarships for study in the United States had not been truthful about the nature of Carlisle. As a result, five Puerto Ricans ran away from the school and at least 11 students returned to Puerto Rico on the orders of their parents.

Although Osuna left the CIIS campus in Carlisle, he spent years in Orangeville, Pennsylvania under the “outing” program. According to Pratt, the “outing” program was the most effective “civilizing” initiative that Carlisle had. Orangeville was a puritanical town, the ideal environment that Pratt and the federal government of those years sought for the reacculturation of Carlisle students. In this sense, as has been stated above, Osuna did not leave Carlisle as long as he was part of the “outing” program.  Orangeville was an extension of Carlisle, or to an even greater extent, Carlisle was an extension of Orangeville.
























[i] Nelly Robles-González and Joseguillermo Navarro-Robles contributed to the research and conceptualization of this study. Andy Klatt translated this monograph from Spanish to English.

[ii] Osuna, Juan José. An Indian in Spite of Myself. Summer School Review, Vol. X, Num. 5, 1932. Dr. Roamé Torres, Professor of Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras provided the author with a copy of this article.

[iii] According to Landis (2001) 10,702 students attended Carlisle between 1879 and 1918, including 2,090 who were not classified by tribe or nation.

[iv] A total of 60 files of Puerto Rican students have been found. In her research, Landis lists 63 students as members of the “Porto Rico” tribe and Bell (1998:vii) refers to 59 Puerto Ricans as having attended Carlisle.

[v]  Navarro’s dissertation was published by Routledge in 2002 under the title Creating Tropical Yankees.

[vi] <www.kacike.org>

[vii] <www.kacike.org/SoniaRosa.html>

[viii] Martínez Cruzado, Juan. The use of Mitochondrial DNA to Discover Pre-Colombian Migrations to the Caribbean: Results for Puerto Rico and Expectations for the Dominican Republic. Kacike: Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology. <www.kacike.org <http://www.kacike.org/&gt; >, 2002.

[ix] Letter to S. L. Parrish, from Charles W. Eliot, September 21, 1899. Harvard University Papers, C. W. Eliot, Box 92, Letter Book, C. W. Eliot, January 17, 1898 to March 23, 1903, p. 42 A. Charles W. Eliot (1834-1926) was president of Harvard University from 1869 to 1909.

[x] Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave in Virginia. His birth name was Booker Taliaferro. Washington was a leading educational and political figure during the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. He was also a supporter of vocational education and was the first director of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School, an educational institution for Blacks founded in 1881 by the State of Alabama.

[xi] Letter to John Davis Long from Booker T. Washington. March 15, 1898. The Booker T. Washington Papers (BTW Papers). Vol. 4, 1895-98, p. 389.

[xii] Letter to the Editor of the Christian Register. August 18, 1898. BTW Papers. Vol. 4, p. 455.

[xiii] In his book The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move, Jorge Duany (Duany 2002) argues that during this period there was much ambivalence in the colonial discourse in the United States as it related to the racial identity of Puerto Ricans. According to Duany, this helps explain why the Smithsonian Institution classified Puerto Ricans as Indians (Duany, Chapter 3). It further contributes to our understanding of why Booker T. Washington alleged in his letter that more than half of the population of Puerto Rico was Black, even though the United States Census of 1899 found that two thirds of the population was white. (Duany, op. cit.) For a significant study about race in Cuba see Guridy’s doctoral dissertation, Racial Knowledge in Cuba: The Production of a Social Fact, 1912-1944.

[xiv] The Indian Helper, Vol. XIV, January 27, 1899, Num. 14. See Landis in http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html <http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html&gt; . Eaton (1829-1906), who was white, served as a Colonel of a Regiment of Black soldiers during the Civil War (1863-1865), the 63rd U. S. Colored Infantry Regiment, and was promoted to Brigadier General in March, 1865.

[xv] See Navarro Rivera (2000), Negrón de Montilla (1971) and Torres González (2002).

[xvi] Letter from M.G. Brumbaugh to B.T. Washington. May 7, 1901. BTW Papers, Vol. 6, 1901-2, pp. 106-107.

[xvii] Even though religious schools were not governmental institutions, their funds came primarily from the State and operated under State control. See Ryan and Bell.

[xviii]  See document titled Carlisle School, Office of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior. RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Entry 1349 C, NN 369-71, Records of Nonreservation Schools, Records of Carlisle, Miscellaneous Publications and Records, CA 1908-18, Box 1.

[xix] Act of March 3, 1819 (3 Stat. 516). The Act was amended in 1873 (17 Stat. 461). A “Civilization Fund” was established with the same purpose in 1867 (14 Stat. 687). See document titled Carlisle School. Office of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior. RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Entry 1349 C, NN 369-71, Records of Nonreservation Schools, Records of Carlisle, Miscellaneous Publications and Records, CA 1908-18, Box 1.

[xx] School Calendar for 1908-1909. See Bell, op. cit., p. 114.

[xxi] See the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (8 U.S.C. §1401).

[xxii] RG 75, E 1323. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Letters Sent, August 28-Oct. 1900, Jan. 26-May 6, 1901. Box 1 PI-163, p. 345.

[xxiii] See The Carlisle Indian School by Frances E. Willard, RG 75, E 1349 C NN 369-71, Box 2.

[xxiv] Bell estimates that 66% of these were captured and returned to the school.

[xxv] Carlisle Indian Industrial School, RG 75, Register of Visitors, 1909-1917, Box 1. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xxvi] Woodrow Wilson, President of Princeton University in New Jersey, 1902-1910; Governor of New Jersey, 1911-1913; President of the United States, 1913-1921 , visited Carlisle several times.

[xxvii] RG 75, E 1323. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Letters Sent, August 28-Oct. 1900, Jan. 26-May 6, 1901. Box 1 PI-163, pp. 257-258.

[xxviii] RG 75, E 1323. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Letters Sent, August 28-Oct. 1900, Jan. 26-May 6, 1901. Box 1 PI-163, p. 372.

[xxix] The Indian Helper, Vol. XIV, November 25, 1898, Num. 6. See http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html <http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html&gt; .

[xxx] The Indian Helper, Vol. XIV, December 2, 1898, Num. 7. See http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html <http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html&gt; .

[xxxi] The Indian Helper, Vol. XIV, March 17, 1899, Num. 21. See http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html <http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html&gt; .

[xxxii] Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.

[xxxiii] This article was published in the Puerto Rico newspaper La Correspondencia de Puerto Rico on January 3, 1931. Sonia Rosa provided the author with a copy of this article, which was translated to English by Professor Vilma Santiago-Irizarry of Cornell University.

[xxxiv] Letter to M. Friedman, Superintendent, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from Providencia Martínez, June 16, 1911. Carlisle Student Records, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D. C.

[xxxv] Matilde Garnier, Record of Graduates and Returned Students, U. S. Indian School, Carlisle, PA. Carlisle Student Records, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xxxvi] The Cumberland County Historical Society, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where Carlisle is located, houses one of the main collections of documents of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Among them there is a photograph of Julio Fernández, one of the Puerto Rican students who attended Carlisle. (CS-23) There is also a photograph of Puerto Rican students that was published in The Puerto Rico Herald on the occasion of Luis Muñoz Rivera’s visit to Carlisle in 1901 (Year 1, Num. 10, September 14, 1901).

[xxxvii] CIIS, RG 75, E 1327, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xxxviii] No evidence has been found that could determine if any nuns worked at Carlisle. Catholic priests did collaborate with the school, but only as external resource people. In letters sent to Pratt, former students occasionally referred to him as “Dear Father” and this could explain why some might have referred to Given as “Mother Given.”

[xxxix] Letter to Father Feeser, St. Patricks Rectory, Carlisle, PA, from the Chief Clerk in Charge, no name included, Carlisle Indian Industrial School. January 8, 1917. Carlisle Student Records, 4955-4984, Box 124, PI 165, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xl] In 1901, Luis Muñoz Rivera resided in New York City, where he published The Puerto Rico Herald. His criticism of the colonial government in Puerto Rico had resulted in his exile to New York and the destruction by government supporters of the press that he had used in Puerto Rico to publish his newspaper, El Diario. See Negrón de Montilla, op. cit.

[xli] Information about the Puerto Ricans who attended Carlisle is found in RG 75 E 1327, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xlii] RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CIIS, School Student Records, 1879-1918, 4669 to 4695, Box no. 113, PI 163, E 1327, HM 1996.

[xliii] CIIS, Index To Letters Received, Box 1, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xliv] Enrique Urrutia, Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.

[xlv] Letter to M. Friedman, Superintendent, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from Rafael Ortega, February 19, 1912. Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.

[xlvi] Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.

[xlvii] Letter to M. Friedman, Superintendent, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from Providencia Martínez. June 16, 1911. Carlisle Student Records, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[xlviii] RG 75, Records of the Department of Indian Affairs, Carlisle School Student Records 1879-1918, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327, HM 1996.

[xlix] RG 75 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CIIS, Student Record Cards, 1879-1918, Abert, Lucile to McFarland, John M., Box no. 5, PI 163, E 1328, HM 1995.

[l] In addition to being the main tool for the “civilization” of students at the school, Carlisle’s outing program also offered training in home economics.

[li] “Country homes” were the residences in which students resided for months as part of the “outing” program.

[lii] RG 75, Records of the Department of Indian Affairs, Carlisle School Student Records 1879-1918, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327, HM 1996.

53 Article published in The Tuskegee Student, 13, November 9, 1901. The BTW Papers, Vol. 6, 1901-2, pp. 299-302.

54 Describing Indians as savages was so prevalent during the Carlisle years that newspapers such as The New York Times used the term “savage” when referring to Indians.





Bell, Genevieve. Telling Stories Out of School: Remembering The Carlisle Indian

Industrial School, 1879-1918. Doctoral dissertation. Stanford University, 1998.


Castro, Fidel. La Revolución Cubana. Mexico: Ediciones Era, 375, 1975.


Duany, Jorge. The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and

in the United States. North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.


Guridy, Frank Andre. Racial Knowledge in Cuba: The Production of a Social Fact, 1912-

1944. Doctoral dissertation. University of Michigan, 2002.


Harlan, Louis. Editor. The Booker T. Washington Papers. Vol. 4, 1895-98. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975.


Harlan, Louis R. and Smock, Raymond W. Editors. The Booker T. Washington Papers. Vol. 6, 1901-02. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.


Landis, Barbara. Carlisle Indian Industrial School History.

http://home.epix.net/~landis/histry.html, 2001.


Lesiak, Christine. In the White Man’s Image. Video. Public Broadcasting System, 1991.


Lindsay, Samuel McCune. Annual Report. Commissioner of Education for Porto

Rico, 1904.


Muñoz Rivera, Luis. “Una visita al Indian School,” The Puerto Rico Herald, Year 1,

Number 10, September 14, 1901. From Revista de Genealogía

Puertorriqueña, October, 2000.


Navarro, José Manuel. Creating Tropical Yankees: The “Spiritual Conquest” of

Puerto Rico 1898-1908. Volumes I and II. Doctoral dissertation. University of

Chicago, 1995.


Navarro, José Manuel. Creating Tropical Yankees. New York: Routledge, 2002.


Navarro Rivera, Pablo. Universidad de Puerto Rico: De control político a crisis

permanente 1903-1952. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Huracán, 2000.


Negrón de Montilla, Aida.  Americanization in Puerto Rico and the Public-School

System 1900-1930. Río Piedras: Editorial Edil, 1971.


Osuna, Juan José.  An Indian in Spite of Myself. Summer School Review, Vol. X,

Num. 5, 1932.


Osuna, Juan José.  A History of Education in Puerto Rico. Río Piedras: Editorial

de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1949.


Pratt, Richard H. The Advantages of Mingling Indians with Whites, 1892. In Prucha,

pp. 260-271, 1973.


Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. Americanizing the American Indians. Cambridge,

Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1973.


Reel, Estelle. Course of Study for The Indian Schools of the United States.

Superintendent of Indian Schools. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901.


Ryan, Carmelita S. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Doctoral dissertation.

Georgetown University, Washington, D. C., 1962.


Torres González, Roamé. Idioma, bilingüismo y nacionalidad: la presencia del inglés en

Puerto Rico. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 2002.


Torres González, Roamé.  Preámbulo histórico al establecimiento of la Escuela Normal

Industrial de Fajardo: antecedentes metropolitanos e insulares. Revista Pedagogía, Vol. 35, 2001, pp. 6-33, 2003.


Zimmerman, Warren. First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their

Country a World Power. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.







Appendix A
Puerto Ricans who attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, their town of origin in Puerto Rico, dates of attendance and reason for leaving Carlisle, as listed in Carlisle’s student files:

José Ayarro. Town of origin not available. March, 1899 – February, 1905. “Time out”.


Adela Borrelli. Ponce. September, 1900 – April, 1905. Administrative Order.


Antonio Blanco. San Juan. August, 1901 – July, 1904. Parental request.


Francisco Calderín. San Juan. May, 1901 – September, 1901. Mothers request.


María M. Castro. Mayagüez. May, 1901 – August, 1903. Family request.


Emilio de Arce Pagán. Town of origin not available. February, 1911 – October, 1911. Did

not return.


Luis de Jesús. Río Grande. July, 1902 – January, 1903. Health reasons.


Miguel de Jesús Martínez. Ciales. April, 1901 – January, 1904. Financial reasons.


Concebida Duchesne. Fajardo. May, 1901 – August, 1904. Adopted.


Isabel Espéndez. Guayama. May, 1901 – August, 1902. “Order of Consul”.


Julio Fernández. San Juan. May, 1901 – September, 1902. Irresponsibility/father’s



Vincente Figueroa. Guayama. September, 1899 – August, 1904. “Time out”.


José Flores. Barceloneta. May, 1901 – June, 1903. Father’s request.


Carlos Gallardo Lara. Town of origin not available. July, 1900 – May, 1902. Change of



Matilde Garnier. Ponce. September, 1900 – April, 1905. Reason not available.


Rafael Gaudier. Mayagüez. May, 1901 – November, 1902. Escaped.


Fernando González. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – March, 1905.

Administrative Order.


José Gonzalo. San Juan. September, 1912 – January, 1917. Parental request.


Esperanza Gonzalo. San Juan. May, 1901 – 1905. Administrative Order.


Manuel Hidalgo Ballester. Town of origin not available. September, 1909 – April, 1912.



Ramón López. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – February, 1903. Health



Levia Martínez. Ponce. July, 1901 – September, 1904. Family request.


Providencia Martínez. Ponce. November, 1901 – September, 1904.

Financial reasons.


Felícita Medina. Town of origin not available. September, 1900 – September, 1902.

Health reasons.


Joaquina Menéndez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901. No additional information

is available.


Joaquín Menéndez. No additional information is available.


Santiago Montano. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – September, 1901. Escaped.


Olimpia Morales. Hatillo. May, 1901 – August, 1904. Family request.


Pedro Enrique Musignac. Ponce. July, 1901 – February, 1903. Health reasons.


Dolores Nieves. Caguas. May, 1901. No additional information is available.


Belén Nin. San Juan. May, 1901 – March, 1905. Family request.


Julio A. Hoheb. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – April, 1904. Administrative



Nemecia Orriolo. Arecibo. July, 1901. No additional information is available.


Rafael Ortega. Juana Díaz. May, 1901 – May, 1904. Graduated from Carlisle

Business School.


Juan José Osuna. Caguas. May, 1901 – 1905. Graduated.


Emiliano Padín. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – 1904. Job offer in



Antonio Pagán. Town of origin not available. July, 1901 – September, 1901. Escaped.


Oscar Pagán Rosell. Town of origin not available. June, 1901 – July, 1904. No reason



Eduardo Pasarell. Yauco. April, 1901 – May, 1902. To attend university.


Antonio Piñero. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – September, 1902. Father’s



José Prado. Vega Baja. November, 1913 – August, 1918. School closing.


Fidel Pueto Elías. Town of origin not available. June, 1901. Was just visiting Carlisle.


Ramón Ramanal. Town of origin not available. November, 1901 – June, 1905.

Administrative order.


Ángela Rivera. Town of origin not available. November, 1901. No additional information



Antonio Rodríguez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – March, 1905. Graduated.


José C. Rodríguez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – June, 1905. Administrative



Cástulo Rodríguez. Barranquitas. January, 1901 – May, 1902. Escaped.


Aurora Rosario. Juncos. May, 1901 – June, 1905. Administrative order.


Manuel Ruíz Rexach. No additional information is available.


Luis Sánchez. Town of origin not available. September, 1899 – September, 1901.



María A. Santaella. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – 1905. Administrative



Juan Santana. Town of origin not available. November, 1898 – April, 1904. No reason



Milagros Schultz. Aguadilla. July, 1901. Administrative order.


Paul Seguí. Ponce. October, 1900 – December, 1904. To work in Philadelphia.


Félix Seijo. Utuado. May, 1901 – September, 1903. Parental request.


Antonio Torres Reyas. Town of origin not available. August, 1901 – May, 1903. Father’s



Enrique Urrutia. San Juan. April, 1901 – April, 1905. Administrative order.


Zoraida Valdezate. Town of origin not available. September, 1900 -1905. Graduated.


Paul Vargas. Town of origin not available. June, 1910 – August, 1910. Temporary



Fernando Vásquez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – June, 1905. Administrative



Elvira Vélez. Lajas. July, 1901. No additional information is available

Tomado de http://home.epix.net/~landis/navarro.html

Claridad / Federales: Cómplices del narcotráfico

Claridad / Federales: Cómplices del narcotráfico.

Federales: Cómplices del narcotráfico

Para implementar medidas que vayan a la raíz, controlando las fronteras y estableciendo planes de medicación, legalización o descriminalización de las drogas hay que tener el poder político que nos niegan los federales.
Publicado: martes, 23 de octubre de 2012

Por Ángel G. Quiles Vega*/Especial en CLARIDAD

Puerto Rico sufre uno de sus peores períodos en la historia en lo que respecta a la cantidad de masacres, asesinatos, atentados de carro a carro, apropiaciones ilegales, robos y otra serie de delitos vinculados al trasiego de drogas. Unido a esto, el porcentaje de esclarecimientos es tan bajo que contrasta marcadamente con el índice de estos hechos. Tal es la situación, que paulatinamente hemos ido aceptando esta realidad como parte de nuestro diario vivir afectando adversamente nuestra capacidad de indignación. A la par, se ha ido aceptando socialmente como necesario el protagonismo de las agencias como el FBI, ATF, ICE, DEA, fiscalía y tribunales, entre otras, para solucionar finalmente el problema. Y mediáticamente se crea la imagen, supuestamente infalible, de todo este aparato de dominación de más de 114 años.

Frente a este grave problema el gobierno de Luis Fortuño ha ensayado múltiples estrategias, que al igual que gobiernos del pasado, han fracasado. La federalización de la llamada guerra contra las drogas es el último intento, que se ha quedado sólo en eso. Pero, ¿por qué? Veamos.

El negocio de las drogas, representa el retrato mismo del capitalismo llevado al extremo; su crudeza y avaricia. La producción de mercancías, en este caso, la multiplicidad de alucinógenos, anfetaminas, etcétera, requieren de un mercado ávido de consumo recurrente. En este sentido, la adicción complementa el éxito del negocio ya que garantiza el consumo de lo que se produce. La calidad y manejo salubre para los fabricantes son secundarios. Por eso no es de extrañar el deterioro físico de adictos y efectos sobre la salud y conducta de consumidores. No cabe duda de que Estados Unidos representa el mayor cliente en este sentido. Por lo tanto, es de esperar que los fabricantes busquen todas las formas para llevar sus mercancías a sus consumidores, comprando, sobornando o “llevándose por el medio” sus obstáculos.

En el caso de Puerto Rico, el trasiego de drogas no se limita al consumo local, sino que se manifiesta también como puente hacia el mercado norteamericano principalmente. Sea cual sea el nicho que sus promotores escojan, su alta rentabilidad produce disputas sangrientas entre organizaciones que se reflejan en las estadísticas policíacas.

Esto nos lleva a lo evidente; un planteamiento que cada vez cobra mayor fuerza y reconocimiento hasta en los mismos funcionarios coloniales. Si Puerto Rico no produce la cantidad de drogas que circulan en el país, ¿de dónde viene, cómo entra y por qué no se detiene? Las interrogantes apuntan a quienes controlan nuestras fronteras, correo postal y mercado; el gobierno norteamericano. De modo que pone en entredicho su llamada infalibilidad, tan ensalzada por colonialistas o nos lleva a lo segundo; una permisibilidad que se traduce en colaboración que se da a nivel individual, pero también institucional y estructural.

La cantidad de arrestos a policías, empleados postales, de puertos, aduaneros, senadores y otros, pone de manifiesto el alcance de esta red de innumerables conexiones. Si con estos arrestos el tráfico no se detiene, imaginemos los que siguen operando.

También resulta curioso que los operativos se circunscriban mayormente a caseríos, barriadas y puntos que representan el nivel más bajo de la distribución. Contrasta con ello el buen trato a instituciones bancarias como el Banco Popular, señalado y procesado por lavado de dinero y a empresarios como Juan R. Zalduondo. El financiamiento de casas, yates y artículos de lujo representan esenciales negocios para la banca; el dinero que los origina no importa. El efectivo circulante del narcotráfico va a parar mayormente a negocios y megatiendas norteamericanas, quienes tienen el control de la economía puertorriqueña. Eso representa un monumental lavado de dinero que justifica para los capitalistas y por tanto para el gobierno yanqui, nuestra relación colonial. Más de $35,000 millones en ganancias para las corporaciones extranjeras se llevaron de Puerto Rico el pasado año. Si restamos los cerca de $9,000 millones que llegan en derechos adquiridos como Seguro Social, pensiones de veteranos y otros fondos federales, debemos cuestionar el origen del resultado neto de $26,000 millones ganados de una economía en que la agricultura y la industria están en sus niveles más bajos de producción.

Si añadimos que las incautaciones de embarcaciones y aeronaves no comparan con la intensidad de este negocio, vemos un evidente disloque. Las agencias federales tienen mucho que explicar en el banquillo de los acusados.

Por otro lado, un presupuesto que supera los $20,000 millones que mantiene una burocracia que aunque haya fracasado, no puede eliminarse; dejaría a miles sin empleo. Este círculo vicioso no se puede romper en la colonia capitalista de Puerto Rico.

A nivel estructural, hemos señalado que el sistema capitalista promueve este tipo de escenario. Un gobierno como el nuestro, que se ha autoproclamado como un defensor de las leyes del mercado y la reducción del gobierno no debería extrañarse de que los narcotraficantes le tomen la palabra.

La conclusión no puede ser otra. Para tomar medidas efectivas contra los efectos del narcotráfico es imperativo el control de todo lo que entra y sale. Sólo los trabajadores y trabajadoras tenemos esa capacidad mediante un gobierno que responda a nuestros intereses de clase. Para implementar medidas que vayan a la raíz, controlando las fronteras y estableciendo planes de medicación, legalización o descriminalización de las drogas hay que tener el poder político que nos niegan los federales. Eso se llama independencia y socialismo.

El domingo 28 de octubre a la 1:00 de la tarde, el Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores llevará a cabo un piquete frente al Edificio Federal en la Avenida Chardón en Hato Rey para denunciar la complicidad del gobierno federal con el narcotráfico. Hay que quitarle la máscara de hipocresía al imperialismo norteamericano con relación a este asunto.

* El autor es dirigente del Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (MST).

Tomado de el Semanario de la Nación Puertorriqueña: Claridad en


Claridad / Puerto Rico: un gran negocio para Estados Unidos

Claridad / Puerto Rico: un gran negocio para Estados Unidos.

Puerto Rico: un gran negocio para Estados Unidos

En síntesis, en el 2011 la economía de Puerto Rico aportó a la economía de EEUU la enorme cifra de $60,558.1 millones, mientras se recibieron $9,758.6 millones en ayudas netas. Se trata, sin duda, de un gran negocio, cuyo beneficio neto para los estadounidenses fue de casi $50,800 millones en un solo año.
Ver foto galería Visita la foto galería (1)
Perfil de Autor

Por Edwin Irizarry Mora

Publicado: martes, 16 de octubre de 2012

El pasado viernes 28 de septiembre un diario capitalino publicó una columna del Profesor Carlos Colón de Armas en la cual éste sostiene que la suma de los fondos federales que recibe Puerto Rico es mayor que los beneficios que obtienen cada año en nuestro país distintos sectores de la economía de Estados Unidos (EEUU). El autor argumenta que en el texto universitario escrito por este servidor (Economía de Puerto Rico, McGraw-Hill, 2011) “se falta a la verdad” cuando planteo que las ganancias de las empresas foráneas que operan en el país se fugan de nuestra jurisdicción. Según él tales ganancias no se generan en Puerto Rico, sino que se registran aquí con el propósito de obtener ciertas ventajas contributivas. Examinemos los datos oficiales de la Junta de Planificación –que son los que emplea Colón de Armas—y veamos cuál es la verdad.

Según el Apéndice Estadístico del Informe Económico al Gobernador, en el 2011 las ganancias o rendimientos de capital enviados a las empresas del exterior que tuvieron negocios en Puerto Rico totalizaron $36,366 millones. Una de las maneras de verificar si esas ganancias fueron generadas localmente es examinando las exportaciones manufactureras. En el 2011 éstas sumaron $62,875.2 millones, de las cuales $45,872.7 millones (73%) se dirigieron a EEUU. En la distribución del ingreso generado en Puerto Rico, los pagos que hizo nuestra economía a los propietarios (accionistas y casas matrices de EEUU) fueron $35,802.5. La cifra incluye todos los sectores –además de la manufactura—en los que operan un sinnúmero de empresas del exterior.

Pero hay más: si tomamos la base sobre la cual se estructuró el arbitrio especial de 4% –que le ha producido sobre $2,000 millones a Hacienda—confirmamos que se trata de un volumen de sobre $50,000 millones en transacciones generadas localmente, no en el exterior, como sostiene Colón de Armas.

Por otra parte, al analizar la composición de las transferencias federales que recibe Puerto Rico, llama la atención que son más los derechos adquiridos que las transferencias otorgadas. Es decir, son más las pensiones que las ayudas a individuos y familias. Las cifras son reveladoras: en el año 2011 los individuos y familias recibieron del gobierno federal $15,580 millones. Ahora bien, de esa cifra tenemos que restar los derechos adquiridos, considerados como transferencias devengadas porque no se trata de ayudas. El monto fue de $10,910 millones, que es la suma de los pagos a veteranos, Medicare, Seguro Social y pensiones del Servicio Civil de EEUU. En otras palabras, de los $15,580 millones transferidos a individuos, exactamente 70 centavos de cada dólar fueron pagos por servicios prestados, por lo que sólo 30% ($4,670 millones) fueron ayudas como el PAN, becas, y subsidios para vivienda, entre otros. No debemos perder de vista que en el 2011 la economía de Puerto Rico envió a la economía de EEUU $3,613 millones en pagos como el Seguro Social y otros.

Si sumamos los $4,670 millones de ayuda que recibieron individuos y familias, a los $5,088.6 millones que el gobierno federal aportó al gobierno de Puerto Rico, la ayuda real que recibió PR en el año 2011 fue $9,758.6 millones, no los $19,000 millones que alega Colón de Armas. Para completar la ecuación, en el 2011 los puertorriqueños les compramos a las empresas radicadas en EU nada más y nada menos que $20,579.1 millones. Esto significa que alrededor de 46% de los fondos que recibieron los individuos en transferencias regresan a la economía estadounidense por vía de las importaciones que provienen de ese país.

En síntesis, en el 2011 la economía de Puerto Rico aportó a la economía de EEUU la enorme cifra de $60,558.1 millones, mientras se recibieron $9,758.6 millones en ayudas netas. Se trata, sin duda, de un gran negocio, cuyo beneficio neto para los estadounidenses fue de casi $50,800 millones en un solo año. Piense, amiga lectora y amigo lector, en los cientos de miles de millones que se han transferido desde Puerto Rico a EEUU durante tantas décadas, a lo largo de las cuales se ha consolidado el arreglo jurídico-político-económico que permite esta dinámica tan desventajosa para nuestro país.

Un punto final: plantear que a la altura de nuestros tiempos el Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tolera la evasión contributiva es sugerir que las corporaciones de EEUU le toman el pelo al Tesoro federal. No sólo varias de estas empresas han sido multadas al intentarlo (incluyendo una farmacéutica que opera en Puerto Rico), sino que esta práctica fue una de las razones para eliminar la Sección 936. Tómese nota de esto antes de llegar a conclusiones olímpicas que sólo se explican por la obsesión ideológica de quien las propone.

* El autor es Catedrático de Economía en la UPR-Mayagüez, expresidente de la Asociación de Economistas de Puerto Rico y excandidato a gobernador por el Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP).

Tomado de el Semanario Nacional Puertorriqureño Claridad http://www.claridadpuertorico.com/content.html?news=30A67908E3474C7C10E517D21C78036F

Jot Down Cultural Magazine | Javier Gallego: “El periodismo no tiene que ser el cuarto poder, sino el contrapoder”

Jot Down Cultural Magazine | Javier Gallego: “El periodismo no tiene que ser el cuarto poder, sino el contrapoder”.

Javier Gallego: “El periodismo no tiene que ser el cuarto poder, sino el contrapoder”

Posted by Yolanda Gándara

Conocido por el nombre de guerra “Crudo”, Javier Gallego se define a sí mismo como un hombre de radio aunque también ha trabajado en televisión y prensa escrita. Después de tres años al frente del programa Carne Cruda en Radio 3, recientemente cancelado, inicia el curso con libro nuevo, Lo llevamos crudo, en el que se recogen, editados y revisados, los editoriales del programa en el periodo que va desde que España gana el Mundial de Fútbol en 2010 hasta que obtiene su segunda Eurocopa en 2012, un repaso incisivo de los años en que nuestra economía ha sufrido una evolución inversamente proporcional a los éxitos de la selección. También prepara nuevo proyecto de radio y colabora en eldiario.es. Visitamos con Javier la sede del flamante diario digital, en la que fuimos cordialmente recibidos por su equipo, para después trasladar la entrevista al calor de una terraza madrileña en la que grabamos esta conversación con la voz que durante tres años lo repartió crudo en la radio pública.

Colaboras en eldiario.es, un recién nacido en el mundo de la información. Hace poco entrevistamos a tres de los componentes de Mongolia y hablamos de nuevos modelos de negocio en medios de comunicación, independientes y con pequeños equipos detrás. ¿Cómo ves el proyecto de eldiario.es en este panorama? ¿Qué ofrece distinto a los demás?

Creo que es algo nuevo y necesario dentro del panorama actual; estamos acostumbrados a las vacas sagradas del periodismo y hay una de información en la calle que se está moviendo a través de las redes sociales que no está siendo recogida por esos medios más tradicionales, o al menos no están llegando a captar el pulso de la calle como puede hacerlo un diario como eldiario.es. Hay gente muy joven, que hace un periodismo muy cercano a las redes sociales y a la calle y que están sacando otros temas. Es un periódico que nace con inversión de los propios periodistas, que son dueños de su propio trabajo y esto les da más independencia. A ver cuánto podemos aguantar así, va a ser a través de suscripción de socios; va a haber que buscar publicidad, evidentemente, pero no va a estar tan ligado a la publicidad y a las empresas privadas como lo están los grandes complejos informativos, que tienen muchos intereses detrás, y eso le va a dar mayor independencia. Se da el caso de que hay —a lo mejor es un poco exagerado llamarlo así— un “nuevo periodismo” de gente entre treinta y cuarenta años que necesitaba un medio en el que salir y el momento social acompaña absolutamente. Una generación de periodistas que estaba ya en los medios y que ha decidido montárselo por su cuenta porque veían que hay un discurso que tiene que tener su espacio en primera plana y no se lo van a dar en los que ya existen, y por eso surge Mongolia, Jot Down Magazine o eldiario.es. Y por ahora están funcionando; eldiario.es acaba de nacer, pero de inicio había una expectación brutal y el arranque ha sido muy bueno.

Ignacio Escolar, a pesar de no confiar en el futuro del papel, anunció una publicación trimestral monográfica, para guardar. ¿El papel es algo que da peso a un medio?

Por una parte quizá da ese prestigio de estar compitiendo en los quioscos —aunque yo no lo veo del todo necesario, creo que se puede subsistir perfectamente en Internet y eso no te quita caché— y por otra parte está el fetichismo del papel, de guardar la información; como vosotros, que hacéis publicaciones trimestrales, algo para coleccionar. Nacho creo que tiene la idea de algo más “arrevistado”, más para guardar, no tan pegado a la actualidad del día a día. Creo que hay un momento de surgimiento de nuevos medios, quizá no se mantengan todos porque no haya mercado, pero sí que se van a aunar fuerzas y al final quedará una huella, de forma que a lo mejor dentro de diez años hablaremos de los proyectos que surgieron justo ahora.

Cuando entrevistamos a Àngels Barceló y le preguntamos si prefería la radio o la televisión nos dijo: “en la radio te desnudas y no puedes engañar, el oyente se da cuenta en seguida, pero no tiene la imagen y que no podía decantarse por uno de ellos. Tú que has trabajado en los dos medios, ¿con cuál te quedas?

Claramente con la radio. Soy un hombre de radio y mi experiencia en la televisión, que no es muy larga, quizá no haya sido suficiente para hacerme quererla tanto como a la radio. La radio es un medio muy cercano, muy sencillo y muy artesano que se puede hacer con una facilidad asombrosa y en la que estás muy en contacto con lo que haces y con tu propio discurso. En televisión me daba la sensación de que entre lo que yo pensaba a lo que luego se plasmaba había tantos intermediarios que la idea se perdía, se modificaba demasiado o se diluía. En la radio la cercanía que siente el oyente también la siente el que hace radio, en definitiva no es más que lo que estamos haciendo ahora: una conversación con un micrófono por medio. De todas formas, creo que en la radio sí que te puedes esconder, es cierto que si llevas mucho tiempo la gente te acaba pillando cómo eres y quién eres, pero tampoco creo que sea imposible esconderse y crear un personaje. Es verdad que las inflexiones son muy potentes, el sonido cuando no ves los gestos te dice mucho, con la cara creo que se puede esconder más. Volviendo a la pregunta, yo me quedo con la radio porque es como estar en casa y puedes estar en calzoncillos y al final resulta más natural, tanto el que está en la radio como el que va a la radio a ser entrevistado, se consigue un grado de compenetración y de verdad que creo que es mucho más difícil de conseguir en televisión. La tele tiene más maquillaje de por medio. Aunque la imagen puede ser muy poderosa, también puede ser muy tramposa.

En uno de tus editoriales, Venceréis pero no convenceréis, atacabas frontalmente el decreto ley de RTVE por el cual el gobierno puede elegir presidente sin pactar con la oposición, y definías el modelo de gestión de la corporación durante la etapa de gobierno de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero como “mejorable”. ¿Para ti cuál sería el modelo idóneo?

Qué difícil pregunta. Creo que un paso inicial, y así lo decía en la carta, es separarlo lo más posible del poder político; es decir, que haya una representación del Parlamento, de la sociedad española, en el Consejo de Administración del medio, pero que haya una separación bastante clara entre los periodistas y las informaciones que dan y quienes dirigen el medio. Creo que desgraciadamente la radio y televisión públicas han sido muy maltratadas por el poder político, muy manipuladas, y la gente está llegando a la conclusión de que es un gasto excesivo para hacer propaganda, cuando en realidad el medio público es un arma esencial que tenemos que tener los ciudadanos para controlar el poder, que no puede ser nunca uno de los grandes emporios de la comunicación, que además están cada vez más concentrados y responden a unos pocos intereses empresariales; entonces, habría que defender con uñas y dientes la independencia del medio fijándose en modelos como el británico, donde hay incluso un sistema de control, que no es político, de la información que se está dando en la BBC. Por otra parte, no creo que deba ser fundamental la búsqueda de las audiencias, sino el buscar un reflejo de lo que ocurre en la sociedad. Tendría que haber programas de todo tipo de tendencias, tanto ideológicas como culturales y sociales, lo que hay es un discurso mayoritario que es el mismo que hay en el resto de emisoras y medios, y muy minoritariamente discursos más alternativos. Más que la audiencia masiva habría que buscar esos otros discursos que ofrecen realidades más interesantes. Se debería apoyar la industria cultural literaria, cinematográfica, los movimientos sociales, etc. Que no se pueda acusar de manipulación a TVE como ha ocurrido muchas veces y como está volviendo a ocurrir. Es muy triste, porque parece incluso una estrategia gubernamental en este momento de crisis para acabar finiquitando el medio. La gente ahora está mucho más informada y en seguida se da cuenta de que le están manipulando el discurso, la audiencia empieza a caer en picado y dicen: bueno esto no es rentable; lo ventilan y fuera. Eso es lo que ha pasado con las autonómicas, mucha gente se siente defraudada porque han sido el corral del gobierno de turno y cuestan mucho dinero. El problema es que nos van a dejar indigentes a los periodistas, en manos de las grandes empresas. Es una pena, porque debería ser el espacio de libertad por definición. De hecho, en Radio 3 en la época que yo he estado, y esto lo he hablado con compañeros de Radio 1 también, nunca había trabajado con tanta libertad, nadie me ha dicho lo que tenía que hacer, nadie me ha dado un toque por lo que he dicho… y eso es lo que debería ser la radio pública, compensando las distintas formas de ver la realidad, evidentemente, con programas que traten de cubrir todo el arco.

Toni Garrido, al que entrevistamos estando aún al frente de Asuntos propios, nos dijo: “Llevo cinco años, es una etapa fantástica, en aprendizaje es un máster extraordinario… si el mes que viene no siguiéramos trabajando me parece más que razonable. Cuando llegué había alguien ahí que dejó de hacer su programa para que yo hiciera el mío”. ¿Tenemos que aceptar como naturales estas alternancias?, ¿qué régimen laboral tendría que haber en los medios públicos para evitar “purgas”? Porque si ahora ponen a alguien amable con el gobierno probablemente también dirá que goza de una libertad absoluta.

En mi caso no creo que fuera amable con el gobierno de turno, el PSOE recibía los golpes cuando estaba gobernando igual que los ha recibido después el PP. Y ahí está en el libro, donde se puede comprobar.

Sin entrar a juzgar tu caso en particular.

Una de las normas positivas de la normativa anterior es que no coincidían los cambios del Consejo de administración con las elecciones, el Consejo cambiaba cada cinco años y las elecciones son cada cuatro y además se buscaba un Consejo de Administración en consenso, para que al final estuviera todo el Parlamento representado. Eso para mí es fundamental mantenerlo. Lo triste es que esto va a volver a generar esa guerra bipartidista de “ahora me toca a mí” porque ha vuelto a abrir viejas heridas. Sobre cómo arreglarlo… es muy complicado. En primer lugar, como decía, separando el poder político de las decisiones periodísticas y luego buscando lo que se ha buscado siempre en un trabajo: la meritocracia. Y tomar decisiones compensadas, incluso si hay posiciones extremas, si tienen su reverso, es aceptable. Buscando a los profesionales que destacan, que tienen cercanía con los ciudadanos y que no que no estén claramente afiliados a una línea partidista; sí ideológica, todos tenemos una ideología, pero no partidista.

¿Sería conveniente que se despolitizaran por completo y no depender de esta “alternancia democrática”?

Es que es imposible despolitizar la realidad. Radio 3 se podría dedicar a poner solo música, pero de repente sería ajena con el público. Radio 3 y todo Radio Nacional se tiene que implicar en todos los ámbitos de la cultura, la sociedad, la política y la economía. Y todo eso tiene que estar reflejado, ni soy partidario de una Radio 3 solo musical ni de una Radio Nacional donde los discursos sean los de partido; habrá que buscar periodistas que no tengan una clara afiliación. Yo sé que yo hacía un programa bastante extremado en algunas opiniones, pero no partidista, ideológicamente más cerca de posturas de izquierda porque yo defiendo la justicia social, el reparto de la riqueza y cosas que me parecen de sentido común como el respeto al ser humano y la igualdad de las personas frente a un modelo liberal que no lima, sino que amplía las diferencias. También hay periodistas de derechas, que haya de todo, pero yo no soy ni del PSOE ni de IU ni de ningún sindicato. Hay una cosa que debería acabar y es que los periodistas no pueden irse a cenar con los políticos, no pueden ser amigos, tiene que haber una confrontación, tú estás ahí para informar con ojo crítico, porque el poder siempre te la lía, no puedes estar de amistades, ahí se rompe el juego, ahí dejas de ser el cuarto poder para ser el primer poder y, esto ya lo he dicho otras veces, el periodismo no tiene que ser el cuarto poder, tiene que ser contrapoder.

Esa idea que mencionas de oponer ideologías, aunque sean extremas, sería muy sana porque muchos lectores, oyentes en tu caso, no reciben bien opiniones contrarias a sus convicciones y buscan lo que quieren oír.

Eso es verdad y ahí caemos todos, yo soy el primero que reconoce ese error. Y es muy importante que nos confrontemos con la idea contraria, es muy cómodo recibir lo que tú ya sabes y reafirmarte en lo que crees. Es un trabajo que tenemos que hacer los periodistas y que muchas veces no hacemos, cuando recibimos la idea contraria es para atacarla y deberíamos tomar la distancia y decir “yo no pienso como este señor, pero quiero que tenga aquí un micrófono” porque es otra de las formas de ver la realidad. Yo tuve algunas experiencias en Carne Cruda y es verdad que hubo reacciones virulentas por parte de algunos oyentes, sin embargo, en el equipo lo hablamos y nos pareció necesario. Deberíamos hablar mucho más con el otro lado para romper con estas dos Españas de las que siempre se habla. Creo que tanto periodistas como lectores y oyentes deberíamos empezar a dudar más de nosotros mismos, me aplico el cuento. Nos cuesta oír lo que no queremos oír. Y a veces hay que hay que ser crueles, porque eso es lo que al final hace que se muevan las cosas y que se produzca el diálogo, cuando se rompe la pared y de repente dos voces opuestas pueden llegar a entenderse. Lo que pasa es que la información está totalmente polarizada, tenemos unos medios lanzando flechas a otros y defendiendo corrales políticos. Que haya periódicos que directamente sirvan de brazos propagandísticos de partidos políticos me parece la muerte del periodismo.

Recientemente la asociación de periodistas de UGT ha reclamado que solo ejerzan la profesión de periodistas los licenciados universitarios en periodismo con el objetivo de “dignificar la profesión periodística, mitigar en parte el desempleo y luchar contra el intrusismo”. Sin embargo, algunos de los periodistas que hemos entrevistado no están de acuerdo. Por ejemplo, Soledad Gallego nos decía: “el periodismo, sinceramente, no es una carrera universitaria. No contiene conocimientos teóricos suficientes para justificar cinco años de estudios”. ¿Tú cómo te posicionas? ¿Crees que es necesario el título para ejercer?

No, no creo que haya que hacer la carrera de periodismo para ser periodista. Creo que el periodismo es un oficio, yo al menos, aunque aprendí cosas en la Universidad, como lo he aprendido es haciéndolo; en la radio, en la calle, escribiendo en la prensa y trabajando en televisión. A veces la formación que obtienes en otras carreras puede ser muy positiva para el trabajo periodístico, la labor del periodismo es contar la realidad de la manera más veraz posible y para eso tienes que tener una buena formación cultural, política, económica, estar informado, querer contarlo y tener curiosidad; no creo que sea indispensable tener una carrera. En la carrera se enseñan mecanismos, pero se puede aprender a hacer periodismo y ahora mismo en la calle hay mucha gente haciendo periodismo, a través de las redes sociales y de medios no convencionales está contando cosas muchas veces más rápido que los medios y los están intentando contar bien, están hablando de realidades que a los medios mayoritarios se les pasan, dando voz a los que normalmente no la tiene y, en la medida de sus posibilidades, están intentando valorar los distintos puntos de la realidad que es lo que tiene que hacer un periodista.

Falta canalizar todo eso.

Porque ahora mismo hay una eclosión de medios digitales donde todo el mundo quiere contar y a veces se mezcla información con opinión, pero también creo que está formando a gente en el arte de contar la actualidad. Lo que tienes que tener es una mente esponjosa y mucha pasión por el oficio. Cualquiera que tenga acceso a la información no vale para contarla, hay que saber cómo hacerlo y hay que prepararse para ello, trabajar, estudiar, escribir y escribir, hasta que al final haces un buen artículo. Un médico puede ser un excelente periodista, pero no por ser médico tiene que ser la persona más adecuada para hablar de medicina y puede haber un periodista especializado que haga grandes informaciones de medicina sin haberla estudiado. Es un oficio que tiene sus características y que requiere de una práctica.

Un célebre comunicador de radio, al ser preguntado por las cualidades de un buen periodista, nos dijo: “La fundamental es la honradez. Es decir, tratar de contar las cosas como son, o como las ves. Luego acertarás, te equivocarás, pensarás que un gobierno lo hace mejor o peor; viéndolo en perspectiva pensarás que fuiste demasiado duro con un político y en cambio a otra arpía le perdonaste todo porque no sabías lo mala que era… estas cosas suceden”. ¿Ratificas sus palabras?

Sí, creo que es bastante acertado. Es verdad que, con el tiempo, todos tenemos que hacer examen conciencia de lo que hemos dicho y hemos hecho porque cometemos muchos errores. Es muy complicado mantener la honestidad en el sistema mediático en el que nos movemos, porque estás presionado por muchas fuerzas económicas y políticas y es muy difícil mantener la coherencia sin que te estén dando bandazos o sin que directamente te censuren.

Acabas de ratificar a Federico Jiménez Losantos.

Pues muy bien, lo que pasa es que él no lleva a cabo sus palabras, está claramente extremado. Lo que me acabas de leer es muy coherente, lo podía haber dicho Losantos como podría decirlo Teresa de Calcuta. Estoy de acuerdo en esa frase con Jiménez Losantos, en lo que no estoy de acuerdo para nada es en su forma de hacer periodismo, que es claramente sermoneadora, virulenta, parcial e interesada.

Sabes que ha sido condenado recientemente a pagar una multa de 100.000 euros por intromisión en el honor de José Antonio Zarzalejos.

Porque ha ido muchas veces demasiado lejos, creo que es uno de los periodistas que más demandas ha tenido en los últimos años en este país, porque ha ido mucho más allá de lo que es el periodismo. A mí a veces me hacía gracia Jiménez Losantos como chiste pero incluso su ingenio acabó por resultarme amargo y crispante. Hace algo que me parece muy feo y muy zafio que, aunque sea gracioso, es muy dañino: insultar, faltar al respeto y regodearse en su propia verborrea ingeniosa para encender los ánimos, provocar fricciones y generar enfrentamiento. Y eso no es periodismo, es el sermón de la mañana. Eso es una fe para quien quiera comulgar con ella.

También se te podría acusar a ti de sermonear.

Sí, sí, yo suelto mis sermones, pero, primero: nunca he caído en el insulto ni en la falta de respeto ni al honor, no creo que haya ninguna razón para demandarme, y siempre intento hablar desde la ironía y con datos contrastados de una y otra parte. Yo he hablado de los errores de unos y de otros. Creo que vivimos una época en que se necesita un pensamiento crítico, quizás en otro momento no estaría tan implicado con la opinión como lo estoy en este momento, pero ya estamos hartos de que nos tomen el pelo y creo que el periodista lo tiene que decir. Siempre que me han acusado de sermonear he dicho que yo he tratado de hacer un periodismo ciudadano, soy periodista por un lado y ciudadano por otro; mis opiniones no tienes por qué compartirlas pero yo quiero dártela como ciudadano y a la vez aporto los datos que tengo como periodista, junto esas dos facetas porque siento que ahora hay que estar más cerca de la calle que nunca, porque la calle se siente más alejada del poder que nunca.

Otro comunicador emblemático nos dijo…

(Ríe) Me la vas a volver a meter doblada ¿Es Hermann Tertsch?

No, ahora sí te voy a decir quién fue, José María García: “En este momento el periodismo ha retrocedido tremendamente. Cada día hay menos investigación —salvo la excepción que confirma la regla—, cada día hay menos denuncia. ¿Por qué? Porque el periodismo de investigación no sólo es el más peligroso, sino también el más costoso”.

Sí, lo ratifico. Desgraciadamente el periodismo en España está depauperado y se va a lo rápido, fácil y barato. Hay mucha gente trabajando por sueldos miserable, haciendo lo que puede y cumpliendo con la premisa de la inmediatez que rompe con una de las reglas del periodismo que es mantener un tema, seguirlo, chequearlo e investigarlo hasta sus últimas consecuencias y eso lleva tiempo y dinero. Precisamente una de las propuestas que hace eldiario.es es dedicar una parte de sus fondos y de sus recursos a ese tipo de periodismo. Porque a lo mejor ya no es tan necesario estar dando la última hora —hay muchos medios dándola— como el profundizar en un tema y llegar hasta sus últimas consecuencias, y creo que es una de las apuestas que tiene Ignacio Escolar. En la radio se ha perdido mucho el documentalismo, lo más extenso que hay en radio es la crónica, ni siquiera en la radio pública, otro tema a reivindicar: en las radios europeas hay departamentos exclusivos dedicados a hacer documentales e investigación.

Tus dos últimas entradas en el blog de Zona Crítica están dedicadas a Esperanza Aguirre. ¿Cómo ves el futuro de nuestra Comunidad después de nueve años de gobierno ganado en las urnas? ¿Hay esperanza?

Pues ahora que se ha ido Esperanza Aguirre quizá la habría, pero la persona que ha nombrado para sucederla es más de lo mismo, alguien que sigue fielmente sus políticas liberales y que no está interesada en lo público salvo cuando lo público sirve a sus intereses privados, de hecho el Sr. Ignacio González es sospechoso de haber favorecido a familiares y amigos para obtener contratos públicos, y eso está publicado en prensa. No me parece un buen relevo ni muy esperanzador que sea él el elegido. Lo que necesitamos en comunidades como Valencia, Madrid y Andalucía es una ciudadanía más informada de lo que están haciendo. Lo que ha hecho Esperanza Aguirre ha sido favorecer la sanidad privada, a las escuelas concertadas, recortar dinero para la sanidad y la educación públicas. Los datos están ahí, quieren acabar con lo público, eso está ahí y no es opinión, son datos objetivos. Si hay gente que no lo ve o que realmente esté de acuerdo con un sistema que acabe con el estado de bienestar, pues muy bien, pero habrá familias que no se lo puedan permitir. Esto si tienes una posición desahogada es muy fácil decirlo pero para el común de los mortales no es así y hay que defender estas políticas que se están cargando. En esas comunidades, unas gobernadas por socialistas y otras por populares, se ha votado una y otra vez a partidos que las están llevando a la ruina económica, al paro flagrante y a la destrucción de lo público. En el caso de Andalucía a un paro alarmante, y les siguen votando. Hay que seguir erre que erre dando información para que la gente vea que hay otras opciones más allá del bipartidismo. Estaría muy bien atomizar el Parlamento para que esos dos partidos que se han acostumbrado al poder, a hacer sus negocios y a llevárselo crudo, tengan una oposición que represente más el arco de la sociedad española. Y esos votantes del PSOE y del PP que les votan a ciegas por favor que se informen, no están gobernando bien. Ha sido catastrófica la gestión de Zapatero y está siendo catastrófica la gestión de Rajoy. Es alarmante e indignante. A la pregunta de Rubalcaba “¿cuál es su plan de gobierno?” en una de las últimas sesiones parlamentarias la respuesta que da es “mi plan de gobierno es afrontar la herencia recibida de ustedes”. No, mire, cuénteme algo porque los otros ya me engañaron con el discurso aquel de los brotes verdes, usted no me engañe con la herencia recibida.

Como firme defensor del movimiento 15M, ¿qué te parece su evolución? ¿Qué papel crees que debería desempeñar en el panorama político?

Más que firme defensor del 15M me considero defensor de una ciudadanía que se indigna y decide pasar a la acción, se llame eso 15M o se distribuya en distintos movimientos sociales. Es muy complicado que un movimiento tan diverso y en el que además se pretende mantener una horizontalidad cristalice en algo concreto, pero lo que ha hecho el 15M ya es muy importante: ha removido los cimientos de la sociedad en la que estábamos viviendo. Ya se habla de temas, incluso en los medios más convencionales, de los que no se hablaría si en el 15M no se hubieran puesto sobre la mesa, se están poniendo en cuestión cosas que durante años no nos hemos puesto en cuestión, ha surgido un nuevo periodismo que no habría surgido si no hubiera unos ciudadanos que reclaman una nueva forma de contar las cosas; todo eso ya lo ha hecho, lo fundamental es que ha cambiado la agenda, los propios partidos políticos están empezando a querer hablar de las cosas que hablaba el 15M porque saben que eso es lo que se habla en la calle. Independientemente de los muchos errores que haya podido cometer el 15M, porque es muy difícil organizar un movimiento asambleario de esa magnitud, creo que no tiene que estar obsesionado con logros concretos —que también los hay en los barrios, en movimientos de trabajo cooperativo, etc.— lo importante es que hay una gran masa social que se está moviendo y hace que se remuevan los cimientos y que el sistema no viva tan cómodo en su poltrona. Además es contagioso, cuando tú ves que el de al lado se está moviendo piensas en hacer algo. La gente estaba esperando que se creara un partido político, pues no tiene por qué ser así; Julio Anguita ha creado un foro cívico de reunión y debate que también ha surgido de esa ola, lo importante es que la gente esté informada, concienciada y comprometida con su sociedad, porque le interesa, le importa y le afecta. Estamos pidiéndole al 15M que sea mejor y más eficazque partidos políticos que llevan cien años existiendo.

¿Qué crees que significan las manifestaciones en el entorno del Congreso y qué repercusión pueden tener?

Significan un acercamiento al epicentro del problema y un giro en las protestas hacia posiciones más mordientes que incomodan más a nuestros gobernantes. Es un paso interesante porque significa una confrontación más directa con el poder que nos está llevando por la calle de la amargura. Creo que habíamos llegado a un punto en el que las manifestaciones ya no estaban consiguiendo el efecto agitador que pretendían. El Gobierno estaba tranquilo dejando que la gente se manifestase en las plazas como si fueran manifestódromos. Era un ruido que tenían controlado, que no les inquietaba demasiado y que podían manejar. Por eso era necesario hacer algo más, llegar incluso a la desobediencia civil. Creo que nos están forzando a ello. Si ellos rompen el pacto social y no respetan las normas que nos hemos dado, pues es lícito que los ciudadanos desobezcan para luchar por el cumplimiento del Estado de Derecho. No solo es legítimo, también se ha convertido en la única vía para llamar su atención. Y se ha conseguido no solo llamar su atención si no ponerles en alerta. Con la acción “Rodea el Congreso” se ha estrechado el cerco sobre ellos y se han puesto nerviosos, han sentido miedo. Prueba de ello es que han criminalizado esta manifestación comparándola incluso con el Golpe de Estado 23F, lo que es una barbaridad porque aquí los que usan la fuerza bruta y los que dan golpes, los golpistas, son nuestros gobernantes que se han comportado en los últimos días y semanas como un estado policial. Han detenido preventivamente a personas por llevar pancartas del 25S o por preparar la manifestación. Han registrado autobuses que llegaban a Madrid para participar en la protesta. Son actitudes que nos devuelven a las épocas más oscuras de nuestra historia reciente y son una muestra evidente de que se sienten acorralados. Realmente les hemos rodeado. Por mucho que nos manden a sus fuerzas de choque y se protejan tras hileras de alambradas, cada vez estamos más cerca, más encima de ello. Sienten el aliento de los manifestantes en el cogote. Aunque el presidente se pasee por Nueva York fumando puros como si no fuera con él la cosa, en realidad no le llega el aire a los pulmones. Por eso ordenaron un despliegue policial desorbitado. Por eso ordenaron que la policía actuase de forma intimidatoria. En ninguna manifestación, y he estado en muchas, había visto tanta policía ni con esa actitud provocadora. Estaban pertrechados para cargar desde primera hora de la manifestación, cuando la concentración era absolutamente tranquila y no había razón para ello. Por lo que yo vi y por lo que he visto después en los vídeos, mi sensación es que los antidisturbios tenían órdenes muy claras de arrasar con todo. ¡Los antidisturbios fueron los principales causantes de los disturbios!, las imágenes no mienten. Está claro que tenían órdenes de arriba de dar un escarmiento. Otro error más. Lejos de escarmentar, lo que se ha conseguido es que la gente salga con fuerzas renovadas y más convencimiento a la calle. La calle ha dado el paso más importante de los últimos meses, creo. Nos hemos acercado mucho más al problema. Aunque nos pongan un cordón policial y unas vallas para alejarnos, nos estamos acercando. Y si seguimos haciéndolo, no les va a quedar más remedio que sentarse a negociar o retroceder en sus decisiones, como ha hecho el Gobierno portugués. El Gobierno español se está quedando solo. La imagen más potente de su aislamiento es ese Congreso de los Diputados convertido en una isla por el cordón policial. Son ellos los que están contra el cordón, contra las cuerdas. Ahora que han pegado a los manifestantes más que nunca, sin embargo, son ellos los que están más sonados. Es posible que estemos en la parte del combate más favorable para los ciudadanos, aunque no lo parezca. Creo que ahora hemos igualado fuerzas, hemos recuperado fuerzas y hemos mejorado nuestra posición en la pelea por nuestros derechos y nuestra democracia y eso ha sido gracias a la acción de rodear el Congreso. Ahora solo hace falta rematar la estrategia.

¿Qué opinión te merecen los actos realizados por el SAT?

A veces, si no es cometiendo actos que contravengan el sistema, no se escucha. Me parece un acto nimio robar unos carritos en un supermercado que de repente ha puesto el punto de mira en un problema de falta de recursos de muchas familias. Yo creo que Sánchez Gordillo, que lleva mucho tiempo en política, es un gran publicista, sabe cómo llamar la atención y ha conseguido con algo que no erosiona el sistema que hablemos de algo que sí lo está erosionando, que es la pobreza de la gente. Por otra parte, creo que ante algunas medidas que se han tomado últimamente al pueblo no le queda otra que la desobediencia civil.

¿Qué te pareció la carta del rey llamando a la unidad nacional?

Si lo que quería era parar el independentismo lo que ha hecho es darle alas. Creo que ahora mismo el rey, aunque forma parte de sus funciones, no está legitimado para dar lecciones de unidad y, sinceramente, hay una gran parte del pueblo que no lo considera representante, porque al rey no se le vota. Como figura representativa: me parece bien, que quizá tenga que hacerlo como parte de sus funciones: que lo haga, que a la ciudadanía le importe lo que diga: pues a gran parte probablemente no. También es cierto que el estallido del independentismo catalán en este momento en parte es una maniobra de Artur Mas y de su partido para esconder el fracaso de su política. Mas se está beneficiando de ese debate y ese deseo que existe en muchos catalanes pero que él está manipulando a su favor para tapar sus errores ayudado por el desgaste de la crisis. Quizá haya llegado el momento de afrontar la cuestión de frente pero pienso que sería mejor hacerlo sin la angustia de la crisis que puede encender los ánimos de una y otra parte.

En una situación tan crítica como la actual, ¿qué mensaje positivo podrías extraer?

Que nos ha obligado a tomar conciencia y a implicarnos mucho más, es la única parte positiva. Se están produciendo una pérdida de derechos, de bienestar y de democracia conquistada como no habíamos vivido; eso es terrorífico. Pero por otra parte, está resurgiendo una implicación política que creo que no teníamos. Yo soy el primero, y estoy contento de ser más consciente de lo que está pasando y de querer aportar más y hacer algo más por el país en el que vivo y por la gente con la que me relaciono. Esto nos ha hecho despertar y creo que nos hace más dueños de nosotros mismos, más responsables.

Ahora que tienes más tiempo libre…

(Ríe) No creas, no creas…

¿Cuáles son las aficiones a las que dedicas ese tiempo?

Fundamentalmente a la música, soy batería, ahora tengo un grupo nuevo que se llama Forastero, la lectura y el periodismo.

¿Qué lees?

Me gusta mucho la poesía, que desgraciadamente está muy desprestigiada, es una cosa muy minoritaria y considerada cursilona por una idea que se ha vendido, creo que errónea. Hay poesía muy violenta que te remueve y conmueve por dentro. César Vallejo, T. S. Eliot, Westphalen y e.e. cummings son mis poetas favoritos. Octavio Paz tiene también cosas maravillosas en algunos momentos. También me gusta leer ficción y estoy leyendo, quizás cosas de la edad, más ensayo político y social.

¿Televisión ves?

Sí, sí, me encantan las series y las películas. Estoy enganchado a Bones, El Mentalista también me encanta, soy fanático de Los Soprano o The Wire. Vi hace poco Black Mirror y me pareció, sobre todo el primer capítulo, alucinante. Y me encantan las películas de La Sexta 3. No soy consumidor de programas de televisión actualmente porque hay unos formatos que se repiten mucho, creo que hay ofertas más interesantes a través de la red.

 Fotografía: Carlos García Martínez

Tomado de Jut Down- http://www.jotdown.es/2012/10/javier-gallego-el-periodismo-no-tiene-que-ser-el-cuarto-poder-tiene-que-ser-el-contrapoder/

Sistema terrorista, llamado capitalista

Sistema terrorista, llamado capitalista.

Sistema terrorista, llamado capitalista


1 Voto


Por RafaWorldPeace. Antes que nada, me gustaría agradecer a Luis su gran labor en materia de información sobre la verdad, la verdad que muchos obvian y nunca serán capaces de ver y mucho menos creer.

Este artículo se lo dedico al mayor terrorista que jamás hemos conocido, hablo del sistema capitalista. Nunca creí que todo un continente sucumbiera a la dictadura de sus exigencias, pero a día de hoy, Europa ha sido tomada por un sistema terrorista, un sistema que abolió la parte humana de sus países y recuperó la avaricia de la época de Hernán Cortés.

Algo que ha conseguido el capitalismo es infiltrarse en la educación a lo largo de los años, es decir, han logrado cambiar la cultura de un pueblo. Se pueden encontrar ejemplos tan prácticos como que en las universidades se enseña en asignaturas sobre economía global, que el objetivo de una empresa debe ser ganar dinero a costa de otros, es decir, como ustedes sabrán, AVARICIA. Tenemos más ejemplos: en asignaturas como historia nos enseñan y hablan de personajes como el Rey de España, Nazismo, Guerra Mundial, pero nadie sabe los fundamentos de la Revolución Bolivariana, no se nos enseñó quien fue Simón Bolívar, pero claro sí que nos enseñaron a “odiar” a Chávez y a Castro, y este es un síntoma que me preocupa bastante. ¿Se nos enseña a temer al cambio?

Nunca podremos cambiar el sistema en Europa. La vieja Europa no quiere cambios, está desangrándose por culpa de unos terroristas llamados políticos y banqueros, multinacionales hacen suyo el sentimiento patriótico, familias abandonadas a su suerte, la pobreza cada vez más subiendo y subiendo, y la población cada vez más y más inculta. Hay que ver qué vergüenza y odio siente uno cuando se habla de Cuba como un país enemigo, y lo que no saben es que allí (hablo desde España) hay derechos que nosotros por haber perdido la identidad como pueblo nunca tendremos. En Cuba no existe la persecución por ideales, y si alguien nombra a Yoani Sánchez u Orlando Zapata, creo que debería leer mas sobre Cuba en medios independientes y que no estén bajo la tiranía del capital.

Por desgracia en España no puedo decir lo mismo, hoy en día ser de izquierdas en España es peor que una enfermedad. Se persigue con mano dura a los militantes, se les castiga con represión y se les aísla con la desinformación a la sociedad mayoritaria sometida.  Estas palabras sé que en España no servirán de mucho, pero tengo la gran suerte de poder expresarme libremente en medios cubanos, ya que aquí por negarme a ser un súbdito de la Corona Española, se me acusó de “enaltecimiento al terrorismo”.

Otro punto que me gustaría destacar de Cuba, y que nunca los medios capitalistas reconocerán, es la gran formación cultural que adquieren los cubanos con respecto a los países capitalistas. Es decir, una persona que decida formar sus ideologías en Cuba, ya sean comunistas o de otra ideología, no sufrirá represión, no sufrirá un aborto de su proceso cognitivo en el aprendizaje, lástima que eso aquí no ocurra, ya que por propia experiencia sé lo que es que te tilden de “loco” por hablar de revolución necesaria actualmente en el Estado Español.

También me gustaría destacar, puede parecer un hecho muy simple, pero en Europa se está empezando a enseñar a los niños a “trabajar en grupo”, es decir, a buscar objetivos colectivos antes que individuales, bueno “amigos” que odian al comunismo y especialmente odian a Karl Marx. En el Capital ya nos  adentraba en la importancia del trabajo grupal antes que individual, pero claro este logro supongo que habrá que atribuírselo antes a un banco o multinacional que ante un genio que cambió la historia.

Me gustaría felicitar en este artículo personalmente al Presidente ELECTO democráticamente Hugo Chávez. El pueblo venezolano ha hablado, y la izquierda revolucionaria ha plantado cara al fascismo y nazismo llamado capitalismo. He destacado electo en mayúsculas ya que en España Chávez es considerado un dictador, pero no es allí donde tienen un monarca impuesto a la fuerza por otro gran dictador fascista.

En fin aunque viva en un sitio que creen que Chávez es un dictador, suframos represión e intenten sobornarnos, nunca desistiré en la búsqueda de un mundo mejor para y por los ciudadanos.

¡Viva Cuba! ¡Viva el Comunismo!

Tomado del Blog Visión desde Cuba: http://visiondesdecuba.com/2012/10/18/sistema-terrorista-llamado-capitalista/