Saturday, September 30, 2017


By Willie Colón
Originally published July 3 1993



Three men died this summer. Coincidentally, they were all in the arts, all musicians, all Latinos.
They were all pioneers of the music we call Salsa today. The Latino community lost the creme de la creme of three generations of Latin music. Within a months time Louie Ramirez, Hector LaVoe and Mario Bauza were gone.

We expect our idols to be here forever. People who have been a part of our lives for so long, albeit through their musical work, can be gone tomorrow. In a way, their presence is our presence. They protect us.  They let people know that we're here. Aside from the unexpected sense of mourning one experiences, it's an unpleasant reminder of our own mortality.

When I first dreamed of becoming a musician, Louie Ramirez was already an established accomplished arranger, vibraharpist, pianist and percussionist. Louie would win people over with his sense of humor. Charlie Palmieri and Louie Ramirez always had time for young upcoming musicians like me. When I was in a jam, trying to put my group together I could always count on Louie to help me locate players, even though he studied at Julliard, Louie would come and sit in to cover the chair if necessary. When I think about it now, this could have been pretty embarrassing for him. We must have sounded like hell.

Louie was not prejudiced.  He treated everyone equally. No one was safe from his "Grouchoesque" wit. Louie had few enemies in the business because of his easy going ways.
His thing was playing, creating, and just plain working hard. He was the arranger of choice. He arranged for Tito Rodriguez, Machito, Tito Puente, and me, among others. He made so many hits that it was unthinkable to do an album without Louie's work on it. He arranged Fania Record's first hit for Johnny Pacheco, "El Guiro De Macorina. In 1986, with his group called "Noche Caliente" he officially kicked off the Romantic Salsa fad that is still going strong. His career however was like a roller coaster ride.

A musician's life is risky in every way. There's no economic security, not even a guarantee of professional respect. The scene is always changing.  Its a never‑ending contest. Because of his talent, Ramirez, would always get his moment of triumph and recognition. In bad times, Louie would put on a good face with an honest philosophy of the streets and a brilliant sense of humor.

In Louie's passing we have lost another bold veteran who, armed with his cultural instinct and his love for what we are, helped us shine with our own radiance and showed us a path we could take to our find our tribal bliss. We shall each carry that torch in our hearts and take it as far as we can; in honor of Louie Ramirez and all of our fallen warriors. The struggle continues. Farewell my brother Louie, and please, behave yourself!

HECTOR LAVOE, friend, my partner and sidekick for eight years and over 20 albums. The hick from Machuelito, by Ponce's cantera, who became our "Elvis. The spirit of Puerto Rico and of the poor barrios of Latin America. That 90-pound "hayseed" who arrived at the big apple ready to take on the baddest of the bad.

That boy who applied the songs of Carlos Gardel, Felipe Pirela, Ramito and Odilio with the religious songs of the cross while adding Cheo and Maelo's funk; giving that alien desolate void that we on the mainland could never cross, a voice.

Hector Juan Perez was the bridge between our past and future Latino culture. Hector Juan Perez transformed himself into a persona called Hector LaVoe to accomplish a mission that slowly changed from a pleasure cruise to a battle of life and death.

A graduate with honors of The University of Proverbs and Anecdotes, Member of the Grand Circle of Improvisers of Improvisers, poet of the streets, honorary wiseguy, hero and martyr of the Cuchifrito Wars where he served courageously for many years.

The "captains of swing" respected him. That's why they nicknamed him the "Improvisers of Improvisers. The beginners feared him. When it came to words, Hector LaVoe was a killer:
In business, love and friendship, he was not. His fans are accomplices to this tragedy. Hector could curse everybody's mama and they would laugh; they spoiled him.

Hector LaVoe's history was filled with betrayal and disappointment. The good-looking country boy that drove all the women crazy also wanted to be a barrio baddass. In time, his shady friends "little presents" became thick heavy chains. This fault resounded in a fatal series of events that finally took that boy, who sang to The Almighty with all his heart, away from us.

The business world also betrayed him; record moguls who live like Saudi princes selling his records and reselling them as CD's without paying royalties as LaVoe languished in poverty; promoters who would offer him crumbs so they might sell tickets to exhibit "The Singer of Singers" in his agony; impersonators seeking to claim the name and memory of Hector LaVoe as their personal property; the Latino legal community also turned its back when asked to help protect him; and me, I too betrayed Hector by not having the courage to face him in his condition.

Life was worth more than a dollar to Hector. When the dirty water sharks learned this, they circled him as if he were bleeding. God knows, those who go through life devouring others and living for the buck wind up with few that will cry for them, and fewer still that will remember them in their prayers.

Pioneer, maestro, companion, today Latin America cries for you. Hero of the poor, victim of the forces that are decimating our people, martyr of Salsa ‑ the monster you helped create. Forgive us Hector.

MARIO BAUZA: The first thing that really made me identify with Mario was that we had the same birthday, April 28th.  Mario was born in the district of Cayo Hueso, Havana in 1911.
He came to New York in 1930, worked with bandleader‑drummer Chick Webb and Cab Calloway, and became his old buddy from Cuba, Francisco "Machito" Grillo's first trumpet and MD (musical director). For many, many years Machitos band was "the" top Latin band in New York.

With Machito, he set standards for all groups to come. Their group called Machito and the AFRO Cubans is the grandfather orchestra that all Latin big bands were to follow. Thus, planting the seeds of what was to become the Afro‑Cuban/Jazz fusion legacy and the roots of the Salsa music movement. Although  was loath admit that the Salsa movement even exists. Some veterans like Tito Puente still are. (That's another article. One could state that there is no Tito Puente but wouldn't make  necessarily so . . . )

Mario's collaborations with the likes of Chico O'Farril, Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, just to name a few, helped Latinos gain a foothold in America. As if that wasnt enough, Bauza is credited for discovering the young, then unknown, Ella Fitzgerald.

God knows what his work did to further the cause of Latinos and African Americans. The last time I saw Mario Bauza was when we did the Bill Cosby show together.  It was, one of Cosby's last episodes and Mario's last TV appearance.

What I do know is that he was a very descent man, who was polite but not servile, and intelligent enough to treat others, even those with whom he disagreed, with  respect. His coming to New York to become part of that black movement out of Harlem, is the stuff that no‑nonsense, grass‑roots, walk‑walking, activism is made of. He served us throughout his tireless work. At 82 years old, he'd recently recorded two albums, was still doing club dates and planning on doing a European tour. Our love, thanks and respect Maestro.

None of these men became rich from becoming Latino stars, despite the weight of their contributions. Theirs was a stronger, compelling cause. One that obliged them to continue unwaveringly into the abyss of creativity, risking sometimes their own self destruction.

The artist is the scribe of our society, the one who records what is, and proposes ideas that could be. Legislators of our social and spiritual laws. They came, did their work, and left this world for reasons beyond our comprehension. They recorded most of their work in Spanish but their legacy is part of the universal search for our deepest identity where we are all one.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Federal Government Moving Resources to Support Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Federal Government Moving Resources to Support Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Release date: 
September 23, 2017
Release Number: 
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) top priority is continuing to provide life-saving resources to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
FEMA and its federal partners continue 24-hour operations, working aggressively to restore power and operability of ports and other transportation access points to bring additional commodities and personnel into disaster-affected areas.  Several airports and ports have successfully been opened on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to bring in commodities, personnel, and life-saving and life-safety resources.
The federal support for Hurricane Maria includes air and sea logistical support by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), U.S. Northern Command, the U.S. Navy, and U.S. Coast Guard, in coordination with the private sector.  Fuel, equipment, and commodities to support the response effort will continue to flow through airports and ports, as power is restored and facilities are opened.  Two U.S. Coast Guard cutters continue conducting port assessment in St. John and St. Thomas.
The Department of Transportation successfully opened five airports in Puerto Rico, and two airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for military and relief flights to bring in commodities, and lifesaving and life sustaining resources.  Federal partners established a fuel distribution site in San Juan for federal and local entities to support first responder and critical facility needs.
As of 8 a.m. EDT this morning, on Puerto Rico, the port of San Juan re-opened for daylight operations, and other ports are undergoing assessments.  On St. Thomas, the ports of Crown Bay, East Gregerie Channel, and West Gregerie Channel are open with restrictions, while other ports are being assessed.  On St. Croix, the ports of Krause Lagoon and Limetree Bay are open with restrictions, while other ports are being assessed.
As of 5 a.m. EDT this morning,  flights and sea vessels loaded with commodities are arriving or awaiting airport/port opening and clearance for delivery:
  • Six commercial barges already transported and delivered meals, water, generators, cots, and other commodities to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
  • Three flights per day to St. Croix, each carrying approximately 33,000 meals.
  • The logistics support ship SS Wright arrived carrying more than 1.1 million meals, and nearly one million liters of freshwater.
  • Two shipping barges with 1.2 million liters of water, 31 generators, and more than 6,000 cots have arrived in St. Thomas.
  • Two additional shipping barges loaded with food, water, and emergency relief supplies are en route to the Caribbean Sea from Florida.
  • Millions of additional meals are being flown to Puerto Rico from staging areas in Kentucky and Florida.
  • DLA is transporting a shipment of 124,000 gallons of diesel fuel to Puerto Rico with arrival in the coming days. 
Over the past three days, the federal government has undertaken an unprecedented response effort to continue moving resources and supplies into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information about federal actions to support response efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, go to
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Monday, September 25, 2017

“I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities."

Patriots CEO and Chairman Robert Kraft  “I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft said. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities."

There are a few names missing like Ray Rice
free agent
sexual assault
15 years[1]
Released after 33 months
Wire fraud and money laundering
Six years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $16.8 million (along with co-defendant)[2]
wire fraud
15 months[3]
intoxication manslaughter
180 days and 10 years' probation[4]
Attempted criminal possession of a weapon
2 years
Conviction was a plea bargain for an incident in which Burress accidentally shot himself in a nightclub.[5] Eligible for parole in April 2011;[6] released June 7, 2011.[7]
5 years[8]
Served 2½ years. Had been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame before his conviction in 1983, but the Hall rescinded the honor before his scheduled induction. The Hall elected him a second time in 2008 and he was inducted at that time.[8]
conspiracy to commit murder
24 years[9]
Projected Release Date October 22, 2018[10]
15 years[11]
Released after serving 13 years[12]
Free agent
armed robbery, possession of a concealed weapon without a permit, failure to maintain current lane
7.5 years
Clarett was released to a halfway house after less than four years.[13]
conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and money laundering then wire fraud and money laundering
7 years then 7½ years[14]
Extreme DUI
24 days in jail, 96 days of house arrest, 30 hours of community service and a $5,115.99 fine[15]
Floyd was found unconscious in his car in the middle of a road at 2:48 a.m. with a .217 blood alcohol content.[16] He originally faced seven charges but pleaded to one.[15]
Conspiracy and theft by deception (mortgage scam)
5 Years[17]
Dallas Cowboys
12½ years[18]
Hit and run accident. Released after serving approximately eight years.[19]
sexual assault, bribery
4 years, 8 months
released after serving 28 months[20]
drug trafficking, attempted conspiracy to commit murder
42 years[21]
expected release date: March 28, 2031[22]
first-degree murder
Life without parole[23]
The 27-year-old former tight end for the New England Patriots hanged himself with a bedsheet attached to a window in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, April 19, 2017.
drug trafficking
3 ½ years[24]
served 2 years and 5 months[25]
Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering
46 Months[26] to be followed by two years of supervised release[27]
Chicago Bears
Conspiracy to possess cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute
15 years[28]
Money Laundering and Fraud
7 Years in prison and up to 5 years of probation. Ordered to pay $252,000 in restitution. Given an additional two years in prison for jumping bail to see his son Mark Ingram, Jr play for the University of Alabama.[29]
released 2015
probation violation relating to weapons possession
120 days
served 60 days[30]
drug possession, evidence tampering, violating probation[31]
6 years
served six months[32]
18 years[33]
burglary, drug possession
5 years[34]
Released after serving 2 ½ years.[35]
using a cell phone to facilitate a drug deal
4 months
involuntary manslaughter
3 months[37]
involved in fatal car crash while intoxicated.
racketeering conspiracy
15 months, $5,000 fine
Loville was charged for his role in a drug trafficking ring but pleaded guilty only to racketeering[38]
drug use
six months
Mack was charged with cocaine trafficking, using a motor vehicle for drug abuse and possessing criminal tools but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.[39] He served only a month at the Ohio State Reformatory.[40]
drug possession, evidence tampering
4 years (1996) 2 years (2002)
served over three years total[41]
criminal sexual conduct and burglary
30 years
previously convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery[42]
30 months
released after serving two and a half years[43]
drug trafficking
20 years
Served 3 years. Released early after a plea agreement in which he pleaded no contest to felony drug trafficking charges.[44]
first-degree murder
life in prison without the possibility of parole[45]
drug trafficking
7½ years (two separate convictions)[46]
released after serving about two and a half years[47]
assault, separate incident of assault with a deadly weapon (intentionally driving into victims)
31 years total
previously sentenced to 10 years on driving charge, which was reduced to seven years during sentencing for assault charge against his girlfriend in 2009.[48] In 2016, while awaiting trial regarding the death of his cellmate, Phillips committed suicide in prison after serving 7+ years.[49]
armed robbery
8–16 years
Pitts was released after six years and also played minor league baseball after his release.[50]
tax evasion, fraud
1 ½ years in prison and 2 ½ years of home confinement[51]
food stamp fraud, immigration fraud
8 months in prison followed by 8 months of home detention followed by 3 years of supervised release, $500 fine, $5,551 restitution
Rasheed falsesly claimed a woman as his wife on immigration forms and collected food stamps despite being ineligible.[52][53]
Two counts of School Employee Engaging in a Sex Act
3 years
Rasheed was charged with two counts of School Employee Engaging in a Sex Act and two counts of School Employee Engaging in a Deviate Sex Act stemming from consensual sex acts with of-age girls while he was a schoolteacher. He pleaded guilty to the two lesser charges.[53][54]
multiple murders
convicted of four murders, served 10 years and placed in witness protection after testifying against Yahweh Ben Yahweh, later sentenced to 25 to life on check kiting charge under three strikes rule[56]
1997 – forgery, theft
16 years[57]
committed over 20 felonies related to gambling, released from prison in June 2006[58]
2012 – fraud, theft
10 years, 7 months[59]
7 months were related to his probation from an earlier conviction.[60]
drug dealing
6 to 23 months
sold marijuana to undercover cops[61]
rape (multiple counts)
20 years[62]
Also sentenced in United States Federal Court to 18 years, running concurrently with the 20 year sentence imposed by California, as well as sentences in Arizona, Nevada and Louisiana. While the Federal conviction is shorter, it does not allow for the possibility of parole, giving it a later date of possible release.[63]
robbery, kidnapping
9 to 33 years[64]
first degree murder
Three life sentences without parole[65]
interference with a flight crew, simple assault[66]
18 months
served one year
Dallas Cowboys
sexual assault
five years[67]
DUI Manslaughter (Driving under the influence of alcohol)
30 days' incarceration, 2 years' house arrest
conspiracy, related to dog fighting[69]
23 months[70]
unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
12 years[71]
22 years
sentence was under a third strike provision[72]
multiple charges including sexual assault, armed robbery, kidnapping and burglary
114 years to life, plus 120 years[73]
series of home invasion robberies and assaults