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Friday in Puerto Rico / Eva Ramos Postcard

Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 19:52:03
To:”Texas For Obama” <TexasforObama@groups.barackobama.com>

Subject: Hola Texas, from Puerto Rico!


Yesterday, here in Puerto Rico, I had an adventure of a lifetime. The Obama amigos (both local supporters and out-of-state volunteers) had a spectacular 50-car caravan!  A traditional and effective way of spreading the word on the island is via a caravan, or “caravana.” Cars decorated with signs and flags line up in a procession and drive through various populated parts of the island — parade style — with sirens, music and police escort.  In the Obama caravana, motorists and passengers were yelling to the many spectators, “Vota por Obama el domingo” (on Sunday). 

So, there I was, in a car with my new friends from Colorado and Pennsylvania, hanging out the car window, waving “Puerto Rico con Obama” signs in each hand, and yelling “Viva Obama!” There were two big trucks in the caravana with giant loud speakers on top, blarring the latest very popular Obama salsa tune. Some of the catchy lyrics:  Obama — un presidente amigo (a friendly president) — Obama — vota Obama Presidente porque respecta nuestra gente (because he respects our people) — Obama.  We all joined in the Obama chorus.  Little did I know the caravana would last 5 hours — prompting many motorists to stop for gasolina along the winding route.  We finally wrapped up in Las Piedras, a small pueblo in the northeastern part of Puerto Rico.  There the local Obama Boricuas (of PR) were gathering for a late-night Obama fiesta for the little town.

After the jovial festivities, my friends and I finally ended up at a quant small resturante and bar “La Alemeda,” where we had an exquisite midnight meal of camarones (fresh grilled shrimp) and tostones (delicious slices of fried plantains).  Since we were still in our “Obama por Presidente” t-shirts, all who we encountered, even after the caravan parade, knew who we were and why we were on the island.  At dinner, we met a very friendly lawyer from Caguas who told us something others have been saying: Hillary may be in for “un gran sopresa (a big surprise) aqui en Puerto Rico.”  Hillary remains ahead in the polls.  However, unquestionably, the latest flurry of activity throughout the isla has been pro-Obama.  

Last night, I stayed in US Army lodging at Ft. Buchanan Army Base near San Juan, with my friends, including a retired colonel and lietenant colonel.  This morning, I met an active duty special sergeant who is pro-Obama. When I asked him why, he said, in an endearing Puerto Rican accent: “Because Obama will push for us to exercise our right to determine our own political status. He will help us to develop the power to work for what we want as our destiny in Puerto Rico.”  This was a very impressive young man who personifies the vast presence of active military and veterans on the island.

Tonight, I’ll return to Old San Juan to attend an Obama fund raiser and will spend the evening in lovely Isla Verde (the hotel district in San Juan) at a family friend’s condo on the beach. 

Tomorrow, a new Puerto Rican friend from the campaign, who is also an attorney (or “licenciado”) will pick me up in San Juan and drive me back to Caguas.  Most voters are expected to vote “en la manana” (in the morning), with the polls closing at 3PM.  My Puerto Rican friend/fellow Obama organizer and I will watch the returns in Caguas. 

Yes we can!  Si podemos!  Obamanos!

Eva Ramos  



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