Beautiful Betances

Photos by Núrí
The 2012 Betances festival was beautiful as usual. Each year, Boston's South End explodes with vibrant music, dance, art, food and people in celebration of the richness of Puerto Rican heritage. Here's a little background on the man for whom the square and the festival are named:
"Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances was born April 8, 1827 in Puerto Rico. He studied medicine in Paris and upon returning to Puerto Rico he was recognized for his contributions to fighting the cholera epidemic on the island. After founding the San Andrés Hospital, he turned his pursuits to the abolition of slavery. His pro-independence stance as well as his proposal for an Antillean Federation of free people forced him into exile in the Dominican Republic. While in exile he organized patriotic groups, and returned to Puerto Rico to become the leader of the uprising of September 23, 1868, known as “El Grito de Lares.” Although the insurrection at Lares was a military failure, it became a historical landmark in bringing about an awakening in the national consciousness of Puerto Rico. Betances is revered as one of the foremost intellectuals of the 19th century. He died in exile in Paris, France on September 16, 1898.
Inspired by the life and struggles of Betances, residents of Villa Victoria created the Betances mural which is located in Plaza Betances. The mural is a mosaic that contains a portrait of Betances, the flag of the Lares insurrection, and scenes from the history, fauna and flora of Puerto Rico. The mural also depicts the culture and historical influences of Puerto Rico in Boston.
“I believe in the equality of our rights with all civilized peoples. The powerful are only powerful because we are in our knees. Let us rise!”…" (From IBA website)
The Mel Martinez tribute to Frankie Ruiz (see image on the right) was amazing. I'm already looking forward to next year's festival!

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