ENTREVISTA EN ESPANOL
Interview Parisian Radio.
My history in Salsa music.
Entrevista Radio París.
Mi historia en la música de Salsa.
Luis Chaluisan est interviewée sur
Echale salsita émission de radio.
Mon histoire de la musique Salsa.
Según mi abuelo Don Luis Chaluisan, dos hermanos franceses esclavista / propietarios de las plantaciones (Daniel y Emile Chaluisant ) se asentaron en Haití a finales del siglo 16 (1789) antes de la Revolución Haitiana. La revolución haitiana (1791-1804) fue una revuelta de esclavos en la colonia francesa de Saint-Domingue, que culminó con la eliminación de la esclavitud allí y la fundación de la república de Haití. Los hermanos y sus esposas huyeron a Puerto Rico y se trasladaron a la zona ahora conocida como Las Marías. Los dos hermanos continuaron esclavos al igual que sus descendientes hasta 1873. Los líderes del movimiento abolicionista puertorriqueño, entre ellos José Julián Acosta, Francisco Mariano Quiñones, Julio L. de Vizcarrondo, Ramón Emeterio Betances y Segundo Ruiz Belvis, libró una larga lucha para terminar con la esclavitud en la isla. El 22 de marzo de 1873, la Asamblea Nacional de españoles finalmente abolió la esclavitud en Puerto Rico. Los propietarios fueron indemnizados con 35 millones de pesetas por esclavos y los esclavos estaban obligados a continuar trabajando por tres años más.
"A pesar de la creencia común de lo contrario, el color de línea se dibuja como rígidamente en Puerto Rico como en el Kentucky. Las personas que no tienen nada más que sangre castellana en sus venas son tan orgullosos como Virtud. Y, mientras que la política y los negocios ver una cierta mezcla de colores de piel, la mezcla deja de existir en el umbral de la casa. No español permitiría a sí mismo para cantar a su "negro como el carbón dama" o su "chica linda amarilla"; y si lo hizo, estaría condenado al ostracismo. Las mujeres son todas muy bonitas o feas extremadamente y sencillamente nunca. Las chicas de la mejor clase son criados desde la infancia bajo una vigilancia constante que no conoce la laxitud hasta después del matrimonio, y no del todo cesar hasta entonces. Se le enseña a tocar el piano o la guitarra, a bordar, a cantar un poco, para bailar un poco menos, a hablar y leer en francés, para empolvarse la cara, y caminar como una reina. Ella suele ser casada antes de cumplir los diecisiete años, sobre todo si su padre tiene dinero. Y hasta el día de la muerte, nunca ve a un periódico moderno, nunca va barrios bajos, y nunca utiliza sus manos suaves con el trabajo. De cualquier grado es apta para amar su marido con devoción y no cree que su carrera redondeado hasta que ella es una madre. "
The process of assembling the new production and work for salsa magazine has helped me in not only establishing our Puerto Rican Roots as a family, the Nuyorican experience and our presence in American Pop Culture but has led to my discovery of an audio tape made in 1981 interviewing my Grandfather Luis at the time of our daughter Chasan's birth. My grandfather was the family archivist and prior to his debilitation by Alzheimers he possesed a keen mind for facts. He was able to break down the Chalusan family legacy on the 45 minute cassette tape in a very delightful way and hearing his voice again has inspired me to continue working on what is becoming an important element in my desire to complete a doctorate.
Background leading up to the Chaluisant family immgrating to the Caribbean from southern France. In 1528, the French, recognizing the strategic value of Puerto Rico, sacked and burned the southwestern town of San Germán. They also destroyed many of the island's first settlements, including Guánica, Sotomayor, Daguao and Loíza before the local militia forced them to retreat. The only settlement that remained was the capital, San Juan. French corsairs would again sack San Germán in 1538 and 1554. In 1797, the French and Spanish declared war on the United Kingdom. The British attempted again to conquer the island, attacking San Juan with an invasion force of 7,000 troops and an armada consisting of 64 warships under the command of General Ralph Abercromby. Captain General Don Ramón de Castro and his army successfully resisted the attack. Realizing that it was in danger of losing its two remaining Caribbean territories, the Spanish Crown revived the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815. The decree was printed in Spanish, English and French in order to attract Europeans, with the hope that local independence movements would lose their popularity and strength with the arrival of new settlers. Free land was offered to those who wanted to populate the islands on the condition that they swear their loyalty to the Spanish Crown and allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. On August 10, 1815, the Royal Decree of Grace was issued, allowing foreigners to enter Puerto Rico (including French refugees from Hispaniola), and opening the port to trade with nations other than Spain. This was the beginning of agriculture-based economic growth, with sugar, tobacco and coffee being the main products. The Decree also gave free land to anyone who swore their loyalty to the Spanish Crown and their allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. Thousands of families from all regions of Spain (particularly Asturias, Catalonia, Majorca and Galicia), Germany, Corsica, Ireland, France, Portugal, the Canary Islands and other locations, escaping from harsh economic times in Europe and lured by the offer of free land, soon immigrated to Puerto Rico. However, these small gains in autonomy and rights were short lived. After the fall of Napoleon, absolute power returned to Spain, which revoked the Cádiz Constitution and reinstated Puerto Rico to its former condition as a colony, subject to the unrestricted power of the Spanish monarch.
According to my grandfather Don Luis Chaluisan, two slave owning French Brothers and Plantation owners (Daniel and Emile Chaluisant) first settled in Haiti at the end of the 16th century (1789) prior to the Haitian Revolution. The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) was a slave revolt in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which culminated in the elimination of slavery there and the founding of the Haitian republic. The brothers and their wives fled to Puerto Rico setlling in the area now known as Las Marias. Both brothers continued to own slaves as did their progeny until 1873. Leaders of the Puerto Rican abolitionist movement, including José Julián Acosta, Francisco Mariano Quiñones, Julio L. de Vizcarrondo, Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis, waged a long struggle to end slavery on the island. On March 22, 1873, the Spanish National Assembly finally abolished slavery in Puerto Rico. The owners were compensated with 35 million pesetas per slave, and slaves were required to continue working for three more years. Both brothers sired children who later intermixed with their own slaves while slowly losing their French language skills and adopting Spanish and their prime language. My grandfathers memory of his paternal Chaluisant grandparent and great uncles is that they were ridiculed for not being able to master both languages. After 1873, the Afro Caribbean bastard children of the Chaluisant family adopted the surname. There still lingers racism in our family. I met one of the lighter skinned Chaluisan's from San Juan when I lived in Puerto Rico who told me that there are two types of Chaluisan - the chosen (pointing to his Palm-Palmar side) and the unwashed (pointing to the top part of his hand-Dorsal side.) Given I was surrounded by dark skinned Chaluisan cousins in the neighborhood (Mariana Bracetti, Mayagüez) I quickly disasociated myself from him. There are two sites names after the Chaluisant family. A small park in Southern France and a Side Street in Mayaguez Puerto Rico. One translation for the name is "He of the strong blood".
The Chaluisant family moved to Mayaguez en masse at the turn of the 20th century.
From "Yauco to Las Marias" by Karl Stephen Herrman
Life in Slaveholding Puerto Rican Society
"Despite a common belief to the contrary, the color-line is drawn as rigidly in Puerto Rico as it is in Kentucky. The people having nothing but Castilian blood in their veins are as proud as Virtue; and, while politics and business see a certain mingling of skin-colors, the mixture ceases to exist across the threshold of home. No true Spaniard would permit himself to sing of his "coal-black lady" or his "cute little yallar gal"; and, if he did, he would be ostracized. The women are all very pretty or extremely ugly, and never simply plain. The girls of the better class are brought up from babyhood under a constant surveillance that knows no laxity until after marriage, and does not altogether cease even then. The growing bud is taught to play the piano or guitar, to embroider, to sing a little, to dance a little less, to speak and read French, to powder her face with art, and to walk like a very queen. She is usually married before she is seventeen, especially if her father has money; and, until the day of hr death, she never sees a modern newspaper, never goes slumming, and never soils her gentle hands with work of any degree. She is apt to love her husband devotedly, and does not think her career fitly rounded until she is a mother."
ABOUT LAS MARIAS:
Las Marías is incorporated as a municipality in 1871 by Benito Recio. Prior to that it is considered part of the outskirts of Mayaguez. The distance from Las Marias to Mayagüez is 6 miles (10 kilometers) in a straight line. Walking from Las Marias to Mayagüez takes 2.13 hours (128 minutes) at a rate of 3 miles per hour in a straight line. Las Marías (Spanish pronunciation: [laz maˈɾi.as]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico located north of Maricao; southeast of Añasco; south of San Sebastián; east of Mayagüez; and west of Lares. Las Marías is spread over 13 wards and Las Marías Pueblo (The downtown area and the administrative center of the city). Las Marías, Puerto Rico The flag is divided by an imaginary diagonal line whose ends are the superior left angle of the flag and the opposite inferior angle. The superior part is yellow and the inferior one green. The yellow portion represents the sun bathing the town and the green portion represents the nature and vegetation of the town. Coat of Arms: The shield is divided into six parts with three in silver and three in blue. A "María" tree (Callophylum brasiliense antillum), with a pair of coffee tree branches to the sides of its trunk, adorns each silver part. The monogram and crown of Nuestra Señora la Santísima Virgen de Plata is placed in the top center portion of the shield. The shield's border is red with a broken chain at the bottom. Above the shield resides three tower crown in gold.
Festivals and events:
Orange Festival - March
Foundation of the Town - March
Paso Fino Festival - June
Matron Festivities - December
Dia De Los Reyes - January
Our mother's geneology-Lamboy Sanabria Medina-Batlle
Ramón Emeterio Betances
1. Betances was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, in the building that now houses the "Logia Cuna de Betances" ("Betances' Cradle Masonic Lodge"). Betances' parents were Felipe Betanzos Ponce, a merchant born in Hispaniola (in the part that would later become the Dominican Republic; the surname Betanzos transformed into Betances while the family resided there), and María del Carmen Alacán de Montalvo, a native of Cabo Rojo and of French ancestry. They were married in 1812.
Betances claimed in his lifetime that a relative of his, Pedro Betances, had revolted against the Spanish government of Hispaniola in 1808 and was tortured, executed, and his body burned and shown to the populace to dissuade them from further attempts. Meanwhile, Alacán's father, a sailor, led a party of volunteers that tried to apprehend Roberto Cofresí in 1824 and did arrest some of Cofresí's crew, for which he was honored by the Spanish government.
At the time of his arrival in Paris, Betances witnessed the aftermath of the 1848 Revolution and its backlash, the June Days Uprising, earlier that year. His future political views were directly shaped by what he saw and experienced at the time. He considered himself "an old soldier of the French Republic". Inspired by the proclamation of the 2e République, he rejected Puerto Rican aspirations for autonomy (sought from Spain by Puerto Rican politicians since 1810) in favor of Puerto Rican independence.
2. María del Carmen, nicknamed Lita, was born in 1838. She had met Betances when she was 10, and Betances became instantly fond of her. Once he returned to Puerto Rico from his medical studies he requested the necessary ecclesiastical permissions to marry her (due to the degree of consanguinity between them), which were granted in Rome (then part of the Papal States) after an extended delay. Their marriage was supposed to occur on May 5, 1859 in Paris, but Lita fell sick with typhus and died at the Mennecy house of Dr. Pierre Lamire, a friend from Betances' medical school days, on April 22, 1859 (the Good Friday of that year).
Betances was psychologically devastated by Lita's death. Accompanied by his sister, brother-in-law, local friends and a few Puerto Rican friends residing in Paris at the time (which included Basora, Francisco Oller and another Cabo Rojo native, future political leader Salvador Carbonell), Betances had Lita buried on April 25. Her body was later reburied in Mayagüez, on November 13 of that year. Salvador Brau, a historian and close friend, later wrote that once Betances returned to Puerto Rico with Lita's body, he suspended all personal activities besides his medical work, spent a considerable amount of time caring for her tomb at the Mayagüez cemetery, and assumed the physical aspect that most people identify Betances with: dark suit, long unkempt beard, and "Quaker" hat.
Betances immersed himself in work, but later found time to write a short story in French, La Vièrge de Boriquén (The Boriquén Virgin), inspired in his love for Lita and her later death, and somewhat influenced by Edgar Allan Poe's writing style. Cayetano Coll y Toste later described the story of Lita and Betances in the story La Novia de Betances, from his book "Leyendas y Tradiciones Puertorriqueñas" (Puerto Rican Legends and Traditions).
3. Betances was responsible for numerous proclamations that attempted to arouse Puerto Rican nationalistic sentiment, written between 1861 and his death. The most famous of these is "Los Diez Mandamientos de los hombres libres" (The Ten Commandments of Free Men), written in exile in Saint Thomas in November 1867. It is directly based on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted by France's National Assembly in 1789, which contained the principles that inspired the French Revolution.Gregorio Luperón met Betances in Saint Thomas, and offered to assist the Puerto Rican revolution, in exchange for help to overthrow Báez once the right circumstances were met. As a consequence, Betances organized revolutionary cells in Puerto Rico from exile, which would be led by leaders such as Manuel Rojas and Mathias Brugman. Betances instructed Mariana Bracetti to knit a flag for the revolution using the colors and basic design similar to that of the Dominican Republic (which in turn was almost identical to a French military standard). Betances was also supposed to send reinforcements to the Puerto Rican rebels through the use of a ship purchased by Puerto Rican and Dominican revolutionaries, "El Telégrafo" (which was to be shared by both), but the ship was confiscated soon after arrival by the government of the then Danish (later United States) Virgin Islands.
According to Puerto Ricans and French historians in three different fields (medicine, literature and politics), Betances left a legacy that has been considerably understated, and is only being assessed properly in recent times.
4. A marble plaque commemorating Betances was unveiled at his Paris house by a delegation of Puerto Rican, Cuban and French historians on the 100th. anniversary of his death, on September 16, 1998. Paul Estrade, Betances' French biographer, likens him to Simón Bolívar, Antonio José de Sucre, Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín.
Estrade assesses his legacy as an Antillean this way: "The Antilles have developed political, social and scientific ideas that have changed the world, and that Europe has used. Not everything has (a European) source. Betances is the maximum expression of this reality."
Betances was also one of the first Puerto Rican "writers-in-exile". In 1851, a small group of Puerto Rican university students in Europe formed the "Sociedad Recolectora de Documentos Históricos de la Isla de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico", a society that attempted to research and catalog historical documents about Puerto Rico from firsthand government sources. Betances became the Society's researcher in France. The result of the Society's research was published in an 1854 book, for which Betances contributed. Inspired by Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, the Society's organizer, who had written a novel inspired in Puerto Rican indigenous themes while studying in Madrid, Betances writes his novel: "Les Deux Indiens: Épisode de la conquéte de Borinquen" (The Two Indians: an episode of the conquest of Borinquen), and publishes it in Toulouse in 1853, with a second edition published in 1857 under the pseudonym "Louis Raymond". This novel would be the first of many literary works by Betances (most of which were written in French), and is notable for its indirect praise of Puerto Rican nationhood which, he suggests, was already developed in pre-Columbian Puerto Rico. This type of "indigenist literature" would become commonplace in Latin America in later years. He also wrote poetry in both French and Spanish for literary magazines in Paris, chiefly inspired by Alphonse de Lamartine and Victor Hugo. Luis Federico Chaluisan Morales Y Batlle