Miami officials should leave La Placita Puerto Rico mural in place

The other day I saw a story by James-Beard Award-winner Carlos Frías at The Miami Herald about a new restaurant called La Placita which features a giant Puerto Rico mural. The restaurant painting is a tribute those who have made the move to Florida after Hurricane Maria and settled into Miami, according to the owners.

When I saw the story, I was impressed that Miami is welcoming the Puerto Rico transplants so well…considering all the hardship that has occurred since Hurricane Maria wiped the country killing over 3,000 people and making over 100,000 abandon their homes for the United States and leaving those that remained in Puerto Rico in the dark for nearly a year.

People in the United States can barely stand a few hours without air-conditioning, electricity, cell phone, and internet service. Imagine going through that for an entire year (and some people may still not have power).

Hurricane Maria was one of the worst natural disasters to ever happen in history to a country that is a U.S. territory and colony to boot.

Most of it can be traced back to FEMA and reckless disaster preparation and response by the current federal government in the United States (just read Chef Jose Andres for more on that). Nevertheless, the survivors persisted and found new homes and are still rebuilding their lives.

Later, the story quickly changed after the opening date of the restaurant. Now Miami officials are telling the owners to paint OVER the mural since apparently they did not get proper permits before painting a giant Puerto Rico flag over their restaurant and the historical association there is fuming about it not fitting the neighborhood.

How is it possible that Miami was unaware that there was a GIANT Puerto Rico mural being painted in this neighborhood? Give me a break. Haven’t the people of Puerto Rico been through enough? Why doesn’t Miami cut them a break?

One of the most international cities in the country should understand that many of these people now living in Miami are refugees of a horrible situation that has displaced them from their homes.

Can they have just this? I know I was planning to go down to Miami from Tampa to visit this restaurant just to see this painting and I hope it will still be there when I get the chance.

It’s the least we can do for those who have suffered so much.

Sign the petition to support them.


Hurricane Maria: Tampa Bay Helps Puerto Rico Recover

Update 9/28: 

ViVa Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Festival will take donations for Course of Action PR on Sunday, October 1st in Centennial Park. More details on this post.

Hurricane Maria smashed through Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm yesterday and wrecked much of the island. It is the first Category 4 Hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since 1932 according to ABC. The entire country lost power and it could take weeks to months for the power grid to recover after already being hit by Hurricane Irma.

That means over 2 million people have no power in the United States commonwealth.

Puerto Rico is already in a delicate state and filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. This kind of infrastructure damage will no doubt complicate things for the people who live there. The minimum wage in Puerto Rico was reduced from $7.25 to $4.25 an hour as a part of this bankruptcy crisis due to a U.S. plan called PROMESA in 2016.

This will certainly impact the ability of people to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

The Puerto Rican communities around Florida have mobilized to get supplies to send to the people in Puerto Rico impacted by the storm. Shipments of supplies are already being accepted in Puerto Rico starting today. Here is where you can donate supplies around Tampa Bay:

The Prestige Barbershop of Tampa Bay
(Monday to Saturday from 11AM to 7PM)
105 US-301 #109
Tampa, FL

Los Gorditos Bar & Grill
(Tuesday to Saturday from 12PM to 9PM)
6110 Causeway Blvd.
Tampa, FL

Los Gorditos Food Truck
3125 W. Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, Fl

La Fondita de Leo in Clearwater 
(Monday to Sunday from 11AM to 9PM)
528 Cleveland Street
Clearwater, FL

El Rico Frappé Latino
(Monday to Sunday – Hours vary)
122 Pierce Christie Dr
33594 Valrico

Course of Action PR
(Monday to Saturday – 11AM-7PM)
4916 S Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL

Suggested donations:

• Water
• Canned milk (UHT or Carnation) or box milk
• Canned food
• Flash lights
• Candles
• Batteries (C,D,DD)
• Dog and Cat food (small bag)
• First-Aid items
• Mosquito repeal sprays (ex. OFF)
• Wipes
• Diaper
• Formula
• Baby food
• Bottles
• Cleaning items
• New underwear for men and women
• Blanket
• Towels
• Baby onesies

Local food truck The Cake Girl has setup a fund as well for people to donate to at:

Any tips on other places to donate? Shoot me an e-mail at carloseats[at]gmail[dot]com.