I say on Dominican Independence Day; New York’s Rich Diversity is “Kick Ass”

To many Dominican Americans Independence celebration comes twice a year, July 4th and February 27th

Independence is about liberty and the struggle of the fight to get that liberty, which we all enjoy today. Independence by default is a word with deep meaning, it’s not just about celebrating the victory of becoming independent and parties, fireworks, barbecues or “diablos cojuelos”.  It’s about not forgetting the fight of those that came before us and gave up their life, so that we in turn can enjoy the freedoms we all enjoy today. That’s independence!

New York’s Vibrant Dominican Community currently represents the largest Hispanic group in the city (774,473) according to  Census data analysis by CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies. However there is number is being debated to be well over one Million, but numbers aside, one thing that is visual and accountable, and that is the very much felt presence of Dominicans in New York. A presence that one can see, feel and hear throughout the city and in parts of Jersey, PA, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Just take around most local neighborhoods at the barbershops and beauty salons when you get your next hair cut or hairdo and you will most likely experience this culture or when you take our car to the local mechanic or go to the corner bodega or the one next to it.

Hungry? hop on in to your favorite Dominican restaurant ( there are plenty) when you crave that “arros blanco con habichuela, pollo y maduros”?

Need a cab and don’t have uber? No problem call your local taxi base and there’s a 90% probability that the driver will most likely be on his cell phone or listening to “Anthony Santos”.

Dominicans currently represent the ethnic group with the largest percentage of small business ownership in New York, according to published articles in NY Times, New York daily News and the NY post. Another interesting fact is on the educational front, although there are really no concrete studies that determine the number of College students or graduates of Dominican decent, we did find a 2004 study by Ramona Hernandez, Ph.D. director of Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY and Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, which reports that Dominican students enrolled in colleges and universities has been rising steadily. The study, indicates that in 2000 Dominican students made up 26.4% of the Hispanic student body enrolled in colleges and universities in New York City.

US politics are also an area of interest to many Dominicans. Just this year alone history was made when Adriano Espaillat became the first Dominican American elected into the US congress and Thomas Perez became the first Latino ever to be elected as the leader of the national democratic party, Thomas a Dominican American who served as President Obama’s labor secretary is now the  the chairman of the DNC, Democratic National Committee and this was just a few days ago.

The Dominican community has contributed greatly to the fabric that makes New York the greatest city in the world and will continue to do so together with other cultures. So today we celebrate our Dominican heritage in unity with all, because it’s not about being less than or better than. It’s about respecting others and their cultures, while embracing our own, it’s this rich cultural diversity that makes New York a “ Kick Ass” city and the capital of the world.

As a Dominican American, I take pride in being American and in my Dominican roots. I was born in Santo Domingo, raised in Brooklyn and became an American Citizen my choice.  I acknowledge the blessing of living in a country where I can cherish and respect both cultures, but even more important, I am grateful that at the end of the day, we are all one nation under God, as truly we are all brothers and sisters beneath the sun. I also acknowledge that as humans and as a Nation we are not perfect and that’s ok, because that gives us even more reason to strive to thrive. As an entrepreneur with an affinity towards forward thinking people and forward moving causes, I want to say, on this day celebrating Dominican Independence; God Bless America!

Meaning of “Dominican”
The word “Dominican” has a meaning beyond the one of being born in the Dominican Republic… it actually means “God’s sons.” According to our history, this name is given to us after a group of religious educators, who arrived on the island of “La Hispañola” when we were still a Spanish colony.

Colors of the Dominican flag
Our Dominican flag represents our Independence.. the first Dominican flag was designed and created by María Trinidad Sánchez, Sánchez’s aunt, where she included blue, representing God’s blessings over our nation, red representing our liberators’ blood and the white cross symbolizing our Independence as an inheritance from those who fought for our freedom.

 

Fight for freedom! A short history of the Dominican Republic
After Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, a point when many cultures clashed during the Spanish colonization of “La Hispañola” island, as he called it, the Dominican Republic then became a battle zone where French, Spanish and Haitian troops fought for our land.

Soon after,  Spain suddenly became uninterested and left the Dominican Republic – after gold was found in México and other areas in America, but the land was soon invaded by French troops and affected by the Haitian Revolution; events which revolutionized the course of our history.  After the reconciliation between slaves and French men, the Spanish troops were defeated by forces led by General Toussaint Louverture, and it was in 1795 when France took over the island, with the abolition of slavery proclaimed by Louverture in Santo Domingo.

When the French forces returned to France after several years, the Haitians then invaded the towns of Santiago and Moca causing not only many deaths, but quite a dislike from residents from the Eastern part of the island, since they were forced to give up their language, culture and beliefs, adapt and become French speaking country.

Of course, the situation wouldn’t last forever… in 1838 a man named Juan Pablo Duarte who was born in Santo Domingo and founded a secret society named “La Trinitaria” and along with his good friends Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, secretly planned on putting an end to Haitian repression. How?

In 1843 they joined a Haitian movement to defeat Boyer (the French leader), after which they were exiled and imprisoned in Puerto Príncipe by the new Haitian President, Charles Riviere-Hérard, since he feared their revolutionary ideas of independence. However after an attack produced by Haitians, Charles definitely needed the help of “La Trinitaria” and they were then released.

Meanwhile, Buenaventura Báez, who was a wood exporter and also Deputy at the Haitian’s National Assembly, was negotiating with France a way of establishing French forces in order to protect the Haitian Government from rebels – and since Duarte, Mella and Sánchez knew about this event, on the 27th of February 1844 they immediately declared their Independence from Haiti! You may ask how?…

The canon shot by Matías Ramón Mella on the night of the 27th of February 1844 at the “Puerta del Conde” (now famous for this event) was the official declaration of the Dominican war of Independence, which was supported by Pedro Santana (who became the Dominican Republic’s first President) along with hundreds of his workers and residents from Santo Domingo. To cries of “Dios, Patria y Libertad” (God, Homeland and Freedom), the Dominican flag was raised for the first time at the “Puerta del Conde” and the Haitian forces were confronted – causing the, to retreat and meaning that the Dominicans were finally free!!

Although Haiti tried to invade on several other occasions, the Dominican Republic maintained its Independence for 17 more years, thanks to Pedro Santana’s bright idea of handing the power back to Spain – but that’s a different story! We will be publishing more details about it soon!

 

Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” in One Book, One New York Initiative

New York City is proud to be the creative capital of the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The One Book, One New York initiative provides the perfect opportunity to bring City residents from all five boroughs together through reading. This initiative will inspire New Yorkers to unify in their appreciation of the written word and to share in the support of the city’s important publishing industry.”

“One Book, One New York will help readers connect with one another while rediscovering their local libraries and their independent neighborhood bookstores,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “One Book, One New York will reignite conversations about reading throughout the City, from our libraries to our subway platforms, from our local bookstores to the coffee shop.”

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As part of the program, five celebrities appear in videos advocating for a particular book.  Bebe Neuwirth, William H. Macy, Giancarlo Esposito, Larry Wilmore and Danielle Brooks are rolling out the campaign. New Yorkers will then vote on the book they think everyone should read. Announcement of the final choice is set for March.

All of the nominated books have a connection with the New York City area, and copies of them are available in each New York Public Library branch. The nominated books are:

  • Americanahby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Between the World and Meby Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Selloutby Paul Beatty
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

 

 

Vote for your favorite here: 

How Effective was #DeleteUber?

Image: joemygod.com

Image: joemygod.com

Now that a week has passed since angry Uber customers committed to deleting their accounts in the wake of Uber driving still working during a taxi strike, it’s interesting to know just how many actually canceled their accounts, not just uninstalling the app. According to the New York Times, more than 200,000 users officially canceled their accounts. Did users keep their promise because of last weekend’s event or because Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was on President Trump’s economic council, despite the immigration ban? “Was” being the key word here. Kalanick stepped down from the council, something that his employees had urged him to do.
Though Uber was accused of trying to make a profit out of the taxi boycott of John F. Kennedy Airport, the ride-sharing app’s rival, Lyft, actually made it out on top in the long run. According to Mashable, downloads for both Uber and Lyft appear to have switched: Lyft surged while Uber plummeted during the last week of January. This happened with both iPhone and Android users. But as we entered into February, Uber downloads were up again but there’s no telling if those 200,000+ former Uber customers redownloaded the app.
So it’s becoming more and more apparent how today’s political climate affects the technology we’ve become so dependent on in the 21st century – even if it’s something as simple as a taxi from a busy airport.

Vaughn College Recognized as #1 in Nation for Upward Mobility

vaughn campus

vaughn billboard

Image: diversity.com

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology was recognized as having the highest upward mobility rate among 2,137 colleges nationwide in a January 18 article published in The New York Times. Vaughn College is noted as “an institution doing more to impact social mobility for those who start from less fortunate means,” and listed as the top institution for moving students from the bottom 40 percent to the top 40 percent of income. The report comes from a study conducted by The Equality of Opportunity Project entitled “Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility.”

This recognition is further evidence that we are fulfilling our mission and that Vaughn is a college of choice for students who want to achieve future success,” said Vaughn President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo. “The power of our institution is to provide a truly transformational educational experience for each student.

Vaughn College serves many first-generation Americans and first-generation college students and provides an engaging educational experience for every student. According to the study, the median family income of a student from Vaughn College is $31,600, and 16 percent of students came from a poor family but became a rich adult. More than 57 percent of students moved up two or more income quintiles.

Students achieve professional success because we are a community invested in their personal and professional lives,” said DeVivo. Ninety-eight percent of Vaughn graduates are employed or continue their education within one year of graduation, and in this year’s U.S. News report, Vaughn achieved a graduation rate of 56 percent, above the predicted rate of 43 percent. Vaughn alumni hold critical positions in engineering, technology, management and aviation in well-known organizations such as The Boeing Company, Consolidated Edison, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, United Technologies, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and major airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines.

The article and Vaughn specific data can be found on The New York Times website at the following link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/vaughn-college-of-aeronautics-and-technology

VAUGHN COLLEGE: Founded in 1932, Vaughn College is a private, four-year college that enrolls more than 1,500 students in master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs in engineering, technology, management and aviation on its main campus in New York City and online. The student-faculty ratio of 14 to 1 ensures a highly personalized learning environment. Ninety-eight percent of Vaughn College graduates are placed in professional positions or choose to continue their education within one year of graduation. They work in 20 countries and all 50 states. The institution serves many first-generation college students and is recognized by the US Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. For more information on Vaughn College, please visit http://www.vaughn.edu.

HIT AND RUN LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN RESPONSE TO DJ JINX PAUL DEATH

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Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez joins elected officials, advocates, radio DJs and the family of DJ Jinx Paul, who was killed in a hit and run crash last December, to unveil legislation to
create a hit and run alert system in New York City. The legislation would create an alert system through a number of channels, to support the NYPD in capturing perpetrators of hit and runs.
Following a year where 39 people were killed by hit and run drivers in NYC and over one per week
were killed or faced life-threatening injuries, this legislation will ensure that perpetrators are captured
and prosecuted.

Furious customers delete Uber app after drivers went to protest at JFK airport during

Thousands of Uber customers have deleted their app and posting the evidence to social media after some of its drivers tried to do business at JFK airport during a taxi strike.

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The New York Taxi Workers Alliance called for all drivers to avoid John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday to make way for protests against President Donald Trump’s executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim countries from entering the US.

Many users noted that Uber still appeared to be servicing riders during the strike. The company also tweeted after the strike saying it had halted higher fares that normally kick in during periods of increased demand.

In response, people began deleting Uber from their phones and posting the evidence to Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #deleteUber

Uber app delete

 

“We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike,” the company said. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night.”

The company employs over 35,000 drivers in the New York City region.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent an email to employees Sunday announcing a plan to help drivers who may be overseas and unable to reenter the country because of Trump’s travel ban, which he called “unjust.”

Kalanick said Uber would provide lawyers and immigration experts to drivers barred from entering the country using a $3 million company-created legal defense fund. Drivers will also be compensated for lost wages.

Kalanick was recently names among 19 executives who will provide economic advice to Trump. Kalanick now says he will urge the government to reinstate travel immediately.

President Trump vs. Mayor de Blasio

trump vs de blasio

President Trump has been in office just seven days and he’s already signed four executive orders, keeping up with campaign promises, one of which was taking a step further into deporting millions of undocumented immigrants as well as building that infamous wall (that’ll probably never be built). The order titled “Enhancing public safety in the Interior of the United States”, orders to what have been nicknamed as “sanctuary cities”, cities like New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and more, to comply with any requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and threatens to cancel any federal grants to those that don’t comply. These cities appear to be targeted because they offer social services to its residents, regardless of immigration status. One service we know of here in New York City is the Municipal ID program known as IDNYC, not only offers free admission to a select number of the City’s museums but is also a great alternative to some form of photo ID for city resident who cannot otherwise obtain one through the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

So what are these sanctuary cities doing in response? NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYS’s attorney general, and California legislators aren’t planning on complying with this executive order. Miami-Dade County, on the other hand, is a different story.

Mayor de Blasio, along with former mayor Mike Bloomberg, doesn’t see undocumented immigrants as such, but as fellow New Yorkers. According to DNAInfo, de Blasio acknowledges that “we have half a million New Yorkers who are undocumented and they are part of the fabric of this city,” and has already started to set aside a reserve fund in case those federal cuts do happen. As reported by the Daily Beast, Bloomberg stated during his tenure as mayor, “although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders or overstaying their visas and our businesses broke the law by employing them, our city’s economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported.” That Daily Beast article highlighted undocumented day laborers in NYC who simply look to make an honest dollar. The city receives an estimate of $7 billion from the federal government, which contributes to law enforcement and NYPD’s anti-terrorism efforts, social services such as NYCHA and other affordable housing, public assistance, child protective services as well as HIV/AIDS prevention programs, which is almost fully funded by federal dollars.

New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman outright called this executive order “unconstitutional”, noting the trust that has been built between immigrant communities and local law enforcement is vital to the safety of ALL citizens. He released a full statement on this, using the president’s favorite form of mass communication: Twitter.

 

 

According to the LA Times, California’s high court decisions have interpreted financial threats like this as an unlawful intrusion on the state’s rights. San Francisco officials have determined that since the wording of the executive order is rather vague, it may not even be applicable to them.

Miami, on the other hand, has given in to such demands. According to USA Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has refused for years to detain undocumented immigrants for federal immigration authorities but changed his mind upon the signing of the order since it would cut federal funding. Gimenez signed his own executive this week ordering the director of Miami-Dade’s corrections department to begin complying with any requests from ICE. Money talks, huh?

 

Op-Ed by NYC School Chancellor Carmen Fariña on “A Path to College and Careers”

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Op-Ed: By NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Navigating the college process can be challenging for students and their families. As the first person in my family to go to college, I know how stressful this process can be. As Chancellor, getting every student on the path to college regardless of their home language or zip code and graduating a productive citizen is at the heart of what I want to accomplish. In support of this effort, across the City today we are celebrating College Awareness Day.

Now in its second year, College Awareness Day promotes a college-going culture across all New York City schools and encourages students to consider a wide range of college and career options. And now as part of the DOE’s first College and Career Month, 250 high schools are participating in career exploration events and activities. This means schools will be visiting companies and non-profit organizations to shadow professionals, and inviting alumni and recent college students to discuss college and career planning with students. We are also hosting the first-ever citywide Summer Enrichment Fair on January 28, where high school students and families can learn about summer employment opportunities and participate in career skills and planning workshops. Educators across the City are helping students understand that going to college is attainable with hard work and determination and families should can overcome the financial considerations, geographical barriers, or other roadblocks.

2017 College Awareness Day

College Awareness Day is part of College Access for All, one of Mayor de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives. Through College Access for All, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus by 2018 and every high school student will have the resources and support to develop an individual college and career plan by 2019. For the first time this spring, every high school junior can take the SAT free of charge during the school day and we’ve also eliminated the CUNY application fee for low-income students applying for college, removing a significant financial barrier for families.

Early Conversations and planning around college and careers are critical, and helping our youngest learners see higher education as attainable begins with raising greater awareness of what college is and why it matters. We are laying this groundwork early, by building on our promise of Pre-K for All, working toward universal literacy in 2nd grade by 2026, and expanding bilingual programs in classrooms as early as pre-K. Every student must have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and we are making unprecedented investments to make that a reality – especially for students who are new immigrants, just learning English, and will be the first in their family to go to college.

Every day can be College Awareness Day across the City. Our schools will continue to share information with students and families about college and career readiness as the school year moves forward. By making a clear path to college and career for everyone, we are going to make a real difference in our City and country. I encourage all educators to share their college experience with students and continue the college conversation today.  Additional information about College Awareness Day and College and Career Month are available at: http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/OPSR/CareerExplorationMonth.htm. Together we can eliminate obstacles and make the path to college and careers for all a reality.

Why I am proud to say: “I Am Hostos”!

Madeline Santana

As the recipient of the Auxiliary Police Officer Eugene Marshalik Scholarship, Madeline Santana continues to climb the education ladder at Hostos Community College as she pursues an associate degree in Office Technology, Medical Office Manager. Madeline enrolled in the Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development and earned her certification as a Pharmacy Technician. Making the most of her experience at the College, Madeline was able to secure a part-time position at Bronx Lebanon Special Care Center, where she has been employed for the past seven months. She will soon be joining the staff at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center full-time. Upon completion of her associate degree, Madeline plans on enrolling in Pharmacy school.

When asked about her experience in the Pharmacy Technician Program, she responded as follows:  “The Pharmacy Technician Program has impacted my life and career in a great way. I have set new goals for myself while pursuing a rewarding career. From the moment I began attending Hostos Community College, many opportunities have opened up for me, while the guidance I received from my mentor, Dr. Geoffrey Lord, has been priceless. I am grateful for the relationships I have formed and the people within the program that truly care about their students’ success. I AM HOSTOS.

Learn more about opportuneties at Hostos continuing education programs

 MSantana

Here are some things she has learned and want to share on her educational journey:

  • I heard about the program through the catalog delivered to homes. I am a Bronx native and I am always looking into furthering my education.
  • My experience was a wonderful experience taking the pharmacy technician class. Dr. Lord is a great professor and enrolling into this program offered from Hostos has been such a major impact in my life and he has definitely become a mentor to me in my career path.
  • This program has been very beneficial for me and has allowed me to transition into the medical industry. Dr. Lord prepared me by exposing the retail and medical skills needed to be marketable in my job search. During my program I was able to work closely with my mentor in the pharmacy and learn from his staff. The collaboration between Hostos and Bronx Lebanon has been a priceless experience for me and other students. I was also able to secure employment upon completion of my program.
  • What I took away most from my time in the program is the relationships I formulated.  I was able to establish and network with those experts in my industry who created employment opportunities.
  • I encourage future students with an interest in this program to take advantage of the training and the preparation Hostos offers. I was fully prepared and gained my certification within 4 months, and shortly after secured a new position with Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. This experience has been an absolute life changer.

LOS HERMANOS ROSARIO ESCRIBIENDO LA HISTORIA DEL MERENGUE POR CASI CUATRO DECADAS

los-rosarios

 

 

Los Hermanos Rosario, es una de las mas importantes agrupaciones musicales de La Republica Dominicana, un verdadero icono del merengue que ha podido mantenerse en los primeros lugares de popularidad por 38 años consecutivos y ganarse la preferencia del pueblo durante  generaciones.

Es imposible hablar de Merengue sin mencionar a Tony, Luis y Rafa Rosario, las caras de esta popular agrupación

Los Rosario llevan a sus millones de seguidores un merengue con estilo, un sonido que se renueva constantemente, que se adapta a los nuevos tiempos e increíblemente sus integrantes han desafiado la ley del tiempo y hoy lucen más jóvenes y en mejor forma física que el primero de mayo de 1978, día en que se formó oficialmente su orquesta.

 

Este ha sido un camino largo y duro, nos confiesan los hermanos, cayéndonos y levantándonos tantas veces como ha sido necesario. Crear merengue para las nuevas y no tan nuevas generaciones ha sido una labor de amor, de disciplina militar, de hacer las cosas bien y sobre todo de respetar al público.

La unión y la hermandad han sido la clave transcendental del éxito para este grupo, la manera en que fueron criados estos 14 hermanos por un padre zapatero y una madre que realizaba trabajos esporádicos de limpieza en el pueblo de Higuey, en medio de carencias económicas que nunca sintieron porque estaban demasiado ocupados divirtiéndose, siendo niños y soñando a ser músicos.

 

A pesar de las altas y bajas han sabido mantenerse en el gusto popular, algunos de los momentos mas dificiles fueron el asesinato de su hermano y director musical, Pepe Rosario en 1982 y la salida de la agrupación de otro de los hermanos: Toño Rosario,

 

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“Toño era muy inquieto, esta ha sido ha sido su personalidad siempre, llegamos a Puerto Rico y se enamoró de esta muchacha, la Cintrón y quiso formar tienda aparte”,

 

Hoy, Los Hermanos Rosario disfrutan de un lugar preferencial dentro de la historia del merengue. Rafa entiende que su grupo y los merengueros de antes han luchado mucho para que el ritmo continúe vigente y que ahora le toca a la nueva generación hacer su parte.

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 CUAL ES SU GRUPO DE MUSICA PREFERIDO?

Nos gusta mucho nuestro hermano, Toño Rosario, Eddie Herrera está haciendo también un muy buen trabajo.

Johnny Ventura, Sergio Vargas y Fernando Villalona se mantienen trabajando. Peña Suazo y Kinito Mendez también siguen luchando para que el merengue se mantenga pegado. Y a Joseito Mateo hay que incluirlo en los Records Guinnes, porque aún sigue cantando merengue a sus 96 años de edad.

 

QUE LES PREOCUPA DE LOS DOMINICANOS EN LA ISLA Y DE LOS DOMINICANOS EN USA?

Me preocupa mucho la falta de educación, hacen faltan talleres, institutos técnicos y programas educativos para acabar con la delincuencia en Rep. Dom.

El dominicano en USA se ha superado mucho en los últimos anos, me siento muy orgulloso de nuestra gente que se ha dedicado a trabajar y a superarse. Tenemos muchos dominicanos destacados en la política, los negocios, el arte y estudiando en las más prestigiosas universidades.

 

QUIEN ES EL MAS BUENMOSO DE LOS ROSARIO:

Rafa: Yo, por supuesto

 

Y EL MAS FEO?

Toño, es tan feo que el mismo se llama el cuco (carcajadas)

Rueda de prensa en la que Toño Rosario y Los Hermanos Rosario anunciaron su reencuentro en los escenario después de casi 20 años, en un show que formara parte de los premios El Soberano. Foto: Ariel Díaz-Alejo/acento.com.do Fecha: 04/04/2013.