martes, 8 de junio de 2010
Marshal quits Puerto Rican Day Parade because of abuse conviction of 'godfather' Osvaldo Rios
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Tuesday, June 8th 2010, 4:00 AM
Sunday's Puerto Rican Day Parade was thrown into chaos after one of the ceremonial marshals abruptly backed out amid a mushrooming controversy over a Latino soap star.
Chicago Rep. Luis Gutierrez quit his role as "states marshal" and Verizon pulled its sponsorship because the parade's "international godfather," screen star Osvaldo Rios, has a history of hitting his girlfriend.
The 49-year-old heartthrob, who once dated sexy singer Shakira, was busted for pummeling Daisy Annette Santiago in 1996 - and served three months in a Puerto Rican prison.
Outraged anti-domestic violence activists say Rios should be disqualified from leading one of the city's biggest parades.
"I do not believe that honoring an individual who has committed such a serious crime is in keeping with the spirit of our parade," Gutierrez, a Democrat, wrote parade organizers. "We must send a message of zero tolerance for violence against women."
Verizon backed out of its sponsorship amid the uproar.
"When we realized there was this issue, we thought that's probably not the best place for us to be," said spokesman David Samberg. "It just wasn't for us this year."
Gov. Paterson is also taking a pass on the parade, but Brooklyn Rep. Nydia Velazquez, the "national grand marshal," and Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano, the "honorary marshal," say they'll march with Rios.
"It was not a good idea to honor him," said Serrano, who wants Rios to drop out. "I'm marching in honor of the Puerto Rican community."
Mayor Bloomberg will march in the parade and attend a pre-parade party at Gracie Mansion on Thursday, a spokeswoman said, noting Hizzoner doesn't always agree with the organizers of parades he marches in.
Parade organizers have brushed off complaints about Rios' selection, saying he has apologized and paid his debt to society. They called him a popular star deserving of the honor.
"Osvaldo has been rehabilitated," said Madelyn Lugo, the parade president. "Osvaldo is an excellent person and actor. I believe everyone deserves a second opportunity in life, another chance."
State Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) has to miss the parade because he'll be preaching at the church he leads, but said he supports Rios and invited him to a pre-parade dinner at Maestro's restaurant Thursday night.
"He went to jail and he paid the dues," Diaz said. "I believe in redemption and forgiveness."
Not so fast, say six City Council members who have called for a boycott of parade festivities.
"He is supposed to be our international representation, someone to emulate," said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents part of Manhattan and the Bronx. "Having him at the parade, what kind of message does that send? To me, it continues to be appalling."
With Maite Junco, Fred Dreier and Kenneth Lovett
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/06/08/2010-06-08_marshal_quits_puerto_rican_day_parade_because_of_abuse_conviction_of_godfather_m.html#ixzz0qGl0wuBp