MLK Day – What does it mean to you?

Here are some of my thoughts on the MLK Holiday.


45 years ago I visited cathedrals and churches today I do it again with Sarah and Pachi

puebla 3

45 years ago I clearly remember visiting the Puebla Cathedral with my Stepfather Neil. I remember he took his drawing sketch book and drew scenes of people praying and of many of the architectural features of this world heritage marvel. I was 10 then and would not know what impact this would have had on me, except that 45 years later I am taking my children to visit Basilicas, Cathedrals and churches in Mexico instead of Disney World and Florida.  I feel good for them, Sarah does not complain and she intently studies everything with a high degree of curiosity and asks many questions. I hope that this learning experience turns into a lifelong pattern of learning, understanding and walking in other shoes form my kids.

Que Viva Mexico

cropped-mexico-city-bellas-artes-zoc-17.jpgWe have traveled to Mexico to once again find out that it is a land of loving, culturally proud, understanding people that love their country like no other.

The falsehoods and perceptions created by @realDonaldTrump are not true. Yes, we have a drug problem, that I believe has been created by the voracious drug consumption in this country, that does not diminish Mexico to a country of drug dealers and murderers.

As far as I can see Mexico is our supplier of fruits and vegetables, (Just go to the fruit market), I believe one of the largest purchasers of Boeing 787’s including the maligned sale to the president of Mexico. As I look in around in Facebook many of my friends are vacationing in Mexico.

So I will continue to love this wonderful country that every time welcomes us with open arms. Viva Mexico!

You can follow one of the photostreams at

The Retirement of Congressman Gutierrez

Thoughts on the retirement of Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez. I am extremely grateful for his contribution to our community in Humboldt Park, to the Puerto Rican community as a whole, for the leadership in the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera. Luis has fought for the rights of us Puerto Ricans as well as the rights of those with no rights whatsoever.

I am extremely grateful for his contributions to the well being of Puerto Rico after the hurricane. I am grateful for his sacrifice during the Vieques period.


Las Vegas Mass Shooting Update –

In the wake of being part of a tragedy I am left to make sense of it. Last night when I went for a walk, the stores were opened, the music was playing in Vegas, however I felt the emptiness, the pain. I saw numb empty stares that did not want to stay in their room and mourn. They went out as to say “We believe in you, Las Vegas”. Today I saw a wedding in the hotel’s garden and I saw gamblers return to the tables of the Tropicana’s casino.

I had not felt much in the matter of emotions until today where I am consumed with the grief that in front of me 59 souls lost their lives and many more injured. I am so grateful for what I have, My wife, my loving children. I am saddened that many do not have that any longer. I can not stop thinking about the images of panic in the faces of the victims. Their tears today are mine.

Today I call on a ban for assault weapons. We can not be deterred by members of society that demand to have their weapons and justify their existence by saying that this was an isolated incident.

Here are some more images from Las Vegas.


Charlie Billups in Colombia – August 2017 – 18th trip to Colombia.

Lagartijas (1 of 1)Every 2 years I make the pilmgrage to Colombia, a land that after Puerto Rico has become my second patria. Everytime I come to this country is see something new but at the same time something that I have experienced before. I saw the lizards in the porchlight at my mother in law’s house, it evoked memories of my grandmother’s house in Puerto Rico, It make me remember feel the summer heat at my grandmothers hous, I remembered the beach, I felt like if I was walking in my beloved Calle Loiza, except that is different because there are other places, other sensations here in Colombia. This time around I started in Medellin. I am still thinking of my feelings toward this enchanting place. So I will have post in a later article. But enjoy the images for now and stay tuned.

Medellin panoramic images (Click here)
Medellin street scenes (Click here)



Toto la Momposina at Millenium Park – Almost 20 years in the making

Toto la Momposina Millinium Park 2Sometime in the year 2000 in my former life as a suburbanite far removed from Chicago’s cultural scene I walked into the former Borders bookstore in Oak Park and as I was purchasing a book I noticed in the checkout counter a Putamayo CD on display titled “Latinas”. I bought it and it instantly became my favorite. In this CD the performers were none that I recognized, but through the years of owning the CD one of them became the voice of who I am now. It turns out that that performer was none other than Toto la Momposina a woman that will become a personal tradition in my life as much as La Lupe, Celia Cruz, Graciela and others. Toto represented an area of Colombia that with the passage of time will become my second Patria. Tonight 17 years after that encounter in Borders I was face to face with the Caribbean Diva. As I heard her sing “Yo me llamo cumbia” in her unmistaken voice that at her age feels like a good wine, I was overcome by an emotion that only comes from loving Colombia as my own country.

Her performance was impeccable and she not only embodied her very regional musical genre she also personified the whole Caribbean in several of her titles. Her band was extremely polished and they had the command of a Cuban style that evoked a bygone era. I particularly enjoyed her porro numbers like “Los sabores del Porro” which evokes the memories of listening to Porro on the porch with my late father in law.

You can further enjoy the experience by viewing the images:

You can also see her at the 2017 Colombian Fest in Chicago for more info click here: