#LatinoRebels10: From 2011, the Push to End EMBORÍCUATE at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade

May 5, 2021
8:10 PM

Illustration by Alex Cherner

For this first installment of #LatinoRebels10 in celebration of Latino Rebels’ 10th anniversary, we return to the first story that got us some early attention just weeks after we launched the site in 2011. For more installments, click here.

It wasn’t a big petition by online standards but it struck a nerve with many Puerto Ricans in New York and revealed the uneasy relationship with sponsors and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. All because of a tweet that got our attention:


The chatter was so intense online that it led to a story at the time by Fox News Latino, where on June 2, 2011 —less than one month after LatinoRebels.com was launched— our founder Julio Ricardo Varela was already being quoted as a “social media influencer.”

Julio Ricardo Varela, a social media influencer and found of Latinorebels.com, said the online buzz has shined a spotlight on the controversy that would have remained in the dark otherwise.

“It’s not about getting 30,000 signatures,” Varela said. “It’s about finding the right niche… and making change happen.

“The controversy was generated by a tweet,” he added. “It spread, other Puerto Rican activists got offended, and we started covering the story and created the petition.”

Miller Coors had to issue a statement and the NYC Boricua circles were starting to talk about this new group called Latino Rebels, and how did they elevate this issue?

It would be an issue that LR would follow over the next few years, especially with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Here are just a few headlines that we published:

From 2013-2014:

East Harlem City Councilor: Coors Light Official Puerto Rican Day Parade Beer “Disrespectful”

MillerCoors and Puerto Rican Day Parade Respond to Social Media Critics of Official Parade Beer Can

CNN Latino: Puerto Rican Day Parade Chairperson Madelyn Lugo Defends Parade’s Actions

MillerCoors Drops Puerto Rican Parade Beer Cans & Campaign Now Focuses on Parade Leadership

GALOS Corporation Currently Makes 33% Commission for Puerto Rican Day Parade’s Fundraising

Latino Rebels Interviews Madelyn Lugo, Chairperson of National Puerto Rican Day Parade

State Attorney General Extends Deadline for Puerto Rican Day Parade to Submit Investigation Documents


Will Board of Puerto Rican Day Parade Get Booted by New York State Attorney General?

Head of Puerto Rican Day Parade Responds to Reports of AG Investigation: “We Cannot Comment”

AG’s Investigation Findings of Puerto Rican Day Parade (FULL REPORT)


Then in 2015, it was the New York Daily News that stepped in it with stereotypical portrayals of the parade.

Puerto Rican Day Parade Terminates Relationship with NY Daily News

More controversy with the parade happened in 2017 when it honored Oscar López Rivera. Yes, Goya was involved too.

Goya Foods Stops Sponsorship of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade

You can read all the stories Latino Rebels has covered about the parade over the years here, but we will never forget those first few weeks in 2011 that put us on the map, so much so that eventually Latino Rebels was becoming a definitive outlet in covering Puerto Rico both with the Diaspora and on the island. For example, one year later, it was all about what ABC’s “Work It” show was saying about Puerto Ricans and

We actually have an entire category about Puerto Rico on our site that is 45 pages long as of 2017, and those stories don’t even include what happened in late 2012-early 2013, when La Comay was let go from WAPA-TV.

Kobbo Santarrosa, Creator of “La Comay,” Resigns from WAPA TV

Yes, we know that one was complicated and yes, the puppet is back on the air in Puerto Rico, but we at Latino Rebels believe that if it wasn’t for our early work those weeks in 2011 with EMBORÍCUATE and how we connected with an active group of Puerto Rican voices, we wouldn’t be an outlet that has had an impact in the Puerto Rican community.

So thanks, MillerCoors.