Tapesearch Logo

1. What Is La Brega?

La Brega

WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios

Podcast, Puerto, San, Historia, La, De, Vieques, Juan, Rico, Society & Culture, Levittown, Noticias, Brega

4.91K Ratings

🗓️ 24 February 2021

⏱️ 18 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In this kick-off episode, host Alana Casanova-Burgess sets out to define la brega and examine what its ubiquity among boricuas really means. A brega implies a challenge we can’t really solve, so you have to hustle to get around it. In Puerto Rico, Cheo Santiago runs a social media account called Adopta Un Hoyo, where people deal with the huge problem of potholes by painting their edges white and posting photographs of craters to the site. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes (hoyos) and what people do to fix them or get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. She talks with Cheo Santiago, who runs a social media account called Adopta Un Hoyo, to learn more about this particular problem, and with scholar and professor emeritus at Princeton, Arcadio Diaz Quiñonez. Some twenty years ago, he published an influential essay called “De Como y Cuándo Bregar”. The essay used the language of la brega as a lens to understand Puerto Rican history and politics and identity, arguing that there’s something about this word that unlocks a lot about who we are. Amidst potholes, protests and metaphors, Alana finds all the meanings that lie within “la brega”, how it sometimes asks too much of boricuas, and how the word has an innate sense of hope. If you want to see the video of the water truck referenced in this episode, click here. Arcadio Díaz Quiñones has a new online archive of his work, and you can learn more about it here. His essay, "De Cómo y Cuándo Bregar", can be found in the collection El Arte de Bregar.

Audio player


Click on a timestamp to play from that location


Listen to support it, W NYC Studios.


Hey quick note, there are English and Spanish episodes of La Brega.


This is the English one.


If you're excutcher in the Spoleil,


wolverine feed and selection on the version with the title in


in Espaignol. Spaniel. A few months back a friend sent me a photo of a water truck in a pothole in Kaguas, Puerto Rico.


At first, I thought it was photoshopped.


The front half of the truck was up in the air,


wedged in an enormous crater in the middle of the road.


It looked as if the asphalt had opened a gaping mouth. in the potable water, the A of Agua obscured by the pothole. The whole thing seemed like a metaphor for the state of things in Puerto Rico. It was a bit on the nose. And then I saw the video.


These are the things that happened,


whoever was filming said.


At the back of the truck, the water was pouring out of the hose into the depths of the hole.


It turns out that it was on its way to a neighborhood that had been without water for two weeks and a broken water pipe


was responsible for the sinkhole. There's a lot happening here. A truck filled with water tried to reach a community that had been without it.


Then that truck gets swallowed by a hole in the road that was caused by a broken water pipe.


And lastly, as if adding insult to injury, the water in the truck was lost to the pothole.


These are the things that happen.


We have to do that happen.


We have to deal with that and you have to avoid a pothole any day when you go to work, when you go to the supermarket.


Jose Angel Santiago Rios, better known as Chio Santiago, runs the social media accounts


Adopta On Oyo, adopt a pothole.


Please login to see the full transcript.

Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios, and are the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Tapesearch.

Generated transcripts are the property of WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios and are distributed freely under the Fair Use doctrine. Transcripts generated by Tapesearch are not guaranteed to be accurate.

Copyright © Tapesearch 2024.