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Op-Ed: ‘Hecho en Puerto Rico’

Author Gigi de Mier, APR, Fellow PRSA, is senior counsel of The De Mier Group

Author Gigi de Mier, APR, Fellow PRSA, is senior counsel of The De Mier Group

If Senate Bill 400, granting the Puerto Rico Products Association exclusive rights to manage the “Hecho en Puerto Rico” brand is approved, I would probably have to pay the Association some sort of fee for using said “brand” in my headline and surely ask their permission to use it.

So would the Department of Agriculture, which two years back launched its “Hecho en Puerto Rico” label to be used in produce packaging; and Tita, a homemaker who has an exquisite line of dressings, would see her income reduced if she would also have to pay a fee and her time management in jeopardy as she waits for the Association to approve her use of the words.

It’s incredible that this idea passed muster to become a bill.

First of all, “hecho en Puerto Rico” is not a brand, it’s not even a trademark; it’s a geographically correct fact. I bet that if the organization tries to register “Hecho en Puerto Rico” as their copyright, they would be turned down.

I can’t imagine how our artisans are going to handle this new challenge and how the Association will be able to oversee its fulfillment, when that phrase has been used for ages by everyone who wants to highlight the fact, from the Tourism Company to Maví del Barril, a family operation of this autochthonous libation tied to Puerto Rico Farmers’ Market.

On the other hand, with a fiscal crisis the government can’t even begin to handle, how can the Senate justify granting $250,000 from public funds to the Association –which is not a nonprofit organization? I think it’s a pretty smart strategy by the Association, but outrageous that it’s even being considered.

Another made in Puerto Rico measure being considered is Senate bill 238, which would prohibit genre and sexual orientation discrimination at the workplace. This is a righteous bill; civil rights are for everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender or race.

I can’t believe that there’s still a debate regarding gay rights, especially opposed to by religious groups, when in our democracy state and religion are to remain separate. The main opposition is based on morals and spiritual beliefs, but these should be of no concern in a state debate for rights. Under the law, everyone is equal – and by the way, Jesus has taught us, over and over again, that he is also a believer of equality.

I must say that I find the opposition’s reasoning absurd.  Besides, where is charity and generosity, virtues that every Christian should aspire to? I really don’t get it. In a society so fractured and fragile as ours, we should try to be and let be, and concentrate on our more demanding issues: education, financial stability, safety and health.  We shouldn’t keep our distance from our fellowmen; on the contrary, we should strive for unity, dialogue, perseverance and action.

Our government needs us more than ever; it seems so lost. Let’s support and participate in Agenda Ciudadana, the first truly viable community-based project aimed at turning the island into what it should and can be: paradise.

Let’s make sure that the government takes the suggestions seriously and implements them; remember, they are our employees and we are the boss.

The talent and the will are present; we just have to take it a step further. Act now!

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.


  1. mgmulet April 24, 2013

    Welcome to the outrageous world of patent and copyright trolling! And with the help of our spanking-new senators, voted into office by a desperate electorate seeking relief from the endless corruption and legislation-for-sale of the past administration. What next – a bill granting rights for the use of the word coquí? How aboutr the flag while we’re at it?

  2. FishyLuv June 2, 2013

    Point 1, absolutely correct. It’s insane to ask people to sit around waiting on yet another bureaucracy to approve a simple message on their product. Point 2, you don’t understand the objections many have to that bill. It’s not just religious people who are getting very nervous about it. Lots of us secular people are too, because we see the day coming when it will be even harder to let bad employees go due to this law. I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body, and I can tell you, this law would make me very, very hesitant to hire an openly gay person. Because if they turn out to be a rotten employee, what am I going to do? Will I risk a lawsuit and a judgment against my business by letting them go, or will I let a straight person go instead to keep from rocking the boat? At what point does tolerance turn to opening my business to sexual-orientation blackmail? Seriously, do we need to give the government one more way to pick our pockets?


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