Well Known Aiboniteños

This section  contains information, links, and photographs of Aiboniteños who have distinguished themselves.

DISTINGUISHED AIBONITEÑOS OF RECENT VINTAGE

Obie Bermudez: Born in the mountain town of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, singer/songwriter Obie Bermúdez moved with his family to the agriculturally rich Vineland, New Jersey at the age of 12. An interest in poetry came first, but soon Bermúdez became obsessed with music and composition. A demo was recorded in 1996 and two years later RCA International issued his debut album, Locales. The pop album drew some attention, but not enough to turn the artist into a superstar. The self-proclaimed bohemian took a break from music and opted to work in a South Bronx laundromat for the next five years. The customers and co-workers and their day-to-day lives inspired nearly all the songs on his second album, Confesiones, released by EMI International in 2004. The more alternative-sounding album was an instant hit with the kick off single "Antes" reaching Number One on numerous Latin music charts. ~ David Jeffries, All Music Guide. Grammy Award winner of Latin music. 

Ruben Berrios: President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party. Former senator and candidate for Governor. Activist & leader in the liberation of Culebras and Vieques from being used as military installation

Irene Fernández Aponte : Tiene un doctorado de la Universidad de Valladolid de España y se desempeña como rectora de la Universidad Interamericana, Recinto de Barranquitas. Su trayectoria profesional ha sido en la educación desempeñándose como maestra en las escuelas públicas de Puerto Rico y luego como catedrática en la Universidad de PR, Recinto de Cayey, y la U. Interamericana de Barranquitas. Su experiencia ha sido vasta también en el campo administrativo tanto como supervisora en el Departamento de Educación como decana y luego rectora en la Universidad Interamericana.

s.

Dennis Hickey Rivera: Known as Dennis H. Rivera in the Mainland. He is an aiboniteño known for his leadership with one of the most powerful union (1199) in the US and his influence in political circles (Edgardo Alvelo).

Alfredo Padilla Cintron: Former top executive in several banks. Currently the Commissioner of Financial  Institutions of Puerto Rico.

Maria Milagros Reyes: Accountant and lawyer. Retired from the Puerto Rico Telephone Company. Currently legal advisor to the President of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulation Board "Junta Reglamentadora de Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico". 

BENJAMIN LOPEZ, SR.: Benjamin Lopez was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico on January 16, 1949 and came to live in Jersey City, in December of 1959. He graduated from Princeton University. He had had a major involvement with several community organization serving minority populations of Blacks and Hispanics. For the past 30 years, he has been active in the political arena in support of candidates that have protected the interests of Hispanic Community. He has been active statewide as Chairman of the New Jersey Hispanic Council, and is currently interim Chair of the Hispanic Pioneers Civic Association. Benjamin is happily married to Nidia Rivera Lopez, ward C committee women and community activist and is the proud parent of Olivia Lopez Perreira, a Jersey City public school teacher and Benjamin Lopez Jr. He also is the proud grandfather of Joaquin Antonia Pereira.

Eliu Rivera: Freeholder Board member (a county governing board) of District 4 of Hudson County in New jersey. He attended local schools,graduated from Dickinson High School in Jersey City and continued his education at Rutgers University and St. Peter’s College. P.A.C.O. Agency Executive Director, he has gained extensive experience in the housing, economic development, health, education and community development areas. The agency has a solid reputation for enhancing the quality of life for its neighborhood and constituents. A former Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, Freeholder Rivera has been recognized for his many contributions to the community with a host of awards from distinguished organizations. He is the recipient of the Jersey City Police Department Distinguished Service Award and the Hispanic Merchants Association Community Service Award. In addition he has been honored and received awards from organizations such as the Hispanic Firefighters of Hudson County, the Hudson County Labor Council for Latin Advancement, the Jersey City Board of Education, the New Jersey and Jersey City Puerto Rican Parade Committees, the Roberto Clemente Little League, the Jersey City Medical Center, the Urban League, the Dominican Parade Committee, the Save Latin America Committee, the Peruvian Parade Committee, the March of Dimes and the Christopher Columbus Foundation." (Information by John Carpena)

Chiqui Sanchez: Physician with an specialization in dermatology. Created a center for the homeless in Aibonito.

ZORAIDA SANCHEZ: Nacida el 2 de septiembre de 1948 en Aibonito, Puerto Rico, vino a Grand Rapids en el año 1976. Zoraida Sánchez ‘Rios Ortiz’ ha usado sus muchas habilidades para ayudar a los hispanos en Michigan. Se graduó de la Escuela Superior Bonifacio Sánchez en Aibonito en el 1966. Se graduó del Instituto Comercial de Puerto Rico en el 1968. Vino a MI y continuo sus estudios en el Grand Rapids Community College y la Universidad Ferris State en Big Rapids, donde termino un bachillerato en Trabajo Social/Gerontologia. Fue directora de la Agencia¨Latin American Services¨ del 1981 al 2002. Fundo el Centro de Ancianos Hispanos de Grand Rapids, lugar donde los ancianos hispanos van a recrearse y donde se sirven comidas hispanas diariamente. Este es el único centro de envejecíentes donde se come “arroz con habichelas” en el Estado de Michigan. Zoraida se distingue por su lucha por la comunidad hispana y especialmente los envejecíentes. Ha sido parte de la Junta de Directores de muchas agencias importantes a nivel local, estatal y federal, desde donde ha podido hacer cambios que han beneficiado a los hispanos. El Presidente de Estados Unidos la nombro representante de Michigan en la “White House Conference on Aging” 1981, fue nombrada Comisionada de Asuntos Hispanos en el Estado de Michigan por el gobernador del estado, durante 16 anos sirvió en esa capacidad, fue Comisionada de “Grand Rapids Community Relations Commissión” nombrada por el alcalde de la ciudad. Zoraida es una líder, abocando y tomando acción cuando ha visto injusticias. Sea en frente de los comisionados de la ciudad o del condado, los senadores o representantes estatales y federales defendiendo los derechos del hispano, frente a jefes de policías pidiendo representación hispana y defendiendo el abuso policial, frente a superintendentes de escuela luchando por la educación de los estudiantes hispanos. Zoraida siempre ha actuado con determinación e integridad en su lucha contra la desigualdad. Zoraida ha recibido muchos reconocimientos a nivel local, estatal y federal por sus servicios a la comunidad y por su activismo. Entre ellos en el 1981, la Primera Dama del estado de Michigan le entrego una placa como una de las 150 mujeres más importantes del estado de Michigan y el alcalde de Aibonito, su pueblo natal, Hon. Jose A. Diaz le hizo un reconocimiento entregándole una placa el Día de los Aiboniteños Ausentes el 2 de agosto de 1998. En la actualidad Sánchez tiene un prospero negocio de preparación de impuestos y otros servicios, donde da oportunidad de empleo a 9 personas de la comunidad hispana. También da clases de preparación de impuestos y es invitada especial “Guest Speaker” de muchas actividades locales y estatales y sirve de Consultora a varias agencias hispanas y americanas interesadas en servir a los hispanos.

Ramon Vazquez: Ramon was born on Saturday, August 21, 1976, in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. Vazquez was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 7, 2001, with the Seattle Mariners.

DISTINGUISHED AIBONITEÑOS OF THE PAST

Ramon Alvelo: A well known merchant in the 20's & 30' and later a farmer. A founding member of the "Luz & Caridad" freemason lodge, the first lodge in Aibonito. (Quoted from Sucedio en Aibonito by N. Borges).

Tulio Alvelo: The first professional photographer in Aibonito during the 1930's. He studied under Francisco Delgado in Rio Piedras.  He was well known for his techniques of retouching black and white negatives and thus improving the appearance of  his clients. After establishing the first photographic shop in Aibonito he later established himself in the town of Cayey. (Quoted from Sucedio en Aibonito by N. Borges).

Nicasio Borges: Aibonito's number one profesional photographer for many decades. He founded a local newspaper called "Impresiones" that was later continued by his son Jaime. Borges book,  "Sucedio en Aibonito", was published posthumously in 1993 by his sons. 

Nestor F. Concepción:  An Aiboniteño who distinguished himself as professional newspaperman  in the former "El Mundo" in the 60's. He had an early death and the media of the time acknowledge his contributions to professional journalism.  (Quoted from "Sucedio en Aibonito" by N. Borges).

Josefina Guevara Castañeira: Born and raised in the town of Aibonito. Her parents were Juan de Dios Guevara Santini and Pastora Castañeira. She distinguished herself as: university professor, novelist, poet, essayist, and as journalist in the former "El Mundo" newspaper where she wrote columns on criminality. Among her publications are: "Los Encadenados" and "Del Yunque a los Andes". In the novel "Los Encadenados" she wrote a progressive perspective about the relation between criminality and substance abuse. She was a profilific composer of poems, some dedicated to the town of Aibonito. Her poems were recorded by the actor Ray Francisco Quiñones. (Contribution by Lcda. María M. Reyes Guevara). Click on the thumbnail below to see her full size picture:

josefina.jpg (52734 bytes)

Leopoldo Mercado: Civic leader, Red Cross & Civil Defense director in Aibonito during WW II. Founder of the Aibonito fremason lodge "Luz y Libertad #92" in 1947.(From "Sucedio en Aibonito" by N. Borges).

Stanley Miller: An adopted aiboniteño for his many contributions to the welfare of Aibonito. He was an agronomist who came as a Menonite missionary in the 1940's. He helped developed the chicken industry that led to creation of To-Rico, the largest native  chicken processing industry in Puerto Rico (Jose Maldinid).

Cornelio Negron: Labor movement leader in Aibonito during the 1920's, 1930's and early 1940's. Activist of the  Puerto Rican Socialist Party and  part of the national  movement to organize workers into labor unions by Santiago Iglesias Pantin. (From "Sucedio en Aibonito" by N. Borges).

Rafael Pont Flores: A well known radio (WKAQ) sports comentator in the 1950's. He was also a sports columnist in the "El Mundo" newspaper, the  newspaper of greatest circulation during the  the 50's & and early 60's (Jose Maldinid).

Luis "Torito" Melendez:  Baseball star who started in the A and AA league of Aibonito. He was later drafted by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the major leagues in the late 60's. In Puerto Rico he played with the Ponce "Lions". He is currently the coach of the Ponce team (Luis Pesante).

 

Please contact the webmaster if you believe there are other distinguished aiboniteños that belong here. A brief biography will be helpful. Your contribution will be acknowledged.

Click here to contact the Webmaster: Jaime Alvelo, DSW

Home Page