WNPR

New Britain's Spanish Language Radio Bears Witness To Stories Of Puerto Rico

Apr 18, 2018

Hablando En Serio, which translates to Talking Seriously is the name of a show on WPRX 1120 that has been part of the Latino community for the last 30 years. The one-hour interview show out of New Britain is hosted by Felix Viera Garcia. 

Lea esta historia en español. / Read this story in Spanish.

Viera Garcia says the show’s goal is to inform people on things they don’t see or talk about in their daily lives --from drug addiction and sex education to having doctors on the show explaining new treatments.

“We try to bring information every day that is useful for the great community that listens to us at that time,” said Garcia. “More than 25,000 people listen to us.”

He sits across from politicians, leaders in the community, and recently, he has been sitting across from Puerto Rican families who have come to Connecticut after Hurricane Maria. He says it’s difficult sometimes to hear the different stories each family has.

“Each family brings their own pain,” Garcia said. “Some because they left their families back in Puerto Rico. Others because they lost everything and came here with just clothes, nothing else. Some others with kids, desperate, others telling me how they only had one meal at the hotel.”

Agnes Torres-Rivera has been a repeat guest on the show
Credit Daniela Marulanda / Connecticut Public Radio

This new strand on the show began about four months ago -- when Pedro Bermudez, a retired Hartford teacher, asked Felix if he could bring some Puerto Rican families so they could tell their stories and find people who could help them.

Agnes Torres-Rivera has been on the show twice. She is finishing her masters in psychology at Trinity College as part of a transfer program from the University of Puerto Rico. The topic that day was what happened before Hurricane Maria that made the exodus from Puerto Rico much worse.

“It was interesting,”she said. “We talked a bit more about the economic and political situation in Puerto Rico and that’s good because most of the time we talk about the hurricane, but not about what’s going on with the island before the hurricane -- how Puerto Rico was going through economic hardships and how that was affecting the people."

Torres-Rivera said it’s important to have shows like this so people who don’t speak English can talk more comfortably.

“There might be a gap in language, and maybe people can’t go to an English-language medium because they won’t be able to communicate unless they have an translator,” she said.

“Not all mediums do what we are doing in this radio station,” said Garcia. “The English-language mediums are not doing this, they are not donating their time for a cause like this. They don’t give 30 minutes of TV to bring families so Americans can see the pain of these families. Americans can help, it’s not just the Latino community that can help.”

Garcia says the door of his talk show is open for all the families and although it’s hard sometimes for him, if he had another 30 years to live, he would do it again.