Juan J. Romero Sanes (September 22, 1935 - August 19, 2020)
With immense sadness, the Culebra Foundation announces that our founder, Juan J. Romero Sanes, passed away on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. He left us as he wanted, on his island and surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Juan is one of the great pillars of Culebra. His legacy and work to preserve our history, culture and community is impressive. He started the non-profit organization Fundación de Culebra in 1994 and it continues to this day. As a community leader, he coordinated volunteers who worked on the reconstruction of historic buildings, getting photos, identifying them, etc.
Among his great achievements was the transfer of the Culebrita Lighthouse from the US government to the Municipality and his dream for its restoration in association with Para La Naturaleza. He headed up the restoration of the historic 1905 building, which became the Culebra Museum in 2008, receiving thousands of visitors. He guided the reconstruction of the 1908 building, which became offices of the Foundation and a depository for archeological artifacts and other documents, including a collection of old photos and plans. He wrote a book on the history of Culebra.
Juan was a visionary man ... who even in lonely moments had his life mission very clear. We did a very simple farewell ceremony at the Museum that he loved so much with a group of friends, on Friday, August 21. Well, we had a storm happening on Saturday and the Covid-19 emergency. After the Covid-19 emergency passes, we will celebrate his life so that we can all share in his achievements, which are the achievements of the entire community.
We appreciate all the messages, calls and expressions of affection on behalf of his son Georgie, grandson Mario, other relatives and his family from Fundación de Culebra. Juan was a special being whom I had the honor to share for many years in the work of the Foundation and as another father who gave me the Universe in Culebra.
Rest in peace Juan… we will never forget you and we will preserve your legacy forever.
"Death does not exist, people only die when you forget them, if you can remember me, I will always be with you" Isabel Allende
Fundación de Culebra proudly presents the
Juan J. Romero Collection 9/4/2020
Fundación de Culebra proudly presents its website that is dedicated to presenting the Juan J. Romero Collection.
Throughout his life, Juan dedicated himself to being the archivist of all documents, photos, newspaper clippings, maps, videos and interviews about Culebra. Many of these manuscript documents he cleaned or translated. All these materials have been in our offices where, a few years ago, we began the process of organizing, classifying and digitizing them. READ MORE . . .
Fundación de Culebra / Corona Virus-Covid19
Cheers! We live every day as a challenge. These are times of uncertainty and times for re-inventing ourselves and looking for new ways of living. We are proud that through our teamwork and effort we are still at 0 cases.
May 4, 2020, Culebra - 0 cases of Covid-19
Our work in the Community . . . 5/4/20
- Bilingual newsletter on Covid-19. It was posted on Facebook and a paper version was posted in grocery stores, post office, bank, etc.
- We have provided updates through the FaceBook page of what is happening in the country and in Culebra with accurate and timely information for the entire community.
- We are operating our programs following isolation in place procedure.
- We take courses with FEMA, Fundación Flamboyán, Hispanic Federation, Fundación Ángel Ramos, Fundación por PR, Mercy Corps and Asociación de Museos de PR to train in different areas and explore grant opportunities that have arisen to address this situation.
- We have created social media activities to entertain children.
- Sandra Rivera from our office has continued the work of digitizing documents and old videos, posting them on our page www.fundacionomeka.net. This has been a resource for people to explore our collections during quarantine and to provide relief and distraction in the emergency.
- Sandra has been posting videos of Culebra history, music and culture on our Facebook page to maintain the spirit of the community while doing educational work.
- We are working on putting an audio system on our van to support the general population, and particularly people that do not have internet. This helps keep everyone informed and keeps the community spirits up.
- We have continued the development plan for green areas and office facilities (1908) and our facilities for Musica Pa' Culebra and our Arts program at the Old Town School.
- We have been the link to facilitate donations of various types, from masks, sanitizers and fresh fish. We have made the distribution so that they reach those who need it most.
- We have offered an Emotional Support line for our community. FUERZA - 787-617-8517
- We have been in communication with FEMA so that they know our needs. We even asked them to work with the Port Authority on a protocol for cleaning ferries, ferry terminals (2) and the airport to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
Our work at the museum . . . 5/4/20
- We were early to close the Museum to visitors and it remains closed until further notice. Although this is our main income in the general fund during peak season, it was clearly necessary. This we did in anticipation of the government's general closure.
- We started working on a script to develop a virtual tour to our museum, coordinated by Sonia Arocho, the museum's director.
- We continue taking care of the museum: our garden, planting fruit trees and our beekeeping project. We thank Ricky Carrion and his daughter Kairi Mar, both Culebrenses beekeepers for their help.
- We finished the design of our label for the museum's small bottles of honey.
- We have continued the development plan for green areas and office facilities for the museum(1905).
Our program - Música Pa’ Culebra . . . 5/4/20
- Before isolation was established, we presented a singing handwashing workshop with the children of the Música Pa ’Culebra program.
- We have distributed instruments to MPC students at their homes. In this way they can continue practicing and being productive. At the same time bringing joy to their families.
- We are beginning the preparations for the online classes. The piano lessons started last week. Steel drum, guitar and percussion lessons will start shortly.
- We are buying some drum pads and sticks so that young children can play drums and congas at home and benefit from online classes.
- We are looking for ways to get keyboards for the little ones and another Steel drum to facilitate the classes.We currently have 7 steel drum students and only 3 steel drums.
- We are building a program to acquire tablets and laptops so that children can take online classes. Many children have access limited to parent's cell phones. This makes the visual part of remote teaching difficult.
Those we appreciate . . . 5/4/20
- Lilly Zeller's support.She has sewn cloth masks for all employees of primary support agencies: police, garbage collectors, DRNA, hospital, etc. and made some for children that we distribute to children with respiratory and other risky conditions.
- The support of Carlos RodrÍguez y Vieques Airlinks who sent us protective masks, disinfectants, etc. to share with the community.
- The support of Eduardo Puig and family; and María Eugenia Ferré-Rangel and her family.They have supplied us with painting and activity books, toys, crayons and colored pencils to celebrate Children's Day. This helps to keep children entertained at home and gives parents a break during this difficult emergency.
- Matt Ashburn has donated 500 disposable masks to be distributed in the community. We started the Love Patrol for our community. Here 3 colleagues from Fundación de Culebra distribute masks to people who are on the street without masks. In this way we all take care of ourselves.
- The support of Anthony “Tony” Negrón and Druso Daubon, fishermen who wanted to donate fresh fish. We coordinate with them and distribute the fish to elderly people and others that we know were in need.
Stuff that would be helpful . . . 5/4/20
- We are looking for donated tablets and laptops so that children can take online classes. Many children have access limited to parent's cell phones. This makes the visual part of remote teaching difficult.
- Paints, brushes, sticker books, small pools for children. This is so that the children can entertain and alleviate the long hours of confinement with their relatives.
- Irrigation system for our orchard and fruit tree area.
- New or used keyboards (pianitos) for young children
- Children's drum sticks
- A Steel drumTenor (used or new)
- Please consider making a financial donation. Our main income to the General Fund of the Culebra Foundation comes from admission donations to the Museum and the sales from the museum store and museum items that are sold in La Cava. The closure of everything due to the emergency occurred at the peak of the season. At this time we do not know when it will reopen and when we can receive a visitors again.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
The Culebra Foundation is celebrating a year full of initiatives and achievements in 2019. We have two resiliency centers for emergencies and community support that were established this year. One is at our 1905 museum and one at our 1908 offices. Both buildings have solar energy systems, storage and filtration systems for drinking water. We still need a satellite Internet system, but we hope to add it soon. Each step closer, so that Culebra is the first Solar island in the Caribbean!
A great achievement is the beginning of the web page of documents, plans, oral interviews of Culebra characters, old photos, etc. It is a project in progress with the Diaspora group of the University of Puerto Rico. The page is We invite you to visit it.
We thank all the individuals and collaborators of Fundación de Culebra and its programs immensely. Your input is crucial and is what with those funds and support makes us move forward. Definitely another crucial element is our team that voluntarily gives heart to what it does: Juan J. Romero, Josefina Vélez, Sonia Arocho, Yadira Rivera, Jorlena Sayán, Maridel Peña, Cuca Parrilla, Sandra Rivera, Cecilio Reyes, Joey Sala and Doug Lang
This was the closing of the great celebration of our 25 years ... working with the community for the community ... We continue!
The restoration of the sculpture Hector the Protector begins this week and we are honored to have the famous international sculptor Thomas Dambo of Denmark and his team. Hurricane Maria brought us the sculpture he had made in Culebra. Dambo is known because he makes his gigantic sculptures with recycled material of wooden pallets, sending a message of the importance of reusing and recycling. We are very proud to have it. We are still collecting funds to cover the costs of the project. So cheer up, then you will make an emblematic table with all the names of those who contribute. Be part of the story and join this special project! READ MORE. . .
The Energy Bureau visited Culebra, September 12 of 2018 to talk about our situation.
The Energy Bureau visited Culebra, September 12 of 2018 to talk about our situation. They are not the AEE, they are a group created to oversee PREPA. The municipality asked for help and that's why they came. There was a large group of residents. They told us that we should object to ALL bills to PREPA. You can register your objections by mail, at the local office or online. They explained the regular procedures that PREPA has for complaints. We explained that this is not a regular situation. They did not know about our situation. They will receive comments up to 2 more weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org, directed to the commissioner. We explained that the situation in Culebra is NOT a group of individual cases but is one case comprising the whole island with the generators. They agreed that in a month they will have a report and they will give us a copy of it. For you to know there are two research projects; one in the Senate and one in the House; we have to go and raise our voices because they have the power to create a law that covers us and takes care of our unique situation and even places us in a situation of energy emergency one year from Maria. Included here is the presentation of the Culebra Foundation that was presented that day. We continue!
Here is the Culebra Foundation Presentation to this group:
Speech to AEE on the AEE Billing of electrical energy in Culebra when using Corps of Engineers and Diesel generators and supervision of FEMA
Greetings to all;
The Culebra Foundation, represented today by my person Luz Rivera-Cantwell, began a process with the community of objection to the AEE for the billing energy services post hurricane Maria.
We obtained a Certification from the Municipality of Culebra where it is established that the service was interrupted from September 20 following Maria's hurricaine. That the service is partially restored on September 22 until December 4, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with the PREPA generator. We have to thank immensely Carlos Torres and the boys of the AEE ( Culebra Crew) because they were the ones who fixed the whole transmission. That on December 4 the US Corps of Engineers installed 2 mega generators that generate the energy to the present. We add a copy of this Certification. And we add that Fema is the one that supplies the fuel, the handling of it and the engineer that supervises the operation and is available for mechanical problems. We thank the mayor of Culebra William Iván Solís and Orlando Bermúdez for the support and the document.
We present a document of Objection to the Invoice of EEE under the protection of Law no. 3 of January 17, 2018 of the Governor of PR.
We quote "Law 3-2018 prohibits the AEE from billing and charging its customers for any consumption reflected in their meters or consumption meters as a result of generation and consumption of electric power that is not generated and distributed by the AEE in situations of emergency"
Article 2 of Law 3-2018 provides: "Any customer of the PREPA which has been billed or charged for a consumption reflected in its meter as a result of the energy generated by the use of an electric generator or power plant that does not has been the product of the generation and distribution by the own AEE, could thus claim it to the public corporation, so that it carries out the corresponding adjustment in the invoice, return of money or credit, as applicable .... . We include a copy of the objection document. We want to thank the lawyer Celso Rivera for donating to us in his personal character the help and preparing the same when requesting it for our community.
In addition, the Culebra Foundation on May 9, 2018 sends a letter to FEMA where we ask for your position, since Culebra is still in an emergency state of energy. We have not received a response yet. What we have confirmed is that the FEMA agency is the one that pays for the diesel, the engineer and manages the operation. We want to take advantage of and appreciate the support beyond your responsibilities of Tom Ryan who has been with us for almost a year and is leaving Culebra at the end of the month.
We want it to be clear that:
1. Culebra is still without the service of the PREPA and it is not responsible to say that PREPA has already restored the service 100%.
2. You have to review invoices that came very high without any justification and some business that worked with your personal generators during the emergency, which was what allowed us to have food in the grocery stores.
3. Culebra is in an emergency energy situation and solutions must be urgently sought. We know of the proposals to power the islands of Culebra and Vieques, the agency was settled and we would like them to be shared with the community. The service is for us and we should be able to comment on it. 4. We are willing to pay for what PREPA currently provides, which is the transmission of energy.
5. We are still in post-Maria emergency and in emergency situations we have to make changes, be creative and be fair with the situation. FEMA provides this help to help the population not because they want to make a gift to the agency.
6. We ask PREPA to do justice to our situation and create a new formula to calculate the payment where we pay for the transmission of energy that is what they are providing us at this time. Not generation or fuel (which is the most expensive).
We are worried that if FEMA leave Culebra, what will happen to us? What is PREPA's plan as a transition process? Our daily life, hospital, infant care centers, schools, residences, businesses, agencies, in short, almost all social and economic activity depends on energy. Our concern is valid and we need answers. We appreciate the fact that they came to Culebra to listen and to answer our concerns. We would like to know if today you have answers to some of the questions we propose here.
Fundación de Culebra
Box 331, Culebra, PR 00775
The Culebra Foundation says thank you!
Thanks for the love, solidarity and support you have offered to our children, our community and our island of Culebra during 2017.
This is a moment of reflection, a time to rethink what we want our island to be, both its natural resources and community. It is a moment where all of us who love Culebra must voice our concerns. Each one contributing what he can; skills, volunteer work, materials and/or economic resources. It is a time when we can take action and make Culebra stronger and more resilient. Culebra touches us all, let's work together for a stronger future.
We present below a summary of those who have supported Culebra in recent months, recognizing all the heroes that contribute to our community.
Relief and help after Hurricanes Irma and Maria
The Culebra Foundation has been working hard to help during this emergency. From the beginning we organized with other Culebra community groups and published a bilingual daily bulletin, so that the community had information in the absence of normal communications. We worked on the community request to the governor of PR to intervene in the situation of the generators that have been located in Culebra since 2008 and have been unavailable for use because of a legal dispute.
We collaborated with the Municipality of Culebra in organizing and distributing aid and supplies that it received, as well as helping in the community meetings by translating for the population that speaks English.
In this process we have been in communication and meetings with the Foundation for Puerto Rico, which helped us obtain the communications antennas that were placed in the Municipality for the community, provided by Hughes and installed by the Puerto Rican satellite engineer Nahim Merheb, with the help of Carlos Rodríguez of Vieques Air Link. They have also helped us channel the needs of the island to the agencies, achieving important aid. Special thanks to Jon Borsow and Maria (Baby) Jaunarena.
We also collaborated with the group ComPRmetidos. They lent us a satellite phone in the first months of the crisis, when there was no communication of any sort. We thank Isabel Rullán and Carmen Muñoz.
The Banco Popular Foundation has been very helpful in collaborating with the donation of a portable solar desalinization plant, which we plan to locate on Flamenco Beach, as an education and sustainability project. We are coordinating with them other efforts towards the Flamenco beach that we will share later. They have also contributed to the Educational Association of Culebra, a community center with preschool, donating scholarships for parents who have become unemployed at this time due to the hurricane. Special thanks to Ana Maria Vidal and Jose Manuel Lozano for their help and commitment.
The Crossing Oceans for Friendship organization and Joseph Manuel Ojeda donated 100 Sawyer filters to our community. We thank our community for bringing them on their sailboat and thinking about our island. The Culebra Foundation shared 40 of the filters with Americorps de Culebra for a recycling project. We took on the task of assembling them and going to the different centers, groups and schools to explain the function of the filters to large and small and the importance of them.
For Nature (Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico) sent us donations from UNESCO and other aid for the community that was distributed in collaboration with the Educational Association of Culebra. In addition they chose us as a center of relief to the community, so they will be installing a system of solar panels in our offices (Building 1908) with cistern. We thank Lic. Fernando Lloveras and Anamar Carrión for their commitment.
United For Puerto Rico donated a power plant to use at the offices of the Culebra Foundation during the emergency. In addition, the Foundation for a Better Puerto Rico, by Dennis Rivera and Terry Bishoff, lent us a small power plant for the music program. Also from the beginning some friends of Shay and Jean-Francoise (of the Dinghy Dock) lent us a powerful solar plant that helped us enormously for the piano lessons and instrument amplifiers. Many thanks to Jerry's Jeep for being the official sponsor of Música Pa 'Culebra, providing transportation to our music teachers.
The Culebra Foundation has facilitated various donations made through the Culebra Foundation for our community by an incredible group of friends from Culebra, partial residents and even strangers in solidarity with our island. We want to thank all those who have put their trust in us and who have sent donations in different ways to alleviate the impact of our community. We have also been talking about community sustainability projects that we hope to share later. The love and affection we have received has been wonderful.
We are currently working with merchants to reopen our island and community and mobilize our economy. We have been meeting with merchants and coordinating with other businesses such as Vieques Air Link to have air transportation options. We are making a request to the governor of PR to intervene in the ferry transportation issues.
It has been a lot of work but the satisfaction has been immensely rewarding, thanks to teamwork and an incredible community. We want to specially thank Architect Diego Morell for all the support and work in all the projects. Onward!
History Museum of Culebra
During this post hurricane season, we have been working hard to maintain our facilities. Especially the Museum, since in February, we'll be celebrating the tenth anniversary. We have worked on the patio, painting, changing and moving showcases, fixing lamps and preparing other surprises for everyone. In fact we did a guided tour at night (it was when we had light) in the museum for all FEMA workers and other relief personnel, it was a success and gave them an important background of the history and culture of our island. We thank Yadira Rivera, Digna Feliciano, Aléxis Bermúdez, Angel Navedo and our museum director Sonia Arocho.
The Culebra Foundation proudly reports that the Música Pa 'Culebra program began one week after Hurricanes María and Irma. Our intention was to give the children of Culebra a safe place, with snacks, fun, supervision and learning. The school of Culebra began the last week of November, so the only thing that many children had was the music lessons.
Música Pa' Culebra
Coming Soon - Art workshops for children and adolescents.
501-C3 - The Culebra Foundation, Inc. now has it's 501-C3, which allows companies to make tax deductible donations. Also, it allows us to apply for federal funds. If someone has experience with this type of proposal and is interested in helping us, please communicate with Luz Rivera or Sonia Arocho.