Hostos Community College Foundation Chair José Sánchez-Kinghorn extended an invitation to prominent Puerto Rican marketing executive and historian Dr. Luis Rafael Burset for a Veladas Hostosianas/ Hostos Culture Talks commemorating Puerto Rican Heritage Month.
Titled “Puerto Rico: Conexiones y Pluralidades Antillanas / Puerto Rico: Antillean and Plural Connections,” the event took place over Zoom on Friday, November 19, 2021, at 3:30 p.m.
Director of Communications Soldanela Rivera López served as moderator.
Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis welcomed everyone to the last Velada Hostosiana | Hostos Culture Talk of the fall academic semester. “Today I honor and thank Dr. Burset and our own Board Chair, the generous José Sánchez-Kinghorn, and our own Sol Rivera López — the heart of Puerto Rico in three multiple manifestations — for being here today,” Dr. Cocco De Filippis remarked. ”We are proud of you, and many thanks for being here for this important commemoration.”
Kinghorn spoke with Dr. Burset about his book “La vida en Puerto Rico en el siglo XVI, La población del Caribe entre 1590 y 1620,” which focuses on how the 16th century shaped the island’s commerce structures — structures that have lasted through this day.
Dr. Burset, whose research revolves around Puerto Rico and the Spanish Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries, discussed the ways in which Puerto Rico’s economy established itself through exchange and barter before the use of currency. “A person could buy and order all kinds of goods by giving a box of sugar to a middleman or broker who would sell for cash, and they would send for — or travel to get — an order of peppers, cinnamon, olives, fabrics and garments, furniture and more,” Dr. Burset noted. “The transaction would take about six months to and from, but it was the Amazon of the time.”
Dr. Burset’s book is aimed at readers interested in history but are not themselves historians. His work has been praised for conveying what life was like when Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony.
Created by President De Filippis, the Veladas Hostosianas | Hostos Culture Talks have become a staple event at the College and cover a wide variety of topics drawn from the arts, sciences, and politics.

Watch the full event here.