Buscabulla removes the tourist’s gaze from Puerto Rico in “Mio” music video
It flies in the face of the many tourists still streaming to the island despite COVID-19’s restrictions.
On Thursday Aug. 13, the Puerto Rican duo Buscabulla released the music video for their song “Mío” from their debut album Regresa. Their primary intention with the visuals for “Mío” was to show off their island outside of a tourist’s perspective.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, tourists have continued coming to Puerto Rico, many of them disregarding the rules and regulations put in place to keep people safe and healthy, which has disturbed local residents.
Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle get right to the point in the first few seconds of the video. It begins by displaying swaths of land for sale and a sign announcing the construction of a new mega-resort in Aguadilla, which activists have been fighting against for 20 years.
Berrios told Paper Magazine that there’s a lot of foreigners buying land on the island that don’t know a thing about the people living there.
“A lot of people come not really wanting to understand the culture or language, but trying to impose themselves,” she explained.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Berrios and Del Valle put together and edited the footage mostly on their own.
They intentionally contrasted scenes of tourists swimming with traditions like the annual Festival de las Mascaras, which is not a tourist destination at all.
“It’s so rowdy and loud, and that’s what attracted us to the festivity, that it was very much for the people, mostly working-class people of Arecibo and Hatillo,” Berrios said.
The music video for their song “Vámono” had a festival theme, but “Mío” showed the festival itself as well as another mask-centric tradition known as the Vejigante Festival, in Ponce.
According to the band, the video “depicts the island’s picturesque landscapes in contrast with the gritty aesthetic of notorious local festivities, which themselves preserve and expand our culture while existing beyond the market forces trying to erase them.”
The lyrics criticize the impact of corporate tourism and political influences that are taking Puerto Rico out of the hands of its locals. “Mío” is a reclamation of the island.
“Tú puedes mirar pero no tocar. Si juegas con fuego te vas a quemar. Ya verás que el día te va llegar. Yo te lo advertí” are some of the lyrics.
(You can look but not touch. If you play with fire you're gonna get burned. You'll see that the day will come. I warned you.)
“‘Mío’ is a look outside the tourist’s gaze in Puerto Rico, with recent natural disasters, an ongoing economic crisis, and now a global pandemic accelerating gentrification and foreign development,” Buscabulla explains.