Osvaldo Rios, Telenovela Star, Chosen to Lead Puerto Rican Day Parade, Despite Domestic Abuse Sentence


With all the ruckus about former state senator Hiram Monserrate finally dying down, you’d think the organizers of one of New York’s biggest parades, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, would be a bit hesitant about honoring another domestic abuser.

But Gerson Borrero, El Diario‘s longtime top political columnist, wrote twice this week about the odd selection of Osvaldo Rios, a “telenovela soap opera star,” as the “Padrino Internacional” (International Godfather) of the 2010 National Puerto Rican Day Parade, scheduled for Fifth Avenue on June 13.

According to the, Rios served three months in a Bayamon, Puerto Rico prison in 2004 for physically abusing his then girlfriend Daisy Annette Santiago.

Characterized by Borrero as a “heartthrob” model, singer and guitarist, Rios was also sentenced to 15 months of probation. Married three times, he also dated Shakira, the Colombian singer/songwriter.

“Many young people make mistakes and mature,” explained Madelyn Lugo, the parade president, oblivious to the fact that Rios was 42 when the abuse incident occurred.
“Everybody is entitled to a second chance,” she told Borrero. Lugo is one of five women on the eight-member parade board that named Rios.

In addition to Rios’ conviction, he allegedly abused one of his wives. “The victim told me that she was abused by the actor on multiple occasions,” said Borrero, who has branded him a “serial abuser.”

Though the four-hour parade is televised on Fox and Spanish stations, and is a major New York spectacle, almost no media beyond Borrero has focused on Rios’ shocking selection.