*The Plantain has shockingly just discovered through investigative reporting that The Hialeah Tourism Board is comprised entirely of a group of street chickens.**By Daniel Jimenez*

Despite being a group of uneducated fowl, members of The Hialeah Tourism Board have apparently been re-elected several times into office. The Board meets regularly in the middle of the road at 811 West 49th Street to discuss municipal matters and peck randomly at the ground. This feathery flock is most famously responsible for the establishment of the annual Jose Marti Commemorative Walk. This year’s walk is scheduled to take place later this month.
In order to interview him, The Plantain attempted to catch up to the head of the board, a chicken who, for lack of a name, we began calling Sam Peckandclaw. Unfortunately, the interview time was wasted chasing him around and shooing him away from cars. The unavailability of board members has led critics to decry that not enough is being done to tackle tough clean-up issues and anti-lawn paving laws, hurting the city’s image. Marta Diaz, a resident of the city, told us, “They are scared of their own shadows. They are always afraid, running around like their heads have already been cut off.”
> No other group has done more to promote the image of Hialeah as a vacation destination.
But some local constituents have praised the Board’s record, saying that they may be the best in the history of the city. They claim that no other group has done more to promote the image of Hialeah as a vacation destination, chock full of sights and experiences that can only be obtained in their city.
“Look, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or whether or not you’re a bird. What matters is that you get results,” said local hot dog cart proprietor, Matthew Santos. “Those chickens do great work for this city, and one of them is married to my niece. Great guy, we met when he was blocking traffic a few years ago.”
The Board’s popularity has many speculating that Sam Peckandclaw could have a promising political career, perhaps even setting his sights on mayor. But, for the time being, he and the rest of the Board continue their diligent work for the city—when they aren’t randomly wandering into people’s yards and stealing the pet food that has been left out.
Daniel Jimenez is a staff writer for The Plantain. He grew up in Hialeah, but now he chickened out.

Lighting the Way to a Brighter Miami with Cuban Candles####By Lisa W. Hopper

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Rep.) wants to tackle Miami’s unemployment problem as one of his first important initiatives since taking office, seeking, in part, to wow those who felt that his only mayoral qualification is that he’s “daddy’s little boy”—daddy being Cuban-born Xavier Suarez, corrupt former Miami Mayor from 1985 to 1993 and 1997 to 1998, nicknamed “Mayor Loco.”
In a press conference held earlier this week, Francis Suarez announced his plans to have 10,000 trabajo candles sent from Cuba utilizing Agencia66 Envios a Cuba, a Miami-based shipping business owned by his sister.
Trabajo Candles On the Way
Employment spell candles, or trabajo candles, as they are called in Miami’s Hispanic community, are 9-inch votive candles found in a shop called a botanica, which literally means “herbs.” This name because the shops not only carry candles, but also other items—herbs, anointing oils, bath salts, incense, animal skulls, bones, and perfumes—associated with a brand of spirituality bordering on the superstitious, brought to the Americas from Africa along with the New World’s other great affliction, slavery. These pseudo-religions are called Santeria in the Latin community and voodoo in the Haitian neighborhoods, and their high priests, operating out of churches or botanicas, are colorful characters offering incantations, readings, and special concoctions. The candles ordered by Mayor Suarez are green, a color associated with luck and money; the glass exterior has a silkscreened print of “San Jose”—Joseph, the patron saint of workers.
travay vodou chandelle
Haitian botanicas offer work candles called travay vodou chandelle.
For the less adventurous, trabajo candles may be found in one of Miami’s 28 locations for Navarro Pharmacy, only just recently purchased by CVS Pharmacy. Based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, CVS headquarters Public Relations Manager Janice Watson says, “We tried to remove the magic candles from our Navarro shelves in an attempt to move Miami from the ignorant Dark Ages to the present, but the locals were having none of that. Priests from Santera Local #452 Hialeah went ballistic–they left coconuts and dead chickens in front of our stores until we promised to put the candles back on the shelves. We did.” Almost fired for mishandling this incident, Ms. Watson admitted to lighting a job candle and placing a white flower in a glass of water in order to save her six-figure salary position with CVS.
>###… they left coconuts and dead chickens in front of our stores…
Yoboluja Castro-Pena, Santera, and purveyor of the Saguesera Botanica and Pet Shop located in Little Havana, explained, “You canna make Babalu angry. Babalu is powerful god. If you give to Babalu—maybe a flan o bocadito, Babalu will give to you. Also San Jose will answer your petitions if you pack in a lunchbox lonchero a sanwish de queso.”
Help for the Unemployed
There are 2,668,200 nonfarm employees in the South Florida tri-county area; however, Miami’s current unemployment rate hovers around 4.5%, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. A spokesperson for Mayor Suarez’s Cuban Interests Office, Ricalada Espinoso, said, “These aren’t just any candles. These candles are specially-prepared by real Cuban santeras. They contain tobacco, a valueless Cuban peso, and like 5 tubs of lard.”
Funding for the candles is provided by the City of Miami Children’s Lunch Program. Once the candles arrive in Miami, there will be an Official Lighting Ceremony hosted by Mayor Suarez. Jobless persons arriving at either the Unemployment Office or Palacio de los Jugos will be handed a frita and a candle. “This will resolve Miami’s unemployment problem,” says Mayor Suarez.
Lisa W. Hopper is a freelance journalist, which means she doesn’t have a real job; however, by burning a trabajo candle she was able to snag this guest staff writer position with The Plantain on a probationary trial basis. Her priest and great friend told her, “Mwen pral limyè yon travay vodou chandelle pou ou. Moun sa yo ki bataards bon mache yo pa pral peye ou yon bagay.”
“I remember when the candle shop burned down. Everyone stood around singing ‘Happy Birthday.’”—Steven Wright
Miami bath salt zombie victim five years later–click here for reporter Lisa W. Hopper’s interview with ex-homeless man Ronald Poppo, dubbed Mr. No Eyes Without A Face.