Listen to Voices: Raul Houlstan
Raul Houlstan was born in Bocas del Toro, Panama in 1952. Although most of his family is also from Panama, his background does contain a mixture of several cultures; his paternal grandmother was from Jamaica, his paternal grandfather was from Cuba, and his step-father was Chinese. Raoul can also trace his Panamanian heritage back to be founders of Bocas, the Browns. Raul trained to be a teacher and received his law degree in 1979. He later earned a graduate degree in Latin American Studies at the Political Science Department at UNAM in Mexico City. While living in Mexico he met his wife, a native of Holland, and together they have two children. Raul has been a teacher, a defense counselor, a cultural attaché in Brussels, Belgium, and has also published poetry under the name Urá del Drago.. He now works as a litigator and promoter of popular culture in Bocas, and he is active in many community organizations. Raul calls himself Afro-Antillano—a black West Indian—but does not ask others to see him as such. He says, "me siento bien en mi piel, pero no es mi bandera. Yo soy un hombre universal" [I feel good in my skin, but it is not my banner. I am a universal man].