Go to ...

Caribbean Edition

Caribbean News Happens Fast

Caribbean Edition on PinterestRSS Feed

December 14, 2017

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico and the Stafford Act

Source: Puerto Rico Report In the wake of Hurricane Maria, many Americans discovered the Jones Act, making the connection between an early 20th century law and U.S. territories suffering from natural disasters. There’s another 20th century law that affects Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria: the Stafford Act. The Stafford Act,…

Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Visits Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Representatives from the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee, Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) visited Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands over the weekend. The delegation provided the members of the Committee, which is involved in disaster response for both territories, with greater insight into the…

Congressional Democrats Ask for Medical Support for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Almost 60 Democratic Member of Congress sent a letter last week to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) regarding the ongoing healthcare crisis in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The letter begins with a succinct desire to “avoid further fatalities” in the…

Puerto Rico and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Source: Puerto Rico Report The tax bill passed by the House of Representatives mentions Puerto Rico specifically in a section called “Provisions Related to Possessions of the United States.” Puerto Rico, in common with other territories of the U.S., is a possession of the United States. Rules for possessions of the United States The…

Would Puerto Rico Be Better Off as an Incorporated Territory?

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico Rep. Luis Vega Ramos, recently spoke out against making Puerto Rico an incorporated territory. According to Caribbean Business, Vega Ramos claims that Governor Ricardo Rosselló asked for this change. In fact, Rossello has asked that Puerto Rico be considered a domestic jurisdiction instead of a foreign jurisdiction under…

Sanders leads Congressional Democrats in Introducing Bill for Puerto Rico Rebuild

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) accompanied by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Gillibrand (D-NY), Warren (D-MA), and Markey (D-MA), Representatives Velazquez (D-NY), Plaskett (D-VI), and Soto (D-FL), held a news conference introducing a comprehensive plan to address the immediate humanitarian needs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and ensure…

Puerto Rico’s Death Toll

Source: Puerto Rico Report Héctor M. Pesquera, secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety, has reminded residents of the Island that they can help establish the official death toll for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s death toll was settled at 51 by government reports last month, but there has been controversy…

Even More People Are Leaving Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, most of the Island remains without electricity, safe water is not available everywhere, many businesses are still closed, and many people are still homeless. Natalie Jaresko, Executive Director of the PROMESA fiscal oversight board, predicts that 170,000 people will have…

Electricity in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report “About half of Puerto Rico is without electricity two months after the hurricane,” NPR began their interview with Governor Ricardo Rossello. The governor says their hope is to get power to everyone by Christmas, but that full restoration of electricity could take much longer. Who has electricity now? As of…

Post-Hurricane Disease Concerns in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Centers for Disease Control list a number of diseases to watch out for after a hurricane: Leptospirosis Leptospirosis is an unfamiliar word to most of us; some people have gotten it confused with leprosy, but it is not a communicable disease. Leptospirosis is a disease which comes from contact…

Puerto Rico Must Guard Against Invasive Species

Source: Puerto Rico Report The need to protect Puerto Rico from invasive species in the wake of Hurricane Maria came up just briefly in the letter Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney detailing…

House Subcommittee on the Environment Addresses Environmental Concerns from the 2017 Hurricane Season

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Subcommittee on the Environment will hold a hearing today entitled “Response and Recovery to Environmental Concerns from the 2017 Hurricane Season”. The hearing will examine the Federal, State, local, and private responses to the recovery efforts concerning the recent hurricanes in Texas, the Gulf Coast, Florida, Puerto Rico, and…

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Posts Testimony for Hearing of Hurricane Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Source: Puerto Rico Report Witness testimony for today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources  hearing on hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been made public. The witnesses include: The Honorable Kenneth Mapp, Governor, United States Virgin Islands The Honorable Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, Governor, Commonwealth of Puerto…

How Did Puerto Rico Become a U.S. Territory?

Source: Puerto Rico Report The short answer: the United States won Puerto Rico in a war. From the landing of Columbus in 1492 until 1898, Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain. In 1898, Spain lost the Spanish-American war and gave Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States. Cuba was made a protectorate…

Gillibrand Leads Senators Asking for Nutritional Assistance for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report In September, eight U.S. senators, led by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D), wrote to Secretary Purdue of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting “much needed food aid” for Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately, the availability of food remains a problem in the United States’ most populous territory of roughly…

Members of Congress Continue to Speak Out About Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On November 8, the following representatives offered remarks regarding the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico in the House of Representatives: Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-IL), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon (R-PR), and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA). Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon (R-PR): Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman, my…

Democratic National Committee Approves Resolution for Admission of Puerto Rico as the 51st state

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Democratic National Committee unanimously approved a Resolution demanding both the admission of Puerto Rico as the 51st state and parity in disaster relief aid. The resolution, approved on October 21st, directly ties Puerto Rico’s economic situation to its current political status. “[T]he current territorial status has substantially contributed to the demise…

House Natural Resources Committee Examines Challenges in Puerto Rico’s Recovery

Source: Puerto Rico Report On November 7, the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing “Examining Challenges in Puerto Rico’s Recovery and the Role of the Financial Oversight and Management Board.” The witness panel was composed by Natalie Jaresko, Executive Director Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, Noel Zamot, Revitalization Coordinator…

AEI Panel Examines Puerto Rico Economy After Hurricane Maria

Source: Puerto Rico Report On November 6, the American Enterprise Institute held a seminar that took stock of Puerto Rico’s post-hurricane economic prospects and explored the appropriate policy response from Washington. The panel included Anne Krueger, Antonio Weiss, John Mosseau, Andrew Biggs, and Desmond Lachman. The opening statement was made by Jose Carrion, chairman…

The Population of Puerto Rico Exceeds the Populations of 21 States

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico’s population has been dwindling throughout this decade, and the loss of population seems to be increasing following the hurricanes in September. People who lost their homes and have no reliable power, sewer service, or drinking water are, understandably, considering their alternatives. As of the last Census report, however,…

President Trump Orders Hundreds of Millions More Aid

Source: Puerto Rico Report President Trump late yesterday reduced the Puerto Rico share of infrastructure rebuilding costs from damage done by Hurricane Maria to 10% from 25%. The amendment to his original declaration providing for disaster assistance could mean hundreds of millions of additional dollars for the effort to repair damaged or destroyed public…

House Committee Reviews Emergency Response and Energy Infrastructure Recovery Efforts

Source: Puerto Rico Report The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing today on the federal response to the 2017 hurricane season.  The hearing provided information to help assess energy infrastructure response and recovery efforts under the varying circumstances of the four hurricanes that made landfall this past season, including information concerning…

Alex Cora New Manager for the Red Sox

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Red Sox have a new manager. Alex Cora, leaving the Houston Astros for the Red Sox, was also the General Manager of what is being described as “the Puerto Rico national team.” Puerto Rico is not a nation, so there is no national team, strictly speaking. But “territorial team”…

Catalonia-Puerto Rico Paradox

Source: Puerto Rico Report by Howard Hills Since 1932 Spain has tried to appease Catalan separatists under a “Statute of Autonomy” instead of independence. Catalonia’s regional government in Barcelona acquired “nation-like” like powers, but constitutionally Madrid retained supreme national sovereignty. The ambiguity of “autonomy” delayed for 85 years the collision of Catalonia’s aspirations for…

More Americans Want Statehood for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report A new poll from Fox News finds that a majority of respondents want Puerto Rico to be a state, not a territory or an independent nation. In phone interviews with over 1,000 subjects, Fox found that 41% of those surveyed favored statehood for Puerto Rico — an 11 point jump…

Would a Jones Act Exemption Help Puerto Rico?

Source: Puerto Rico Report On November 19th, a Unity March for Puerto Rico will take place from 10am-2pm at the National Mall in Washington, DC. Speaker and activist Evelyn “Eve” Mejil is the organizer. She says the march is “a declaration that WE THE PEOPLE take a stand and unite our voices in solidarity…

Why Can’t Puerto Rico Vote for President?

Source: Puerto Rico Report If you live in Puerto Rico, you are probably a U.S. citizen. People born in Puerto Rico are citizens at birth, just as people born in States are. As a resident of Puerto Rico, you are subject to the laws of the United States, you’ll contribute to the federal Medicare…

Rossello To Fight Board over PREPA

Source: Puerto Rico Report The administration of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares made clear this afternoon that it would not accept the decision of the territory’s federally-named Financial Oversight and Management Board to make its infrastructure permitting (“Revitalization”) coordinator, Noel Zamont, the “emergency manager” and “Chief Transformation Officer” of the Electric Power Authority…

Governor Rosselló Requests Action on Medicaid and Medicare from Congress

Source: Puerto Rico Report Governor Rosselló  sent a letter to Congressional leadership yesterday requesting action to address the growing crisis in Puerto Rico’s healthcare system. The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Democratic Leader Senate Charles Schumer (R-NY), and Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi…

Congress Discusses Puerto Rico Relief Efforts

Source: Puerto Rico Report On October 24, 2017, the Senate voted on national disaster relief legislation, and the following Senators gave statements regarding Puerto Rico: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Patricia Murray (D-WA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen.…

House Subcommittee Examines HHS Preparedness and Response to 2017 Hurricanes

Source: Puerto Rico Report The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing yesterday to examine the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) public health preparedness for and response to the 2017 hurricane season. The subcommittee’s stated goals of the hearing included finding answers to the following questions: What steps could HHS…

Schumer Proposes a CEO of Recovery and Response for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) urged the White House to appoint an experienced emergency CEO of Response & Recovery to manage federal response in Puerto Rico. The CEO would have a direct line and access to the President, the Governor of Puerto Rico, all Cabinet Secretaries, member of Congress,…

Members of Congress Discuss Puerto Rico Relief Legislation

Source: Puerto Rico Report Numerous Senators yesterday offered remarks regarding pending disaster relief legislation scheduled for passage today.  Please see below for full remarks by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Michael Lee (R-UT),  and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): Today, in California and across the…

Puerto Rico Is Not a State: Why Not?

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico has been a possession of the United States since 1898 — that’s 119 years at this writing. Puerto Rico is not the only territory of the United States, but it is the only one with a large population and the only one that has voted for statehood. No…

Seeds for Puerto Rico’s Growth

Source: Puerto Rico Report According to early estimates, Puerto Rico lot some 8,000 acres of vegetables in the destruction brought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. That’s roughly 13,000 farms and a large part of the $780 million in crop loss, by official estimates from the Secretary of Agriculture. A group of scientists has a…

Board Seeks New Fiscal Plans in the Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board “is actively working to assess how” the 10-year fiscal adjustment plans for the Government of Puerto Rico and several of its instrumentalities that it adopted “should change in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.” In a letter released Saturday, the Board wrote …

Members of Congress Discuss Disaster Relief Legislation

Source: Puerto Rico Report Numerous Members of Congress have pledged they would treat the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as equal partners to the states in terms of disaster assistance, and on Oct. 12 the House of Representatives made progress in upholding that pledge when it approved a…

Governor Rossello Addresses Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Wednesday Oct. 11, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello was interviewed by Neil Cavuto of Fox Business News. The interview was focused on the relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Cavuto began the interview asking Rossello of the urgency to receive the $5 billion requested by Congress. “We need it as…

Members of Congress Express Solidarity With Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Wednesday Oct. 11, Members of the House of Representatives spoke on the House floor to express solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico. The following Representatives gave some remarks: Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO),…

Trump, House Leaders Seek $5 Billion in Territorial Disaster Loans

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Trump Administration and leading U.S. House of Representatives Republicans yesterday proposed legislation that could provide an extraordinary $4.9 billion in loans to Puerto Rico and other jurisdictions for lost revenue and unplanned expenses due to Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey. Most of the monies could go to Puerto Rico.…

White House Updates Recovery Efforts In Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Tuesday Oct. 10, 2017, during the daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders updated the federal government’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico. “FEMA will be hosting jobs fair to hire around 1,200 Puerto Ricans to help with the relief efforts and boost the local economy”, according…

Governor Roselló Emphasizes the Need to Transform Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report In an appearance on Morning Joe yesterday morning, Governor Ricardo Roselló reported that the number of people who have regained electricity on the island has increased to roughly 12%. “We need to transform Puerto Rico”, Roselló stated about the infrastructure of the electrical grid destroyed by Hurricane Maria; “this destruction…

Grassroots Action in the States for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico is waiting on decisions from the federal government: decisions on funding for emergency relief, decisions on debt reduction, decisions on a possible continued waiver of the Jones Act, and, as always, for decisions on Puerto Rico’s political status. Meanwhile, grassroots efforts are springing up across the nation. Many…

Senator Nelson Introduces Hurricane Relief Legislation

Source: Puerto Rico Report On October 3, Senator Bill Nelson introduced S. 1907. His introductory remarks follow.  A copy of the bill can be read by clicking here. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL): Mr. President, I am the Senator from Florida, along with my colleague Marco Rubio. We, of course, have been at the forefront…

A Fundraising Stamp for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Stamp designer Rex Davenport has an innovative idea for fundraising for disaster support in Puerto Rico: a fundraising stamp. This isn’t a completely new idea. There is a fundraising stamp for breast cancer research, for example, which has raised more than $85 million for the National Institutes of Health and…

Members of Congress Continue to Advocate for Puerto Rico Relief

Source: Puerto Rico Report Members of Congress continued to speak out on behalf of their fellow U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico last week.  On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the following Senators encouraged more action in relief efforts for Puerto Rico: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Sen.…

Vice President Pence Visits Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Vice President Mike Pence will visit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, accompanied by the Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR), and Rep. Stephanie Plaskett (D-USVI). Before arriving at both islands, Vice President Pence visited Orlando, accompanied by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-FL), and Sen.…

U.S. Senators React to Puerto Rico Visit

Source: Puerto Rico Report U.S. senators who visited Puerto Rico Saturday had differing reactions to the requests and the territory’s needs. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called for “a plan, a type of ‘Marshall Plan, no matter what it takes.” Fellow Democrat Richard Blumenthal (CT) contended that, “We need a financial plan immediately.” He suggested…

Economists Pin Hurricane Maria Damages at $20 Billion

Source: Puerto Rico Report Technical Studies, a respected Puerto Rico economic consulting firm has estimated that the territory losses from Hurricane Maria are at least $20 billion. The estimate is based on a formula instead of a compilation of established costs. It also does not include all elements of the economy, such as tourism.…

Puerto Rico Suffers from Presidential Particularism

Source: Puerto Rico Report President Trump has received a lot of criticism for the slow federal response to the damage resulting from Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico. Hillary Clinton suggested that Trump was unaware (as are roughly half of Americans, according to some polls) that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Trump himself explained…

Department of Defense Support for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Thursday October 5, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) spokesperson Dana White gave a press briefing on the DOD’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico. During the press briefing, White outlined the DOD’s actions in providing support to Puerto Rico. White outlined the following: “the department has deployed more than 11,000…

Do Americans Want to Support Puerto Rico?

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico, just like Texas and Florida, needs support following the destruction caused by this year’s hurricane season. In news, on the internet, and in conversations around the country, you can find calls for donations, plans to help, and compassion for the problems both states are facing, and for the…

President Donald Trump Brings Large Team to Puerto Rico, Issues Statements on Hurricane Maria

Source: Puerto Rico Report President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico todayto see first-hand the island’s humanitarian crisis. A number of top officials joined the president for Tuesday’s trip, including Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, Small Business administrator Linda McMahon, Homeland Security…

Jenniffer González Colón leads bipartisan letter to President Trump

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Friday, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón led a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in writing a letter to President Trump to request further assistance to Puerto Rico. “We commend your commitment to the U.S. territory and the around-the-clock work your agencies and personnel are carrying out,” the letter…

Congress Continues to Show Support for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Members of Congress have continued to express their support for Puerto Rico on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives this week. Monday on the Senate floor, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gave the following statement: Mr. President, our friends and relatives and fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and…

Congressional Republicans Press for Action on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On September 29, 2017, Congressional Republicans pressed the Trump administration to act quickly on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Representatives Charlie Dent (R-PA), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) and Daniel Webster (R-FL) wrote a letter to the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Elaine C. Duke. “As Members…

Natural Resources Committee Democrats Request Oversight Hearing

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Thursday September 28, 2017, the Natural Resources Committee Democrats sent a letter to chairman Rob Bishop requesting an oversight hearing on the administration’s response to hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Natural Resources Committee has broad jurisdiction over the insular areas of the United States, including Puerto Rico. Due to…

Board Changes Worker Furlough Plan, Steps up Pressure for Enhanced Federal Assistance

Source: Puerto Rico Report In response to the Hurricane Maria disaster that has devastated Puerto Rico, the territory’s federally-named Financial Oversight and Management Board has dropped its demand that Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares (New Progressive Party-NPP) cut the working hours of all territorial Executive branch employees and pensions by 10% during insular Fiscal Year…

Members of Congress Continue to Speak Out for Puerto Rico Assistance

Source: Puerto Rico Report Members of Congress continued to express their support for Puerto Rico on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives last Thursday. On the Senate floor, remarks were heard from: Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Ben Sasse…

Senate Democrats Outline Top Priorities for Rebuilding Puerto Rico, USVI

Source: Puerto Rico Report Senators Nelson (D-FL), Schumer (D-NY) and Cantwell (D-WA) led a group of 26 Senate Democrats yesterday in sending a letter to the White House outlining their top priorities for Puerto Rico recovery. Stressing that “strong and decisive leadership is needed,” the Senators identified eight areas for immediate action: All municipalities in…

Members of Congress Speak Out for Puerto Rico Assistance

Source: Puerto Rico Report On Wednesday, several members of Congress in both the Senate and House of Representatives expressed their support for Puerto Rico. Numerous Senators expressed their support for Puerto Rico on the Senate floor: Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senator Angus King (I-ME), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). A…

The White House Reports on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report The White House has taken decisive action for Puerto Rico (and for the U.S. Virgin Islands) following the devastation of Hurricane Irma and Maria. The President has approved 100 percent reimbursement for the first 180 days of disaster response. Initially, the administration intended to provide 75% of the funds, with…

Schumer Urges Immediate Action for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Senator Chuck Schumer spoke on the Senate floor yesterday to urge immediate action to help Puerto Rico.  His remarks follow: After suffering the winds and rains of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the island of Puerto Rico has been completely devastated. I can’t recall in my lifetime a hurricane wreaking such…

Washington Begins to Act to Help Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report The White House announced on Tuesday that the federal government will cover 100 percent of debris removal and emergency protective measures involved with the hurricane recovery effort. This full federal reimbursement will continue for 180 days from the date of the declaration, said FEMA Tuesday. Puerto Rico was running out…

Ryan, Pelosi Urge Support for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued statements today in support of helping Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. “The stories and images coming out of Puerto Rico are devastating,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. “Congress is working with the administration to…

Charities Help in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes

Source: Puerto Rico Report Washington has promised help and financial support to Puerto Rico in the wake of two devastating hurricanes this month. The First Lady of Puerto Rico is sponsoring a page of basic information, collecting donations to help with hurricane response, in cooperation with the American Red Cross and the United Way.…

Trump, Pence and Lawmakers Promise Support for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, President Trump tweeted “Governor @RicardoRossello– We are with you and the people of Puerto Rico. Stay safe! #PRStrong.” Governor Rossello tweeted about his phone call with the president. Social media has been a hub for discussion of the hurricane among public servants and for…

Washington Reacts to Hurricane Maria

Source: Puerto Rico Report Today is a somber day for Puerto Rico. This morning, the eye of hurricane Maria arrived to the island. Reports from the island already note great damage to the power infrastructure and vast flooding around the streets. With the imminent repercussions that hurricane Maria poses, the federal government is already…

Last Minute Advice and Instructions on Hurricane Maria

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced the Government of Puerto Rico has prepared 500 shelters for people who cannot stay with relatives or friends during the passage of Hurricane Maria, which intensified to Category 5 Monday night. “No generation has seen a hurricane like this since San Felipe II in…

Hurricane Maria: Emergency Info for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report The arrival of hurricane Maria to the island is imminent. Tuesday morning, the hurricane regained classification of a category 5 storm at over 160 mph winds. Hurricane Maria will start affecting the island tonight, finalizing its trajectory on Wednesday night. As of today at 2 p.m., all of Puerto Rico’s…

Storms Continue to Threaten Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico residents lost power and water when Hurricane Irma grazed the Island. Hurricane Jose, a Category 1 Hurricane, may still make landfall on Puerto Rico as it heads for New England. At the same time, Hurricane Maria — currently a Category 3 hurricane — is heading toward the territory.…

Florida State Legislator To Congress: End Denial of Equal Civil Rights to U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Majority Whip in the Florida House of Representatives, Republican Robert Cortes from District 30 (Orange/Seminole), has introduced a resolution calling for Congress to grant equal civil rights under federal territorial law for 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. Cortes wants the State of Florida to officially support equal…

The Puerto Rico Statehood Commission

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello is committed to making Puerto Rico statehood a reality, now that 97% of Puerto Rico voters have chosen statehood in the most recent referendum in June. The next step toward statehood is for Congress to vote to admit Puerto Rico. Thirty-two U.S. territories have already…

Puerto Rico Diaspora in U.S. Grew Significantly In 2016

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico has suffered from a big surge of migration to the United States in recent years due to the U.S. territory’s economic crisis. The “diaspora puertorriqueña” has been the term coined to describe the growing Puerto Rican population in the United States. The United States Census released data yesterday…

Puerto Rico Helps Neighbors after Hurricane Irma

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico suffered from Hurricane Irma and will continue to do so, but things are looking up. The storm didn’t hit Puerto Rico square on, but instead gave the Island a glancing blow. The lights are back on in 90 percent of the Island, and the work of rebuilding has…

A United Front for Puerto Rico Announces Trump Visit, Outlines Priorities

Source: Puerto Rico Report   The history of the relationship between opposing political parties in Puerto Rico has never been characterized as united. Politicians from the Commonwealth party and from the Statehood party usually do not agree on how to address important issues affecting the island. Through an initiative of Governor Ricardo Roselló, the…

Territorial “Citizenship” and “National” Status Constitutionally Indistinguishable

Source: Puerto Rico Report U.S. “Nationality” and “Citizenship” There are two sources of U.S. nationality and citizenship.  The primary source is the Constitution itself. The secondary source is federal statute law. Constitutional citizenship Those born in a state of the union have U.S. nationality and citizenship by operation of the U.S Constitution. Constitutionally, “nationality”…

U.S. Senate OKs Puerto Rico Investment Bill

Source: Puerto Rico Report Last night, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to end the exemption of investment firms in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories that do exclusive business in those islands from the Investment Company Act of 1940, giving the SEC greater jurisdiction over their activities. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sponsored the…

Federal Support for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Vieques and Culebra got special mention in President Trump’s declaration that Puerto Rico is a “major disaster” zone over the weekend. The White House approved 10 more Puerto Rico towns for federal support this week. The additional towns: Adjuntas Canóvanas Carolina Guaynabo Juncos Loíza Luquillo Orocovis Patillas Utuado Canóvanas and…

Puerto Rico Declared “Major Disaster” Zone

Source: Puerto Rico Report President Trump declared Puerto Rico a “major disaster” zone after Hurricane Irma sideswiped the U.S. Territory. Federal funding for individuals in Vieques and Culebra will support grants for temporary housing and emergency repairs, as well as low-cost loans for home repairs to uninsured property. The goal is to get people…

Hurricane Irma Hits Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Hurricane Irma hit the island of Barbuda directly and destroyed 95% of the structures there. Puerto Rico was braced for a similar experience, but Irma went north of the Island and Puerto Rico escaped this fate. That doesn’t mean that Puerto Rico was not affected by Hurricane Irma, a a…

President Trump Declares Emergency in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Governor Ricardo Rossello asked President Donald Trump to declare a state of emergency in Puerto Rico as the Island prepared for Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane expected to reach Puerto Rico today. Late yesterday, President Trump agreed. This means that the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency…

Empowering Business in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico has an unusual history with business development. Many of the major efforts have been based on tax incentives — including tax incentives that cost the federal government so much that they could have saved money by simply paying the workers and bypassing the companies that received the tax…

New Economic Indicators for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico is facing continuing economic woes — and that’s no surprise. Every territory that has become a state — 32 so far — has seen serious economic improvement after being admitted as a state. Just having voted for statehood, however, doesn’t bring economic improvement. Puerto Rico is heavily in…

Questionable Conclusions on Section 936

Source: Puerto Rico Report A recent National Bureau of Economic Research report on Section 936, the tax law that gave U.S. multinational corporations enormous tax breaks in the 20th century, has drawn some questionable conclusions. “US Multinationals in Puerto Rico and the Repeal of Section 936 Tax Exemption for U.S. Corporations” by Zadia M. Feliciano…

The Truth Behind the Boycott over “Commonwealth”

Source: Puerto Rico Report Much has been written about the boycott of the June 11 plebiscite by Puerto Rico’s second-largest political party, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD, for its acronym in Spanish). Yet not much is said about the reasons used to justify the boycott in the first place. To answer this question, a…

RNC Passes Resolution Affirming Equal Citizenship for All Americans – Including Residents of U.S. Territories

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Republican National Committee approved on Friday a resolution affirming equal citizenship for all Americans.  The resolution was tailored to the United States territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. “All American citizens, regardless of their sex, race, color, ethnicity, religion or creed, are…

Hannah Kim and Puerto Rico’s Korean War Vets

Source: Puerto Rico Report July 27th was National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day in the United States, and no one took this day more seriously than Hannah Y. Kim. Kim, who worked as Chief of Staff and Communications Director for former Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), a Korean War veteran. Ms. Kim has spent…

Resident Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon Introduces Air Cargo Act

Source: Puerto Rico Report On July 31, before Congress left town for its August recess, Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon introduced HR 3472, the Puerto Rico Air Cargo Industry Empowerment Act. The bill’s official title: “A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, with respect to air cargo in Puerto Rico, and…

Serrano and Velazquez Make Demands of Oversight Board

Source: Puerto Rico Report Reps. José Serrano (D-NY) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) have written a letter to Puerto Rico’s PROMESA Financial Oversight Board, demanding greater transparency and better stewardship of public funds. “It has come to our attention,” the New York representatives wrote, “that the Oversight Board has spent over $30 million—which comes from…

Official Results of 2017 Plebiscite

Source: Puerto Rico Report The official results of the 2017 plebiscite have been filed. Statehood received 97.13% of the votes cast. Free Association/ Independence received 1.52% of the vote. The current territorial status received 1.35% of the votes. “Therefore,” wrote Maria Santiago Rodriguez, Chairwoman of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission, “it is the…

Puerto Rico’s Population Loss Shows Status Failure

Source: Puerto Rico Report The U.S. Census Bureau has released new numbers on Puerto Rico’s population that demonstrate a continued decline.  According to the data, Puerto Rico’s population fell from 3,726,157 in 2010 to 3,411,307 in 2016, a loss of 8.4% in four years.  While the birth rate in Puerto Rico has dropped, the main…

Puerto Rico Debt Probe Will Be Broad

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Puerto Rico fiscal control board’s investigation of the territory’s debt will go far beyond the probe that that those calling for an investigation have sought — and may not dig into what they have wanted as much as they have wanted. The Financial Oversight and Management Board made this…

Puerto Rico Lags in Federal Funding

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico is treated like a State in most Federal laws but there are important exceptions: Puerto Ricans pay federal taxes, but they do not pay income tax on earnings from the territory. While some suggest that this is an excuse for less than equal funding in some major programs,…

Puerto Rico Will Be a State in Five Years, Says Governor

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico will be a State in five years, Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares (New Progressive Party/NPP) predicted yesterday. He said that the territory would be granted statehood in response to lobbying by two proposed ‘U.S. senators’ and five proposed ‘U.S. representatives’ that he named with legislative approval, and by Resident…

Bilingual America

Source: Puerto Rico Report More than 60 million Americans — nearly 20% — now speak a language other than English at home, according to the most recent census data. The most recent United States census data on languages spoken in the U.S. was released in 2015. The data comes from the U.S. census 2009-2013,…

Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon Speaks Up for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report On the anniversary of the adoption of Puerto Rico’s constitution, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, the Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, spoke up for statehood for Puerto Rico on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. “Puerto Rico’s territorial constitution is 65 years old today. An act of Congress authorized the island’s…

Celebrating 65 Years of Commonwealth…and Confusion

Source: Puerto Rico Report ELA — Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico — translates as “Free Associated State of Puerto Rico” or “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.” These translations have caused plenty of confusion about Puerto Rico’s status, since it is not a Free Associated State and “commonwealth” has no legal meaning. On July 25,…

Is Puerto Rico a Commonwealth or a Territory?

Source: Puerto Rico Report Over the years, many Puerto Ricans have voted for statehood, a smaller number has voted for independence, and some have voted for a “Commonwealth” option that means different things depending on the ballot.  Few have voted for Puerto Rico to remain a territory. People often refer to Puerto Rico as…

Preserving Puerto Rico’s Culture

Source: Puerto Rico Report One of the most enduring questions concerning the possibility of Puerto Rico statehood is this: Will Puerto Rico’s culture be threatened under statehood? The threat of assimilation There are about 3.4 million people living in Puerto Rico at this writing. There are about 5 million people of Puerto Rican heritage…

Despacito and Fake News

Source: Puerto Rico Report Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” has been streamed 4.6 billion times as of this writing, and has 2,662,615,500 views at YouTube. It is officially the most-streamed song of all time. The Justin Bieber remix has had 34,183,494 views at YouTube. The headlines the song has inspired include “Justin Bieber’s…

Brevard County Commissioners Reject Anti- Puerto Rico Resolution

Source: Puerto Rico Report Commissioner John Tobia presented his first resolution before the Brevard County Commissioners earlier this month. “Whereas Puerto Rico’s debt crisis in large part is the result of socializing private industry,” he began, “the burden placed on federal taxpayers to remedy the decades of mismanagement and socialization would be untenable…” PROMESA…

Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Cliff

Source: Puerto Rico Report As Congress debates controversial new caps on Federal spending on State Medicaid programs, it is sometimes overlooked that there is precedent for this increasingly unpopular arrangement: Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico can receive Federal matching on its Medicaid’s expenses; after that limit is reached Federal funding stops. The Congressional Task Force…

Puerto Rico Moves on Tennessee Plan

Source: Puerto Rico Report Back in 1796, the Territory of Tennessee decided that Congress was moving too slowly on granting them statehood. In a plebiscite, 73% of the voters had favored statehood, and they were ready to take on the rights and responsibilities of a state. The people of Tennessee declared the territory to…

The Juice Media’s Honest Government Ad about Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Juice Media, known for their Honest Government Ads, produced one about Puerto Rico’s status in response to requests. The video has had nearly 3,000,000 views on Facebook as of this writing, as well as 54,832 on YouTube and sites embedding the video from YouTube.   Their main point: Puerto…

The Puerto Rican Diaspora Influencing Status

Source: Puerto Rico Report In the run-up to the recent status plebiscite in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican diaspora — people who have moved to the States from Puerto Rico and their descendants — came up in more than one context. First, there are those who believe that the diaspora should have a say…

Who Votes? Putting the Plebiscite Voter Turnout in Perspective

Source: Puerto Rico Report Did you see this headline? Nebraska Presidential Primary Decided by 13.76% of Voters (2016) Maybe this one? Only 24% of Californians Vote in Presidential Primary (2016) Or this one? 19.14% of South Carolina Voters Turn Out for Special Election (2017) How about these? Dallas Mayor Chosen in Questionable Vote with…