Friday, October 16, 2009

Crisis Continues in Puerto Rico

I'll tread on this subject lightly but tread I shall. I will begin by stating the obvious; the obvious is that there just isn't enough coverage in mainstream media about the events that are currently taking place in Puerto Rico. Not much mention about the current dire economic situation on the island (other than strike news currently making headlines). Let's face it, we don't live in a vacuum and are well aware of the recession that the U.S. has suffered. It has affected many of us in one way or another, directly or indirectly. The relationship shared by the U.S. and Puerto Rico cannot be ignored while the island suffers not just what seems to be an economic meltdown but health care system issues which make the situation here in the U.S. seem small in comparison.

I'll comment openly before I receive comment stating that I don't live on the island and only get information via news, etc. I may get some information (albeit ,very little, since mainstream media seems to ignore the crisis in Puerto Rico) via news outlets but the truth is, like many Puerto Ricans living in the U.S., I have family that lives on the island including my beloved mother. What affects her affects me closely. Many family members are also affected by this crisis and communicate the same.

As for the blame game, it's always bears its ugly head. Socioeconomic, relationship to the U.S., colonialism, economic dependence, current and past government administrations and the list goes on. What ever the reason the for the current crisis, the hope is that the powers that be can come to the table, put all differences aside and start to put the people first. Puerto Rico deserves that much. Palante'.

San Juan, Puerto Rico ~ Photo © 2009 Ricardo Figueroa

The following is an email opinion received via El Diario La Prensa ( (

Broken promise in Puerto Rico

The national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent. That number is shocking until you look at the approaching unemployment rate in the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico—a staggering 17 percent.

This crisis prompted a strike yesterday throughout Puerto Rico, where more than 200,000 people marched and rallied against draconian cuts Governor Luis Fortuño has made to public sector jobs, many that fell under the protection of unions. The governor had outrageously threatened terrorism charges against civil servants if their actions interrupted trade at the island's ports.

Last month, Fortuño announced the firing of 17,000 workers, including schoolteachers, healthcare workers and other public employees. This comes on top of thousands of layoffs last spring.

The administration is taking a slew of steps—among them reducing pay, ordering salary freezes, and lowering the number of political appointments by 30 percent—to get Puerto Rico’s fiscal house in order. Fortuño has said that he was faced with no other option than the elimination of jobs to head off a lowered credit rating for Puerto Rico.

In his plan for reviving Puerto Rico’s economy, Fortuño promises swift implementation of federal stimulus funding, which is expected to create 65,000 new jobs over the next three years. That’s great, but how about the jobs Puerto Ricans need right now and just lost through his heavy axe?

Fortuño emphasizes that he inherited a $3.2 billion deficit but he can point a finger at his own New Progressive Party for blocking a number of past initiatives to reduce government expenses and generate revenue. And as islanders have been reminding Fortuño, he ran on a campaign slogan expressing that the only public employee he would get rid of would be his predecessor.

Fortuño should be fighting tooth and nail to preserve jobs. Otherwise, he’ll find his own at risk.

Miles protestan y Gobierno no cede


  1. Puerto Rican politics is a game at ego blaming and posturing. This can be a historic time for Puerto Ricans can actually come together and find a real solution, but I doubt it. The wounds are too deep. Keep us posted bro!

    As much as I love my homeland, I wouldn't know what to do if I were back there living again.

  2. Can Puerto Ricans come together and find a real a real solution? I have my doubts also, at least in our lifetime. I'll save the rest of my thoughts on this for a future post. Gracias, Julio, for stopping in and leaving comment.

  3. Thank you for the blog link. Puerto Ricans in the States need to keep our eyes and hears open on the current homeland situation. Thanks for bringing these issues to light in the blogosphere.

  4. Indeed the media is doing a poor job at filling us in on the events in Puerto Rico. Anyone surprised?

    I strongly agree with Juliorvarela, the wounds are too deep. As much as I would love to see it, you would love to see, the island would love to have it, a solution is a long way coming. As you've said, perhaps not in our lifetime. The good news is, there are still many people who remain passionate about the islands politics and fate. We just have to keep feeding the fire.

    Excellent post.