The summer of 2019 witnessed a masterful demonstration of civic engagement by the people of Puerto Rico. When accusations of corruption, misconduct, and deceit threatened to tarnish the island’s reputation, the people of Puerto Rico —both home and abroad— took to the streets peacefully to clean house and show the world that civility and honesty can prevail in the face of daunting political challenges.
Puerto Rico’s protracted economic depression — and the draconian measures implemented to combat the resulting fiscal imbalances — have eroded the island’s government capacity to perform at all levels and created fertile ground for unscrupulous actors to engage in fraudulent behavior. Severe austerity programs implemented since 2006 have led to: drastic budget cuts in numerous key agencies, high employee turnover, low morale amongst public servants and limited resources across the board.
Recently, there has been a heated debate about whether Puerto Rico has been treated fairly by the federal government in the allocation of funds for disaster assistance in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The answer to this question is complicated because it depends in large measure in understanding (1) how the federal appropriations process works and (2) how the different kinds of assistance programs function.
Blueprint, the CNE Growth Commission housing and land initiative, continues to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge and information through a series of public gatherings and events. There is a need to broaden the discussion about housing in Puerto Rico in the post-disaster period, including issues pertaining to safe and durable housing; Blueprint achieves this by bringing together various sectors in collaborative efforts.
Guiar en Puerto Rico no es fácil. Siempre existe el riesgo de perder una goma por los numerosos y profundos huecos en las carreteras. A pesar que todos reconocen el problema, atender el asunto es complicado.
Las costas de Puerto Rico han sido por siglos, testigo silente del desembarco de multitudes en busca de tesoro y riqueza. No por nada se nos denominó Puerto Rico.
During the past few months a narrative has taken hold, on both sides of the political spectrum, that Puerto Rico is “using federal disaster relief funds to pay bondholders”. This narrative is wrong and dangerously simplistic.
It has been a little over a year since Hurricane María fractured Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and its demographic and economic landscape. Currently, all the critical infrastructure—electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals—is functional.