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Thu Jul 18, 2019, 03:55 PM

Puerto Rico is in chaos, and some worry continued instability is a major threat

Source: Washington Post

Puerto Rico is in chaos, and some worry continued instability is a major threat

By Arelis R. Hernández and Jeff Stein July 18 at 12:24 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been taking to the blue cobblestone streets of the old city here demanding that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resign amid allegations of corruption and the revelation of a scandalous group chat involving his inner circle. The protests, increasingly intense, are an outgrowth of widespread indignation that has challenged his administration’s already tenuous credibility and imperiled the distribution of needed federal aid to a territory still reeling from disaster.

The mobilization against Rosselló (PNP of Puerto Rico) — a 40-year-old politician who has refused to abandon the governor’s mansion, known as the Fortress — represents one of the largest demonstrations of public repudiation of the Puerto Rican government in its history. It has resonated across the Caribbean island and its diaspora on the mainland and overseas, bringing together cultural icons such as Ricky Martin, artists like trap musician Bad Bunny and residents like Miriam Ramos Grateroles to denounce a man they say has betrayed their trust.

“I have never participated in a protest before,” Ramos Grateroles, 71, a retired defense attorney, said Wednesday as she steadied herself on a cane and vowed to stay until her legs gave out. “But enough is enough. Rosselló has disrespected the people of Puerto Rico, and if we don’t come together and demand it, he won’t leave.”

Frustration has been building here for years. Decades of fiscal ineptitude and economic stagnation led to ballooning public debt and bankruptcy. The federal government installed an unpopular and unelected federal oversight board to manage the U.S. territory’s finances in a move decried by critics as paternalistic.

Then, added to that man-made disaster, came Maria. The ferocious 2017 hurricane cut across the entire island, knocking out power for months, destroying already fragile infrastructure and sending people for refuge in Florida and New York and elsewhere. The sluggish aid response from local and federal authorities aggravated festering water, medicine and food shortages. An estimated 3,000 people died in the aftermath.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/puerto-rico-is-in-chaos-and-some-worry-continued-instability-is-a-major-threat/2019/07/18/3dbfb416-a8b8-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html

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