No One is Tracking How Many Maria Evacuees Are Still in New York City

Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony plan to rebuild baseball fields, the U.S. Virgins recovery lags behind Puerto Rico's and more...

The Next 16 Months Will Define Puerto Rico's Future. Is Gov. Wanda Vázquez Ready?

“No one more than Puerto Ricans want oversight, but what we’ve seen so far doesn’t work. We don’t want punishment disguised as oversight.” – Miguel Soto-Class, founder and president of the Center for a New Economy (Nicole Acevedo / NBC Latino)

How Many Displaced by Hurricane Maria are Still Living in New York City?

Hundreds of families who evacuated Puerto Rico relocated to New York City. But neither the city nor the federal government are counting or tracking those families. (Daniel Parra / City Limits)

San Juan Mayor: The Fiscal Board Must Disappear

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has written a letter to Senate President Thomas Riveras Schatz that included a draft of a resolution asking that the legislature define the payment of pensions, education, safety and healthcare as essential services. The recent plans to cut down Puerto Rico’s budget have implemented austerity measures that could impact some of those services. (Caribbean Business)

Bad Bunny & Marc Anthony Are Rebuilding Baseball Fields Destroyed by Hurricane María

The musicians have teamed with the nonprofit Local Inititives Support Corporation to reconstruction dozens of baseball fields. An estimated 300 community fields were destroyed in the storm. (Jenzia Burgos / Remezcla)

He Couldn't Find His Grandmother During Hurricane Maria—Until He Flew His Drone Over Her House

An amateur computer developer, who used a drone to ensure his grandmother was alive after Hurricane Maria, is developing software to help future victims of natural disasters. (Courtney Linder / Popular Mechanics)

Hurricane Recovery in U.S. Virgin Islands Lags Puerto Rico’s

Though Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria has been slow, other Caribbean territories have recovered even more slowly, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That is largely because, while Puerto Rico’s economy is somewhat diversified, those other terrorities largely depend on tourism. (Alexandre Tanzi / Bloomberg)

Dismissed as fakes for a century, enigmatic Puerto Rican stones could rewrite history

“The stones question the meta-narrative that Columbus brought writing and history with him. That’s why they call everything before him pre-history. That type of thinking separates us from hundreds and thousands of years of our own history…It’s not the same to tell a people you have 500 years of history as to tell them your history goes back 6,000 years.” – Reniel Rodríguez Ramos,archaeologist at the University of Puerto Rico’s-Utuado (Jim Wyss / Miami Herald)


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Puerto Rico's Financial Board Has a Plan to Overhaul its Debt

Issue #52: Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez call to reduce austerity measures, small farmers are rebuilding and more...

As Puerto Ricans Leave in Record Numbers, Commission Unveils Plan to Overhaul Debt

Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board has announced a plan to restructure the island’s debt. The plan would reduce the debt, but it will mean reducing pensions for retirees and asking bondholders to take discounts. (Jim Wyss / Miami Herald)

$129 Billion Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Plan Could Be Model for States

Puerto Rico’s plan to reduce its debt could be used as a framework for states struggling with their own financial problems, including Illinois and New Jersey. (Mary Williams Walsh and Karl Russell / New York Times)

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Call for Reversal of Puerto Rico Austerity Measures

Thirteen members of Congress, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sent a letter to the PROMESA board demanding that Puerto Rico no longer be treated as a colony and that hte board “reverse the crippling austerity” measurements imposed on the territory. Read the full letter at the link. (Kate Aronoff and Alleen Brown / The Intercept)

Man Who Berated Woman Over Puerto Rico Shirt Is Convicted of Hate Crimes

The man, who was filmed on video berating a woman wearing a Puerto Rican flag shirt in a public Chicago park, has been convicted of two felonies. (Aimee Ortiz / New York Times)

Small Farmers Are Rebuilding a Self-Sufficient Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

“Every time I plant a seed, it’s a rebellious step. It’s my way of really going against a broken system.” Watch the video at the link. (Vox)


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It's Been Two Years Since Hurricane Maria

Issue #52: Blue tarps are a sign of slow recovery, "Generation Maria" leads a climate strike and more...

Friday marked two years since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, along with other parts of the Caribbean, are still recovering from the storm, a crisis reflected in the news coverage this week. It’s been my privilege to write this newsletter, and I thank you for sticking around and continuing to read two years later. – Ed. note.

Hurricane Maria, 2 Years Later: ‘We Want Another Puerto Rico’

“What Maria did was very important in political terms: It showed that the government of Puerto Rico was the equivalent of a failed state. We survived Hurricane Maria because of solidarity among churches, community organizations, neighbors. The government never arrived.” – Emilio Pantojas García, a sociology professor at the University of Puerto Rico (Patricia Mazzei and Alejandra Rosa / New York Times)

Weathering the Storm: For a Puerto Rican Community in a FEMA Flood Zone, Disaster Funds Promise Little Relief

“When you get deeper in terms of public policy and deeper in terms of the details in the action plan, and you put them in context with FEMA’s new maps of flooding and the context of the opportunity zones, you start to see that this is not for the people of Puerto Rico but instead about using the crisis after Maria to create a reorganization of the territory. They’re trying to get a lot of communities displaced because they think they live in a place that can be an opportunity for other projects like tourism.” –Roberto Thomas, director of the Jobos Bay Eco-Development Initiative (Alleen Brown / The Intercept)

Puerto Rico Faces Slow Recovery 2 Years After Maria

Nearly $43 billion has been appropriated by Congress to be used for hurricane recovery, but the island has so far only received $13.3 billion. And José Sepúlveda, transmission and distribution engineer for Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, said reconstructing the power grid will likely take seven years. (Dánica Coto / Associated Press)

Two Years After Hurricane Maria, Blue Tarps Are Symbol Of Island's Slow Recovery

Puerto Rico’s government estimates that there are still 30,000 families living under blue tarps. (Adrian Florido / NPR)

‘It’s Not Full Citizenship’: What It Means to Be Puerto Rican Post-María

“When María came, there was so much neglect from the federal government. With President Trump, what happened is that people really started to think, ‘Wow, it’s really true. The U.S. doesn’t care about us and we’re just a territory. They don’t respond to our emergencies.’ The terrible physical, psychological and emotional suffering that they experienced because of María really sharpened that dismay. Yes, they’re U.S. citizens, but there are a lot of caveats to that citizenship. It’s not full citizenship.” – Ed Morales, author of “Fantasy Island: Colonialism, Exploitation and the Betrayal of Puerto Rico” (Isabelia Herrera / New York Times)

Two Years After the Hurricane, Puerto Rico’s “Generation Maria” Leads a Climate Strike

Though the youth climate strike movement was started in Sweden by Greta Thunberg, the movement has taken hold in Puerto Rico, where teen activists call themselves “la generación del ‘yo no me dejo.’” (Alleen Brown / the Intercept)

Two Years After Hurricane Maria Ravaged Puerto Rico, Startups Are Thriving Amid Plans to Fix Problems Uncovered by the Storm

Start-ups in San Juan are doing well, in part due to business decisions made in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (Leigh Buchanan / Inc.)


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Trump's Decision to Withold HUD Funding is Illegal, Dems Say

Issue #52: Housing aid for evacuees is running out, a proposed land-use zoning map has incited new protests and more...

HUD is Violating the Law by Witholding Billions in Disaster Aid from Puerto Rico, Democrats Say

“If anything, Puerto Rico should [receive] a special urgency," Representative David Price (D-N.C.) said. “The delay is not acceptable, and it's certainly not acceptable to single-out Puerto Rico. The president's rhetoric on this raises a lot of questions about what's going on here and where this directive is coming from.” (Ramsey Touchberry / Newsweek)

Housing Aid for Puerto Rican Evacuees Close to Running Out

“We would be hungry right now, we see people that are homeless without this money ... we would be in the same circumstances, we would be walking in their shoes. We can say we can get up early and go to work.” – Housing aid recipient Brenda Viera (Chris Ehrmann / Associated Press)

Puerto Rico’s New Land-Use Zoning Map Strikes a Nerve with Fed-Up Citizens

Puerto Rico’s state planning board has unveiled a proposed zoning map that could accelerated the development of important sites like Vieques’ bioluminscent bay, the popular surfing town Rincón and the historic districts of Ponce and Viejo San Juan. Residents are protesting once again in front of the governor’s mansion and, to date, nearly 17,000 people have signed a petition opposing the changes.

Puerto Rico to be Hit Hardest as Pentagon Pulls Funds for Border Wall

$3.7 billion has been diverted from construction projects to instead be used for Trump’s border wall. That includes $400 million that was set aside to be used in Puerto Rico. (MSNBC)

ACLU Asks Supreme Court to Overrule Precedent that Established ‘Second-Class’ Status for Puerto Rico

A series of Supreme Court cases, decided in the early 20th century, determined that U.S. citizens living in unincorporated territories were not entitled to the same protections granted to Americans under the Constitution. Today, the majority of people living in an unincorporated territory live in Puerto Rico. The ACLU is arguing that those decisions are “no less offensive” than the 1896 “separate but equal” decision that was overturned in 1954. (Tucker Higgins / CNBC)

As ‘Puerto Rican Summer’ Draws to a Close, People’s Assemblies Spring Up Across the Island

During the Verano Boricua, about local popular assemblies have popped up across the island, offering a venue for residents to discuss national and local politics.
“It’s very tiresome, but is a task that someone has to do,” Jennifer Mota Castillo, an assembly spokesperson, said. “From here, within the next years or the next decade, is going to emerge the Puerto Rico that we want and are going to design together, from the people, from below.” (Juan C. Dávila / The Indypendent)

Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton' Funds Give Puerto Rican Art Groups a Second Chance

A dozen arts groups will receive arts funding from the Flamboyan Foundation and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who raised nearly $15 million from ticket sales during a 17-day run of Hamilton in Puerto Rico. (Melisa Bivian and Jessica Flores / NBC News)

Music Therapy Helps Heal Children Facing Post-Hurricane Trauma in Puerto Rico

More than 7 percent of children in Puerto Rico were reported to be suffering from PTSD after Hurricane Maria.
“We are still working with the communities that need help, and it’s never ending," he said. "There are a lot of schools that need help." Dr. Daniel Martínez Ortíz, a clinical psychologists who teaches music therapy workshops (Marcela Valdivia / NBC News)


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Gov. Wanda Vázquez Promises to Fight Corruption

Issue #51: Millions of dollars in contracts under review, Arecibo Observatory gets funds for repairs and more...

Puerto Rico Governor Plans to Stay in Office, Fight Corruption

Puerto Rico is on its third governor in as many weeks. Wanda Vázquez, who previously said she was not interested in taking the position, said she plans to stay in office. Her priorities are to fight corruption, secure hurricane recovery funds and pull the commonwealth out of its recession, she said. (Danica Coto / Associated Press)

New Puerto Rico Gov Suspends Contract to Rebuild Power Grid

Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced that she is suspending a $450,000 contract that is part of the island’s efforts to rebuild its power grid. Though she didn’t provide specific details, she said the decision was made in the name of transparency. (Danica Coto / Associated Press)

Fiscal Board Wants to Review $80 Million Worth of Contracts Rosselló Awarded Before Resigning

The executive director of the oversight board said she has requested information about the more than 200 contracts approved by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló before he resigned. (Caribbean Business)

Puerto Rico's Coffee Farmers Work to Rebuild What Hurricane Maria Destroyed

“A lot of help has arrived, but it has gone to studies, plans, administration, and the help doesn’t get to those who really need it. The money and support goes to those who don’t really need it. We’ve realized that we, as coffee farmers, have to do the work ourselves.” – Coffee farmer Iris Jeannette (Jessica Flores / NBC News)

Arecibo Observatory to Get $12.3 Million for Post-Maria Reconstruction

The funds, earmarked from the National Science Foundation’s supplementary disaster allowances, will go toward reparing the Areceibo Observatory, one of the most famous in the world. (The Weekly Journal)

Puerto Rican Singer-Songwriter iLe Says the Country's Historic Protests Were Something the People 'Needed to Feel'

"I know that it made a difference in the protests here, and it was unexpected to see artists that you're not used to being vocal in political situations. This broke some barriers." – iLe (Angélica Acevedo / Insider)

Hurricane Maria Memorial Competition: Calling All Architects

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is soliciting submissions from architects and artists to design and build a memorial that will honor the victims and survivors of Hurricane Maria. Submissions will be accepted until September 9. (NY.gov)


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