Officials Respond to Revised Hurricane Death Toll

The government of Puerto Rico has acknowledged that the death toll for hurricanes Irma and Maria is probably as much as 20 times higher than the official count of 64. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) responded, “It has been tragically clear for some time that the devastation from Irma and Maria was many magnitudes worse… Read more »

Hawaii Citizenship Controversy Watched By All Territories

The case of a U.S. national from American Samoan denied eligibility for voting and public office in Hawaii has raised questions about the legal nature of U.S. nationality and citizenship in all the American territories, including Puerto Rico. Considerable confusion has arisen in the discussion and debate related to this case. Sai Timoteo, a candidate… Read more »

Birth Defects in Puerto Rican Children Exposed to Zika Virus

Puerto Rico had a Zika virus outbreak in 2016. While the Zika virus has been seen in humans since the 1950s, the 2016 outbreak was the largest that had been seen at that time. Showing similar symptoms to Dengue fever, a fairly common tropical disease, Zika was found to be different in its connection with… Read more »

PROMESA Fiscal Board Releases Annual Report

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico which was put in place under PROMESA has released its second annual report. Acknowledging that Hurricanes Irma and Maria “utterly upended” life in Puerto Rico and the work of the board, the report nonetheless claims that the board “continued to make progress” toward its goals. Those… Read more »

Congressional Research Service Reports on Hurricane Forecasts

In 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes: Irma, which hit a glancing blow, and then direct and devastating landfall by Maria. Hurricane Maria was the most severe natural disaster in Puerto Rico’s history. The continental U.S. had not been hit directly by a hurricane since 2005, but Texas was bettered by Harvey and… Read more »

“Excess Deaths” in Puerto Rico

Uncertainty over the hurricane-related death toll in Puerto Rico has been a problem from the day of Hurricane Maria’s landfall last September. Early official numbers were based on a complex arrangement requiring official verification which was not available in most parts of the Island. Only people whose death certificates listed the hurricane as the cause… Read more »

Senators Introduce Bill to Cancel Puerto Rico’s Debt

On the day set aside to celebrate Puerto Rico’s constitution, a group of U.S. senators introduced a bill to forgive Puerto Rico’s debt. Puerto Rico owes more than $70 billion to creditors. Then Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared the debt “unpayable” in 2015. The PROMESA fiscal oversight board was put in place to help, among… Read more »

Guam Status: A Case of Arrested Development

by Howard Hills* An essay featured by the Guam Daily Post recently asked why Guam bemoans its lack of local self-determination, but never revived its dormant process for adopting a territorial constitution. It’s a question I have been asking for 30 years. A territorial constitution was authorized by Congress in 1978, and drafted by a… Read more »

Luis Fortuño Attacks “Commonwealth” Misinformation

Former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño recently wrote an article for The Hill reminding readers that “Puerto Rico has voted for statehood…twice.” Does Puerto Rico want statehood? First he called out Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, who claimed in an opinion piece at The Hill that the people of Puerto Rico don’t want statehood. In fact, Puerto… Read more »