Puerto Rico

US financial board spars with Puerto Rican authorities over how best to pillage island

By Genevieve Leigh, 2 July 2018

Wall Street demands a fresh round of budget cuts as the social crisis on the US territory deepens.

US media turns blind eye to the death of 5,000 Puerto Ricans

By Genevieve Leigh, 4 June 2018

The Harvard study on the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico is a damning exposure of one of the most monstrous cover-ups in US history.

Puerto Rican resident speaks on death toll cover up, crisis on the island

By Genevieve Leigh, 1 June 2018

Jose, a 29-year-old resident of the island, spoke to the WSWS about the conditions which led to 5,000 deaths after Hurricane María and about the way forward for the working class

A social crime and cover-up exposed

Five thousand deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

By Genevieve Leigh, 31 May 2018

A Harvard study estimating nearly 5,000 deaths of Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane María is a damning exposure of the official cover up of death and devastation on the island.

New estimates put real death toll from Hurricane María in Puerto Rico near 5,000

By Genevieve Leigh, 30 May 2018

The study is the latest third party report that discredits the official government toll of 64 deaths from the 2017 hurricane.

Puerto Rican police attack thousands of protesters marching against austerity on May Day

By Genevieve Leigh, 3 May 2018

Despite reports of largely peaceful demonstrations, the protesters were attacked by police with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and nightsticks.

Banks impose massive attack on Puerto Rican workers amid island-wide blackout

By Genevieve Leigh, 20 April 2018

Puerto Rico’s unelected Financial Oversight Management Board passed a fiscal plan Thursday which includes cuts to education, pensions, sick leave and vacation pay.

Seven months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico suffers total blackout

By Daniel de Vries, 19 April 2018

A break in a single transmission line triggered an island-wide blackout Wednesday, expected to last 24 to 36 hours.

“It’s all about building the stock market and not about people”

Numerous Kentucky schools to close Wednesday, as teachers’ protests mount

By J. Cooper and Nancy Hanover, 20 March 2018

Kentucky, which borders West Virginia, is the scene of escalating protests by educators, with growing demands for strike action over deep-going threats to their pensions.

Mental health crisis descends on Puerto Rico’s working class

By Ali Abu Elhassan, 9 March 2018

Suicides have increased by 30 percent on the island of Puerto Rico since Hurricane María made landfall almost six months ago.

US government cuts aid to Puerto Rico by half

By Antonio Castro, 3 March 2018

Amidst a mounting mental health crisis and constant power outages, the US government announced a drastic cut in aid to the island still reeling from hurricane damage.

Notes from Puerto Rico

Wave of home foreclosures expected to hit Puerto Rico

By Antonio Castro, 24 February 2018

This is the third in a series of on-the-ground updates from a Puerto Rican worker on the unfolding crisis on the island in the wake of Hurricane María.

Puerto Rican Investment Summit discusses how to profit from human tragedy

By Rafael Azul, 19 February 2018

Oblivious to the humanitarian crisis, participants discussed how to profit from the hurricane destruction and protect their speculative assets from US taxes.

Puerto Rico blackout exposes the precarious state of the island’s electrical grid

By Matthew Taylor, 13 February 2018

An explosion ripped through the Monacillo power plant outside of San Juan Sunday night, leaving 175,000 residents without power for several hours.

Plundering of Puerto Rico continues as governor attacks public education

By Genevieve Leigh, 10 February 2018

Governor Rosselló announced his intention to privatize the public school system a week and a half after announcing the sell-off of the electricity grid.

Notes from Puerto Rico

Thousands of workers in Puerto Rico continue to live without running water

By Antonio Castro, 8 February 2018

This is the second in a series of updates from a local Puerto Rican worker on the unfolding crisis on the island in the wake of Hurricane María.

Why are a million Puerto Ricans still in the dark?

By Daniel de Vries, 2 February 2018

Even as a humanitarian crisis continues to ravage the United States’ largest territory, officials are plotting the privatization of the public electric utility.

Puerto Rican Governor calls for the closing of a quarter of the island’s public schools

By Rafael Azul, 31 January 2018

As part of his new fiscal spending plan, Governor Rosselló has proposed to cut $303.4 million from education by closing 300 K-12 schools.

Notes from Puerto Rico

Four months of life in the dark after Hurricane Maria

By Antonio Castro, 30 January 2018

This is the first of a series of on-the-ground updates from a local Puerto Rican worker on the unfolding crisis on the island in the wake of Hurricane María.

Four months after Hurricane Maria

Continuing crisis used to justify sell-off of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid

By Genevieve Leigh, 24 January 2018

The governor of Puerto Rico announced plans to privatize the island’s largest public utility amidst the longest and largest power outage in modern US history.

The deadly impact of Hurricane María extends to US hospitals

Power outages set off IV bag shortages

By Genevieve Leigh, 13 January 2018

Ongoing power outages in Puerto Rico have set off a severe crisis of IV bag shortages on the US mainland, exacerbated by a sharp increase in flu cases nationwide.

Puerto Rico, more than 100 days after Hurricane Maria: The class issues

By Genevieve Leigh, 8 January 2018

The absence of planning for the hurricane and the lack of any significant response to the devastation by the local and federal governments has had deadly consequences.

“The government has done nothing”

Months after hurricane, Puerto Rican workers face worsening jobs crisis

By Genevieve Leigh and Zac Corrigan, 28 December 2017

The economic devastation of Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria continues to escalate three months after the storm made landfall in late September.

Puerto Rico governor orders review of official hurricane death toll

By Niles Niemuth, 19 December 2017

The review comes amid growing anger on the island and media reports that the true death toll from Hurricane Maria could exceed 1,000.

“The poverty is no longer hidden by the trees”

Hurricane Maria exposes the conditions of life for the working class in Caguas, Puerto Rico

By Genevieve Leigh and Zac Corrigan, 18 December 2017

Workers and youth from Caguas, Puerto Rico, spoke to WSWS reporters about life without power, electricity and running water, nearly 100 days after Hurricane Maria.

“The rich people are not going to do anything for us”

University of Puerto Rico students speak on inequality and the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria

By Genevieve Leigh and Zac Corrigan, 16 December 2017

Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a WSWS reporting team spoke to students at the island’s only public university about the ongoing crisis and the way forward for workers and youth.

On-the-spot report

Over a million in Puerto Rico living without the necessities of modern life

“The island has been turned upside down since the storm”

By Genevieve Leigh and Zac Corrigan, 14 December 2017

Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall a WSWS reporting team spoke to residents in San Sebastian, Puerto about the discrepancy between official news reports of the island’s recovery and the actual conditions they face.

Puerto Rican unions propose to partner with the Wall Street’s financial control board

By Rafael Azul, 8 December 2017

With social anger growing against the criminal indifference of the Trump administration and new demands for austerity measures, the trade unions are desperately trying to block the eruption of working-class struggle.

Ten weeks since Hurricane María: Scientists say real death toll in Puerto Rico over 1,000

By Rafael Azul, 30 November 2017

While conditions continue to deteriorate for most Puerto Ricans, big business looks for profit-making opportunities.

Hurricane Harvey three months on: Tens of thousands still homeless from worst natural disaster in US history

By Joseph Kishore, 29 November 2017

The ongoing catastrophe caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria is an indictment of American capitalism and the financial oligarchy that runs the United States.

Puerto Rico proclaims “new government” to intensify austerity

By Andrea Lobo, 17 November 2017

With Puerto Rico still devastated by Hurricane Maria, local authorities are claiming dictatorial powers to carry out a brutal offensive against workers and youth.

San Juan blackout exposes chaos in restoration of Puerto Rico’s electrical service

By Rafael Azul, 14 November 2017

Behind last week’s blackout in Puerto Rico are the effects of delayed maintenance and moves to privatize the government-owned electricity enterprise.

DeVos visits Puerto Rico to boost privatization of public schools

By Rafael Azul, 10 November 2017

The US education secretary met with her Puerto Rican counterpart, who is looking at post-Katrina New Orleans as the model for the schools in US territory.

Puerto Rican teachers arrested at protest demanding reopening of schools

By Jerry White, 8 November 2017

Puerto Rico’s education secretary is following the example of New Orleans, where Hurricane Katrina was used as the opportunity to lay off thousands of teachers and privatize schools.

Bernie Sanders tries to quell anger in Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 1 November 2017

With anger against the Trump administration reaching a breaking point, Sanders urged Puerto Ricans to keep their faith in the US government.

CVS and Aetna reportedly in talks for $60 billion merger

By Tom Hall, 31 October 2017

The merger between the CVS pharmacy chain and the insurance giant is reportedly in response to Amazon’s imminent entry into the prescription drug business.

Whitefish Energy profits in Puerto Rico from Trump administration connection

By Rafael Azul, 30 October 2017

As these connections have come to light, top Puerto Rican government officials have tried to wash their hands of the deal.

Montana company with ties to Trump cashes in from Puerto Rico disaster

By Rafael Azul, 25 October 2017

Whitefish Energy, a tiny Montana company with virtually no experience in infrastructure repair, has secured a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.

Puerto Rico power blackout the biggest in US history

By Rafael Azul, 24 October 2017

Some 3 million people are without electricity and there are predictions that some remote parts of the mountainous island will not see power restored until next June.

Estimated death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria rises to 450

By Rafael Azul, 20 October 2017

Amidst a systematic cover-up of the true scale of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Trump declared yesterday that the response of the US government was a “10.”

Deaths caused by Leptospirosis reported in Puerto Rico

By Benjamin Mateus, 16 October 2017

There is a scarcity of clean water in rural communities, whose residents are resorting to washing and bathing in local rivers and springs.

President Trump threatens to pull the plug on Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 13 October 2017

In Twitter messages, the president blamed the US territory for its crisis and said that federal disaster relief had to be limited.

Trump, local officials lie about real extent of Puerto Rico disaster

By Rafael Azul, 10 October 2017

Three weeks since the devastating storm hit, there is a concerted campaign by the Trump administration and local government authorities to conceal the full scope of the disaster.

WSWS reader describes ongoing human catastrophe in Puerto Rico

By Tom Hall, 9 October 2017

Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island millions remain without power and the real death toll is still not known.

Puerto Rico continues to languish as tropical storm Nate threatens US Gulf Coast

By Rafael Azul, 7 October 2017

The current hurricane season in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is proving to be one of the most destructive on record.

Wall Street demands Puerto Rico pay up

By Rafael Azul, 5 October 2017

Budget Director Mulvaney: “Puerto Rico’s going to have to figure out how to fix the errors that it has made for the last generation on its own finances.”

Trump’s photo-op in Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 4 October 2017

Trump, who is proposing the largest tax cut for corporations and the rich in history, complained that the recovery effort was costing too much.

Trump visits Puerto Rico as anger grows over government response

By Rafael Azul, 3 October 2017

In contrast to the indifference of the Trump administration, people across the United States are volunteering to help residents of the hurricane-ravaged island.

Puerto Rico faces health catastrophe as Trump tweets “We have done a great job”

By Andrea Lobo, 2 October 2017

Almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria laid waste to much of Puerto Rico, many towns are still cut off from all relief efforts.

New York City workers collecting aid express anger at Trump’s response to Puerto Rico disaster

By a WSWS reporting team, 2 October 2017

Working people at a South Bronx event to collect aid for people in the US territory spoke to the WSWS about their anger over the Trump administration’s lack of response to the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which struck nearly two weeks ago.

“We need help and the politicians are ignoring us”

Puerto Rican survivors describe dire conditions after hurricane

By Jerry White, 2 October 2017

Residents of Arroyo on the southeastern shore of the island described the lack of water, electricity and other basic necessities.

Trump to Puerto Rico: Your lives don’t matter

By Eric London, 30 September 2017

The Trump administration’s callous and incompetent response to the social disaster in Puerto Rico expresses the worldview of a financial oligarchy that sees the lives of working people as expendable.

As popular anger builds, US sends military to Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 29 September 2017

The purpose of the military occupation is to contain the masses and to protect the profit interests of banks and corporations.

Puerto Rican people still without aid a week after Hurricane Maria

By Rafael Azul, 28 September 2017

Puerto Rico is already under a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Increasingly, the question raised is whether the island will be placed under martial law.

Trump to devastated Puerto Rico: Wall Street must be paid!

By Bill Van Auken, 27 September 2017

The brutal and ignorant tweet from the US president expresses the real attitude of America’s ruling oligarchy toward a population of 3.5 million confronting a humanitarian catastrophe.

Puerto Rico confronts the devastation wrought by hurricanes and Wall Street

By Rafael Azul, 25 September 2017

Puerto Rico is reeling not only from the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria, but from the predatory ravages of Wall Street.

Dam collapse threatens to kill thousands in Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 23 September 2017

Three days after Hurricane Maria devastated the Island, residents are left without power and basic necessities, while an ongoing dam collapse threatens to inundate tens of thousands.

Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria

By Rafael Azul, 22 September 2017

As in Texas and Florida, the human suffering caused by the hurricane was exacerbated by the absence of any serious evacuation plan and the lack of public resources.

Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 21 September 2017

The suffering caused by the hurricane was made worse by the absence of any serious official evacuation plan and the lack of resources due to the financial plundering of the US territory

After Irma, Wall Street pushes for austerity and privatization in Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 14 September 2017

Hurricane Irma came in as a godsend to the hedge fund managers who want to privatize the island’s public electric company.

Massive abstention in Puerto Rican statehood referendum

By Rafael Azul, 13 June 2017

The vast majority of Puerto Rican voters failed to participate in Sunday’s plebiscite on the island’s political status.

Puerto Rican governor proposes austerity budget

By Rafael Azul, 5 June 2017

The budget slashes education, pensions and social services in line with the dictates of Wall Street.

Vulture capitalists fight over pickings from bankrupt Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 22 May 2017

The country is already one of the most socially unequal US territories, with half the population under the poverty line and the official rate of unemployment at 11.5 percent.

University of Puerto Rico students protest austerity measures

By Rafael Azul, 16 May 2017

Striking students occupying the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras are defying a court order to end their protest.

Puerto Rico to shut down 179 public schools

By Rafael Azul, 10 May 2017

Following a declaration of bankruptcy, the Puerto Rican government announced mass school closures and the layoff of 2,000 teachers.

Puerto Rican bankruptcy: A prelude to savage austerity and pension cuts

By Rafael Azul and Jerry White, 5 May 2017

The bankruptcy of the US territory island will set a new precedent for the destruction of workers’ pensions and the privatization of public services and assets.

New Puerto Rican governor declares fiscal emergency, paves way for massive cuts

By Rafael Azul, 6 January 2017

During his inaugural speech, Governor Ricardo Roselló promised to work with the US fiscal control board aimed at increasing the flow of payments to the island’s Wall Street creditors.

Puerto Rico hit by nationwide blackout

By Kevin Martinez, 24 September 2016

After a breakdown of a plant that had not been maintained for decades, authorities are trading blame for the failure to maintain the island’s outdated infrastructure.

US Senate gives last-minute approval to Puerto Rico debt package

By Rafael Azul, 1 July 2016

The US Senate approved on June 29 a debt measure for Puerto Rico, less than 48 hours before the island was to default on a $2.1 billion debt.

Congress, Obama call for a Financial Control Board for Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 13 June 2016

The US ruling elite intends to use the crisis as an opportunity to drastically reduce working conditions and living standards in Puerto Rico.

US house approves new austerity program for Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 23 May 2016

The bipartisan measure attacks virtually every right of Puerto Rican workers and youth, while protecting the profits of Wall Street and the interests of bond holders.

Puerto Rico declares moratorium on $367 million debt payment

By Rafael Azul, 4 May 2016

As its economy sinks, Puerto Rico confronts a social crisis of historic proportions.

Puerto Rican government will not pay portion of its debt

By Rafael Azul, 5 January 2016

The government of Puerto Rico announced that it would default on $37 million out of a $900 million payment this week.

Puerto Rico faces default on its debts

By Rafael Azul, 28 December 2015

Despite his protests over congressional inaction, the Padilla administration has contributed to the increasing human misery facing Puerto Ricans with draconian austerity measures.

More austerity for Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 31 October 2015

While the US congress considers bankruptcy for Puerto Rico, legislators in the Caribbean island are stepping up austerity measures.

Puerto Rican government unveils anti-worker austerity plan

By Rafael Azul, 11 September 2015

Puerto Rico’s debt payment plan is a frontal attack on education, health care, jobs and living standards to benefit bond holders and corporations.

Puerto Rico on rations

By Rafael Azul, 10 August 2015

Puerto Rico’s creditors continue to insist that the country, currently suffering from extreme draught, must implement "painful" measures in response to $73 billion in debt.

Creditor group calls for slashing education and social spending in Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 30 July 2015

The creditors laid down a set of dictates including tax hikes, the sale of $4 billion worth of public assets, and the slashing of public education and other social programs.

Puerto Rican plan to make workers pay for the island’s debt crisis

By Rafael Azul, 14 July 2015

A combination of “pro-growth” and “supply-side” measures would impoverish the Puerto Rican working class.

Puerto Rico spirals towards bankruptcy amid mass poverty and increasing inequality

By Rafael Azul, 7 July 2015

A Detroit-style bankruptcy process for Puerto Rico will destroy living conditions and impose a bankers’ dictatorship.

Puerto Rico governor declares debts “not payable”

By David Brown, 30 June 2015

The government of Puerto Rico is looking to impose brutal austerity measures on the working class in order to secure payment to wealthy creditors.

Austerity budget deepens Puerto Rico’s economic crisis

By John Marion, 29 May 2015

While the lack of health care funding causes scenes reminiscent of Greece, the Puerto Rican government is preparing a budget that will impose drastic cuts.

Puerto Rico’s governor seeks to placate bond markets with austerity measures

By John Marion, 28 June 2014

Faced with a continuing debt crisis, Governor Alejandro García Padilla is imposing austerity measures to protect the position of lenders.

Puerto Rico’s pensions in the crosshairs

By Marc Wells, 22 March 2014

As Puerto Rico may be heading toward a default, investors prepare to dodge their losses by attacking pensions and social programs.

Puerto Rico steps up austerity after cut in credit rating

By Bill Van Auken, 6 February 2014

Puerto Rico’s government ordered across-the-board budget cuts of 2 percent and promised more austerity measures after the island’s credit rating was downgraded to junk status.

Wall Street demands austerity in Puerto Rico

By John Marion, 23 January 2014

Bond traders are responding to Puerto Rico’s government debt problems by demanding the imposition of austerity measures.

Workers rally in support of Puerto Rican students

By Rafael Azul, 21 May 2010

Thousands rallied across Puerto Rico on May 18th in support of striking Puerto Rican students and in opposition to the austerity policies of the governor.

Police attack student strikers at University of Puerto Rico

By Rafael Azul, 17 May 2010

On May 14, Puerto Rican security forces moved to break a student strike by laying siege to the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico, in violation of the long-standing tradition of autonomy at UPR campuses.

Puerto Rican students occupy four universities

By Alphonso Santana and Rafael Azul, 28 April 2010

Students have occupied Puerto Rico’s largest university, the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, in a suburb of San Juan, to oppose tuition increases and the privatization plans of Governor Luis Fortuño.

Puerto Rico: General strike against mass layoffs

By Bill Van Auken, 17 October 2009

Hundreds of thousands of workers joined a day-long general strike Thursday in opposition to the layoffs of tens of thousands of public employees ordered by the island territory’s Governor Luis Fortuño.

Puerto Rico: Mass layoffs provoke protests, strikes

By Bill Van Auken, 5 October 2009

The Puerto Rican government’s announced layoff of 17,000 public employees has provoked protests and strikes.

US Navy to be sued for depleted uranium use on Caribbean island

By Harvey Thompson, 21 February 2001

The inhabitants of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques are to take the United States Navy to court for compensation over a claim that its use of depleted uranium (DU) shells has caused a cancer epidemic.

US dragnet snares Vieques protesters

By Bill Vann, 7 July 2000

Demonstrators gathered July 4 outside the Guaynabo Detention Center in Puerto Rico in protest over the mass roundup of opponents of the US Navy's continuing bombardment of the island of Vieques.