Hit by new natural disasters, with earthquakes, Puerto Rico’s woes deepened by corruption

With a long history of corruption and mismanagement in Puerto Rico, it would be irresponsible to be doling out recovery money without proper controls and oversight, to ensure the money benefits it’s citizens not just the politicians, elites, and well-connected.


Hit by new natural disasters, Puerto Rico’s woes deepened by corruption

Nearly 950 earthquakes and aftershocks have hit Puerto Rico since Dec. 31, leaving 2,000 people in shelters, nearly a million without power until Monday and hundreds of thousands without water. The damage runs at least $110 million, yet relief efforts are slowed by the island’s endemic corruption.

The worst quake, a magnitude 6.4, hit last Tuesday and killed at least one person. Another, at 5.9, hit Saturday morning. Gov. Wanda Vazquez has declared a major state emergency and announced $2 million in help for hard-hit towns.

All this, when repairs still aren’t finished nearly two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit in 2017. And Puerto Rico is still waiting on billions in federal funds from the $91 billion promised then.

President Trump is withholding some cash because of serious “financial mismanagement.” Notably, the FBI is investigating multiple officials and contractors for misusing hurricane relief.

Evidence of that abuse keeps popping up: At least 10 trailers full of food, water and baby supplies were found in the parking lot of an elections office last year. Thousands of now-unsafe bottles of water sit on farmland in Dorado, just outside of San Juan.

On top of help rebuilding, Puerto Rico desperately needs assistance in building an honest, competent governing class.

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