It has been three weeks since I posted in this blog.
I was supposed to go to Puerto Rico with my wife and kids to spend Christmas with the family, but given the slow pace of the recovery following Hurricane Maria, we opted to spend the holidays at home in Princeton. My parents, brother, sisters, nephew and niece from Puerto Rico came to New Jersey and they spent two weeks with us. My uncle, aunt and cousins also came down to Princeton before they went off to Puerto Rico to celebrate the new year.
It was nice to spend time with the family and like any Puerto Rican family we ate a lot, drank some, and we argued about the island’s politics and economy. I also asked lots of questions about the recovery efforts and how my they felt about the slow progress. I also asked them to compare the Puerto Rican and federal governments’ response to Maria and Georges, hoping I could start testing some of my hypotheses regarding the slow recovery Puerto Rico has experienced since Maria.
Thus, I took some time to read a bit more about the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) after Maria and also after Hurricanes Hugo and Georges. I also brushed up on the island’s political economy, especially its dependence on manufacturing and the legacy of the Section 936 tax subsidies. And given my conversations with my pro-Statehood family, I have read a ton about the contemporary pro-Statehood movement.
I have been also researching how journalists have covered Puerto Rico’s post-Maria recovery. I am especially interested in the way they have used social media platforms to amplify their coverage.
In the following days, I will continue to post on Puerto Rico’s post-Maria recovery efforts, especially the slow progress being made to reestablish electricity to the island’s customers. But in a departure from what I have done in the last weeks, I will start to look at Rossello’s new strategy to mobilize Puerto Ricans in the mainland as a means to give Puerto Rico more weight in Washington, DC. I also wonder what Puerto Ricans feel about these efforts and whether Rossello’s popularity has increased or decreased since Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
Thanks for your patience. Happy 2018! And of course feel free to send me your comments or suggestions.