Section 4

Infrastructure & Everyday Crisis

curated by Tania María Ríos

The fiscal crisis impacts every aspect of daily life.

Neoliberal austerity measures devastate and threaten many of the fundamental structures and facilities needed for the basic operation of society. 

The following five units provide resources with which to critically examine Puerto Rico’s intersecting energy, climate, environmental, and social crises, and foregrounds the work of communities organizing for change. 

Keywords: power grid, privatization, LUMA energy, energy colonialism, renewable energy, energy democracy, climate change, coastal vulnerability, water security, coal ash, contamination and pollution, environmental racism, COVID-19, the University of Puerto Rico, public school closures.

The Power Grid

James Barrata. “Puerto Ricans Fight Privatization of Energy and Demand Democratic Ownership.” Truthout, 19 Oct. 2021.

Cathy Kunkel and Tom Sanzillo. “Paying For Failure: High Fees for Finance Consultants Shortchange Puerto Rico Electrical Grid.” Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, April 2021.

Camilo J. Miguel Bosques, co-host/producer. El Contrato de LUMA Energy.” Pesos y Contrapesos, Anchor app, 25 July 2021.

Eliván Martínez Mercado. “Apagones empeoraron desde la entrada de LUMA, reconoce un documento de la empresa.” El Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, 30 Sep. 2021.

Amy Goodman, host. “Hurricane LUMA: Puerto Ricans Fight Big Coal & Privatized Energy Amid Climate Disasters, Blackouts.” Democracy Now!, 3 Nov. 2021.

Fernando Tormos-Aponte, et al. “Energy inequality and clientelism in the wake of disasters: From colorblind to affirmative power restoration.” Energy Policy, vol. 158, Nov. 2021, 112550, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112550.

Van R. Newkirk II. “The Peril of Privatizing Prepa.” The Atlantic, 24 Jan. 2018.

Additional Sources

Oversight Hearing on the Transformation of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2020.

Lily Bui. “Rewiring Puerto Rico: Power and Empowerment After Hurricane Maria.” Medium, 28 March 2018. 

Maria Gallucci. “Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s Power Grid: The Inside Story.” IEEE Spectrum, 12 March 2018.

Adam Rogers. “Why Can’t We Fix Puerto Rico’s Power Grid?Wired Magazine, 4 April 2018.

Frances Rosario. “Roselló firma la ley que dará paso a la privatización de la AEE,” El Nuevo Día, 20 June 2018.

Mary Williams Walsh. “At Puerto Rico’s Power Company, a Recipe for Toxic Air, and Debt.” The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2016.

Alternative Energy Futures

Catalina M. de Onís. Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico. University of California Press. 2021.

Ruth Santiago, et al. “Powering Life in Puerto Rico.” NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. 52, no.2, 2020, pp. 178-185. DOI: 10.1080/10714839.2020.1768741.

Queremos Sol. “Queremos Sol: Sostenible. Local. Limpio.” Proposal Version 4.0. Feb 2020.

Casa Pueblo. “Educando para el cambio: energía solar.” Youtube, uploaded by Casa Pueblo Adjuntas, 16 Oct. 2021.

Michelle Estrada Torres, et al. “Las mujeres y la energía solar: historias de lucha en la montaña.” Casa Pueblo, 2020.

Alleen Brown. “Energy Insurrection.” The Intercept, 9 Feb. 2020.

Additional Sources

United States, Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Puerto Rico Energy Snapshot.” Prepared by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), May 2020.

Catalina M. de Onís. “Puerto Rican Energy Researchers Excluded From Island’s Energy Transition Deliberations.” Latino Rebels, 16 Oct. 2017.

Environmental Terrains of Struggle

Maritza Barreto. “Climate/Coastal Vulnerability in Puerto Rico.” Coastal Research and Planning Institute of Puerto Rico (CoRePI) at Graduate School of Planning, UPR Rio Piedras Campus, 11 Feb. 2021.

José Luis Baerga Aguirre, director. El poder del pueblo. 2020.

Syra Ortiz-Blanes. “Toxic chemicals in Puerto Rican tap water linked to coal ash from energy firm, study says.” Miami Herald, 7 Oct. 2021.

Hilda Lloréns. “Toxic Racism in Puerto Rico’s Sacrifice Zone.” NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. 53, no. 3, 2021, pp. 275-280, DOI: 10.1080/10714839.2021.1961447.

Hilda Lloréns and Maritza Stanchich. “Water is life, but the colony is a necropolis: Environmental terrains of struggle in Puerto Rico.” Cultural Dynamics, vol. 31, no. 1-2, 2019, pp. 81-101. DOI: 10.1177/0921374019826200.

Anais Roque, et al. “Autogestión and water sharing networks in Puerto Rico after Hurricane María.” Water International, vol. 46, no. 6, 2021, pp. 938-955, DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2021.1960103.

Patricia Mazzei. “A Turtle, a Pool and the Fight to Save Puerto Rico’s Beaches.” The New York Times, 6 Nov. 2021.

Gustavo García-López. “Environmental Justice Movements in Puerto Rico: Life-and-death Struggles and Decolonizing Horizons.” Society and Space, 25 Feb 2020.

Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak. “Making the Case for a Right to a Healthy Environment for the Protection of Vulnerable Communities: A Case of Coal-Ash Disaster in Puerto Rico.” Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, vol. 9, no. 2, 2020.

Health & the Care Economy

Catherine Garcia, et al. “Contextualizing the COVID-19 Era in Puerto Rico: Compounding Disasters and Parallel Pandemics.” Oxford University Press, 2020.

Alana Casanova-Burgess, host. “Vieques and the Promise To Build Back Better.” La Brega, WNYC Studios, 24 Feb. 2021.

Jose Atiles Osoria. “The COVID-19 Pandemic in Puerto Rico: Exceptionality, Corruption and State-Corporate Crimes.” State Crime Journal, vol. 10, no. 1, Pluto Journals, 2021, pp. 104–25, https://doi.org/10.13169/statecrime.10.1.0104.

Juan Declet-Barreto. “#coloniavirus, cambio climático y colonialismo: la construcción colonial de la precariedad en Puerto Rico.” Journal of Latin American Geography, vol. 19 no. 3, 2020, p. 289-295. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/lag.2020.0051.

Additional Sources

Javier Colón Dávila. “La Junta deja en cero el presupuesto para los CDT,” El Nuevo Día, 12 June 2018.

Greg Allen. “SOS: Puerto Rico Is Losing Doctors, Leaving Patients Stranded,” NPR, 12 March 2016.

Lizette Alvarez and Abby Goodnough. “Puerto Ricans Brace for Crisis in Health Care,” New York Times, 2 Aug. 2015.

Marga Parés Arroyo. “Hospitales en bancarrotaEl Nuevo Día, 18 May 2016.

Marga Parés Arroyo. “La crisis fiscal trastoca la salud mental,” El Nuevo Día, 6 May 2017.

Jessica Mulligan. Unmanageable Care: An Ethnography of Health Care Privatization in Puerto Rico (New York: NYU Press, 2014). [Click here for eBook in NYPL catalog]

 

The Right to Public Education

The University of Puerto Rico

Rima Brusi. “‘The University of Puerto Rico Is Not for Sale!'” The Nation, 25 Oct. 2021.

Javier Córdova Iturregui. “Datos recientes sobre los docentes sin plaza en la Universidad de Puerto Rico,” Momento Crítico, October 15, 2021.

Joanisabel González. “El dilema de endeudarse para aprender,” El Nuevo Día, August 12, 2018.

Juan C. Dávila. “Students Of Puerto Rico Lead Resistance Against PROMESA,” Huffington Post, 9 April 2017.

José Laguarta. “Pensar la huelga,” 80 Grados, 7 April 2017.

Francisco J. Fortuño Bernier. Cerrar para abrir:” Puerto Rican Student Struggles and the Crisis of Colonial-Capitalism,” Viewpoint Magazine,  April 27, 2017.

José Karlo Pagán Negrón. “Huelga 2017: 72 días en defensa de la UPR,” Diálogo UPR, June 8, 2017.

The Public School System

Dalia Rubiano Yedidia, et al. Puerto Rico’s Public School Closures; Community Effects and Future Paths. Berkeley, CA: Othering & Belonging Institute, 2020.

Tatiana Díaz Ramos. “Azul el rastro de los fondos otorgados a Educación por las emergencias.” El Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, 6 May 2021.

José Caraballo-Cueto. “Aprovechamiento Académico y el Cierre de Escuelas en Puerto Rico.” 2020.

Laura Jimenez. “Puerto Rico’s Earthquakes Have Put Thousands of Schoolchildren at Risk.” Center for American Progress, 10 Feb. 2020.

Paola Torres. “Al rescate del olvido.” Tinta Digital, 4 Dec. 2019.

Jennifer Hinojosa, et al. “Population Decline And School Closure in Puerto Rico.” Centro RB2019-01, May 2019.

Additional Sources

In Solidarity with the UPR Student Movement,80 Grados, 6 April 2017.

Yana Kunichoff. “Amid Puerto Rico’s financial crisis, communities fight to keep schoolsThe Christian Science Monitor, 21 March 2017.

Catherine Morris. “The Future of Puerto Rican Education” The Nation, 1 Oct. 2015.

Mary Williams Walsh. “In Puerto Rico, Teachers’ Pension Fund Works Like a Ponzi Scheme” New York Times, 8 March 2017.


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