Section 4

Infrastructure & Everyday Crisis

The myriad ways in which the fiscal crisis threatens Puerto Ricans’ daily life, including health, education, and the environment.

The fiscal crisis threatens daily life

for Puerto Ricans in countless ways. This varied section examines attacks on Puerto Ricans’ health, education, and environment. Regarding health, Puerto Rico has always suffered from disparity in federal funding. However, healthcare will become even more precarious due issues such as cuts made to Medicare and Medicaid funds, medical professionals leaving the Island, and a general increase of mental health issues due to a wide-ranging feeling of fear and uncertainty. In relation to education, multiple authors report on the closing of hundreds of schools—forcing the relocation of thousands of students and the unemployment of many teachers. Other topics covered in this section are the spread of zika, drought, blackouts, landfills, toxic drinking water, and toxic ash. This section makes evident that if paying the debt is the priority, Puerto Ricans’ quality of life is barely regarded.

Junta Governance

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

Alejandro Torres Rivera, “Ley 80 y la protección contra despidos injustificados,” 80 grados, May 25, 2018.

Joanisabel González, “La vida laboral sin la Ley 80,” El Nuevo Día, June 3, 2018.

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

Joanisabel González, “Roselló alega que la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal ‘usurpa’ sus poderes,” El Nuevo Día, July 6, 2018.

Luis J. Valentín Ortiz, “Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Control Board: Parallel Government Full of Lawyers and Consultants,” Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, August 1, 2018.

Sergio Marxuach, El Costo Social del Plan FiscalCNE Blog, April 29, 2018.

Health & Education

Health Care

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

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

Adriana Garriga-López, and Shir Lerman, with Jessica Mulligan, Alexa Dietrich, Carlos E. Rodríguez-Díaz, and Ricardo Vargas-Molina, “Public Statement on Zika Virus in Puerto Rico,” Savage Minds, March 15, 2016.

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

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

Jessica Mulligan Unmanageable Care: An Ethnography of Health Care Privatization in Puerto Rico (New York: NYU Press, 2014).


Public Education

Frances Robles, “Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Claims Another Casualty: Its Schools,” New York TImes, May 10, 2017.

Estas son las escuelas públicas que el gobierno cerrará” El Nuevo Dia May 5, 2017.

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

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

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

Rupert Neate, “Hedge funds tell Puerto Rico: lay off teachers and close schools to pay us back,” The Guardian, July 28, 2015.

Víctor M. Rodríguez Bultrón, “La JSF aprueba plan fiscal de la UPR,” Pulso Estudiantil, April 20, 2018.

René A. Vargas Martínez, “De acreditaciones y demonios en la UPR,” El Nuevo Día, May 25, 2017.

Infrastructural Neglect, Social and Environmental Degradation

Infrastructural Neglect

Brianna Lee, “ Puerto Rico, Grappling With Potentially Historic Drought, Expands Water Rationing,” International Business Times, June 17, 2015.

Maritza Stanchich, “Dark Star: Puerto Rico Reels from 3-Day Blackout,” Huffington Post, September 26, 2016.

Danica Coto “Overflowing landfills choke Puerto Rico amid economic crisis” Fox News, April 21, 2017.

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

Associated Press, “Puerto Rico Pushes to Privatize Public Services,” Fox News, April 20, 2017.

Danica Cotto “Report: Puerto Rico has worst drinking water violation rate” ABCnews May 10, 2017.


Social & Environmental Degradation

Osiris Torres Rivera, “De la gentrificación, la crisis y otros demonios,” 80 grados, June 15, 2018.

ICADH, “Justicia Ambiental, Desigualdad y Pobreza en Puerto Rico,” 2017.

Instituto de Estadísticas de Puerto Rico, “Informe sobre desarrollo humano-Puerto Rico 2016,” 2018.

Jan-Albert Hootsen, “Number of homeless continues to rise in Puerto Rico as island grapples with default,” Fox News, May 4, 2016.

Inter News Service, “Advierten sobre peligro de desahucio contra 54 mil familias de residenciales,” El Vocero, May 14, 2017.

Frances Robles, “Puerto Ricans Face ‘Sacrifice Everywhere’ on an Insolvent Island,” New York Times, May 6, 2017.

Luis F. Avilés, REPOSEÍDA,” 80 Grados, July 29, 2016.

Mario Mercado Diaz, “‘This Town is Dead’: the Long Decline of Arecibo, Puerto Rico,” CounterPunch, August 18, 2015.

Omar Alfonso, “Prometieron Empleos… y Trajeron Cenizas,” Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, March 8, 2016. (English version: “Toxic Ash: A Caribbean Time Bomb”)

Carlos G. García-Quijano and Hilda Lloréns, “What rural, coastal Puerto Ricans can teach us about thriving in times of crisis,” The Conversation, May 30, 2017.