Enmeshed in a colonial relationship with the US and abandoned by their own establishment politicians, Puerto Ricans are being forced to forge their own recovery after Hurricane Fiona. But they’re also dreaming of a different, more just future.
Fernando Tormos-Aponte is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.
One year after Puerto Ricans ousted their governor in mass protests, the long-standing structures of political and economic oppression remain in place on the island. But the uprising proved the power of collective action — and Puerto Ricans have become more resolved to build democracy from below and challenge their colonial status.
Puerto Rico’s corrupt governor is set to resign today at 5 PM. It’s a stunning win for the island’s leftists, who have struggled for years against oppression and austerity.
While ordinary Puerto Ricans were struggling to recover from Hurricane María, Governor Ricardo Rosselló was conspiring to hide the extent of the devastation and joking about killing political rivals in a Telegram chat. Now, those messages are all public — and the Puerto Rican people are ready for an alternative.
Puerto Rico’s left is rebuilding in the wake of two disasters: Hurricane María and a neoliberal onslaught.
The aftermath of Hurricane María has laid bare the consequences of Puerto Rico’s colonial condition.