In 2006, Puerto Rico’s economy entered a recession. A key factor was the United States federal government phased out a provision of the Puerto Rican tax code that gave U.S. corporations in Puerto Rico tax exemptions. The move prompted companies to move out of Puerto Rico and cost thousands of Puerto Ricans their jobs.
Father Enrique Camacho has lived with his parents in San Juan, Puerto Rico, since 2017. He moved there after Hurricane Maria destroyed the parish house where he lived. And like much of the island, it still hasn’t been rebuilt. Hurricane Maria came two weeks after Hurricane Irma devastated much of Puerto Rico.
With the help of Catholic Extension and two other organizations, four Catholic dioceses in Puerto Rico were selected to receive to $82 million in “hazard mitigation funding” from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
To an island still recovering from the devastation Hurricane Maria left behind in 2017, the repeated tremors, earthquakes and aftershocks since Dec. 28 have added another level of stress for Puerto Rico’s citizens, as well as its power plants and water plants.
While more than 60,000 mostly young people rallied in lower Manhattan to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, environmental and social activists gathered at a nearby branch of Banco Santander on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria to reflect on the threat of climate change and on becoming homeless because of a natural disaster.
With their fists raised, their flags waving and through chants of “Ricky Renuncia” or “Ricky Resign,” Puerto Ricans took to Union Square Park to speak out against the island’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló on July 18.
A group of young Catholic leaders from Brooklyn and Queens celebrated the Fourth of July in Puerto Rico while helping with the reconstruction of the island still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
Thirty-plus members of the Brooklyn Diocese’s Vicariate of Black Catholic Concern’s (VBCC) ambassador program arrived in Puerto Rico on July 1. Some of the members were out-of-state college students, and some, like Rajae Clarke, were returning to serve alongside their fellow youth ambassadors as alums of the program.
Confetti, singing and signs of the cross were abundant at the 62nd annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade, held in New York City on Sunday, June 9.
Nearly a year ago, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, and afterward 11-year-old Marco Lebron’s first thought was about the monks who teach at his school, Benedictine-run San Antonio Abad School and Abbey in Humacao.