For Anabell Maradiaga, moving to Puerto Rico has been an eye-opening experience, compared to life in the concrete jungle of Corona, Queens. The 19-year-old is on her way to becoming part of the Missionary Sisters of Mary for Faith Formation.
For the first time in at least 30 years, on March 16 interfaith leaders — including two Catholic bishops — got a seat at the table to discuss global issues with the head of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
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.
There have been enough earthquakes in Puerto Rico over the past year and a half that the sensation has stuck with Archbishop Roberto González Nieves of San Juan. Sometimes, González said, he thinks the earth is shaking even when it’s not.
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.
Puerto Rico’s top prelate issued a challenge for the island territory to clean up its political system, warning that right now, corruption “haunts and drowns” its society.
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.
The earthquakes that hit Puerto Rico on Jan. 6 and 7 and last weekend have shaken those in the Diocese of Brooklyn with roots on the island, as well as those who once lived in Brooklyn or Queens.
Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan lives on the northern part of the island, which was spared most of the worst effects of the quakes. But on a Jan. 10 visit to the island’s southern region in the Diocese of Ponce – what he could see of it – the damage was much worse.