The pillage of public funds in Puerto Rico going on behind the chat

Elías Sánchez, Carlos Bermúdez and Edwin Miranda have generated millions through their businesses and have decided much of what has happened in the government in terms of hiring, firing and public projection since Rosselló-Nevares took office in January 2017, the sources agree. In Sánchez’s case, there are also inappropriate and illegal interventions with cabinet secretaries.

The 889 Pages of the Telegram Chat between Rosselló Nevares and His Closest Aides

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares and his closest advisers, or “brothers” as he refers to them, did political campaign work during regular hours and used public resources, shows a Telegram group chat in which members discussed, among other things, how to control the political narrative through the island’s social media and press. The 889 pages conversation, which went on from late 2018 to Jan. 20, 2019, also reveal a fixation on political polls, some of which were manipulated to advance the public image of Gov. Rosselló Nevares and his administration. Chat members, moreover, made numerous sexual and misogynistic jokes, mocked journalists, activist groups and politicians of all parties, namely San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and fiscal control board officials such as its chairman, José Carrión, and its executive director, Natalie Jaresko, among many others. These are only some of the conclusions that emerge from 889 pages of a Telegram group chat, parts of which were leaked last month.

Communities have waited for a decade for CDBG-DR funds projects

It was raining almost non-stop for 11 days over Puerto Rico’s southern and southwestern towns. A surge of water flooded near 50 residences in the Parcelas Pole Ojea in Llanos Costa neighborhood, in Cabo Rojo. This was in 2008. But the flood mitigation project for which the U.S. Department of Housing allocated $3,093,000 through the CDBG-DR funds, has not yet been completed in 2019. Elba Ledesma, a dressmaker whose house is next to the baseball park, still keeps the pictures that show that the water reached her waist and covered her car up to the windows.

Historical heritage threatened by post-María recovery process

She was sitting on the stairs of what had been her residence for almost four decades holding a photo album of the impressive historic mansion built in 1910 on the grounds of the Central Aguirre Sugar Mill in Salinas. Now there is only debris and some walls. There is no roof, no trace of the kitchen nor the living room. Some windows protect the main corridor. There is no furniture either.

The lobbyists who promoted Opportunity Zones for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González, is like the godmother of the Opportunity Zones in U.S. Congress. She claims as her achievement that the island was included in said investors’ exemption program, which is part of President Donald Trump’s tax reform. While states can only designate 25% of their census areas below the poverty level as an Opportunity Zone, “almost 94%” of Puerto Rico was designated as that category, according to the Commissioner. González was not alone in her endeavor. There were other players in Congress promoting the Opportunity Zones for the island.