Official Reports of Violence Against Women in Puerto Rico Unreliable After Hurricane Maria

More than seven months after Hurricane Maria, organizations serving domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Puerto Rico report an increase in violence against women since the storm. Yet a breakdown in island infrastructure and unreliable statistics from official sources makes it difficult to quantify the problem and respond to the emergency needs of victims in the US territory. Sexual violence and intimate partner violence tends to rise in the aftermath of natural disasters due to the high levels of stress, the scarcity of basic necessities, and the breakdown of social networks, according to the World Health Organization. Puerto Rico has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, which has increased over the last few years. Leaders of organizations serving victims on the island say the two hurricanes last fall likely exacerbated the rate of violence against women in Puerto Rico.

Rising Crime and a Shrinking Police Force Stunt Puerto Rico’s Recovery

As of April 29, in the first four months of 2018, 227 murders had occurred in Puerto Rico, 14 more than in the same period last year. But those who are supposed to fight crime are leaving the police. In just five years, Puerto Rico has lost almost a quarter of its police force. Of 17,000 officers, more than 4,000 have left their jobs. Many officers who have remained in their posts are not happy because of low wages and poor benefits, several said in separate interviews.

Companies with Shady Background Interested in Contract Bid to Transfer Puerto Rico’s Inmates to the US

Last Tuesday, 13 men and three women met in a room at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR, for its initials in Spanish.)  They were waiting for the Auction Board’s orientation regarding its Request for Proposals for the relocation of 3,200 Puerto Rico prisoners to U.S. private jails. An experiment that was done before and failed. Seated on the first row was Brian Ferrell, VP of Proposals Development for CoreCivic, one of the leading administrators of private prisons in the United States. Next to him was Attorney Lizzie Portela-Fernández, of McConnell Valdés, a legal firm that lobbies in favor of CoreCivic in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. Also, in the first row, but on the opposite side, were Dan Joslin and Mike Murphy, executives of Management Training Corporation.

Puerto Rico Rehearsed But Did Not Implement a Hurricane-Proof Power Grid

On the western side of the island, there was an independent mini power grid that allowed the town of Mayagüez to recover quickly after the worst catastrophe in almost 100 years. After that experience, the government wants to replicate that energy model. Tesla, Sonnen and Fluence — an alliance between AES and Siemens — are competing to carve a place for themselves in the local power storage market.

The shameful business that generates millions of dollars in Haiti and accelerates climate change

Haiti’s largest industry is ghostly. The charcoal business generated US$300 million in 2012 according to the Office of Mines and Energy. The money changes hands without putting a name and a face on those who pocket the colossal sum. It’s a total lack of transparency. Carbon production is done by farmers in wooded areas in Grand’Anse, on the country’s southern and northwestern sides.