Puerto Rico Excluded From Trump’s White House COVID-19 Task Force Reports

The White House COVID Task Force has been conducting state-by-state weekly analyses of the status of the pandemic and has issued reports with specific recommendations to all state governments for more than six months but has left Puerto Rico out. Apparently, the White House also forgot about the other US territories: Virgin Islands, Guam, Samoa and Mariana Islands. When combined, 3.6 million people live in the four territories. The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) detected the omission during a review of the reports, obtained and published by The Center for Public Integrity. In the case of Puerto Rico, the exclusion was also confirmed by the Puerto Rico Health Secretary under the prior administration, and with new Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

Remote Learning in Public Housing Projects During Pandemic Times

“I arrived at your schoolwithout understanding why…”Rubén Blades

She would be the first in her family to finish high school. But at least for this year, that dream is on hold. In October she got a letter from the school via email, notifying her parents that the 17-year-old had “F’s” in all six of her classes. If there are no “drastic changes” in her performance or academic achievement during this second semester, the student would be “a candidate to repeat the grade next year,” the document states. She wants to be a paramedic.

Rincón May Lose a Beach to a Federal Project Aimed to Protect Infrastructure in the Zone

Two of the major projects after Hurricane Maria, carried out by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), would involve periodic renourishment of San Juan’s famous beaches in Condado and Ocean Park with sand, along with a breakwater field. The federal agency also proposes to place stone revetment along a mile of coastline in Rincón. The projects seek to protect, over a period of 50 years, the properties and infrastructure of San Juan, in the North, and Rincón, on the West coast, from the waves, floods and erosion caused by storms and rising sea levels. The period to send public questions and comments about the proposal opened November 20, 2020 and ends January 6, 2021, in the middle of the Christmas season and the pandemic. The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) interviewed two oceanographers from the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus (RUM, in Spanish) and an oceanographic geologist from the Río Piedras Campus, who predicted that the Rincón project would eliminate the possibility of recovering the municipality’s already eroded beaches and that will have an impact on the future of tourism there.

Electronic Vote Count in Puerto Rico was Overpriced, but Mostly Failed Across-the-Board on Election Day

Machines that did not recognize the electronic key to get the process going at the polling stations; others that did not read or in which the ballots got stuck; some that shut off in the middle of the voting process; and many that were unable to transmit the results. In other polling stations, memory cards were damaged during the voting process or simply never worked. This was the type of failure that was repeated in almost all polling stations during the 2020 election process, the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) confirmed with more than 20 sources. When the State Elections Commission (SEC) was asked for a record of reported equipment failures in polling stations, the agency did not release the information. The CPI learned that to this date, there isn’t a complete report of how many machines experienced malfunctioning or information about how many of those cases were related to a lack of maintenance, because the SEC does not have a formal, agile and consolidated procedure to collect this information.

Early Voting 2020 in Puerto Rico: A Disaster that Threatens Democracy

The disconnect between the databases used for the 231,167 special vote requests registered by the Absentee and Early Voting Administrative Board (JAVAA, in Spanish) and the Permanent Registration Boards (JIP, in Spanish) is one of the major deficiencies that caused a duplication in the number of requests prior to the Puerto Rico elections, an investigation by the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) found after interviewing more than a dozen sources within the State Elections Commission (SEC). “Two different ways of voting could have been registered for the same voter: early and absentee,” said a person who worked closely with the process of entering the data of the requests for these votes in the SEC’s database. The JAVAA and JIPs, the two entities that handle these requests, worked on two different tables within the same database. This resulted in JAVAA staff overlooking the requests that the JIPs were processing. In turn, the JIPs had no visibility of the applications processed by the JAVAA.

Buying of Closed Schools Accelerated in 2019 and It Was a Good Deal for Some Investors

A good shove to the rusty gate and ducking woodbrush and debris to get to the back of the main building is enough to gain access inside, which is doorless. From the third floor, the windowless classrooms of the Carmen Gómez Tejera School in Aguadilla frame Desecheo Island, while an old sugar dock can be seen through the gap facing North. Time and saltpeter have not rubbed out the paint in some of the school’s hallways where slogans like “Your values are important” or “My trust is placed in you” remain. The US real estate firm The Morgan Reed Group bought for $780,000, the school, built in 1929 located on Agustín Stahl Street, with a privileged view of the Atlantic and on land that holds a pre-Hispanic and colonial site, to develop a 150-room hotel . The purchase of the Carmen Gómez Tejera School included the neighboring Rafael Del Valle School, built in 1925.

Dominican Mothers in Puerto Rico Face the Pandemic ‘In the Shadows’

The absence of a public policy on immigration issues in Puerto Rico has triggered mothers and their children to face needs that have worsened with the coronavirus emergency. This is seen in fewer job opportunities, delays in their immigration processes, and families that cannot access essential services, such as education for their children. This is because the challenges of the migratory phenomenon are not solved with vaccines, despite living during pandemic times. Carla, whom we identify with a pseudonym to protect her identity, is 17 years old, in the 12th grade, is Dominican, and these days is wondering what will become of her life when she finishes her senior year in high school “without papers.”

“I wish that my interest in getting into college would not be a constant source of worry,” said the young woman in an interview with the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish). Carla says she is part of “a shadow.” This is how she defines the Dominican community in Puerto Rico.

Another Year, Another School: The Trauma and Lag Overlooked by the Department of Education

They changed schools three times in three years. That is what Zadiel and David’s education has been like. The first lives in Sabana Grande in the southern region, and had to move from the Francisco Vázquez Pueyo school to the Segunda Unidad David Antongiorgi Córdova. Now he takes online classes as a student in the Santiago Rivera Vocational School in Yauco. The latter lives in San Juan in the North, and his migration has been from the Sofía Rexach School to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas school, to the Manuel Elzaburu y Vizcarrondo School, where he is enrolled in elementary level of the Montessori method .