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Organizing for a Just Recovery in Puerto Rico and Beyond

About the Campaign

Puerto Rico and Hurricane María
Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis started long before Hurricane Maria hit the shores of the island in 2017. Years of austerity-driven measures ​made​ the island vulnerable ​to natural​ ​disasters and has forced more than 10% of Puerto Ricans to leave the island. 

In the wake of Hurricane Maria,...

Puerto Rico and Hurricane María
Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis started long before Hurricane Maria hit the shores of the island in 2017. Years of austerity-driven measures ​made​ the island vulnerable ​to natural​ ​disasters and has forced more than 10% of Puerto Ricans to leave the island. 

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, over 200,000 Puerto Ricans left the island and 130,000 have stayed in the U.S. Cities in the U.S. have taken in tens of thousands of domestic climate refugees—people arriving in desperate need of scarce housing, education, and jobs. Since then, the federal government’s response to the natural disaster has been negligent and racist, and has undermined a just recovery for the island. Puerto Ricans have experienced this first hand with FEMA’s inept bureaucratic reaction and a death-toll of more than 3,000 loved ones. 

CPD in Puerto Rico
On September 20th, the day that Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, CPD quickly mobilized to support the creation of The Maria Fund. The Maria Fund—now transitioning to be its own organization—is dedicated to supporting emergency relief efforts in conjunction with long-term organizing efforts to build an equitable Puerto Rico. 

At the same time, CPD partner Taller Salud has been at the front lines of hurricane relief efforts, providing much-needed support to the residents of Loiza, one of the most marginalized communities in Puerto Rico.

CPD Diaspora Organizing: After the Hurricane
CPD has worked with our partners in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania (areas with high densities of Puerto Rican diaspora and descendants) to support newly arrived hurricane refugees to rebuild their lives and fight for a just recovery for the island. 

The work has included:

  • Building local committees that connect newly arrived Puerto Ricans with the services they need;

  • Fighting against companies that are foreclosing on Puerto Ricans on the island and successfully pushing these companies to extend moratoriums on payments;

  • Successfully fighting against threats from FEMA to cut support for vouchers that allow thousands of families to stay in hotels while they arrange to relocate;

  • Convening national days of action to highlight the needs of families in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and maintain media coverage of the ongoing crisis; and

  • Building political power through popular education, voter registration, and deep engagement of municipal elected officials.

 

CPD Diaspora Organizing: Beyond the Hurricane
Since the hurricane, an unelected Fiscal Management and Oversight Board (FOMB) has been negotiating with bondholders in court to finalize the bankruptcy process. This has come at a great cost to Puerto Rican families who have suffered through cuts in services, school closings, and damage to labor rights. Worse yet, as those cuts were forcing local residents to leave the island, wealthy individuals were able to come to Puerto Rico and pay virtually no taxes. 

CPD has worked with Construyamos Otro Acuerdo to fight back against this injustice under the #CanceltheDebt Campaign. Through the work of this campaign we’ve been able to

  • Call on Congress to support debt cancellation, along with an independent, community-led, and comprehensive audit of Puerto Rico’s debt;

  • Demand that Congress exercise their jurisdiction over the FOMB by holding them accountable for their conflicts of interest, and by pursuing legal action against Wall Street to reclaim the billions of dollars made through Puerto Rico’s illegal debt; 

  • Work with Congress to avoid further impositions of federal control and secure a relief package and economic policies that allow Puerto Rico to achieve a just recovery; and

  • Mobilize stateside Puerto Rican support during key court dates to opposes bad deals.

Campaign Blog

COVID-19: Fighting for a Just Recovery in Puerto Rico

For years, #PuertoRico has seen hurricanes, earthquakes and man made exploitation of both. Now with COVID rapidly accelerating existing injustice,...

CPD Affiliates Take Action for Puerto Rico

Since late December, a series of major earthquakes shook the southwest area of the archipelago of Puerto Rico causing an island-wide blackout,...

The Next Phase of the María Fund

In 2017, CPD launched the María Fund (MF) to provide emergency funding to Puerto Ricans devastated by Hurricane María and raised over $7 million to...

CPD Network Takes Action to #CanceltheDebt for Puerto Rico

On April 24, Puerto Rican activists, CPD affiliates, and ally organizations took part in actions across several states and Puerto Rico to demand the...

CPD Network Holds National Day of Action for Puerto Rico

On March 13, in conjunction with a federal hearing held by Judge Laura Taylor Swain, CPD affiliates, activists and ally organizations held actions...

One Year After Hurricane Maria, Women Are the Backbone of Recovery in Puerto Rico

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. An historic category 5 storm, its impact has dramatically deepened the political...

CPD Network Organizes to Demand Justice #1YearAfterMaria

A year ago this week, Hurricane Maria tore through the island of Puerto Rico, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and the island’s basic...

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News

News

05.27.2020

San Juan -- In response to the introduction of legislation...

05/26/2020

02.10.2020

San Juan, Puerto Rico --  In response to the new debt...

02/10/2020

01.13.2020 

SAN JUAN, PR -- Following the recent series of...

01/13/2020

The full letter —which was supported by Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora, the Vamos 4 Puerto Rico...

09/25/2019 | Latino Rebels

López Varona also pushed back on the idea of a new PROMESA. “We as a coalition of groups in...

09/24/2019 | The Intercept

Featured speaker: Julio López Varona, Co-director of Community Dignity Campaigns, Center For...

09/19/2019 | Metro

Featured speaker: Julio López Varona, Co-director of Community Dignity Campaigns, Center For...

09/19/2019 | Patch

“Esta semana se recuerdan dos años del paso devastador del huracán María por Puerto Rico. Este...

09/18/2019 | CNN en Español

“We applaud Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in this important step and show of solidarity...

08/22/2019 | The Intercept