Poder initiative insults organized Puerto Ricans
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s “Poder” initiative, which he announced in Orlando last week, is a slap in the face to Puerto Ricans like me who live outside the island and have spent decades organizing to improve conditions for our community. Puerto Rican people have organized themselves and helped themselves long before the governor was a twinkle in the eye of his father, also a governor of Puerto Rico.
For the past few years, we’ve been working to help the thousands of Puerto Ricans arriving due to the debt crisis. Since Hurricane Maria struck, we moved to help many more families on the island and families arriving here as climate refugees. Now we work as one with newly arrived families to make things better for all Puerto Rican families.
Luis Figueroa, whom Rosselló named to run Poder, ignored our requests to meet when he oversaw the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration office in Kissimmee, which suddenly closed its doors last month with no forwarding address for the thousands of local families needing help from their island government. Having Figueroa in charge of an effort to organize diaspora Puerto Ricans is a joke.
Since the hurricane, the ones who have helped Puerto Ricans the most are Puerto Ricans, not the federal government, and not Rosselló and his administration. Governor, focus on the continuing blackouts and on pressuring the federal government to give Puerto Rico the help it needs. We can figure out what we need and how to work locally to get it.
Carmen Torres Orlando