Journalist, author, based in New York City
Journalist, author, based in New York City
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Miranda’s rise to fame in the United States was meteoric, and earlier this year, he reflected some of that glory back onto his family’s homeland with a three-week staging of ‘Hamilton’ in San Juan. The production lured thousands of American and international visitors to the island in January and raised $14 million for Puerto Rican artists and arts institutions. It ended with an epic final performance, after which Miranda tearfully wrapped himself in the Puerto Rican flag and brought down the house.
And then there’s Ocasio-Cortez, who also has Puerto Rican parents and has had her own phenomenal rise to celebrity, culminating with her swearing in as a US congresswoman in January. She has not visited the island since 2016, but has called for the end to the territory’s colonial status and was photographed holding up the Puerto Rican flag. Her upset victory over a high-ranking incumbent Anglo congressman made her an instant hit in her ancestral home. ‘Love her or hate her, the way she has carried herself reflects well on Puerto Rico,’ said San Juan attorney and Democratic Party insider Andres W. Lopez. Now, he said, he is waiting to see if Ocasio-Cortez highlights issues that involve Puerto Rico directly.
The limelight associated with Puerto Rico’s famous progeny, a group that also includes Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, has arguably already brought some benefit to the island. The New York Times, for example, recently named Puerto Rico the world’s No. 1 travel destination for 2019, something hotel consultant Simon Baeyertz says represents a real achievement, and not simply a ‘pity party for the hurricane.’
But leveraging the recent feel-good moments for long-term benefit will take far more.
The bankrupt island is operating under the strict oversight of a federal fiscal panel, which has brought punishing austerity measures. Unemployment is at 8.3 percent, more than double the US rate overall, and 44 percent live below the poverty line.
The island has to reckon too with an inept and corrupt system of patronage and an over-dependence on government jobs and welfare.
On the plus side are attractive tax incentives for investors, affordable property values, a spate of economic activity related to hurricane rebuilding (with $1.5 billion in federal block grants for recovery on the way), and a general sense that the bottom has been hit. Tourism is the most visible sign of better times. Old San Juan is again busy with visitors. Quaint hill towns and beaches in Isabela, Rincon, and Vieques also report increased tourism. And new, high-end boutique hotels are opening in the hotspot Condado district, known as one of the Caribbean’s ‘capitals of cool.’
‘In a way, it’s as if the hurricane has connected the island with the mainland in a way I have never felt,’ said Baeyertz.
The trick now will be strengthening that connection. For more than a century, Puerto Rico has had a complicated relationship with the United States. Though Puerto Ricans are US citizens, those living in the island territory cannot vote in federal elections. They also do not pay federal taxes. The island receives less federal aid per capita for programs such as like Medicare, Medicaid and hurricane recovery than states do.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Monday that nearly 25 crore poor people in the country will get financial assistance of Rs 72,000 per annum if the party is voted to power under the ambitious minimum income guarantee scheme which the party has named "Nyay."
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Donald Trump has uttered more than 10,800 lies and false statements since taking office in January 2017. His comments and tweets on why he cancelled a US bombing mission against Iran after it shot down an unmanned drone in the Strait of Hormuz add tactical lies to this number. To explain why he took this action, Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded
The new UAE election rule issued under the Presidential Resolution No. (1) of 2019 towards raising women’s representation in the Federal National Council (FNC) to 50 per cent with effect from the upcoming legislative cycle is a historic step marking a momentous milestone on women’s empowerment as well as the country’s political development journey.
At this point none of us know exactly what happened on Thursday night between our potential future prime minister and his partner, and we may never know. All I want to say on the specifics of that incident is that I hope Carrie Symonds is okay; I hope she wasn’t hurt, and I hope she didn’t feel threatened. In these circumstances, she deserves absolute respect and privacy.