Exigen traslado de mujer trans a cárcel de mujeres e investigación sobre abusos en su contra…

Ivana Fred Millán y Pedro Julio Serrano, activistas de derechos humanos, volvieron a exigir al Departamento de Corrección que trasladen de inmediato a una confinada trans a un complejo correccional de mujeres. De igual forma, exigen que se investiguen, de manera independiente, los abusos denunciados por Aurora.

Este reclamo surge tras las denuncias de maltrato en contra de Aurora, confinada trans, que se hicieran la semana pasada en un reportaje de Manuel Crespo Feliciano en Las Noticias de Teleonce.

«El relato de Aurora es desgarrador. Los abusos que cometen en su contra son inhumanos, ilegales e inaceptables. No hay razón alguna para seguir negándole el derecho de cumplir su condena en una cárcel de mujeres, como dictan los protocolos, como obliga la ley y las decisiones judiciales sobre el confinamiento de personas trans. Aurora tiene que ser trasladada a una cárcel de mujeres hoy mismo», aseveró Fred Millán.

Serrano y Fred Millán recordaron que «en abril de este año, la secretaria del Departamento de Corrección y Rehabilitación, Ana Escobar Pabón, se había comprometido públicamente a trasladar a Aurora a una cárcel de mujeres; pero esto no se ha hecho. Todo lo contrario, la trasladaron a otra cárcel de hombres y la han aislado de la población en general, cometiendo abuso cruel e inusitado».

«Aurora ha denunciado abusos sexuales, amenazas, agresiones y confinamiento en solitaria. Es hora de que se detengan estos abusos y se investiguen. El Departamento de Corrección tiene protocolos para ubicar a las personas trans en cárceles de acuerdo a su identidad de género. Es hora de que hagan cumplir esos protocolos en el caso de Aurora y de cualquier otra persona trans que se le esté violando sus derechos», dijo, por su parte, Serrano.

Como portavoces de Puerto Rico Para Todes indicaron que cumplir con ese protocolo para personas confinadas trans se trata de vida o muerte, ya que en el pasado se han dado casos lamentables como el de Penélope Díaz, una mujer trans que fue asesinada mientras estaba recluida en una cárcel de hombres.

Por último, indicaron que «las alegaciones de Aurora son alarmantes. Las denuncias de maltratos, abusos y hasta el confinamiento en solitaria deben ser investigadas de inmediato por entes independientes al Departamento de Corrección. Es hora de que Aurora vaya a una cárcel de mujeres como le corresponde».

Salud anuncia que no se cambiará procesamiento de medicamentos para el VIH bajo el plan Vital…

Por Primera Hora

El secretario de Salud, Carlos Mellado López, informó este miércoles que la agencia no implementará cambios en el procesamiento de medicamentos para los pacientes del virus de inmunodeficiencia adquirida (VIH) que poseen el plan médico del gobierno, Vital.

Según aseguró en comunicado de prensa, “se mantendrá el modelo actual de compras y provisión de medicamentos para los pacientes VIH del plan de salud de Puerto Rico”.

La afirmación la hizo luego de que el activista de los derechos humanos, Pedro Julio Serrano, alertara de posibles cambios en la provisión de medicamentos a las personas que viven con VIH tras el trabajo que realizara APPIA en las pasadas semanas de levantar la voz de alerta y comenzar reuniones que lograron este desenlace.

Alegó que el mencionado “cambio” lo impondría la Administración de Seguros de Salud (ASES), con la implementación del Programa de Reembolso de Medicamentos de Medicaid (Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, MDRP en inglés). Detalló que la acción afectaría “de manera adversa la compra y distribución de los medicamentos antirretrovirales para el tratamiento de VIH”.

Pero, Mellado López explicó que se realizó este miércoles una reunión “productiva” entre el componente salubrista del Departamento de Salud en la que se acordó mantener el actual procesamiento de medicamentos. En la reunión participaron la directora de ASES, Edna Marín; la directora del Programa de Medicaid, Dinorah Collazo; la secretaría auxiliar de Salud Familiar y Servicios Integrados, Marilú Cintrón; la directora del Programa Ryan White Parte B/ADAP, Norma Delgado, y el coordinador de ADAP, el Héctor López de Victoria, entre otros integrantes del Departamento.

“Los pacientes pueden estar seguros, vamos a continuar con el modelo actual de provisión de medicamentos de VIH a pacientes del plan de salud de Puerto Rico. Además, incluiremos en el modelo y acuerdo entre el Departamento de Salud (Ryan White/ADAP) y la ASES los inhibidores de proteasa para que ADAP (Programa de Asistencia para Medicamentos Contra el Sida) mantenga el ofrecimiento del medicamento como lo ha hecho durante los pasados 15 años a los pacientes del plan de salud de Puerto Rico co-elegibles a ADAP y ASES le reembolse el costo a Ryan White”, adelantó el galeno.

Actualmente, los pacientes VIH del plan de salud de Puerto Rico obtienen sus medicamentos VIH en una red cerrada de 45 farmacias a las cuales los medicamentos son distribuidos a través del Programa Ryan White y comprados a bajo costo por ADAP.

Serrano explicó, además, que el ADAP del Departamento de Salud provee y despacha los medicamentos que no se encuentran en el Formulario de Medicamentos en Cubierta (FMC) bajo el Plan Vital. Además, hay un acuerdo que permite que este programa de asistencia compre los medicamentos que deben ser cubiertos por ASES a bajo costo, y luego ASES les reembolsa, lo que redunda en un ahorro para el programa.

Preocupa cambio que afectará provisión de medicamentos a personas que viven con vih…

El activista de derechos humanos Pedro Julio Serrano se mostró preocupado con el propuesto cambio en la provisión de medicamentos a las personas que viven con vih.

El cambio que impondrá la Administración de Seguros de Salud (ASES), con la implementación del Programa de Reembolso de Medicamentos de Medicaid (Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, MDRP en inglés), afectará de manera adversa la compra y distribución de los medicamentos antirretrovirales para el tratamiento de vih.

«El gobierno está presto a implementar un cambio que podría poner en riesgo la salud pública, pero está a tiempo de corregir. De hecho, confío en que el Secretario de Salud, Carlos Mellado, haga lo correcto pues ha demostrado empatía y solidaridad ante nuestros reclamos. Si las personas que vivimos con vih no tenemos acceso a nuestros medicamentos dejamos de ser indetectables, lo que complica nuestro panorama de salud. Es urgente que el gobierno actúe, de inmediato, para mantener intacto el plan de suministro de medicamentos», dijo Serrano.

Actualmente, el Programa de Asistencia para Medicamentos Contra el Sida (Aids Drug Assistance Program, ADAP en inglés) del Departamento de Salud provee y despacha los medicamentos que no se encuentran en el Formulario de Medicamentos en Cubierta (FMC) bajo el Plan Vital. Además, hay un acuerdo que permite que este programa de asistencia compre los medicamentos que deben ser cubiertos por ASES a bajo costo, y luego ASES les reembolsa, lo que redunda en un ahorro para el programa. Los nuevos cambios suponen que ASES deberá asumir costos mayores sin el respaldo del programa de asistencia para las personas que viven con vih.

«Este cambio, de aprobarse, pondría en riesgo nuestra salud y nuestras vidas. Sí, nuestras vidas, porque si no tenemos acceso a medicamentos, se complica nuestro panorama y podemos desarrollar la condición que nos puede llevar hasta la muerte. Aquí se nos juegan nuestras vidas», dijo Serrano.

Por último, el portavoz de Puerto Rico Para Todes agradeció y se solidarizó con el trabajo que ha hecho la Asamblea Permanente de Personas Afectadas por el vih (APPIA) al destapar esta situación y reclamar al gobierno transparencia para que se garantice un proceso que permita que los medicamentos sigan llegando, sin obstáculos, a las personas que viven con vih.

Lamenta ataque de odio a club LGBTQ+ en Colorado…

El activista de derechos humanos Pedro Julio Serrano lamentó, hoy, el ataque de odio perpetrado esta madrugada en la discoteca Club Q en Colorado donde han muerto ya cinco personas y hay más de 18 heridos.

«Despertar con la horrible noticia de que ocurrió otro ataque de odio es desgarrador. ¿Hastá cuando? ¡Basta ya! Las personas LGBTQ+ somos seres humanos que merecemos vivir en paz, equidad y libertad. Mi solidaridad con los seres queridos de las víctimas y con los sobrevivientes de este ataque vil, mezquino e inhumano», aseveró Serrano.

El portavoz de Puerto Rico Para Todes recordó que una masacre similar afectó severamente a Puerto Rico hace más de seis años cuando 49 personas fueron asesinadas en Pulse en Orlando, donde 24 de las víctimas fatales eran puertorriqueñas.

«Nos ha tocado de cerca ese odio que arrecia, que se ensaña, que nos caza por culpa de la retórica de odio de los grupos fundamentalistas, de los políticos que nos usan de balones politiqueros para adelantar sus agendas divisivas. Es hora de que detengan esa guerra que nos han declarado a las personas LGBTQ+, pues solo queremos vivir en igualdad de condiciones. Ya basta de tanto odio —basta», concluyó Serrano.

Exige investigación independiente sobre irregularidades en caso de Kevin Fret…

El activista de derechos humanos Pedro Julio Serrano exigió, hoy, que se investiguen —de manera independiente— las irregularidades que se han ventilado públicamente sobre el mal manejo del caso de Kevin Fret.

«Es inaudito que empecemos a conocer de las irregularidades que se dieron al inicio de la investigación del asesinato de Kevin Fret. Es harto conocido que las primeras 48 horas son cruciales para poder esclarecer cualquier crimen. De lo que se desprende públicamente, la Policía fue negligente en su investigación inicial. Si a eso se le suman las violaciones éticas que se le imputan al agente investigador, estamos hablando de una posible negligencia criminal», aseveró Serrano.

El portavoz de Puerto Rico Para Todes exigió, además, que se investiguen las alegaciones por la fiscal del caso que del Departamento de Justicia, en aquel entonces, se ordenó paralizar la investigación.

«Estamos en un país donde ‘se le fabrica un caso a cualquiera’, como dijera la entonces Secretaria de Justicia, Wanda Vázquez, y resulta que bajo su mando se dieron instrucciones para paralizar una investigación de un posible crimen de odio. Aquí hay que llegar hasta las últimas consecuencias para determinar si hubo negligencia criminal y procesar a los responsables de ser necesario. Ya basta de amapuchar. Hay que hacerle justicia a Kevin Fret ya», concluyó Serrano.

Pedro Julio Serrano llora la muerte de mujer asesinada…

Por Metro

El activista de los derechos de la comunidad LGBTTQ+, Pedro Julio Serrano, reaccionó este domingo a la muerte de Iraida Hornedo Camacho, la fémina que fue hallada asesinada de varios impactos de bala junto al expresidente del Frente Unido de Policías Organizados (FUPO), Diego Figueroa Torres.

Hoy lloro a una gran mujer que murió a manos de un macharrán. Otro policía que asesinó a una mujer y luego cobardemente se suicidó. Iraida irradiaba amor, era empática, solidaria (…) Descansa, querida Iraida. Seguiremos luchando —en tu nombre— para que todas las mujeres puedan vivir en paz, equidad y libertad. #NiUnaMás #NiUnaMenos”, escribió Serrano en Facebook.

Serrano indicó que Hornedo Camacho fue una líder, al abrir espacios de estudio y trabajo para personas trans.

Una gran amiga, un ser humano ejemplar”, añadió.

Los cadáveres de Hornedo Camacho y Figueroa Torres fueron encontrados ayer, sábado, en el interior de una guagua en la urbanización Villa Nevárez, cerca de la antigua cárcel Oso Blanco, en Río Piedras.

Actualmente, las autoridades investigan el caso como un feminicidio y suicidio.

Qué 25 años no son ná…

Hoy cumplo 25 años de activismo por los derechos humanos.

Aunque llevo 35 como líder comunitario, un 14 de octubre de 1997 hice mi primer acto a favor de nuestros derechos.

Fui a deponer solo a una vista legislativa para oponerme a un proyecto discriminatorio.

El país que somos es diferente al que teníamos hace 25 años.

Hemos crecido, evolucionado, avanzado.

Antes éramos criminales ante el Estado, pues criminalizaban las relaciones entre personas LGBTTIQ+.

Ahora somos el lugar #20 de 56 estados y territorios en materia LGBTTIQ+.

Hemos tenido avances significativos, pero también retos que aún persisten.

He escogido 25 fotos que representan este camino andado —las alegrías, las tristezas, la esperanza, la lucha, el amor.

Agradezco a mis mentoras, a mi familia que me ha amado incondicionalmente, a mis amig@s que han batallado junto a mi.

Sobre todo, estoy agradecido a toda persona que ha creído en mi y que ha apoyado cada gesta.

Aunque todavía falta mucho por lograr, podemos mirar atrás con orgullo, con satisfacción, con esperanza.

Nuestra lucha es una justa —por el amor, la justicia, la equidad, la libertad, la dignidad.

Solo le pido a la vida 25+25+25 años más para seguir luchando.

Pero, sobre todo, pido que podamos vivir en paz, en equidad, en libertad.

A fin de cuentas, la equidad es un hecho inevitable.

Puerto Rico será para todas, para todos y para todes. 

After Fiona, Needs for People With HIV and LGBTQ People in Puerto Rico Remain Dire…

By Juan Michael Porter II | The Body

This month, media attention given to Puerto Rico’s ongoing plight paled in comparison to the pomp and circumstance surrounding the corpse parade of England’s former monarch. Watching this coverage unfold, one might think the United States were still subjugated colonies of Great Britain, even as one of this country’s own territories received only marginal concern in the wake of a devastating storm.

Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, resulting in wall-to-wall coverage that had nothing to do with national interest. Ten days later, as news channels breathlessly covered the run-up to Elizabeth’s funeral, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico, unleashing catastrophic flooding and landslides, knocking out power across the island, and putting the health of thousands of people living with HIV (PLWH) at risk.

Immediate Needs in the Wake of Fiona

Pedro Julio Serrano, a human rights activist and president of the LGBTQ+ social justice organization Puerto Rico Para Todes, told TheBody that as of Sept. 22, 70% of the island was without power, 40% was without running water, and “the government has been incapable and criminally negligent in not making sure that we have the proper resources to recover.” (As of Sept. 27, almost 10 days after the storm hit, half a million structures were still without power.)

Fiona’s violent incursion occurred one day before the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, from which the island has not completely recovered. Puerto Rico’s post-Maria recovery has been stalled in large part due to mismanagement of federal funds, government corruption, and a refusal to invest in on-the-ground community-led organizations.

Serrano explained that these losses disproportionally affect PLWH, many of whom lack employment and transportation due to HIV stigma and homophobia. He quoted the saying, “pueblo pequeño, infierno grande”―literally translated as “small town, big hell”―which is a reference to how, especially in less-urban areas, everyone knows everyone’s business. Because of Fiona, Serrano said, many PLWH may have lost their access to medication, services, and “the only place that they can fully be themselves without facing discrimination.”

With an eye on helping historically marginalized communities, Serrano stated that for people on the U.S. mainland who are eager to help, it’s best to donate money directly to local community organizations on the island—and to avoid donating to international groups like the Red Cross, which might not use the funds as intended by the person making the donation.

Local organizations that TheBody has confirmed are helping provide services across Puerto Rico include:

  • Fundación Pisadas de Amor, a nonprofit that assists older adults and connects them to essential services.
  • Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a social justice organization that fights for equal rights and inclusion of LGBTQ+ communities across Puerto Rico.
  • Taller Salud, a feminist organization that improves women’s access to care and reduces violence within the community.
  • True Self Foundation, which promotes social mobility, educational access, and comprehensive well-being in LGBTQIA+ communities.
  • Waves Ahead, an organization that provides mental health services as well as HIV testing, case management, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention education to older adults, female-led households, people without sustainable housing, and PLWH.

Concerns for Trauma and Care Access in Rural Areas

Wilfred Labiosa is executive director of Waves Ahead, a nonprofit that provides mental health and HIV services to historically marginalized populations. The organization has branches in San Juan, Cabo Rojo (in Puerto Rico’s southwest), and Maunabo (in the southeast).

During a visit to Maunabo in the wake of Fiona, Labiosa said that the devastation reminded him of “the precarious mental health situation all of us have been living with since Maria hit.” What compounds that strain is that many people in Puerto Rico’s mountains have been cut off by landslides or—even after roads are cleared—loss of transportation due to ruined cars.

Though 71% of the island’s population lives in urban areas, that still leaves a significant proportion of people in need, in areas that are difficult to navigate or reach. For example, Labiosa said that smaller pharmacies have already reached out to request that Waves Ahead send them supplies.

Thus far, Labiosa has not been able to visit Cabo Rojo―which is on the coast, 14 miles west of Sabana Grande―because its mayor is still trying to clear the roads. But he has been told by his colleagues that Waves Ahead’s location there was so badly damaged by the hurricane that staff were forced to relocate their operations to a local hotel. Based upon previous experiences, he believes that it will take months for the area to start receiving electricity again. But the good news is that they are still able to provide services for people in the area.

Alejandro Acosta, a sexual health advocate and contributor to TheBody, explained that people “in all of these mountains and towns are completely cut off from any services.” Acosta rode out Fiona in Sabana Grande, a municipality in the southwest that was devastated by Fiona. Since the storm passed, he has faced intermittent access to electricity and running water.

Acosta said that things were fine for his neighbors with HIV who had cars and jobs, and who were able to make the 40-mile drive east to the municipality Ponce to get their medications and visit their doctors. But he said he is worried about young people who lack transportation or “who might not want to go to an LGBTQ organization because HIV is still treated as taboo in Puerto Rico.”

Acosta explained that stigma, misinformation, and living “in the countryside without any knowledge of sexual health” means that some believe “there’s no monkeypox (or STIs) in Puerto Rico except in San Juan.” Even for those who know the facts, being isolated and afraid to reveal their condition deprives them of emotional support.

He said that, in the past, this has meant watching some people—including “at least two in their 20s”—die from complications of untreated HIV because they “didn’t want to engage in the treatment process.”

It is situations like this that are exacerbated during crises like Hurricane Fiona. But help has often been hard to find.

A Recent History of Failing Puerto Rico

In President Biden’s initial disaster relief plan for Fiona, 23 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities were excluded. Though the plan was updated on Sept. 24 to reduce that number to 10, Labiosa told TheBody, “It is incomprehensible that local governments on the west part of the island were not [immediately] included as recipients of emergency funds.”

When asked why Biden’s initial announcement excluded so many municipalities, he blamed racism, classism, ageism, and homophobia. Historically, corruption has also been responsible.

In 2019, the Center for a New Economy (CNE), Puerto Rico’s first policy think tank, published a report that determined that the bulk of [U.S. federal disaster funding earmarked for rebuilding after Hurricane Maria was improperly invested in mainland organizations. This, even though the Stafford Act, which guides how the federal government responds to disaster, states that preference should go to local firms when awarding emergency response contracts.

Contrary to this guidance, CNE found that by August 2019, far from investing dollars into Puerto Rico’s local economy, $4.89 billion had been awarded to U.S. mainland firms, compared to $0.66 billion that had been awarded to firms in Puerto Rico.

This failure to invest in firms with local ties to, or understanding of, Puerto Rico’s specific needs was also reflected in the initial humanitarian response to Maria’s devastation. In 2020, the U.S. Homeland Security Office of Inspector General reported that FEMA mismanaged $257 million in commodity distribution during the response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, with contract costs overrunning at “about $179 million and at least $50 million in questioned costs.”

In early 2021, Puerto Rico’s Gov. Wanda Vázquez was ousted from office after, among other acts of corruption, it was discovered that a government-run warehouse in the southern city of Ponce contained expired baby food and water dated from 2017, as well as other unused emergency supplies.

Labiosa told TheBody that Puerto Rico has not been rebuilt over the past five years and was therefore unprepared for Fiona because of this faulty leadership—which included allowing “private companies to get away with murder” by charging higher fees than their local counterparts, without delivering the promised work.

He also held the federal government responsible for “treating us like third-class citizens” and failing to “develop an infrastructure from the ground up by helping small community-based organizations to mobilize and bring aid.” Or, to follow the oft-quoted rallying cry from freedom movements, “Nothing about us without us!”

As the Island Struggles, the Mainland Response Stumbles

Puerto Rico’s history with failed federal investment hardly factored into recent national coverage, which lingered on images of washed-away bridges and devastation―or was supplanted by tabloid-style coverage of supposed rifts between Elizabeth II’s granddaughter-in-law and England’s funereal revelers—rather than focusing on people who are fighting to survive Fiona.

This included ignoring the need for humanitarian and medical aid, particularly for Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable populations, which include PLWH. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 17,300 PLWH reside in Puerto Rico, making it one of the top 10 U.S. states or territories with the highest rates of HIV prevalence.

Surprisingly, the silence regarding the needs of PLWH in Puerto Rico extends beyond the media to organizations like AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest HIV/AIDS nonprofit in the world. Though it operates a location in Carolina, Puerto Rico (in the northeastern part of the island), AHF took over a week to release any updates or messages about the island. This even as it tweeted condolences and thanks to Elizabeth II on Sept. 19, as reports of Fiona’s devastation were coming in.

On Sept. 22, TheBody asked AHF Communications Director Ged Kenslea about the radio silence and was told, “We were the first ones there with disaster supplies.” During a subsequent interview, AHF’s Regional Director of Miami and Puerto Rico Silvana Erbstein explained that as a result of Hurricane Maria, “We were more than prepared.” Their clinic was open the next day, and operations were “business as usual,” she said.

According to Erbstein, AHF’s Puerto Rican branch is located in the municipality of Carolina and was not as hard hit by Fiona as the south of the island. In terms of support, she said that AHF paid for two cargo planes to deliver supplies and generators to the island, which were used to help their clients as well as their local community partners.

When asked how southern Puerto Rico was faring, Erbstein stated that she did not know because AHF does not have community partners in that region―but she added that the organization planned to send “one of our [supply] containers to a big hospital there.”

In a separate interview concerning AHF’s decision not to post public information about the medical situation in Puerto Rico, AHF’s National Director for Communications and Community Engagement W. Imara Canady explained that the organization’s marketing team was waiting for “information that’s been shared from our medical team there,” but in the meantime, they “also do a lot of things through our social media, particularly Instagram and Twitter,” and that messages would go out “if not today, sometime this week.”

On Sept. 26, AHF Puerto Rico’s Facebook page released a video of staff members delivering supplies to a location in the south of the island. But the main organization has yet to acknowledge that Hurricane Fiona occurred on any of its other social media channels.

The Broader Push for Rights and Recognition in Puerto Rico

Whether it’s mainland silence, federal failures, or local corruption, Puerto Rico’s problems predate this current crisis. As an example, Serrano named homophobia within government services―a problem that persists even though former governor Ricardo Rosselló, who served prior to Vázquez, was forced to resign in 2019 after it was revealed that he had exchanged homophobic, sexist, and other offensive text messages with members of his inner circle.

For Serrano, addressing these issues includes holding police officers responsible for discrimination, violence, and harassment against the LGBT community, particularly “our trans brothers and sisters.” He also called for greater training in instances of same-gender domestic violence, which he said often ends with police officers walking away without providing assistance.

But he said that one cause for celebration is Puerto Rico’s “bill of rights for people living with HIV that allows people who are discriminated against [because of the virus] to file a complaint and seek monetary reparations.”

In 1995, under laws that govern the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, legislation was drawn up to protect people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS from discrimination. This legislation was passed in 2000 as Bills 522 and 523 with what Serrano calls “pretty wide-ranging” powers of enforcement. The bills are some of the first of their kind that Serrano has seen during his 28 years of living with HIV.

He said that law has already helped him: After falling ill with pneumonia, Serrano said his hospital tried to deny him access to his medications, but because “the law specifically says that if you are in a hospital institution, they need to provide those lifesaving medications, I was able to push back and say, ‘No. Give me my meds.’” Faced with his awareness of his bill of rights as a PLWH, the hospital complied.

That is why Serrano says it is important for PLWH to know what the laws say so that they can protect themselves. As Puerto Rico begins to rebuild itself yet again, he, Acosta, and Labiosa hope that people will remember the lessons learned from previous disasters, such as the essentiality of empowering local community organizations to lead the way; hiring local contractors to rebuild the island; and using existing laws, including Bills 522 and 523, to protect the rights and dignity of PLWH.

One hopes that the U.S. media cycle will learn some lessons from its dehumanizing approach to breaking news and white-centered stories. Instead, it appears as though it has already moved from a death in England to a new storm, Ian, bearing down on Florida—all while continuing to ignore the needs of its own citizens on an island well off the coast of the continental U.S.’s southernmost state.

Ricky Martin anuncia esfuerzo de emergencia tras el azote de Fiona…

Ricky Martin anunció, hoy, un esfuerzo de alivio ante la emergencia por el paso del huracán Fiona por la isla. Desde comienzos de semana, la Fundación Ricky Martin, Waves Ahead Puerto Rico y SER de Puerto Rico, asisten familias y comunidades afectadas.

“Puerto Rico nos necesita, ahora más que nunca. Con nuestra isla que aún no se ha recuperado de los huracanes Irma y María, los terremotos y la pandemia, Fiona ha colocado a la gente en un estado de mayor vulnerabilidad. La electricidad le falta a la gran mayoría de la población, más de la mitad tampoco tiene agua potable y el acceso a los servicios esenciales está más crítico que nunca. Es por todo esto que te pido que vayas a www.RickyMartinFoundation.org para que dones cualquier cantidad que pueda para nuestro esfuerzo de Alivio de emergencia. Con nuestros socios, SER y Waves Ahead, así como con la colaboración de World Central Kitchen y otras organizaciones comunitarias, nuestros equipos permanentes en las comunidades se asegurarán de que la ayuda humanitaria y los servicios de salud mental sean provistos de manera inmediata y directa a los más afectados”, dijo Ricky Martin.

A casi cinco años del embate del huracán María, Fiona ha dejado a Puerto Rico devastado. Los equipos de trabajo han comenzado a proveer ayuda de emergencia a las familias y comunidades afectadas por la devastación del huracán Fiona, entre los recursos y servicios, se incluye: agua, comida, artículos de atención médica, ropa y primeros auxilios psicológicos. Al momento, hay empleados y voluntarios destacados, en los pueblos de: Loíza, San Juan, Cabo Rojo, Ceiba, Maunabo y Ponce, junto con líderes comunitarios, como Pedro Julio Serrano, que viabilizan el poder identificar y priorizar las necesidades específicas en cada comunidad. Los servicios provistos serán a corto y largo plazo, por tanto, continuarán una vez la emergencia haya pasado.

“La Fundación Ricky Martin, Waves Ahead Puerto Rico y SER de Puerto Rico han estado facilitando servicios a las poblaciones más vulnerabilizadas por décadas. Ahora, con esta alianza estratégica combinamos nuestras fuerzas para asegurarnos de que los servicios sean provistos en un esfuerzo coordinado que sea inclusivo y de gran impacto. Estamos en el campo ofreciendo asistencia que salva vidas de nuestra gente”, dijeron Nilda Morales de SER y Wilfred Labiosa de Waves Ahead. Para más información, visita www.rickymartinfoundation.org.

After Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Ricans are frustrated with electric grid, infrastructure problems…

By Kiara Alfonseca | ABC News

Hurricane Fiona has pummeled Puerto Rico, an island whose infrastructure struggled to recover from the devastating Hurricane Maria that killed almost 3,000 people in 2017.

Fiona left many without electricity and water, including Pedro Julio Serrano, a resident and human rights activist.

«It’s not a natural disaster. This is a political disaster,» Serrano told ABC News.

Some Puerto Ricans who spoke with ABC News are frustrated with the lack of progress in reconstructing the island so residents no longer have to worry about having running water, electricity, and safe roads, buildings and more.

After Maria, many elderly, sick, and disabled people died because they didn’t have the electricity or access to the care and necessities they required, according to Puerto Rican officials. Following Fiona, hospitals and people in need of care have been left scrambling to find generators to support them, according to Puerto Rico’s Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

«The vast majority of the people who died [from Maria] was because of incompetence and because people couldn’t get their power back for months,» Julio Serrano said. «What is happening is criminal.»

Some residents said local and federal governments have had several years to fix things.

«We really shouldn’t have to be resilient in the 21st century, when we’re supposed to be a part of the richest nation in the world,» Victor Amauri, referring to Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory, told ABC News. Amauri is a resident and spokesperson for Brigada Solidaria del Oeste, a local activist group.

Puerto Rico’s electric system has long been unstable, even before Hurricane Maria devastated the island. As a result, blackouts have been a regular part of life for many residents for the last five years, according to island residents.

Those who spoke with ABC News say they blame LUMA, a private company that has operated and managed Puerto Rico’s electric power transmission and distribution system since June 2021.

LUMA said it was currently working with customers to restore power and stabilize the grid.

«We will continue to work non-stop until every customer is restored and the entire grid is reenergized» LUMA Public Safety Manager, Abner Gómez, said in a statement. «While these efforts continue over the coming days, we strongly encourage customers to continue to exercise caution and stay away from any downed power lines.»

Much of the federal money allocated to help fix the electric grid has not been spent due to disagreements between Puerto Rican officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on how to use it.

LUMA, as well as the Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi, did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Cynthia Burgos López, resident and executive director of La Maraña, a group dedicated to rebuilding Puerto Rico, told ABC News that residents hadn’t seen the impact of federal dollars on the island.

«Being a colony from the States, we have a lot of money that’s being sent all the time to Puerto Rico, but we have such a corrupt government, that nothing gets to the communities,» she said.

Burgos López recalled the long, but recent history of government officials who have been embroiled in corruption scandals.

At least nine Puerto Rican mayors and several other government officials have been arrested on charges of bribery, extortion, and more in recent years.

Residents said they blame the long-standing corruption, under-resourcing and underfunding for why the island was not ready for Fiona, and why it will not be ready for the next storm.

«We know that without Fiona, we were not having light. So with Fiona, we were going to be monthslong without light,» Burgos López told ABC News.

Some also told ABC News that barriers imposed by the United States — such as the enforcement of the Jones Act, which mandates ships carrying goods between U.S. ports to be built in the United States — have continued to place a financial strain on Puerto Rico and its residents due to increased prices of goods, though it’s a furiously debated topic.

For now, residents are working together to ensure their fellow community members get what they need, and not waiting for outside help to touch down on the island. However, some residents and activists plan to protest, and demand action from officials in the wake of the storm’s damage.

Amauri said there are long lines to get gasoline, people using generators to refrigerate their food, and residents are scrambling to find clean drinking water.

«People are suffering more each day,» he said.