A Call to Action for Every American, and every child of the Puerto Rican Diaspora

Today we are releasing a Call to Action for all Americans and Boricuas in the Diaspora, and their advocates.

The Diaspora has been critical at combating contracts or policies that would cause irreparable harm to the Puerto Ricans on the island. Take #Whitefish and the temporary lifting of the #JonesAct

We need your attention and your action on an issue that involves 1.5 Billion dollars in funding going to Puerto Rico for housing disaster relief: The Housing Plan for use of Federal Funds created by the local government.

Please share the information and pictures provided below and use the Call to Action Template to discuss with your local representatives why we should be concerned over the Housing Plan’s imminent approval.

This is a critical moment that we cannot ignore or wait on. Please join me in sharing this important interview with David Carrasquillo from the Puerto Rican Planning Society (SPP).

The Issue

HUD is about to approve a plan of 1.5 billion dollars that does not address the actual communities impacted.

The Deputy Secretary of HUD admitted she did not read the Housing Plan during a meeting but said they will approve it anyway. Again, we see that Puerto Ricans are treated in a discriminatory manner, being told that their input is needed but then their input and public comments are not used to revise the plan.

The issues in the Plan identified by the Puerto Rican Planning Society are as follows:

  • No link is established between the money to be allocated and the communities worst affected by the hurricanes (which are also not identified);

  • It is based on a process of public hearings that did not engage the relevant communities/stakeholderse;

  • The plan opens the possibility for closed-door decision-making processes and corruption;

  • It is characterized by a vision to create more or newer development without taking into account the overwhelming amount of abandoned properties on the island;

  • Adds programs to use funds outside the amount indicated for the assignment;

  • Does not use official information collected by FEMA to estimate non-covered needs;

  • It does not take into consideration recommendations from civil society groups that were commissioned to generate reports and recommendations for the development of the Plan;

  • Does not take into consideration the local public policy on planning issues such as: the Land Use Plan (PUT), the Municipal Plans for Territorial Planning (POTs), the Multi-hazard Mitigation Plans, the Adaptation Plans to Climate Change , among others;

  • It does not recognize rights to the people affected by the Plan’s proposals, especially the persons and communities with potential to be displaced;

  • Does not comply with the law regarding the role of licensed professional planners in the development of the document.

This could have very tangible impacts on which communities will actually receive the Block Grants or how much of it they receive. We need to make some noise.

​This is the Housing Action plan that was released for public comment (Note: there is no plan to even consider the public comments that were already submitted by the May 25th Deadline):


The Puerto Rican Planning Society released the above points on FB in Spanish and they can be found here:




Call to Action Template



Buy Local Products: #BrandsOfPuertoRico

When I was a little girl visiting family in Puerto Rico, one of my favorite things was all the local food and products. The memory of waking up in the morning, with the aroma of abuelito’s coffee and pan sobao still brings a smile to my face. With the continuing migration of many Boricuas to the US and after Hurricane Maria, all of us in the Diaspora have felt a desire to find these products and also contribute to the local economy.

In this latest episode of Boriken Podcast I wanted to invite Alan Taveras, the co-founder of Brands of Puerto Rico to tell us about his journey to bring Puerto Rican Products to the world.

The conversation is an important one, because we discuss not just how we in the Diaspora can be part of the movement to buy locally, but also address a cultural barrier that Boricuas have faced for centuries. We discuss how the colonial status has permeated the cultural consciousness, and how awareness can be a powerful first step towards a free Boriken.

I was certainly inspired by the mission of Brands to empower small businesses in Puerto Rico to believe in their brand and products. I hope more local products make it out to us in the Diaspora!

To buy local products from Brands of Puerto Rico follow this link.

You can follow Alan on twitter @AlanTavares2

You can also follow Brands of Puerto Rico on:

Facebook   Instagram    Twitter




Sunday News con Sandra

De Puerto Rico para la Diaspora

A reporter in Puerto Rico provides us an insightful look into current news in Puerto Rico.

We chat about the migration due to the economic recession, including the Housing Crisis Report by Centro for Puerto Rican Studies released just a few days ago. We also talk the role of the Diaspora in Puerto Rico’s future, including what events are happening in Puerto Rico right now that they should know about and should stay informed on.

She also shares her experience being on the only radio station that was still live after the Hurricane, and you don’t want to miss her stories. I asked her whether there have been improvements to communications to prepare for this hurricane season, and she provides insights there as well.

Three things that Sandra recommends the Diaspora focus on currently happening are:

Other issues discussed are the number of dentists that have left the island; some towns lack any dentist at all. Mortgage foreclosures are also another topic that she recommends you follow. With regard to the debt she mentioned local bondholders are losing a lot of money and most of the people that loaned the government money are being very affected by not getting paid. Other interesting things points she brought up: That most jobs are created by the government and not private sector. That the last election had 6 candidates so the current governor won with about 40% of the vote.

But we spoke about what gives her hope and what she sees as the reasons Puerto Rico has a chance to rise above the challenges.

Follow Sandra on Twitter @SRCSandra  and on Facebook here.  Sandra’s Blog can be found here and her book can be purchased on Libros787 here.

Her Noticel Column can be found here.










The links discussed at the end of the interview can be found below:


Fighting for Transparency: #QueCuenten

Data on mortality after a natural disaster is critical to providing pubic officials and others the information necessary to help communities in distress and focus efforts and personnel. This episode will provide insight into the first study after Maria that sought to bring clarity into what really happened even as the local government continued to insist the death count was low. Alexis Santos joins us to discuss his study and also his perspective on what the recent study by Harvard School of Public Health found. To hear more and follow Alexis you can follow him on Twitter at @AppDemography.

Alexis has also been on a few other podcasts providing more perspective – so check those out as well!

LatinoRebels Podcast

Health Affairs Podcast

BBC: Statistics v Politics

After this episode was recorded, the death certificates were finally released to journalists for investigation into the number of deaths after Hurricane Maria. More info here in this CNN article.

For those who wish to stay tuned into that story please follow these people on twitter:

@cpipr @Omayasosa @jdsutter

Diaspora, Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Maria, Podcast, Public Health, Puerto Rico

Why Public Health?

Puerto Rico is experiencing a public health crisis and thousands on the island are still struggling without power. This episode will be an overview of what this podcast is all about and will touch on recent news as well. For example, I discuss the study by the Harvard T. Chan School of Public health which reviewed excess deaths that occurred after Hurricane Maria, and a video that came out in the past week on the transport of cadavers in vehicles that were not approved for that purpose. From Puerto Rico to Boston and all across the US, the Diaspora is fighting for the rights and dignity of all Boricuas.

Follow us on Facebook, instagram and twitter under: Borikenpodcast!