The pandemic as a major political factor in Puerto Rico
The coronavirus pandemic over the last few months massively impacted Puerto Rican civilians. The economic and healthcare issues in the territory are only amplified in such a dire situation. In fact, drastic measures such as limiting restaurant capacities and alcohol sales are being taken amidst a new spike of cases in early July (Coto, 2020). The government of Puerto Rico has been heavily criticized for not properly administering testing kits in an efficient and reliable manner. Wanda Vazquez (R, NPP), the governor of Puerto Rico, cancelled a $38 million deal for testing kits in April when questions arose concerning the legitimacy of company selling and administering the medical devices (Smee, 2020).
During a time where the governor and government of Puerto Rico are being scrutinized more than ever, it is integral to civilians and local media that proper responses are being given to relieve any amount of uncertainty. However, Governor Wanda Vazquez has been refusing to talk to journalists and dodging situations where questions about the pandemic will naturally be brought up. Ms. Garced’s spokesperson simply responded with “no idea” when asked whether or not the governor plans on holding a press conference anytime soon (Riotta, 2020). WIPR, a publicly funded television station, was met with protestors outside their building in the middle of April claiming to be against the propaganda regarding the coronavirus pandemic being put out by the government.
With the recent regulations placed by Governor Wanda Vazquez, issues regarding the pandemic seem to have a greater focus on social distancing and keeping the virus under control. However, many civilians are being negatively impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic and drought with little economic aid. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans are currently struggling without jobs making it difficult for the governor to retain trust during times of economic turmoil. The actions taken before the next election may possibly be the biggest factor deciding the ultimate result.