Puerto Rico Country Report
Reconstruction efforts under Governor Ricky Rosselló of the New Progressive Party continue in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in 2017. The damage caused by the hurricanes has exacerbated Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis; in May 2017, the island's government filed for bankruptcy protection on its USD70-billion debt. The island has faced interruptions to basic services, and struggled to rebuild its infrastructure, which poses operational challenges including blackouts and has led to thousands leaving the island. In September 2018, Rosselló sent a letter to US President Trump requesting reconsideration of statehood, which remains unlikely. The US Congress has the final say on the island's status, with the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018 unlikely to gainthe necessary support under a US Republican administration.
Governor Ricky Rosselló ran on a platform that, in part, emphasised making the island a more attractive investment destination and has recently sought to simplify the island's tax incentive system. Major operational disruptions followed from Hurricane Maria's in September 2017, and severe infrastructure disruptions remain, which saw prolonged power outages into 2018. Thousands of police officers participated in so-called sickout protests staged daily from late December 2017 through January over unpaid wages for overtime hours following Hurricane Maria. Concerns over corruption were highlighted by allegations of mismanagement at the island's electric utility.
The risk of terrorist violence remains moderate on the island, with no major incidents reported in 2018. The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) independence group, formerly active in the 1970s and 1980s, conducted hundreds of improvised explosive device attacks against soft targets, like retail outlets, eateries, hotels, airports, and offices, along with harder targets, like FBI offices, courts, and police stations. In the early 1980s, Los Macheteros attacked a government building with anti-tank grenade launchers and destroyed nine fighter aircraft at the Muñiz Air National Guard Base.