Puerto Rico Country Report
Policy making in Puerto Rico is likely to be dominated by reconstruction efforts following the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Cost estimates range from USD40 billion and USD85 billion. The damage caused by the hurricanes will exacerbate Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis; In May 2017, the island's government filed for bankruptcy protection on its USD70-billion debt. Ricky Rosselló of the New Progressive Party won the November 2016 election. Rosselló ran on a pro-statehood platform. In June 2017, the island held a non-binding referendum over the territory's legal status, with 97% of voters expressing a preference for full statehood (albeit on a turnout of less than 25%). The US Congress has the final say on the island's status.
Governor Ricky Rosselló ran on a platform that, in part, emphasised making the island a more attractive investment destination. To that end, he has proposed simplifying the tax system, as well as streamlining government services and encouraging public-private partnerships. Labour is well-organised but not a major source of concern. Major operational disruptions followed on from Hurricane Maria's landfall in September 2017, and severe disruptions remain, with more than half of the population still without power.
The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) independence group, active in the 1970s and 1980s, has 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. However, little has subsequently been heard from these groups, aside from isolated small-scale events, like a 1998 bombing of a small power station, they represent a very limited threat.