Colonialismo fósil: Los nexos energía / deuda detrás del largo apagón de Puerto Rico

Sandy Smith-Nonini


Fossil Colonialism: The Energy/Debt Nexus behind Puerto Rico’s Long Blackout

After Hurricane Maria half of the Puerto Rican population remained in the dark for 4 months or more, an unprecedented situation for a developed state.  This paper, based in part on interviews on the island in winter-spring of 2018, analyzes the reasons for the longest (and for some ongoing) blackout in US history.  It also questions the island government’s proposal to privatize the island’s public electrical utility as a solution to the problem of a fragile electric system.  The paper traces roots of the current crisis to “fossil-colonial” assumptions behind “la Operación Manos a la Obra,” Puerto Rico’s Cold War development program, exploring the relationship between oil-dependent infrastructure, extracted profits, declining jobs, and growing debt. The debt grew rapidly as US tax incentives were phased out during the high oil price years of 2005 – 2007.  Grassroots and energy advocates are working together today on the island to articulate an alternative future, based on reduced dependence on fossil fuels and more democratic management of energy and other public resources

Palabras clave

Puerto Rico, huracán María, apagón, activismo social

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Copyright (c) 2018 Batey. Revista Cubana de Antropología Sociocultural (ISSN 2225-529X)

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ISSN 2225-529X



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