Juan C. Dávila: Puerto Rico: Colonialism and Resistance after Hurricane María, Monday, January 29, 2018, 5:30-6:30pm, Charles E. Merrill Lounge, UC Santa Cruz

Please join us for this free, public presentation given by Latin American and Latino Studies PhD student, Juan C. Dávila. Refreshments will be served.

November 01, 2017

By , Director, Chicano Latino Research Center 

Click here for event flyer.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States that faces two major crises – first, the largest economic recession of its history, and second, the consequences of the worst natural disaster in 100 years. Puerto Rico is comprised of a group of islands that are culturally independent, but politically and financially controlled by the U.S. Government. When hurricane María made landfall in September 2017, it unveiled the precarity of the tropical paradise.

"Puerto Rico: Colonialism and Resistance after Hurricane María" will be a multimedia presentation focusing on the limitations that the Puerto Rican government has to lead recovery efforts due to its colonial relationship with the United States. This includes a large dependency on U.S. federal resources, a large debt to Wall Street bondholders, and being tethered to the Jones Act, a law that permits only U.S. vessels to enter in Puerto Rico ­– even for aid purposes. This situation worsens when the U.S. government has established military control over Puerto Rico and disaster capitalists make their way in.

In light of these issues, some residents of Puerto Rico are imagining and enacting a recovery led by the people. Under the idea that “only the people will save the people,” there has been an emergence of autonomous and self-sustaining initiatives led by activist organizations. These initiatives range from popular kitchens, agricultural restoration projects, debris cleaning brigades, and providers of solar energy to rural communities. This presentation will profile some of the activists participating in these alternative recovery efforts.

Suggested Readings: 


juan davila headshotJuan C. Dávila is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and PhD student of Latin American and Latino Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). His work focuses on environmentalism, social movements and globalization. He has directed two feature documentary films: Compañeros de lucha (2012) and Vieques: una batalla inconclusa (2016). Dávila currently works as a correspondent for Democracy Now!

He holds a Bachelor in Arts of Communication from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico (2011) and a Master of Arts in Social Documentation from the UCSC (2015).




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