Chicago's Puerto Rican community outraged by pace of change since Hurricane Maria

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ByWill Jones via WLS logo
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 12:45AM
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While some Puerto Ricans in Chicago are questioning the territory's relationship with the U.S., they're also raising money to help with the relief effort.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Puerto Rican diaspora in Chicago is outraged that millions of people on the island are spending the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Maria in the dark following Hurricane Fiona.

"It is unfortunate that five years later, practically to the date, that we are here talking about the same thing," State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas said.

Luma Energy took over the electric grid in Puerto Rico last year.

"We have to hold Luma accountable," said Billy Ocasio, the National Puerto Rican Museum CEO and president. "How does a company get all these billions of dollars and yet people are complaining the blackouts are coming more often and lasting longer."

READ MORE | Chicagoans seek to help Puerto Rico hurricane victims

Naysha Pinet Velez said her family back home expects the power to go out weekly.

"We need a sustainable electric system," she said.

Alderman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez left Puerto Rico in 2009. She said her family and friends are exhausted.

"We are a colony of the richest and the most powerful country in the world and you are telling me that the United States of America cannot go and fix that grid," Rodriguez Sanchez said.

While some Puerto Ricans in Chicago are questioning the territory's relationship with the U.S., they're also raising money to help with the relief effort.

Right after Maria, The Puerto Rican Agenda led local efforts to help the residents of the island. The organization is stepping up once again.

"The people of Puerto Rico need our support," said Jessie Fuentes with The Puerto Rican Agenda. "They need our solidarity. But more importantly, they need the money."