HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Activists and elected officials from Puerto Rico are advocating for food security and an end to tax breaks on the island.

Advocates are asking for policy changes as they commemorate the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Maria that killed more than 3,000 people. Power 4 Puerto Rico, which is a coalition composed of stateside organizations, is advocating for Puerto Ricans on the island. They believe that hurricanes Maria and Fiona and the pandemic made clear how Puerto Rico’s overreliance on food imports has left families vulnerable.

Right now Congress is considering a farm bill that would set the legal framework for agricultural and food policy in the United States territories. While the people of Puerto Rico are asking for access to SNAP benefits, Raul Gutierrez Professor of Latinx Studies at Holyoke Community College told 22News about the significance of this movement.

“The actual response of the U.S. government towards Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico has historical underpinnings such as the Jones Act addressing these needs is actually a good step for the U.S. government to create more equitable relationship between the island and the United States,” said Raul Gutierrez, Professor of Latinx Studies as Holyoke Community College.

Groups today are also calling for an end to tax incentives under Act 60 designed to attract wealthy investors from outside the island, as well as corporations that could export goods and services.

Local News

Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.