A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Puerto Rico early Tuesday, killing at least one person and plunging nearly the entire population into darkness in a mass power outage. It is the largest earthquake to hit the island in more than 100 years and follows a series of strong quakes that have rattled the island in recent days.
A 5.8 magnitude quake struck on Monday, damaging the coastal town of Guánica. Damage from the earthquakes has left nearly 350 people homeless and at least 300,000 without drinking water. Governor Wanda Vázquez declared a state of emergency Tuesday.
The devastation comes as Puerto Rico continues to reckon with the fallout from Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed at least 3,000 and left Puerto Rico in the dark for months in the longest blackout in U.S. history — and the second-longest blackout in world history.
Democracy Now! speaks with Yarimar Bonilla, a political anthropologist at the City University of New York, co-editor of the anthology “Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm” and the founder of Puerto Rico Syllabus, a guide for understanding the economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
She says the word “aftershock” takes on a new meaning as delays in infrastructure repairs and electricity revival continue. The “infrastructural aftershocks … are not just about the earth-shaking, but really about a lack of preparedness on the part of the government,” Bonilla says.
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