Things That Matter

Voters In Puerto Rico Took To The Polls To Vote On Statehood And A New Governor

Aas hundreds of millions of Americans took to the polls on Election Day to cast their ballots (in record-breaking numbers), voters were also showing up to the polls in Puerto Rico.

People across the island are now anxiously awaiting the results following a heated contest that saw long lines of voters and produced a tight gubernatorial race in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

It was the first election held since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, causing damages estimated at more than $100 billion and killing an estimated 2,975 people. It’s also the first election since hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets to demand the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. The protests, now known as the “Summer of 2019,” were sparked by a leaked chat in which the then-governor and other officials made fun of hurricane victims, among other things, and made comments that led to an investigation into possible corruption.

The island’s top job is up for grabs for the first time since the last governor was forced to resign.

It’s been a rough couple of years for the island of Puerto Rico. Just last year, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets to demand the resignation of then Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Now, for the first time since his resignation Puerto Ricans were able to choose their leadership.

Pedro Pierluisi of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party held a slight lead over Carlos Delgado of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the island’s current status. More than 12,000 votes separated the top two candidates after counting more than 95% of the ballots cast Tuesday as well as some returns from early and absentee ballots, which were also still being tallied.

Pierluisi briefly served as governor following last year’s protests and previously represented Puerto Rico in Congress for eight years. He and Rosselló are from the same party.

Much like Trump, Pierluisi prematurely celebrated the results at a news conference, while Delgado said shortly after midnight that he would await final results.

“It’s irresponsible,” Delgado said of Pierluisi’s actions.

The island’s top two parties had a disappointing showing as voters look elsewhere for change.

Credit: Xavier Garcia / Getty Images

This year’s elections are also noteworthy because it’s the first time in recent history that neither of the island’s two main parties secured more than 40% of the overall vote. This is largely seen as a result of new, younger parties and candidates eroding the grip that both parties have long had on the island.

Many voters leaving the polls said that they voted for a new party because he said the New Progressives and Popular Democrats don’t deliver.

“It’s one promise after another and they don’t do anything,” one voter told Business Insider.

The island is also facing a dwindling voter base as hundreds of thousands of residents have left the island for states like Florida and New York. In this year’s election, there were 2.36 million eligible voters, compared with 2.87 million in 2016 and 2.4 million in 2012.

Despite the drop in eligible voters, the diversity of parties and candidates has increased in recent years, slowly eroding the grip that the New Progressives and Popular Democrats have had on the island’s politics for decades.

Rafael Fonseca, an administrator, told Bloomberg News he had hoped neither of the two parties would win this year.

“They’ve been doing the same thing for years and there’s no change,” he said, adding that the island’s public education system needs to be improved and wages increased to prevent the loss of young people moving to the U.S. mainland in search of work.

Voters have also appeared to support a non-binding resolution on Puerto Rican statehood.

In January, as part of Senate Bill 1467, the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly added a referendum on statehood to the ballot. If it’s approved, the governor of Puerto Rico will appoint a seven-person commission to represent the island in statehood negotiations. If the governor then accepted the plan, it would be presented to the U.S. Congress and the president.

Full statehood for Puerto Rico would allow its residents constitutional rights that Puerto Ricans do not have: the ability to vote in presidential and congressional elections.

The non-binding referendum asked residents, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?”

Support for U.S. statehood was leading with more than 52%, with more than 95% of votes counted. However, U.S. Congress would have to approve of any changes to the island’s political status.

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Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapse Has Hit The Science Community Hard

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapse Has Hit The Science Community Hard

RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP via Getty Images

The scientific community is mourning the sudden loss of Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The observatory was an integral part of research space research and was an important training ground for science students.

The Arecibo Observatory collapsed in the early morning hours of Dec. 1.

The 900-ton platform came crashing down on the 1000-foot wide dish. The platform, which was suspended above the reflective dish, crashed after suffering catastrophic failures. Two wires snapped previously and engineers warned that the platform was at risk of falling as a result.

“I was very sad, very disappointed,” Génesis Ferrer, a fourth-year physics student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, told NBC News. “I worked so hard to finally get accepted to work in the Arecibo Observatory. And now that I got accepted, I can’t work in it. I felt very sad, not only individually, but I also saw it as a very sad thing for Puerto Rico and the science in Puerto Rico.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has reported no injuries.

The NSF was already planning on removing the structure after two cables broke and engineers warned that the platform was no longer stable. With no safe way to fix the structure, NSF had prepared to find a way to safely demolish the structure.

“NSF is saddened by this development,” the agency said on Twitter. “As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”

The loss of the impressive structure will be felt for years to come as the engineers assess the full damage.

There are people already calling on the U.S. government to step up and fund a rebuild of the important scientific structure. There is an updated petition that is asking for the structure to be rebuilt to its former glory.

“The telescope collapsed but the investigations facility and the visitor’s center is still there. With the appropriate funding, we have a viable path towards reconstruction,” Kevin Ortiz, also a physics student, told NBC News. “The educational impact of the observatory is incalculable, at all levels, from professionals and college students to the high school academy and the elementary schools that visit our center.”

READ: Anti-Mask Tourists Are Traveling To Puerto Rico And The Island’s Residents Have Had Enough

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Bad Bunny Is Spotify’s Most Streamed Artist In The World For 2020

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Is Spotify’s Most Streamed Artist In The World For 2020

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for dcp

Bad Bunny has quickly become one of the most beloved artists in the world. The Puerto Rican artist’s career has skyrocketed over the past couple of years and there is no slowing him down. Spotify’s 2020 wrap showed that Bad Bunny is indeed one of the most popular artists in the world.

Bad Bunny’s music is taking over the world and there is proof.

The singer is Spotify’s most-streamed artist in 2020 according to the platform’s yearly round-up. Last year Bad Bunny was the fifth most-streamed artist in the world so this was definitely a bigger and better year for San Benito.

Bad Bunny is not the only Latino at the top of the Spotify streaming charts. J Balvin came in at third place giving Latin music more recognition as one of the most popular genres.

Bad Bunny also come in wit Spotify’s most stream album of the year.

“YHLQMDLG” is Bad Bunny’s second studio album and it has been a quantifiable success. The album reached No. 1 in the U.S. on the Independent Albums Billboard, Top Latin Albums Billboard, and Latin Rhythm Albums Billboard charts.

Last year, Camila Cabello represented for the Latinas. The Cuban-Mexican-American pop star was all over the Spotify charts. Namely, Cabello was the fourth most-streamed female artist and “Señorita,” her collab with Shawn Mendes, was the most streamed song on Spotify for 2019.

Bad Bunny kept himself super relevant while in quarantine because his social media game is strong.

Bad Bunny kept his music coming while in quarantine. The Puerto Rican super star kept making things happen. He even created a quarantine anthem that he recorded with his significant other. Who could forget when “En Casita” hit Soundcloud? It was Bad Bunny’s way fo make quarantine worth it and trying to make sure that everyone did what they need to do to get past this pandemic.

Latin music’s popularity is growing fast around the world.

Artists like Bad Bunny, Karol G, and J Balvin are taking the Latin sounds and taking them international. More and more people are tuning in to the songs that make our own communities bump. With the way things are going, Latin music’s world takeover is not going to stop anytime soon.

READ: Bad Bunny Gives Us His Third Album Of The Year And Fans Worry He’s About To Retire From Music

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