EL NUEVO DIA
El Nuevo Día ("The New Day") is the highest-circulation daily in Puerto Rico. It was founded in 1909 and is today a subsidiary of GFR Media. It is headquartered in Guaynabo.
Soldiers with masks fighting in Tripoli, Libya
WORLDCRUNCH

Coronavirus — Global Brief: Bitter Irony For Bernie And Universal Healthcare

The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a blunt reminder of how small the world has become. For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on this crisis from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus Global Brief in your inbox, sign up here.

SPOTLIGHT: BITTER IRONY FOR BERNIE SANDERS AND UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE

Coronavirus didn't kill the once promising campaign of Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator's hopes of winning the U.S. presidency were derailed, for all intents and purposes, five weeks earlier, by rival candidate Joe Biden's sweeping victory in Super Tuesday voting, on March 3.

But the pandemic didn't do Sanders any favors either. To mount a post-Super Tuesday comeback, the 78-year-old Vermont Senator needed to command an ever-greater portion of the nation's attention. But as the COVID-19 crisis escalated — and Sanders, like so many people around the world, retreated behind closed doors — frightened U.S. voters turned their thoughts elsewhere. "The campaign has practically disappeared from people's screens," writes Philippe Corbé of the French radio station RTL. "Most Americans don't have their head in politics right now."

Still, the irony of the situation is bitter for Bernie backers, as the pandemic's rapid and deadly spread may have been the definitive proof that perhaps his most controversial stance — universal healthcare — is just plain common sense.

It's likely too that with unemployment numbers now soaring in the United States, more than a few Americans could benefit from the redistributive economic policies that the self-proclaimed democratic socialist championed.

"The coronavirus crisis turned everything that Mr. Sanders promised he was best equipped to do — fix the health care system, call out the dangers of a Trump presidency — into an agenda that was more urgent than ever for the country," Sydney Ember writes in The New York Times.

But in election cycles, timing is everything: As columnist Leo Aldridge writes in the Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Día, "Politics is the art of the possible, and in this time of pandemia and uncertainty, a Sanders victory in the democratic primary process isn't possible."

Benjamin Witte

THE SITUATION: 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

  • Infection milestone: Confirmed cases around the world of those infected are approaching the 1.5 million mark.

  • Quarantine easing: Some European countries are starting to ease lockdown measures, with schools and nurseries in Denmark set to reopen on April 15 and Austria planning to reopen its shops in phases.

  • COVID ceasefire: Saudi-UAE coalition fighting Houthi rebels declares a 2-week unilateral ceasefire to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Yemen.

  • Oil factor: crucial talks between OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing nations today to try to break deadlock over production levels that have combined with COVID-19 to put oil at a historic low.

  • How NYC got so bad: The surge in New York cases resulted largely from infected travellers who came from Europe, new study finds.

  • Boozeless in Bangkok: The Thai capital bans alcohol sales for 10 days to prevent residents from partying during Songkran, the Buddhist New Year.

  • Finally alone: A couple of giant pandas that had been living together for 10 years in a Hong Kong theme park without any — erm, action, apparently just needed some privacy.

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Man wearing a Puerto Rico T-shirt in NYC
Puerto Rico

Is Puerto Rico (Finally) Set To Become The 51st State?

SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rican Senate's approval of a bill last week to hold a referendum to give voters a stark choice between statehood or independence looks like it may settle the island's status once and for all. Leading Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Día reports that the vote, set for June 11, will be the first in the island's history to offer citizens a binary choice between becoming the 51st U.S. state or declaring independence, excluding the option of retaining its current status as an American territory. The vote will be the fifth time Puerto Ricans have been called to the polls to decide their status since the island came under U.S. control in 1898.

In every previous referendum the most popular option was remaining a commonwealth except for the last vote in 2012 when voters opted for statehood — although more than half a million blank ballots were cast, prompting Washington to ignore the result. The Senate's decision last Thursday to move forward with the vote this year has generated intense controversy, with the opposition Popular Democratic Party (PPD) announcing it would appeal to the federal Department of Justice to prevent it from occurring.

The New Progressive Party (NPP), which proposed the legislation and holds a majority in the Puerto Rican Congress, is traditionally in favor of statehood and organized the vote in a bid to put an end to the long-running debate on the island's status.

San Juan, Puerto Rico — Photo: Ricardo's Photography

The NPP's Ricardo Rosselló won the governorship last November after campaigning on a pledge to make Puerto Rico the 51st state, claiming it would help solve the grinding economic crisis plaguing the territory, which most recently has left the island with a $70 billion debt.

Opposition parties criticized the decision to exclude other options such as "free association," a form of sovereignty where Puerto Rico would become independent but would cede control over certain areas, like defense, to the United States. According to El Nuevo Día, the approved law stipulates that in the case of a vote for independence, a second referendum would be held Oct. 8 presenting a choice between free association and full independence.


One thing appears certain: By the end of this year, Puerto Rico's political limbo will end, and it will either become the 51st American state, or it will become the 194th member of the United Nations.

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Puerto Rico's Outrage At Massive Black Out

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El Nuevo Dia — Sept. 23, 2016

"Complex recovery" reads the front page of Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Dia"s Friday edition, as the Caribbean island is still struggling to restore power two days after a massive blackout left most of its 3.5 million inhabitants in the dark.

Power was shut off Wednesday on the entire island a safety measure, after an extensive fire broke out in an electrical plant in southern Puerto Rico. El Nuevo Dia reports that the two-day blackout to have a $800 million-impact on the economy, and raises new questions as to the island's infrastructures as the U.S. territory undertakes a major financial rehaul.