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San Juan – “Aware that everything concerning human dignity, its care, its support and its development, requires to be enlightened by the truth of faith”, the Bishops of Puerto Rico denounce, as Pastors of people of God, the vulnerability that the country experiences, caused by the prolonged economic crisis that began fifteen years ago, aggravated by natural phenomena and the pandemic, to which now is added the threat of the collapse of electricity services.
In the statement, sent to Fides, the Episcopal Conference highlights that “the absence of this essential service devalues Puerto Ricans, impoverishes our life, our spirit, our freedom and the exercise of our free will”, moreover “it has a negative impact on everyone, in safety, health, education, culture, the free exercise of our religious beliefs, economy. Few public responsibilities have such a direct impact on citizens”.
The Bishops recall the concerns about the country’s economic and energy crisis already expressed last year, before the elections, and today they denounce the causes of this situation: “the lack of adequate planning, maintenance and development of the system, privatization in which private interest overlaps with the common good and the general well-being of the population, the administration of emergency funds to protect these interests, the dependence on increasingly expensive and limited fuels, the economic burden imposed on consumers”. Therefore they reiterate that “the duty to supply electricity to our country is a public duty. No matter the organizational model used, it is the government of Puerto Rico that has the obligation to offer all Puerto Ricans the minimum level of quality in the electricity service that allows us a full life”.
Urging the authorities to put aside political disputes, aimed more at avoiding the responsibilities of each one than at finding solutions for all, the statement underlines: “The quality of life guaranteed by an electricity system that serves the country well, is a manifestation of respect for the dignity of every human being. It is not tolerable that more than a fifth of the 21st century has passed and Puerto Rico is expected to live like eighty years ago with regard to access to the electricity service”. The Bishops reiterate their rejection of the idea that “Puerto Ricans are pawns in a table of discussions and small struggles between those responsible for public activity” and for “the abandonment of responsibilities, which ends up creating a vacuum service to the country”. Looking at the need to ensure economic development in the country, and thinking of future generations, the statement presents some proposals to solve the energy crisis, recalling that the current situation is not new, and comes from the accumulation of previous responsibilities of the various sectors and administrations . “Our Government cannot avoid its responsibility, its duty and its obligations”, the Bishops reiterate, adding finally that “the population cannot be expected to give up and accept inefficient service and increasing costs”.