US Vice President Kamala Harris, Puerto Rico

Kamala Harris Affirms U.S. Support To Puerto Rico

The five-hour trip to Puerto Rico included a visit to Canóvanas neighborhood, commemoration for the abolition of slavery, and a fundraiser.

Vice President Kamala Harris touched down in Puerto Rico on Friday afternoon for her inaugural visit to the island since assuming office in 2021.

The five-hour trip aimed to spotlight President Joe Biden’s dedication to aid Puerto Rico’s recuperation from several natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. NBC News reported that a prime focus was on showcasing the administration’s expenditures to support the island’s infrastructure and economic revitalization endeavors.

Harris’ visit included surveying a Canóvanas neighborhood that received federal housing funds authorized by the Biden administration to reconstruct the homes of nearly 6,300 islanders following Hurricane Maria’s 2017 devastation. Harris proclaimed, “We’re making a difference,” as she delivered a speech outside the renovated home of a hurricane survivor in Canóvanas. She delineated the administration’s $140 billion total allocation across various Puerto Rican sectors like education and disaster relief and accentuated financing for small enterprises, innovators, infrastructure, and renewable energy initiatives.

Harris joined community figures and artisans in San Juan to commemorate the 151st anniversary of the island’s abolition of slavery. The trip prompted both protests over the administration’s foreign policy positions and counter-protests from pro-statehood advocates. According to the president of Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party, Charlie Rodríguez, Harris’ visit reiterates Biden’s initial policies of “staying focused on Puerto Rico during his term.”

Before she departed the island, Harris also attended a Biden Victory Fund fundraising event at an apartment complex owned by investor Nicholas Prouty, who has donated to several Democratic campaigns since around 2008. Rodríguez emphasized the importance of elected officials participating in fundraisers. “There is no doubt that there are a number of people in Puerto Rico who are in a better position to be able to contribute generous amounts, within the framework of what’s allowed by federal law, and to give those types of donations,” Rodríguez said.

Although islanders cannot partake in presidential elections, they can participate in party primaries that elect candidates. Republicans will vote on April 21, while the Democratic primary will take place on April 28.