‘Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria’ was most mentioned scholarly work in 2018

SAN JUAN – A study on the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and the spread of fake news online topped the articles in the Altmetric Top 100.The annual list by Altmetric, which develops software to analyze online activity around scholarly research, reveals the discussion generated by published works in public policy documents, the media, blogs, Wikipedia and social networks to “provide a more robust picture of the influence and reach of scholarly work,” according to the company.

The company said it tracked more than 25 million mentions “of 2.8 million research outputs.”

Altmetric spoke with Satchit Balsari, a co-author of the most discussed academic paper this year, who emphasized the importance of his team’s research on mortality rates following Hurricane Maria. The event is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico.

“Colleagues from Puerto Rico were concerned that the official death counts seemed very low compared to what they were seeing in their communities, and reached out to us to see whether there was a way to help ascertain the mortality estimate.

“Given the large difference in our mortality estimates and the official counts, it was gratifying to see that the media played its role in efficiently translating a scientific paper for mass consumption,” Balsari said.

The paper is the most widely shared in the Altmetric Top 100’s six-year history.

“The Altmetric Top 100 continues to highlight an array of fascinating and diverse research that often relates to the broader cultural zeitgeist and the year’s most notable events,” Altmetric COO Catherine Williams said. “From climate change to misinformation and diets, the most widely shared and discussed research focuses on global challenges that affect us all. Encouragingly, the levels of attention we see here demonstrates that expert knowledge still plays a very central role in our shared understanding of these issues.”

This year’s list features papers published in 45 different journals. The University of Cambridge had the most affiliated papers (10), while the journal Science featured more than any other (12 times).

The top 3 articles of 2018 are:

“Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria” (New England Journal of Medicine, July 2018), which was the most widely shared paper in the Altmetric Top 100’s six-year history.


“The spread of true and false news online” (Science, March 2018), which found that rumors spread much faster and further on Twitter than truth.


“Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016” (The Lancet, September 2018), which reveals that the only “safe” level of alcohol consumption is no alcohol at all.


The highest ever Altmetric Attention Score is 11980 (as of November 29, 2018). The score belongs to an article titled, “How Diversity Works”, published in Scientific American in 2014.

Top 10 articles of 2018:

  1. Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (New England Journal of Medicine, July 2018)
  2. The spread of true and false news online (Science, March 2018)
  3. Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 (The Lancet, September 2018)
  4. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene (PNAS, August 2018)
  5. Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study (The Lancet Psychiatry, September 2018)
  6. Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis (The Lancet Public Health, September 2018)
  7. Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic (Scientific Reports, March 2018)
  8. Complementary Medicine, Refusal of Conventional Cancer Therapy, and Survival Among Patients With Curable Cancers (JAMA Oncology, October 2018)
  9. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages (Nature, April 2018)
  10. The biomass distribution on Earth (PNAS, May 2018)

See the 2018 Altmetric Top 100.

The list features papers published in 45 different journals, with the journal Science appearing more than any other single title (12 times).

Authors from the University of Cambridge appeared more than any other institution (10 papers). Other institutions that feature strongly in the list include Harvard University (9) and University of Oxford (8); non-university organizations include the United States National Institute on Aging (3) and Hennepin Healthcare (3).

Harvard survey: Some 4,600 may have died in Puerto Rico in aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico gov’t sticks to its commissioned report on hurricane deaths

Report: Puerto Rico is 2nd most popular holiday destination worldwide for Americans

SAN JUAN – According to Allianz Global Assistance’s 2018 Top Holiday Destinations Report, American travel increased 15 percent this holiday season over last year. New York City remained the most popular domestic destination, and Cancun, Mexico; San Juan, Puerto Rico; San José del Cabo, Mexico; Nassau, Bahamas; and Montego Bay, Jamaica, were the top five international destinations.

Allianz, a travel insurance provider, analyzed the number of stateside-based travelers who booked flights via its partners from Dec. 19-27 .

As the only non-tropical destination to make the international top 10, London placed sixth, dropping from second last year, followed by Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; Higuey, Dominican Republic; and Aruba. This is the first time Mexico City and Nassau, Bahamas were included in Allianz’s Top Holiday Destinations Report for international travel.

New York City took the number one domestic spot again, followed by Los Angeles, Orlando, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. Boston jumped to fourth from 10th place, and San Francisco climbed back into the top 10.

“Mexico City, named 2018’s World Design Capital by World Design Organization (WDO), is a first-timer to the list, while Puerto Rico jumped up to the second most popular international destination,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA.

The Banker names Popular ‘Bank of the Year Puerto Rico’

SAN JUAN -Popular Inc. announced Thursday that for the fifth consecutive year, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR), its banking subsidiary, was recognized as a leading “Bank of the Year Americas” by The Banker, a financial intelligence magazine published by Financial Times Ltd.

Award judges had to decide which banks, from among 140 countries, deserved to be recognized in the publication’s 19th year of the rankings and awards. The institutions had to have delivered solid financial results while developing new products, services and the employment of new technology.

The Banker named Banco Popular “Bank of the Year Puerto Rico,” acknowledging the bank’s continued expansion and customer base growth, “racking up strong numbers in 2017,” a release reads.

The Banker noted that the bank saw a 17% increase in total deposits and added another 31,000 customers. Total assets reached $34.7 billion and market share in total deposits (net of brokered) and total loans increased to 52% and 43%, respectively. Of note for The Banker, is that the bank had to work under emergency conditions for months in the wake of hurricanes that struck the island in September 2017.

The Banker also shared that Popular became one of the first banks to use biometrics for authentication and was the first bank in Latin America to offer mobile payment and digital wallet service Samsung Pay.

This year, BPPR celebrated its 125th year anniversary.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition on the heels of disaster recovery. At the heart of our success are our employees, whose steadfast commitment to Popular’s customers and communities have set us apart throughout our 125-year history,” said Ignacio Álvarez, president and CEO of Popular.

Popular Inc. is the leading financial institution in Puerto Rico, by both assets and deposits, and ranks among the top 50 U.S. bank holding companies by assets. Banco Popular provides retail, mortgage and commercial banking services in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It also offers in Puerto Rico auto and equipment leasing and financing, investment banking, broker-dealer and insurance services through specialized subsidiaries.

Climate Risk Index: Puerto Rico suffered most worldwide from weather events in past 20 years

SAN JUAN – In 2017, the hurricane season in the Caribbean Sea was particularly strong and storms are affecting an increasing number of countries. Meanwhile, there are countries that have difficulties to recover as they are regularly hit by weather catastrophes.

In 2017, 11,500 people died because of extreme weather events, and economic damages totaled about $375 billion (calculated in purchasing-power parity, PPP), “the highest weather-related losses ever recorded.” These are some of the key findings of the Global Climate Risk Index 2019, published by Germanwatch at the climate summit in Katowice, Poland.

TheGlobal Climate Risk Index analyses to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.). The most recent data available — for 2017 and from 1998 to 2017 — were taken into account.

The countries and territories affected most in 2017 were Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka as well as Dominica. For the period from 1998 to 2017 Puerto Rico, Honduras and Myanmar rank highest.

The Long-Term Climate Risk Index (CRI): The 10 countries most affected from 1998 to
2017 (annual averages).

Germanwatch, an academic and research institution based in Germany, receives its data for calculating the Global Climate Risk Index from the NatCatSERVICE database of the reinsurance company Munich Re, as well as the socio-economic data of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Recent storms with intensity levels never seen before have had disastrous impacts,” said David Eckstein of Germanwatch, lead author of the index. “In 2017, Puerto Rico and Dominica were hit by Maria, one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes on record. Puerto Rico ranks first and Dominica ranks third in the index of the most-impacted countries in 2017.”

In many of the countries most affected by natural disasters in the past year, unusually extreme rainfall was followed by severe floods and landslides. This is true also for Sri Lanka (ranked No. 2 in 2017): exceptionally heavy rain caused dramatic flooding that killed 200 people and left hundred thousands of people homeless.

“Poor countries are hardest hit. But extreme weather events also threaten the further development of upper middle income countries and can even overburden high income countries,” Eckstein said.

In the past 20 years, from 1998 to 2017, Puerto Rico, Honduras and Myanmar were impacted the strongest, according to the long-term index. In this period, globally over 526,000 fatalities were directly linked to more than 11,500 extreme weather events. The economic damages amounted to approximately $3.47 trillion.

The vulnerability of poorer countries becomes visible in the long-term index: eight of the 10 countries most affected between 1998 and 2017 are developing countries with low or lower middle income per capita. But industrialized and emerging economies must also do more to address climate impacts which they themselves feel more clearly than ever before, Germanwatch said.

Effective climate protection, as well as increasing resilience, is in the self-interest of these countries.

“For example, the United States ranks twelfth in the 2017 index, with 389 fatalities and US$ 173.8 billion in losses this year caused by extreme weather conditions,” Eckstein said.

“At this year’s Climate Summit in Katowice (COP24), countries should adopt the ‘rulebook’ needed for implementing the Paris Agreement, including the global adaptation goal and adaptation communication guidelines. Loss and damage appears as a cross-cutting issue with significant risk of being used as a negotiation chip,” a briefing on the report reads.

Read the Global Climate Risk Index 2019’s briefing paper here.

Evertec 3rd quarter results: Revenue grew 9%

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico-based transaction-processing company Evertec Inc. announced Tuesday that its results for the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, included revenue growth of 9%; $23 million in income for common shareholders; and a 25%  increase in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

Total revenue for the quarter was $112 million, an increase of 9% compared with $102.7 million last year. The increase “reflected growth over last year’s hurricane impacted results as well as the elevated sales volumes in Puerto Rico driven by post-hurricane recovery activity, federal relief and benefit programs,”said the company, which provides merchant acquiring, payment processing and business solutions services to 26 Latin American countries as well.

“Following the one-year anniversary of hurricanes Irma and Maria, our third quarter financial results exceeded our expectations and reflect the strong performance of our Puerto Rico business, as well as solid execution and innovation efforts. Based on our third quarter results, and an anticipated robust fourth quarter, we are increasing our annual guidance for 2018,” Mac Schuessler, Evertec’s president and CEO said.

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) net income attributable to common shareholders was $23 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, an increase of $16.9 million or $0.23 per diluted share compared with 2017.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $52.1 million, an increase of 25% compared with the prior year. “Adjusted EBITDA margin (Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of total revenues) increased 590 basis points to 46.5% compared with 40.6% in the prior year. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA margin was primarily driven by growth over the hurricane impact in the third quarter of 2017 as well as favorable foreign currency impact of approximately 100 basis points in the quarter,” Evertec said.

Adjusted net income, meanwhile, was $33.6 million, an increase of 38% compared with $24.3 million last year. Adjusted earnings per common share was $0.45, an increase of 36% as compared with $0.33 in the prior year.

According to Evertec, the company is increasing its financial outlook for 2018 as follows:

  • Total consolidated revenue between $448 million and $452 million representing growth of 10% to 11%
  • Adjusted earnings per common share of $1.79 to $1.83 representing growth of 22% to 24% as compared to $1.47 in 2017
  • Capital expenditures ranging between $37 million and $42 million
  • Non-GAAP effective tax rate of approximately 13%.

The company was hosting a conference call to discuss its results Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. A replay will be available one hour after the end of the conference call and can be accessed by dialing (877) 344-7529 or (412) 317-0088 for international callers; the pin number is 10110465.

The replay will be available through Nov. 6. The call will be webcast live from the company’s website at www.evertecinc.com under the Investor Relations section or directly at http://ir.evertecinc.com.

A supplemental slide presentation can be found on the investor relations website at ir.evertecinc.com and will remain available after the call.

Evertec promotes Castrillo to executive vice president, CFO

Puerto Rico to host 11th Americas Competitiveness Exchange

SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares announced Wednesday that Puerto Rico was selected as the venue for the 11th edition of the Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE 11) to be held May 18-25 in more than 10 of the island’s municipalities.

ACE brings together decision-makers from the Western Hemisphere and beyond to explore global and regional partnerships, and economic development opportunities to establish new global commercial relationships, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA), which organizes the vent in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and the Organization of American States (OAS).

ACE 11 is expected to bring together 50 senior-level government, business, policy and economic decision-makers from 25 countries to experience first-hand the range of projects, investments, public-private partnerships and best practices from the region’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

“ACE will be held in the Caribbean region for the first time. We are pleased that, after months of hard work by the Department of Economic Development and Commerce [DDEC by its Spanish acronym] to achieve that Puerto Rico be the venue for this important international event, the organizers of the event have selected our Island to celebrate ACE 11, after evaluating multiple requests,” the governor said.

The leaders selected to participate in the week-long program tour innovation hubs, advanced technology centers, leading firms and educational and research institutions to explore local, regional, urban, and rural economic development models, share experiences and knowledge, and build networks among the local and visiting stakeholders to enhance innovation and competitiveness in the Americas.
The ACEs are designed to build cooperation networks that promote sustainable and inclusive economic development and increased trade.

“This fills us with pride and motivates us to be the best hosts ACE has had, with the participation of companies, organizations and institutions that are models of economic development in Puerto Rico,” Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy said.

He stressed that science, technology and innovation “are pillars of the new economic project and are included in the Government Plan.”

Puerto Rico’s selection will be announced in Sacramento, Calif. on Friday, at the closing of ACE 10, when Laboy will deliver a presentation about what can be expected in May on the island.

Liberty Latin America acquires remaining 40% of Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN – Telecommunications provider Liberty Latin America Ltd. announced Thursday that it has acquired the remaining 40 percent stake in San Juan-based Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, “from funds affiliated” with investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners L.P. in exchange for 9.5 million Liberty Latin America Class C shares.

Colorado-based Liberty Latin America will now own Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico entirely. The latter provides video, broadband internet and fixed-line telephony services on the island to nearly 1.1 million homes, “and served 738,500 revenue generating units consisting of 313,100 broadband Internet subscribers, 232,100 video subscribers, and 193,300 fixed-line telephony subscribers,” as of Dec. 31.

Liberty Latin America operates in more than 20 Latin America and Caribbean countries under the consumer brands VTR, Flow, Liberty, Más Móvil, BTC and Cabletica. Besides communications and entertainment services, it offers enterprise-grade connectivity, data center services, hosting and other information technology solutions to businesses and agencies. It also operates a sub-sea and terrestrial fiber optic cable network that connects more than 40 markets in the region.

Liberty Latin America has three separate classes of common shares, which are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbols “LILA” (Class A) and “LILAK” (Class C), and on the OTC link under the symbol “LILAB” (Class B).

The transaction is expected to be “accretive on a free cash flow per share basis for LLA shareholders.” the announcing release explained.


“I want to thank [Liberty Cablevision] CEO Naji Khoury and the entire team at Liberty Puerto Rico for their dedication in transforming the company from a regional cable operator to the island-wide provider of market-leading broadband, pay TV and voice services in Puerto Rico. We are proud of the team’s tireless effort and leadership in rebuilding Liberty Puerto Rico’s network after Hurricane Maria devastated the island,” Eric Zinterhofer, founding partner of Searchlight, which has offices in New York, London and Toronto, said in the release.

“We are pleased to announce this transaction, which reflects the confidence in our Puerto Rican management team and affirms our commitment to Puerto Rico as our business there recovers strongly following a difficult period for the island. At the same time, this further cements our strong relationship with Searchlight and I look forward to continuing to work alongside Eric as a member of our board,” added Balan Nair, president and CEO of Liberty Latin America.

Cruise industry to focus on opportunities at FCCA conference in Puerto Rico

(Screen capture of www.prconvention.com)

SAN JUAN – The workshop topics and panels have been finalized for the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference & Trade Show, the largest of their kind in the Caribbean, which will take place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan on Nov. 5-9 this year.

The event by nonprofit trade organization is for attendees to learn about the cruise industry during an agenda filled with business sessions, networking, workshops and preset one-on-one meetings between delegates and cruise executives. Evening functions and tours are scheduled to also “help develop relationships and show some of Puerto Rico’s enchantment and local flavor, and a Trade Show featuring exclusive executive viewings and special events to drive participation from attendees and executives,” according to the announcing release.

Government representatives and some 150 cruise industry executives, “who represent 95 percent of global ocean cruising capacity,” are expected for the event, the FCCA said.

The conference workshops will focus on “key elements to foster long-standing mutual success between cruise lines and destination stakeholders. Plus, for the first time in the event’s 25-year history, chairmen of cruise lines and corporations will take the helm, with presidents and CEOs steering a separate workshop,” the release reads.

A “record 10 chairmen, presidents and/or CEOs from FCCA member lines” will present “unique perspectives and an all-encompassing view” of the industry, the FCCA said.

“From the ultimate decision-makers to high-level executives that determine where ships call, what sells on board and how to invest in destinations and products, the cruise industry will truly be on hand – and focused on maximizing synergies and potential opportunities with the audience,” FCCA President Michele Paige said.

Following the opening ceremony Nov. 6, participating chairmen of FCCA member lines—Micky Arison, chairman, Carnival Corporation & plc; Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; and Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises—will host, “Chair Talk,” to point out trends and developments “driving the industry’s record success and future growth, along with how it all relates to specific topics, and can grow business, for the stakeholders in attendance,” the FCCA said.

Later that day, Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International; Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp.; Christine Duffy, president, Carnival Cruise Line; Jason Montague, president and CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; and Andrew Stuart, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line, will join the moderator and FCCA’s Paige to deliver the “Presidential Address.”

They will discuss “some of the differentiations and innovations driving the unique cruise brands that are going all in to stand out and appeal to their target markets both on board and on land – and how and why working together with destinations and stakeholders leads to benefits for all.”

High-level executives representing numerous sectors throughout the industry will get the floor Nov. 7. Carlos Torres de Navarra, vice president, global port and destination development, Carnival, will moderate “Creating Great Destinations: From Demand to Experiences, Ports to Tours” with a panel including Russell Benford, vice president, government relations, Americas, Royal Caribbean Cruises; Russell Daya, executive director, marine and port operations, port developments and itinerary planning, Disney Cruise Line; Albino Di Lorenzo, vice president, cruise operations, MSC Cruises USA; Chrstine Manjencic, vice president, destination service operations, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; and Matthew Sams, vice president, Caribbean relations and private islands, Holland America Group.

They will “share what draws passengers to destinations and creates unforgettable memories once there, revealing how to increase both demand and guest satisfaction from an overarching destination level to individual port, tour and transportation options,” the FCCA said.

The final workshop will take place Nov. 8 and gather representatives from both the cruise line and destination sides, including Adam Goldstein, vice chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and chairman, FCCA; Richard Sasso, chairman, MSC Cruises USA; Giora Israel, senior vice president, global port development, Carnival Corp.; Hon. Allen Chastanet, prime minister, Saint Lucia, and chairman, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS); and Beverly Nicholson-Doty, commissioner of tourism, U.S. Virgin Islands.

In “Investing in Your Future,” they will review ways in which both parties are “preparing for their long-term futures, and how those plans often involve partnership with each other, from port and destination developments, new attractions and even agreements preserving natural elements, to business continuity, emergency plans and best practices.”

“I look forward to interacting with cruise tourism’s key stakeholders at the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show,” said Goldstein. “This is a valuable opportunity for regional destinations and operators to learn how they are being affected by and can take advantage of the industry’s latest developments.”

For more information and registration, visit www.F-CCA.com/Conference.


Liberty Puerto Rico: Nearly all customers reconnected after Hurricane Maria

SAN JUAN – Liberty Puerto Rico–which offers video, internet and telephony for residential and business customers–made several announcements Thursday, emphasizing that its network-restoration process following last year’s hurricane season is nearly complete, and continues working “on the remaining small pockets of customers left without service.”

The company said that more than 90% of its residential customers and 100% of its B2B (business-to-business) fiber customers have been reconnected. It also reported that its second quarter (Q2 2018) sales surpassed those of the same period last year.

“We are basically back to business as usual and the results demonstrate it,” said Naji Khoury, president of Liberty Puerto Rico. “Q2 2018 was a good quarter for us. Our quarterly sales numbers were the highest since August 2015. Also, Liberty’s business division continues to grow driven by our fast recovery and quality of service.”

During the quarter, the company introduced such products as a new video-on-demand platform and an electronics protection plan, Smart Protect.

The company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures customer satisfaction, reached the highest level since it started using the tool in 2016.

“As more Puerto Ricans returned to the island during the recovery period, we saw a significant increase in the volume of customers calling to have their services reconnected,” Khoury added. “We are also registering a higher number of customers that are very satisfied with their services, which tells us that our efforts and investments to provide the best customer experience possible are paying off.”

Naji Khoury, president of Liberty Puerto Rico (Courtesy)

Despite the damages caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, Liberty is Ookla Puerto Rico’s Speedtest Awards winner for fixed-network speed during Q3–Q4 2017. It achieved top download and upload speeds of 62.8 megabits per second (Mbps) and 9.31 Mbps, respectively.

Khoury said the company has started executing a plan to bury fiber and has also established agreements with suppliers “for easier and faster access to fuel, materials, generators, and labor pool, if necessary,” as part of its preparation efforts for future natural disasters and emergencies.

Puerto Rico governor travels to South America

SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló left Sunday evening for Bogotá, Colombia, to participate in the inauguration of President Iván Duque.

Rosselló’s office said he will also participate in a multisector trade mission with several Puerto Rican companies.

The topics to be discussed will focus on trade, housing, agriculture, and exports. In addition, Rivera Marín will meet with the president of the National Business Association of Colombia, (ANDI by its Spanish acronym), Bruce Mac Master, and with the chairman and majority shareholder of Avianca, Germán Efromovich. The airline operates a daily flight between Bogotá and San Juan. Also, Rivera Marín indicated that he may meet with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, according to a separate release issued by Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín.

“We are going to express to the president-elect the solidarity of the government of Ricardo Rosselló with the new government he is going to establish in Colombia, with the certainty that it will be one that will fully respond to the best interests of his people and will identify with international politics regarding human rights and the freedoms of its inhabitants. In Puerto Rico, we have a community of about 7,000 Colombians who contribute to our economy, and as part of the Governor’s public policy, we want to strengthen these relationships, including export possibilities through the Department of Economic Development (DDEC) and the Company of Trade and Export,” Rivera Marín said.

Rivera Marín added: “It is an opportunity to work with the incoming government of President Iván Duque, to promote the economic development of both Puerto Rico and Colombia and strengthen our economic and political role in the region, which can serve as a bridge between Latin America and the United States; we are the Connector of the Americas.”

Afterward, the governor will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with first lady Beatriz Rosselló, who will be recognized at the Young Leaders Foundation’s 11th international summit.

The governor will hold meetings with Argentinian officials to discuss trade, politics and economic development of Puerto Rico, according to La Fortaleza, which added that Rosselló will speak at an academic session of the Argentine Council for International Relations, titled “Puerto Rico y los latinos en Estados Unidos,” to “discuss the importance and role of Latinos in decision-making in the United States,” La Fortaleza said.

Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez will serve as interim governor until Wednesday afternoon, when Rivera Marín takes over as interim governor until Rosselló returns Saturday.

“We are going to express to the president-elect the solidarity of the government of Ricardo Rosselló with the new government he is going to establish in Colombia, with the certainty that it will be one that will fully respond to the best interests of his people and will identify with international politics regarding human rights and the freedoms of its inhabitants. In Puerto Rico, we have a community of about 7,000 Colombians who contribute to our economy, and as part of the Governor’s public policy, we want to strengthen these relationships, including export possibilities through the Department of Economic Development (DDEC) and the Company of Trade and Export,” Rivera Marín said in separate release.