Wednesday, March 29, 2023

US Secretary of the Interior Jewell Visits Puerto Rico

By on April 1, 2016

SAN JUAN  – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is on her first official visit to Puerto Rico, where she will highlight the economic benefits of tourism and make an announcement “benefitting San Juan youth,” according to a statement released by her office.

Jewell is the latest senior official from the administration of President Obama to travel to Puerto Rico, following visits from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Education Secretary John King earlier this year to urge action by Congress to provide Puerto Rico with “the tools it needs to address the crisis, restructure its debt, support reform and enable growth,” the statement reads.

Jewell was meeting with Gov. Alejandro García Padilla Friday morning and joined him for a walking tour of U.S. National Park Service sites, including the Castillo San Felipe El Morro as well as the La Perla low-income neighborhood of Old San Juan.

“I thank Secretary Jewell’s visit today. The support of President Obama’s administration is essential to accelerate the economic recovery of Puerto Rico,” García Padilla said.

He added that his administration “has been working constantly with various federal officials to find a solution to the [island’s] fiscal crisis.”

The governor also said the secretary’s visit offers “a clear message of the cooperative, responsible and conscientious work our administration has conducted in coordination with the executive branch of the U.S. government, and a strong call to Congress is maintained for it to act promptly and responsibly in giving Puerto Ricans the tools needed to restructure the debt before the crisis continues to worsen.”

The governor showed Jewell some of his administration’s plans and how they have been affected by the island’s fiscal situation, such as the construction of a boardwalk in La Perla, which would connect the San Cristóbal and San Felipe del Morro forts, intended to revitalize the community and increase the value and appeal of the historic sites that are visited each year by 1.5 million people.

Jewell will also meet with the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico to discuss progress on environmental and education projects across the island and how these projects have benefited the eco- and cultural tourism economy.

In the afternoon, Jewell will also join San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, YMCA of San Juan Chief Executive Officer Diego Martín and local partners for a community service project and announcement related to the Interior Department’s leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative, which aims to :inspire millions of kids to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.”

According to the statement, Jewell’s visit and announcement is part of the Obama administration’s effort to bring the “full capabilities of the Executive branch to bear in providing assistance to speed Puerto Rico’s economic recovery.”

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell visit the La Perla neighborhood of Old San Juan Friday.

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell visit the La Perla neighborhood of Old San Juan Friday. (Inter News Service photo)

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