Why Puerto Rico Is Really Pissed At Forbes Right Now


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By Mivette Vega

July 8, 2020

The local government reopened the island to travelers on July 15, despite the increase in COVID-19 during the last few weeks. An article by Forbes encourages people to travel to the island ‘a promising antidote for current trouble times.’

SAN JUAN — An Instagram post by Forbes magazine has caused outrage among Puerto Ricans. Almost two thousand people are commenting on the story demanding the magazine deletes the post.

An article written by journalist Larry Olmsted invited travelers to visit the island. The local government opened Puerto Rico to travelers on July 15.

RELATED: Puerto Rico Faces Worst COVID Spike in 3 Months

In an Instagram post promoting the article, the publication explains how visitors must bring negative molecular test results for COVID-19 with them. At the same time, the post encourages tourism to Puerto Rico. 

“In many ways, the Caribbean seems to be a promising antidote for the current troubled times we live in. Most activities are outdoors, which is what savvy travelers want right now; there is lots of golf, great food, watersports, and bargains to be had,” the post reads.


Puerto Rico’s government’s decision to reopen has generated controversy. Some experts warn the reopening has come too soon, considering the uptick in COVID cases in many parts of the United States. 

As of July 8, the U.S. ranks as the country with the highest number of positive cases, with a total of 2,996,679. Cities in Florida and Texas, with frequent travel schedules to the island and large Puerto Rican communities, are among the areas with most reported cases.

Cases have also increased on the island during the past few days. As of Thursday, the Puerto Rico Health Department reported 2,171 confirmed cases and 6,574 possible cases. The death toll is 159.

Puerto Ricans didn’t take long to react to the Forbes post. Most of the more than 1,900 comments on the post, Wednesday morning, are from locals discouraging travelers from visiting the island.

Boricuas Are Pissed and Worried

“Stay away! We’ve done great controlling the spread for the last 4 months! We don’t need an outbreak just before schools reopen in August!,” wrote @maribeltran on Instagram.

Instagram user @foreheadgod criticized the magazine for representing Puerto Rico only as a tourist destination.

“This is what happens when you reduce an island with its own people to a tourist attraction. It removes the humanity and the fact that REAL PEOPLE with ACTUAL LIVES live in Puerto Rico. What an irresponsible caption. Stay home; we are very much still in the midst of a global pandemic and cases in the states are spiking with reopenings. Puerto Rico cannot handle a coronavirus outbreak.”

Discover Puerto Rico, the online travel guide of the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization — a nonprofit entity promoting the island as a tourist destination — is also pushing the reopening. The guide is doing a countdown to July 15, using the hashtag #ItsAlmostTime.

Instagram user @fruitsandvegs chimed in: “@forbes Just because the government is willing to put its people at risk doesn’t mean the people want to be at risk!! The [great] majority of us Puerto Ricans DO NOT SUPPORT reopening the island for tourists. It puts our people at risk after we did a great job of containing the virus. Tourists are NOT WELCOMED!!!”

@camille.gabriela highlighted the unpreparedness of Puerto Rico’s health system in handling the pandemic. According to the local health department dashboard, Puerto Rico has a total of 640 beds in hospital intensive-care units and 1,148 ventilators.

“Stay home, come next year. Our hospitals can’t handle a peak like the ones in the mainland. Our families can’t take any more tragedies,” the user commented on @forbes IG post. 

Puerto Rican physician Fernando Cabanillas remembered in an op-ed for El Nuevo Día how the first positive case of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico originated from an Italian tourist who arrived on a cruise ship March 8.

Also, recent outbreaks reported by several municipalities were also related to visitors from the U.S., say local health department officials.

Are the Safety Measures Enough?

A week ago, Governor Wanda Vázquez announced safety measures that will be in place at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport from July 15 onward.

Every traveler will be required to wear a mask upon arrival and during their stay on the island. 

It will also be required for every air traveler to bring negative molecular test results from a period of no more than 72 hours before arrival on the island.

If a passenger does not have these test results on hand, they must agree to be tested at the airport. If the passenger tests positive, they will have to remain on quarantine for 14 days.

RELATED: UPDATED: This Map Shows Where and Who Coronavirus Has Hit the Hardest This Week in PR




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