Puerto Rico hurricane Maria

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Puerto Rico - Maria, the hurricane of change
A very different future
Photos: Mirko Cecchi
Puerto Rico's year zero began with Maria. After having struck the Caribbean island in September 2017, the violent category 5 hurricane has set processes in motion that are radically changing the lives of local inhabitants. Plywood houses are slowly reappearing in the devastated countryside, the furniture thrown around by the winds are being collected and stacked on the sides of streets, women have gone back to weaving in factories and protesting for their rights in the streets. But nothing is as before. A new awareness has arisen and the happiness of cruise passengers visiting the fort of the ancient Spanish capital is no longer the goal to be achieved. Nor will the swimming pools of the destroyed billion-dollar villas be easily filled with water, now that the city's youth has discovered how much fun it is to use them as skate parks for launching themselves into a new future. Puerto Rico wants to regain strength on its own, knowing full well that the dollars coming from the United States are always for the benefit of someone else.

The long-abandoned lands have given rise to the organisation of eco-agriculture communities that will allow the island to count on its own food reserves. In taxis, someone has discovered that cryptocurrencies, whether bitcoin or ethereum, open up contacts with businessmen and businesses able to break away from the system's traditional rules. The buzzwords are now political autonomy, renewable energies and zero-kilometre production, because everyone can become an entrepreneur of himself when nature creates a tabula rasa of the past and frees forgotten utopias. All it takes is progress in baby steps. Slowly, or like they sing in Puerto Rico: despacito. "El Bowl" is one of the first and most famous redevelopment projects in the difficult district of La Perla. Its swimming pool is open to the whole community at the weekends and is a skate park on the weekdays.
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Puerto Rico hurricane Maria
International photojournalism