Bad Bunny speaks out about corruption and neglect in new music video

The recent hurricanes have exacerbated lingering issues on the island


Photo courtesy of YouTube

A screenshot from Bad Bunny’s video “El Apagón – Aquí Vive Gente,” courtesy of YouTube

Kathleen DeJesus, Social Media Editor

Popular Latin artist Bad Bunny recently made waves with his music video for “El Apagón – Aquí Vive Gente,” in which he merges his video with a documentary that tells the perils Puerto Ricans are currently facing. The video makes references to a plethora of issues, from the power outages or “apagones” due to negligence by the power company Luma to the selling of land to foreign companies. The 22-minute video splices images of the island shot documentary-style with Bad Bunny’s performance and song, creating a unique and intimate peek into the perils on the island.

The power grid issue is presented all throughout the song, as the title of it translates to “The Power Outage.” Since Hurricane Maria, the island’s energy transmission and distribution have been controlled by private company Luma, which has skyrocketed prices for average citizens. Yet these high prices come with no reward as the power grid is constantly failing the people when they need it most. The song is used to poke fun at the failures of the company and demonstrate Puerto Ricans’ resilience. But that’s not their only problem.

Starting at 4:38 in the music video, reporter Bianca Graulau interviews 68-year-old Maricusa Hernandez, a woman living in Puerto Rico since the 90’s who has recently received an eviction notice, something that many on the island are facing. The dilemma is that the building she and many other islanders live in is being bought off by foreign companies. These new owners are gauging prices which make it difficult for an average Puerto Rican to live and have led to a startling rise of evictions. With these now empty apartments, many rich foreigners are taking refuge due to it being a well-known tax haven, only taking 4% of income tax and charging nothing for capital gains. Known as Act 22, the benefactors of this total just over 3,000, yet they are buying up land at an alarming rate. With all these interests it’s comprehensible why so many have moved, but the influx of the super-wealthy has been called “Modern Colonization” by natives.

Graulau then interviews Jose Luis González, a resident of Puerta de Tierra, which is a prime target for millionaires looking to buy. The town once belonged to freed slaves who were ostrasized and over time these homes became public housing. However, the government has torn these buildings down to make way for foreign investments. After Hurricane Maria, the prices of land dropped significantly and the wealthy saw an opportunity to exploit. Puerto Rican politicians are accused of receiving bribes from Act 22 benefactors, and in turn, are serving land on a platter.

All these problems are now being exacerbated by the recent Hurricane Fiona which has left about 746,000 without power according to U.S News. With Luma’s atrocious but not surprising response, many are still in the dark; not to mention hurricane Fiona’s disastrous floods have led many Puerto Ricans to lose their homes, creating conditions like Maria all over again. Many residents will not being able to pay for repairs, which will force them to sell their homes; oftentimes, the wealthy will swoop in to take advantage of the tragedy.

The takeover by the wealthy is causing havoc from within the country. 

“Through the situation in Puerto Rico I’ve noticed the greed of the wealthy is problematic,” said senior Lorie Wilson. “Them buying Puerto Rican land with no regard to the major systemic problems it comes with is saddening.”

As time passes on, natives are being forced off their land by companies who continue to buy up buildings, and those who benefit from Act 22 often receive many tax breaks. This means that these benefactors are receiving all the benefits without contributing to the country’s economy. 

Puerto Ricans like Bad Bunny are rightfully upset to see their home being colonized and being kicked off their own land. To appreciate and participate in another culture is a beautiful thing, but when the intentions are spoiled by greed it ruins everything. 

The title “Aquí Vive Gente” translates to “people live here”: a sentiment reminding outlanders that the people of Puerto Rico are here to stay.