Maybe you’ve heard Puerto Rico is in a little bit of trouble.
The latest scare has been about the island’s “unpayable” $72 billion indebtednes.
But who wants talk about that, right ?
We get it. They’re in a debt crisis. That drum’s been beaten so aloud that Greece is like, “Uhh, guys, can you keep it down? We’re trying to focus over here.”
The crisis may be out of the ordinary citizens’ hands, but a group of Instagrammers is stepping up with a solution.
“Puerto Rico was getting a bad reputation … for our present economic crisis, ” said artist Fernando Samalot in an interview with Upworthy. “And there was no effort from the government to mitigate the situation and keep people interested in visiting.”
Samalot is one of 10 ecotourism Instagrammers who helped launch an online initiative dubbed #CrisisIsland, the goal of which was explained in a statement by Synapse Social, the social media consulting group behind the campaign:
“The initiative aims to flood social networks with images and videos to show the world the natural beauty, gastronomy, hospitality, and traditions of the island beyond the economic and social problems that have dominated the conversation recently . … The main purpose of the initiative is to promote tourism as an engine for economic recovery .
Their hope with #CrisisIsland is that the world will see all the things that make Puerto Rico immeasurably rich.
Samalot hopes more locals will feel empowered to act as representatives of Puerto Rico because, as he says, “nobody can tell the story better than the people who are actually living it.”
With thousands of photographs and videos posted to #CrisisIsland, it seems Samalot’s wish is beginning to come true. And as you scroll through the images, indebtednes doom get swallowed by wonder and yearn.
They prove a Puerto Rico that’s only rolling in green …
… riddled with hidden gems …
… and bathed in turquoise .
They show people who are proud of their home …
… who watch the bigger scene …
… and who know the financial crisis, huge as it may seem, is mere chump change next to Puerto Rico’s natural wonders .
“Your problems are not bigger than these mountains. Life is a winking, share it, enjoy it, sowing the seed of love. Puerto Rico requires people like you, with determination. Do your part.” Gabriel Ocando
For some, it may be hard to imagine a collection of photos leading to real change, but isn’t it as good an idea as any?
They won’t erase the the island’s debt or solve their broader economic conflicts. But they can remind locals to bide optimistic while also showcasing Puerto Rico’s vast offerings beyond the walls of resorts and strip mall.
“The power of social networks is undeniable, ” said Carmen Portela, founder of Synapse Social. “This group … has decided to use that power to confiscate the crisis and improve the image of the country, which has so much to offer the world.”
See more on the #CrisisIsland Instagram feed and in this video by The Real Puerto Rico:
[ vimeo 13935028 3 w= 100 h= 500]
Read more: www.upworthy.com