The COVID-19 Pandemic in Puerto Rico: Exceptionality, Corruption and State-Corporate Crimes

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The COVID-19 global pandemic brings about a new episode in the multi-layered political, economic and humanitarian crisis affecting Puerto Rico since 2006. The 14-years-long crisis has been marked by the U.S. and P.R. governments' imposition of a permanent state of exception to deal with an economic crisis, bankruptcy, hurricanes, swarms of earthquakes and a pandemic. This paper argues that uses of the state of exception and executive orders created a regime of permission for corruption, state-corporate crimes and human rights violations, while exacerbating the impact of the pandemic, and manufacturing the conditions for further disasters. The paper engages in a sociolegal analysis of the cases of corruption and state-corporate crimes in the procurement of COVID-19 test-kits and medical equipment, and the role of the pharmaceutical corporations in undermining PR's capacity to react to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-125
Number of pages22
JournalState Crime Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Colonialism
  • Corruption
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • State of exception
  • State-corporate crimes
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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