JFK files delayed (again), Puerto Rico’s power outages, and Ball & Chain’s reopening
The government delayed the release of confidential JFK files once again. Puerto Rico is still facing power outages. Plus, a look into the landmark Miami club Ball & Chain's reopening.
On this Wednesday, Oct. 27, edition of Sundial:
JFK documents delayed-release
The White House has delayed the release of documents that detail the government’s classified information regarding the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.
The documents were supposed to go public Wednesday, following a previous delay by the Trump administration in 2017.
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Bryan Bender is the senior national correspondent for POLITICO. He mentioned why the Biden administration decided to keep withholding these documents from the public.
“There’s still things in these files that need to be shielded,” Bender said. “If we just throw them out there, it could harm national security. And they also make a COVID argument.”
The Central Intelligence Agency has often said releasing the documents could expose the sources and methods of how the agency gathers information. Bender said the overwhelming counterargument is the sources in those files, which date back to more than 50 years ago, are most likely dead.
“And even if their methods we’re still using, the idea that nobody knows about these methods … seems to be a little silly,” Bender said.
One of the censored files involves the CIA’s office in Miami and a plot to kill Fidel Castro.
“Lee Harvey Oswald, it’s public knowledge, was involved with some Cuban exiles, groups that wanted to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba,” Bender said. “The United States government had a number of plots underway to try and get rid of Fidel Castro, who was seen as a threat.”
Bender mentioned that Biden put a process in place to continue reviewing these documents. The president might release some of these files by the end of this year, but the CIA could convince him to keep delaying.
Puerto Rico power outages
After Hurricane Maria, hundreds of thousands of people on the island of Puerto Rico did not have electricity. Many people are still living with constant power outages and rolling blackouts.
The 2017 hurricane exposed the vulnerability and weakness of the island’s electrical grid. In June, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority transferred its operations to LUMA Energy, which is a private entity, to help improve the grid.
However, there haven't been too many improvements and people are protesting. PREPA, a public entity, still generates the island’s electricity.
Patricia Mazzei covers Puerto Rico for the New York Times. She said there’s been too many power outages to count. Sometimes the lights flicker, and other times there have been huge outages.
“I was at a bakery buying coffee and breakfast, and the power went out right before I went to pay,” Mazzei said. “There’s this group groan of resignation and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, not again.’”
It’s moments like that one in the bakery that Mazzei said people have become accustomed to over the years.
The government of Puerto Rico reasoned that privatizing the transmission and distribution of power would give Puerto Ricans better service at a better cost, said Mazzei. LUMA Energy is supposed to initiate projects to modernize and restore the electrical grid.
“Puerto Ricans know that the system is this sort of very frail patchwork,” she said.
Ball & Chain club reopening
Miami’s nightlife scene is having a steady revival as clubs and bars welcome customers, after being shut down for the majority of 2020.
One of the latest re-openings includes Little Havana’s landmark Ball & Chain. The club has been shut down for more than a year. With this reopening, the Ball & Chain owners hope to bring Calle Ocho back to life.
However, they’ve had to overcome many challenges including code violations and hiring an entirely new staff after most of the former workers found other jobs during the pandemic.
Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frías has been covering Ball & Chain’s reopening, as well as the ongoing political drama between its owners and the city of Miami. He noted the economic importance of Ball & Chain bringing customers and tourists back to the area.
“I think that section of Little Havana really missed Ball & Chain as far as livelihood,” Frías said.
The club owners and the city have gone through legal battles for the past few years. In September, company that owns Ball & Chain sued the city of Miami for nearly $28 million over alleged harassment and unfair treatment from city officials.
The owners claim Commissioner Joe Carollo is seeking revenge on them for not supporting his political campaign. Frías said this has led to the city stating the club had more than 40 deficiencies, which eventually forced the club to shut down. The owners claim most of these deficiencies are false or were fabricated.
Frías said Ball & Chain will likely re-open in the next few weeks.