Cuba dominates Puerto Rico

Cuba's opening match of the tournament was a straight set victory over Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-19) on Friday night at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, Canada.


Marlon Yant and Miguel Lopez finished with 13 and 10 points for Cuba. Pelegrín Vargas had 10 for Puerto Rico.


"Today’s game was pretty good. We played our game,” said Cuba’s coach Nicolas Vives. “I think we can play better than we played today. Tomorrow we go against Canada which has a great team. We’re going to be playing point by point and we’re going to fight until the end.


Puerto Rican Maurice Torres regretted the many mistakes committed by his team and blamed them for the loss.


"We just made way too many errors” Torres said. “You can compete as much as you can until you start making errors like we did. That’s what changed the entire match.”


Livan Rodriguez Osoria, captain of Cuba: "We’re going to be ready for tomorrow which will define the qualification for Tokyo. We are ready for tomorrow’s game. We can’t wait to play against Canada. They’re a great team and we’ll be ready for them."

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Tropical Storm Dorian could be hurricane as it nears Puerto Rico, forecasters say

San Juan, Puerto Rico — The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico early Tuesday as Tropical Storm Dorian moved through the Windward Islands. Also early Tuesday, the Dominican Republic government issued a hurricane watch for some parts of the island and a tropical storm watch for portions of its north and south coasts.

The hurricane center, in Miami, recommended that residents of the Virgin Islands keep an eye on Dorian, as well. The center said that, as of 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was forecast to strengthen over the next 48 hours as it moved toward Puerto Rico.

Dorian's center was some 370 miles east-southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and about 70 miles west-northwest of Martinique. The storm was moving west-northwest at 13 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from the center.

"Slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it moves close to Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola," the center said.

Nearly empty shelves where bottled water is normally displayed, are shown at a grocery store as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Cabo Rojo Nearly empty shelves that normally have bottled water are seen at a grocery store as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico on August 26, 2019

The center said tropical storm warnings for Martinique, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia were discontinued. Tropical storm watches were in effect for Saba and St. Eustatius, and tropical storm watches were discontinued for Dominica and Grenada.

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours while a tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

The storm was expected to dump between 3 to 8 inches of rain on the Windward islands, with isolated amounts up to 10 inches. The hurricane center said the rainfall "may cause life threatening flash floods, especially where totals exceed four inches."

In Puerto Rico, people crowded into grocery stores and gas stations to prepare for Dorian, buying food, water and generators, among other things.

Many were worried about power outages and heavy rains on an island still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that hit in September 2017. Some 30,000 homes still have blue tarps as roofs and the electrical grid remains fragile and prone to outages even during brief rain showers.

On Monday, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and provided a list of all the new equipment that public agencies have bought since Maria.

"I want everyone to feel calm," she said. "Agency directors have prepared for the last two years. The experience of Maria has been a great lesson for everyone."

She said public schools would close Tuesday afternoon and that at least one cruise ship canceled its trip to Puerto Rico. She said those without a proper roof can stay in one of the 360 shelters around the island.

In St. Lucia, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced that everything on the island of nearly 179,000 people would shut down Monday evening. "We are expecting the worst," he said.

Joannes Lamontagne, who lives in the island's southwest region, said by phone that everything at his hotel, Serenity Escape, was already protected.

"I don't wait until it's announced," he said of the storm. "We're always prepared no matter what."

The government of Barbados urged residents of the eastern Caribbean island to remain vigilant even though Dorian appeared to have done little damage as it headed toward the northern Windward islands and Puerto Rico. The government discontinued its tropical storm warning that was up.

Much of Barbados shut down Monday as Dorian approached and authorities urged residents to remain indoors amid reports of electrical outages and other minor incidents.  

Also early Tuesday, what the hurricane center described as a poorly organized tropical depression was drifting southeast between the southeast U.S. coast and Bermuda. It was located about 365 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving southeast at 2 mph with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was expected to become a tropical storm Tuesday night.

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Pedro Pierluisi sworn in as Puerto Rico's new governor

Pedro Pierluisi, a 60-year-old veteran politician, was sworn in as Puerto Rico's new governor on Friday, according to the U.S. territory governor's office.

"Today, my unbreakable commitment with Puerto Rico is stronger than ever," Pierluisi was quoted as saying by U.S. media outlets.

Pierluisi replaced embattled Ricardo Rossello, who stepped down as governor following weeks of street protests in the Caribbean island after the leak of hundreds of pages of text messages in which Rossello and other male administration members made vulgar, sexist and inappropriate comments.

Pierluisi was sworn in as Puerto Rico's secretary of state earlier this week, making him next in line of succession.

Before leaving office on Friday, Rossello said Pierluisi doesn't need to be confirmed to be appointed as governor, citing a 1952 law.

However, some legislators and political experts pointed out the confusion of the appointment process, and said that Pierluisi needs approval from the island's House of Representatives and Senate to fill the role. The House approved his confirmation earlier Friday. The Senate is expected to vote by Wednesday.

In a press conference shortly after his swearing-in, Pierluisi said some people were questioning his legitimacy as governor and that he will respect the Senate's final decision.

"If the Senate ratifies my position there should be no more controversy," he said, adding that he is ready to step down in the case that he is not approved by legislators.

Pierluisi is a corporate lawyer for a law firm which represents the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, an agency Congress created in 2016 to help manage territory's financial crisis. He is also Puerto Rico's former resident commissioner, the island's sole representative in Congress, from 2009 to 2017.

He also previously served as Puerto Rico's secretary of justice under former Governor Pedro Rossello, the outgoing governor's father, according to local media reports.

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Cuba defeats Puerto Rico in first victory at Pan Am Games

Cuba defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 25-27, 25-20) in their first victory in pool A of the Lima 2019 Pan American Games on Thursday at the Multisport Complex El Callao of Lima, Peru.

Puerto Rico’s rebound in the third set came from hard blocking and a good offense strategy, but still they came off short to remain with undefeated record in pool A. Cuba on the other hand, keeps their hopes of moving into semifinals with only one match left of the preliminary round.

Cuba and Puerto Rico with the same win-loss record (1-1) badly need to win their last preliminary match, with Cuba facing host Peru (0-2) and Puerto Rico playing against unbeaten Argentina (2-0) with one foot in the next round.

Cuba’s towering blockers stopped Puerto Rico’s offense with a huge 17-8 margin. Cuba finished with a slim 3-2 margin in aces and allowed 26 points on errors, while Puerto Rico held a slim 48-47 margin in attacks, committing 33 unforced errors.

Outside hitter Osniel Mergarejo scored 14 points on 12 kills and 2 aces as Cuba’s top scorer; joined by Miguel Angel López also with 14 points on 13 kills and one block; and Yohan León added 13 points. Puerto Rico’s offense was led by Pablo Guzman with 14 points of 31 attacks; Sequiel Sánchez scored 13 points on 11 kills and 2 blocks, while Jonathan Rodríguez tallied 10 points.


Osniel Mergarejo, top scorer of Cuba: “We want to thank all our supporters here. Unfortunately after yesterday’s loss and our bad performance, today we needed to come out to win and not be left out of the competition”.

Nicolás Vives, Head coach of Cuba: “Our victory is what’s important today. Puerto Rico is a good opponent. Despite losing to Argentina yesterday, I feel we played well and they knew how to finish on top”.

Oswald Antonetti, Head coach of Puerto Rico: “Physically Cuba was always in the game; it’s really hard facing them when they have confident offensively and in serves. We showed some character in the third set, but there is a lot to improve for tomorrow’s match”.

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Puerto Rico police fire teargas on protesters calling for governor to quit

Police in San Juan fired tear gas on Monday night to disperse thousands of protesters demanding Puerto Rico’s governor resign over offensive chat messages, the latest scandal to hit a bankrupt island struggling to recover from 2017 hurricanes.

Police moved in at about 11pm to break up protesters still on the streets of San Juan’s old city following day-long demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of residents. It follows Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s attempt to cling on to power despite resigning as president of the ruling New Progressive party and announcing he will not run for re-election next year.

A general strike took place across the US territory on Monday morning, protesters chanting the now familiar cry of “Ricky resign!”, waving flags and banging drums. Demonstrations have gripped the island since hundreds of pages of leaked text messages between the governor and 11 members of his inner circle were published on 13 July.

The messages contain homophobic and sexist slurs against political rivals and cultural figures. They also contain a joke about dead bodies during Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017.

Puerto Rico’s largest mall, Plaza de las Américas, closed before Monday’s demonstration along with many other businesses. Last week police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters at a huge rally outside the governor’s residence in the island’s capital, San Juan.

Carmen Portela, 40, was among those protesting on Monday. The founder of Local Guest, a Puerto Rico-based travel company, Portela said that Rosselló “has demonstrated that he’s not capable of governing”.

“I think it’s time to have a new Puerto Rico and that begins with a new government … This chat gave light to what we all already knew, that this is a very corrupt government.”

In the Oval Office on Monday, Donald Trump once again laid into Rosselló and the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, a vocal critic of the governor and the president.

“He’s a terrible governor. You have an even worse mayor of San Juan,” Trump said. “We did a great job in Puerto Rico. They don’t want to give us credit … I have many Puerto Rican friends.”

Trump has frequently inflated the amount of aid Washington has given to Puerto Rico following Maria. Although Puerto Ricans are American citizens, those living on the island cannot vote in presidential elections and have no voting member of Congress.

A number of senior Republicans and Democrats have called on Rosselló to resign but the White House has not formally called for him to go.

Protest organizers branded the planned Monday shutdown “660,510 + 1”, representative of the number of people who voted for Rosselló plus one, in order to reject the governor’s suggestion that he is not resigning due to his popular mandate.

In an interview on Fox News, Rosselló struggled to show evidence of support, finally citing a single local mayor when asked by interviewer Shep Smith for “just one name” of a prominent supporter.

As occurred last week, a number of Puerto Rico’s biggest recording artists appeared prominently at Monday’s demonstrations. Singers such as Ricky Martin, himself a subject of homophobic ridicule in the leaked messages, and rappers Resident, Bad Bunny and the singer iLe, have become unofficial figureheads in the leaderless movement to oust Rosselló.

“They mocked our dead, they mocked women, they mocked the LGBT community, they made fun of people with physical and mental disabilities, they made fun of obesity. It’s enough,” Martin said in a video posted on Twitter before the march.

“We’re we’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep being on the streets until he resigns,” iLe told the Guardian. “He knows he has to go in his heart. I know he knows it.”

A truck carrying the singer Ricky Martin and rappers Residente and Bad Bunny joins with thousands of other people as they fill the Expreso Las Américas highway.A truck carrying the singer Ricky Martin and rappers Residente and Bad Bunny joins thousands of people filling the Expreso Las Américas highway. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“Governor Ricardo Rosselló has made further mockery of the Puerto Rican people by refusing to leave office,” said a statement from Power 4 Puerto Rico, a Puerto Rican diaspora group created after Maria.

“As worldwide demonstrations calling for the governor to step down continue, the Legislature of Puerto Rico must now commence an impeachment process based on the ample evidence corroborated by many jurists of Rosselló breaking the law.”

Rosselló and the 11 others implicated in the message scandal have been issued summonses by the island’s justice department. While a number of those in the chat group, including the former secretary of state Luís Rivera Marín, have resigned over the affair, Rosselló has maintained the messages contained nothing illegal.

“I have made mistakes and I have apologized for them,” he said during his address on Facebook Live on Sunday evening. “I am a good man who loves his island and everyone. Since I started my term to lead Puerto Rico’s destiny, in front of the most devastating economic and fiscal panorama ever.”

The administration has been plagued by corruption scandals.

Shortly before the text message scandal erupted, the FBI arrested a number of administration officials and contractors – including Rosselló’s former education secretary – over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $15.5m (£12.5m) in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Maria.

Many protesters have carried placards with the number 4,645, the estimated death toll in the wake of Maria, according to a Harvard research paper. Rosselló’s administration had initially recorded Maria’s death toll at 64, before eventually revising the number to 2,975.

The island continues to reel from the effects of the devastating hurricane amid a faltering recovery effort led by the Trump administration.

Myrna Figueroa Lopez, 37, said she had travelled from her home in Washington state to be among the Puerto Rican diaspora participating in the protests. She criticized how Rosselló’s government handled recovery funds the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“We, who live in mainland USA, made every effort to mobilize aid to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria not only to help our families but everyone here,” she said. “But, that aid was left to rot, stolen, or not distributed properly by this government.”

“We feel robbed, not only us but also non-Puerto Ricans who helped, donated, and mobilized the airlines to deliver food, water and all sorts of aid. This is disrespectful to our families.”





A truck carrying the singer Ricky Martin and rappers Residente and Bad Bunny joins thousands of people filling the Expreso Las Américas highway. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Cuba dominated Puerto Rico and secured seat for the World Final Challenger

Cuba dominated Puerto Rico 3-1 (21-25, 25-15, 25-15, 27-25) to secure gold in the Norceca Challenger Men's Volleyball Tournament and the quota to the World Final Qualifying to the League of Nations in Slovenia next July.

In the Sports City Coliseum there were emotional moments for the combative actions of the opponents, although the superiority of the hosts was evident mainly with a superb blocking, and comfortable second and third sets.

Then they certified their level in the fourth when coming from behind and closing the match against rivals who did not give up their efforts until the last breath.

The local attacker Marlon Yang was the top scorer of the contest with 19 points, followed by also corner player Osniel Mergarejo (10), while left-handed Jesus Herrera and center Roamy Alonso made effective contributions, each with 8 points.

For the Puerto Ricans again the top scorer was the corner Pelegrín Vargas with 15, the only one with double digits of his selection, while the central Pedro Nieves contributed 9, and the other blocker Jonathan Rodríguez and the attacker Kevin López 8 each.

The Cubans added 21 blocks against only 4 by Puerto Rico, and 12-6 difference in service, while in attacks they scored more than the winners (45-26).

In the first set the Cubans, as is almost usual, entered too confident. Although the service of the Cubans was not as effective, on the contrary, the blockade, which worked very well and limited the attack of their rivals mainly in the second and third set.

Nicolás Vives, technical director of Cuba, assured that "I always knew that the Puerto Ricans were going to resist us because they are players who know how to play, who participate in their leagues and we have to know how to face them. Our team always relies a bit on the first time, but we won the next two easy, and in the fourth we started down unnecessarily, for situations in the game that they create because they relax. However, we returned to our rhythm little by little we reached them until we achieved victory."

"We thought to make more change so that others had the opportunity to play, but the fourth time it got a little tense against us, but José Massó and Miguel Ángel López fulfilled their function when we sent him to the court," said the home trainer.

Roamy Alonso, a striker precisely in the defense of the net, said that "we train a lot this position, is one of our main weapons and serve, are well connected. We fought to stabilize the service so that we were given the blockade, everything went as expected, although we really expect this reaction from the Puerto Ricans, they are opponents who always impose and do not give anything, they go out to war like us, we are similar and they always give a good game. "

Manuel Acevedo, DT of Puerto Rico, did not hesitate to say that "I thought we could play face to face because in the game against Mexico for Cuba it was very bad, he verified that he was not in a good moment, both work for a peak, this It is a very early stage of the season in which you have difficulties and the locals that day made many mistakes."

"The first partial surprised me, we entered well, from the beginning things were done that we had raised as the continuity of the work of the opposite, which was not the case in the next two, I made changes and in the fourth set the two of the bench made the job. I think it was a very entertaining game and much more competitive than perhaps people thought. That's good for both teams and especially Cuba, which has a very difficult tournament in Slovenia. "

Pelegrín Vargas, captain of Puerto Rico, said that "our team, despite its youth, we have a lot of character, we do not give anything, Cuba had to defeat us. There were two partials that were a bit erratic and timid, but in the end we showed what we are made of. Cuba is a great cast when it is ahead, it is very difficult because they put a lot of pressure on the service and it is difficult for us to attack. We are prepared for big competitions with the bigger group, we had not had a test like this and we showed that we can ".

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Trump Allegedly Planning to Cut Relief Funding for Puerto Rico

CNN reports that Puerto Rico is being excluded from a spending bill intended for states damaged by this year's hurricanes.

U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t want to deliver additional relief funding to Puerto Rico, White House officials told congressional appropriators Monday, CNN reports.

RELATED: FEMA Leaves Some 10 Million Bottles of Water to Spoil on Puerto Rican Tarmac

A White House aide told CNN that, although funding cuts have not been finalized, the U.S. territory has been excluded from a spending bill intended for states damaged by this year's hurricanes.

The aide reported that as Puerto Rican officials have not expired the relief funds, the White House has decided to forego any additional financial support “because they don’t need it and will most likely not be able to spend it.”

Last month, a tweet from the president clearly illustrated his position on the territories petitions for further assistance, saying: “The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations. The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!"

When the revised death toll announced in October revealed that nearly 3,000 residents had died in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Trump dismissed the report and accused Democrats of exploiting the figures as part of a smear campaign against his administration.

Eleven months after the deadly hurricane hit the island in September 2017, residents were still without power, thousands were displaced, and hundreds of homes destroyed.

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 It was a matter of pride but Cuba managed to avoid the last place finish in Pool D of the 2018 Men’s FIVB World Championship. The boys in blue beat Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17) but the score was academic as both teams were eliminated on Sunday from the tournament.
After the grueling Sunday clash against Finland head coach Oswald Antonetti opted for a slightly different Puerto Rican starting line-up. 39-year old Edgardo Roas replaced setter Perez. Ezequiel Cruz made his first start with the championship as did Pedrito Sierra in the middle. However Puerto Ricans found it hard to get started. Maurice Torres could not convert any of his first four spike attempts and soon was taken off with a leg pain. There was no contest in Set 1 – 25-15 for Cuba in just over 20 minutes.
Puerto Rico rallied in the second after Jonathan Rodriguez rolled an ankle to take the set 25-22. Cuban block set the in the third. Miguel Lopez and Livan Osoria each got four for the 25-21 success. In the fourth – a barrage of aces. Lopez and Goide each hit three, Herrera and Gutierrez contributed with one apiece. 25-17 for Cuba
Miguel Gutierrez joined the exclusive club of players with 30 or more points in a World Championship match, scoring 31. Miguel Lopez added 19 while despite the slow start Maurice Torres once again was head and shoulders above all of Puerto Rico players with 15.
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