(ATR) Puerto Rico will need public donations and contributions from private companies to send a delegation to the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.
As much as $2 million will be needed to finance the Puerto Rico team.
"The preparation of our delegation for Barranquilla is at risk. Your donation is essential to make our goal possible," says Sara Rosario, president of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee. She says that 100 percent of the money collected will go directly to support athletes for the games in Colombia July 19 to August 3.
"The process will be audited by authorized public accountants, with the commitment to publish the reports on our website, copur.pr,"says Rosario.
Rosario admits that the devastation caused by the pummeling of two major hurricanes in 2017 is responsible for the challenge faced by the athletes .
"It is that the country is in a difficult economic situation, so our contributions have been greatly reduced, so we are on this occasion appealing to the people, which is what we represent," she said.
"The support we seek is for the athletes. It is not for me or for Copur. It's for them, "he said.
In a historical reference, Rosario insisted that this campaign was nota new episode of what is called "The Olympic Beggars".
That was the title of the 1982 fundraising organized by the legendary president of COPUR and IOC member, German Rieckehoff. The name given to the campaign was politically driven, chosen when Governor Carlos Romero Barceló, cut economic aid to the NOC. The money was needed to get the Puerto Rico team to Havana, also for the Central American and Caribbean Games.
"Our relationship with the government is very cordial, with a lot of respect and a lot of harmony," Rosario says of a much improved relationship with the government of the U.S. commonwealth.
According to the journalist Carlos Uriarte, this is the fourth time in the history of Puerto Rico sport that a public campaign has been organized.
The first was in 1930 with the second CAC Games in Havana when there was not yet a National Olympic Committee and those in charge of preparing and processing the trip to Cuba were members of the Athletic Commission, a government agency under the tutelage of Governor Teddy Roosevelt, Jr.
The second campaign was organized in 1956 to support the team to the Olympic Games in Melbourne.
Reports from San Juan say that in the first week of the campaign, donations are already being received. More than 300 athletes from Puerto Rico are hoping to travel to Colombia.
For information on donations, click here.
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.