Puerto Rico’s in trouble. It’s dealing with about $70 billion in debt, which has helped drive the poverty rate to over 40% and sent an increasing number of citizens to the US mainland. If they don’t get help from the US to pay off that debt—and remember, Puerto Rico is an American territory, its residents are American citizens, and it’s commonly called the 51st state—Puerto Rico might see irrevocable damage. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla literally used the term “death spiral” to explain what’s happening. It’s up to Congress to help Puerto Rico relieve its debt, and although a bipartisan bill to help is in the works, there’s a well-funded effort to rile up American citizens against helping our Puerto Rican cousins.
John Oliver explained the entire situation on last night’s Last Week Tonight, and he had a little help: Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, stopped by the show to perform a song about the situation. Take a look above to see two pop culture titans combine to raise awareness about an ongoing American crisis that isn’t getting enough attention.