Tenth decade 1983 – 1993

Puerto Rico

  • The years of prosperity continued thanks to Section 936, but the hardship of the 1970s left a sense of wariness, and, thus, Puerto Ricans kept an eye out for signs of economic trouble.
  • The businesses that came to the island thanks to the 936 contributed a great deal of funds to local banks. In 1977 these contributions rose to $1.58 billion and they would reach $4 billion in 1982.
  • This bonanza was threatened by high levels of unemployment, reductions in federal assistance, and the possibility that the government of Ronald Reagan would eliminate Section 936 to capture taxes that were not being collected in the United States.
  • Governor Rafael Hernández Colón bought the Navieras and the Telefónica.
  • Strong rains caused a landslide in the Mameyes sector of Ponce, resulting in 140 deaths, and a bridge collapsed in Santa Isabel, taking drivers along with it.
  • On December 31, 1986, an enormous blaze destroyed the Dupont Plaza Hotel, causing the deaths of 200 people.
  • In 1989, Hurricane Hugo, a category 5 storm, caused millions of dollars in damage.
  • In 1992 the island celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Discovery of America. Popular contributed numerous initiatives to the festivities.
  • Pedro Rosselló won the 1992 elections, and then implemented the Tarjeta de Salud.


  • Dominican merengue generated a tremendous following in Puerto Rico. Olga Tañón, Mayra Rodríguez, Celinés Pagán, Edwin and Óscar Serrano, and Alfred Cotto, founders of GrupoManía, Elvis Crespo with his great hit, “A que te pego la manía”, and Manny Manuel with his “Rey de corazones”; the enthusiasm was huge.
  • In addition to numerous local groups and singers, there were a group of Dominican composers, musicians and singers that lead and stood out those years. Among them, Johnny Ventura, Los Hermanos Rosario, Fernando Villalona and La Patrulla 17. Juan Luis Guerra and Millie Quesada were hits in the 90s.
  • Bolero, ballads, and salsa continued with their popularity. Among the luminaries in these genres were Tito Rojas, Tito Nieves, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Mark Anthony, Víctor Manuelle, and La India.

Christmas Tree

  • Artificial trees fell out of style. In the 1970s and 1980s, aluminum trees were not popular anymore, and natural trees were once again favored by consumers.
  • This period saw a lot of decoration using red and gold ornaments. Multicolored ornaments also saw a lot of use.
  • The lights on Christmas trees were used with color, with or without reflectors. There were also lights that fluctuated depending on sound.
  • People began to use lighting inside the interior of their trees.
  • Crystal decorations fall out of favor and were replaced by plastic pieces simulating glass.