There has been a lot of talk lately about the crisis in Puerto Rico. We are now 10 days out and the island only has 5% power on the total island. Most of the island is unreachable due to the terrain, according FEMA this is why they are having trouble reaching citizens that need help. According to President Trump it is because it is in the big ocean. I think it is our response. This morning, we woke to more offensive tweets from our President. I am going to be frank here, this might have been a natural disaster but this is a man-made crisis.
Puerto Rican’s are Americans. I was a bit shocked at the number of responses from Americans that did not know that. Since, it is clear that our public school system really failed us here let me explain.
Puerto Rico was acquired by the US in the Spanish-American War way back in 1898. Puerto Rican’s are natural-born citizens of the United States and are under full jurisdiction of our federal government. Them major difference between a territory and a state is its lack of representation. Although, there is something like 3.4 million American Citizens residing on this island they are not allowed to be represented in our congress, vote for President of the United States and they are exempt from of the revenues in the tax code that states otherwise would receive. In other words, Puerto Rico is in charge of its internal affairs, ran by the executive level and reaped for our benefits. Not only do we earn from them and withhold usual revenues but we also use our territories to host bond debt that benefit the US economy overall – temporarily but harm the territory’s economy and make it very hard for them to recover.
This video explains it much better than I ever could and he has an English accent and is overall much nicer to listen to, plus it’s John Oliver.
Puerto Rico has been suffering pretty bad for a while economically and then here came Maria.
We had time to prepare for Maria, we just didn’t. We saw for weeks storms brewing in the Atlantic Ocean breaking records. We saw images of Puerto Rican’s leaving, stockpiling, boarding and bagging their homes and preparing for days. Where was the US government?
We have responded better to disasters further from home with much less time to prepare. According to the Washington Post, after the earthquake in Haiti the US responded within 2 days with 8,000 American troops. By the 2 week mark we had sent 33 US military ships and 22,000 troops. There were over 300 military helicopters delivering food and water by the millions of pounds.
Haiti is also located in the big ocean, Donald Trump. It is also an island and in fact further from the US mainland. I understand that each disaster is different as is each President. President Obama, responded to disasters. All I see Trump do is react.
So far Puerto Rico has received only 4,400 service member, about 1,000 Coast Guard members, 40 US military helicopters and 10 Coast Guard helicopters being used to deliver food and water to them 3.4 million affected Americans 8 days later. Each disaster is different but in the case of hurricanes we have and did have warning. Where was our preparation? You can repeat terrain as much as you want but that means nothing when we have the resources and are just refusing to use them.
While the President touted how well our response to the destruction and disaster in Puerto Rico, the Mayor of San Juan was publicly pleading for help for the entire island. With no power and most cell towers out that leave 3.4 million Americans in risk. Mayor Cruz of San Juan spoke of citizens all over the island unable to reach what little help they have had. That people outside of San Juan are having to retain rain water and drink from creeks unless they are able to reach a drop point to receive food and water. There were people turned away being told they would have to register for assistance and she has been beaten down with paperwork when people are dying.
Meanwhile our President’s only response to her plea while golfing has been these tweets.
There isn’t a whole I expect out of this President. However, there are Americans dying and his response has been late and insufficient. When Americans are dying because their hospitals do not have power, when there are Americans trapped and in danger, or unable to reach food and water it is never appropriate to respond with pointed fingers and blame. That jus takes me wonder was his lack of response was due to his prejudices.
Where are our troops, Mr. President?