These last few months have been a climate thrashing for Houston, Florida and the British Virgin Islands, but most recently Puerto Rico. We started with Harvey that pummled Houston, then two of his mean sisters came blowing in. Irma ravaged Florida, soaked and destroyed the British Virgin Islands while Maria basically annihilated Puerto Rico. But Mother Nature gave some mercy by weakening Irma’s little brother Jose pushing him far north so the Virgin Islands can try to recover from the destruction and devastation. But it seems Puerto Rico is the illegitamate child of the United States.
President Trump’s visit was less than reassuring, it was downright patronizing. Telling Puerto Ricans that they need to “get it together” and “work together for a solution” is not the way to comfort people who have lost everything. What’s worse is he questioned their leadership when they asked for help! And not surprisingly the criticisim was mostly aimed at the female leaders of the island. So the people are now begging and pleading and crying and screaming for help. They are even kissing the feet of Trump and stroking his ego just to get some kind of aid.
Puerto Rico is still in political deadlock with the US and just like the kid who is “different” they are asking to be accepted. And by the way, Puerto Ricans are helping one another, by way of the United States. Families that have migrated to big cities like New York are gathering everything they have and they can get their hands on to send to those family members and friends who are hurting. Just about every latino whose not Puerto Rican knows that they have to help, why doesn’t our govenment know that? Marches in the streets, social media campaigns and even modest donation boxes in businesses and neighborhoods consume New York City and all of it’s boroughs. No one knows what will happen but when people get desperate, chaos breaks out and there’s no telling what will happen next. The most vulnerable are of course, women and children.
If vaccines and medical suppplies are not flowing in the way they should, food supplies are dwindling and no one has anywhere to go, it’s much worse than a bad situation. We all know what happened when hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and Louisiana. When supplies and aid were nowhere to be found and people were displaced in stadiums, there were reports of rape, abuse and exploitation. We do not need Puerto Rico to spiral down in that direction. What’s truly needed is food, clothing, shelter, Medicine and PROTECTION. Every person is in a vulnerable state right now and pushing them over the limit is a recipe for a bigger humanitarian crisis. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen because if basic aid doesn’t come neither will conflict resolution.
When Irma decided to vacation in the Virgin Islands, the residents payed for her stay by being displaced and giving her all of their possesions to destroy. They almost had another guest on their list but he decided not to stay. Jose headed north and never looked back. But then something interesting happened. They got help, REAL help. They are on the path to rebuilding and there are some signs of recovery. They are probably the only place where one of the twister sisters hit that is not crying out for help. Maybe because they are not subject to the tyranny that is Trump. They answer to a different body, the UN and the international community who do things differently than the Trump administration. They help.
Both Florida and the Virgin Islands were hit with the same winds and floods but yet one is being rebulit as we speak and the other is scratching their heads. Texas was promised $1 million from Trump but has seen nothing. What it has seen is ICE picking up Mexicans in the area to send them back, I guess there’s more room in the budget for deportations than rebuilding. If we are considered a wealthy country, then why can’t we recover from natural disasters and keep people safe? The Virgin Islands will be up and running before Texas gets the million they were promised. No one has heard anything about Florida. Katrina was about 17 years ago and STILL they have not fully recovered, and that was a different administration. Puerto Rico is no different.
Bien mis amigos puertorriqueños y mis hermanas puertorriqueñas, ahora eres ciudadano estadounidense. How does it feel?