What Hurricane Maria Taught US about Puerto Rico


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Kristina Kehrer's picture

It is not hard to understand the Trump administration’s response to the recently ravaged US territory, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria ferociously swept across the island on September 20, 2017.

Kanye West is famous for saying that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” well neither does Trump. He also doesn’t care about brown people, poor people, or anyone who doesn’t kiss his ring with sickening accolades of perverse proportions. Which accounts for his vindictive behavior towards the island and in particular, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the Democratic mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This strong woman (another classification Trump hates) continues to have the cojones to speak truth to power, even after being quelled from testifying before the House Committee on Homeland Security, which abruptly canceled a meeting this fall in an obvious attempt to penalize her for criticizing the acting Homeland Security Secretary, Elaine Duke, and Trump himself.

But Puerto Rico’s troubles aren’t just the result of a disinterested federal government. Puerto Rico was limping along, long before Hurricane Maria hit. The Puerto Rican government has an outstanding debt that exceeds $70 billion, and in a perversely ironic twist on July 2, 2017,

Puerto Rico's Power Authority Effectively Files for Bankruptcy. Puerto Rico's troubled power company defaulted on a deal to restructure roughly $9 billion in bond debt and sought court protection from its creditors, the government said on Sunday.” nytimes.com

There is much to learn about Puerto Rico, which I did while interviewing Kelvin Laboy, a local Puerto Rican American, and doing a lot of goggling. Quite fascinating was the speculation that Trump may not have realized that Puerto Ricans were American citizens, but he would not be alone in that ignorance, 50 percent of US citizens were unaware of that fact - that is until Hurricane Maria taught them otherwise.