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In Puerto Rico, the 'Natural Disaster' Is the US Government


In Puerto Rico, the 'Natural Disaster' Is the US Government

Yxta Maya Murray

Conscious of its own role in creating “disasters,” the U.S. must also tailor aid to local conditions, and to respond to an injured community with an appreciation of its history and foreseeable future.


I helped friends in the immediate (next day) aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. They incurred a three-foot flooding of their home and lived just across the street from waterfront houses on the Gulf along the Redneck Riviera in Florida–big time Republican country. FEMA, under W responded quite professionally to that region. Contrast that with the response to Katrina in 2005. FEMA is a political tool under Republican administrators. Puerto Rico has no Republican voters (no voters, actually) and is therefore never going to be meaningfully addressed by FEMA under any Republican administration. Other relief sources should be sought. I would love to see the UN respond and shame the Trump administration, however the reality is that would only increase Trump’s desire to cut the UN budget. People don’t matter to Republicans–only dollars do.


Where’s the damn military in all this? Sure there was a modicum of relief early on but what’s happened to the “most powerful military ever” when they’re actually needed to do something CONSTRUCTIVE for a change? They have engineers, MD’s, labor, electrician, everything needed, except maybe supplies to get those devastated back on their feet. What a damn travesty, just like Katrina even if fewer people drowned. There will be a mass migration away from the island because of economic conditions, just like Katrina when New Orleans lost may thousands. This is a microcosm of the US, destruction because of no support where it’s really needed, infrastructure and people themselves.


Well, remember what happened in Haiti after the quake. Several military ships steamed into harbor, landed troops, and closed the airport and the port facilities to all but the military. Shiploads of supplies were prevented from landing and had to go to the other end of the Dominican Republic, then be transported across the country using dilapidated roads. Then, they had a hard time getting into Haiti.
*Doctors Without Borders tried to fly in a complete hospital, but could not land at the airport, restricted to military use. They had to land in the Dominican Republic, then use the same route described above to get into Haiti.
*Then, I remember the problems of relief and health after Katrina. Castro offered to send mobile hospitals and trained doctors and other medical staff, as they had done in other emergencies around the world. They were curtly refused and doubtless, many died who would have been saved with proper medical care.
*But remember, by golly, We’re Number One!


Actually, some Puertoricans I know in the continental US vote for Republicans. They are PR Statehooders who evidently think that since they call themselves “Republicanos” there, that they are “Republicans” when they come here. Republicans are against the interests of most Puertoricans, but some Puertoricans vote for them out of fealty or are rich and white birds of a feather.


True are your observations on Puerto Ricans in the continental US (assuming they have citizenship in a state or commonwealth), but I was referring to Puerto Rico itself–thinking along the lines of the electoral map/math.


It seems to me that the only things “our” government really cares about consist of the following:

  1. Maintaining and expanding anything related to “Defense”
  2. Maintaining and expanding the “Security State” and Domestic Surveillance.
  3. Propping up the Fossil Fuel Industry as long as possible.
  4. Tax Cuts for Corporations and the very wealthy.
  5. Deregulation of as many things as possible.
  6. Privatization of as many Public Assets and Services as possible.
  7. Suppression of voting by the poor and minorities.
  8. Suppression of dissent.