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Post-hurricane Puerto Rico could quickly turn into a "humanitarian crisis"

Associated Press
People walk next to a gas station flooded and damaged by the impact of Hurricane Maria, which hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Sept. 20, 2017.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – We here at Red Dirt Report have been monitoring the situation in Puerto Rico for days now, wondering if and when President Donald Trump – too busy protesting athletes and strutting around - would get around to seriously helping that ailing island territory, which is actually a part of the United States, following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.

Juan Cole, in a piece posted today at Common Dreams, reminds us of what a serious situation Puerto Rico is in. (We also urge readers to check out a new column in The New York Times from former New York State assemblyman Nelson A. Denis, author of War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony, about the absurdity of the “Jones Act.”)

Here's a few of Juan Cole's important suggestions, aimed at President Trump (who would rather blame Puerto Rico for its own problems, despite Wall Street and climate change being key culprits) in light of this most-grim situation in the Caribbean:

1. Offer them serious debt relief. If you have $50 bn. to give the Pentagon, which it doesn’t even want it, you have $50 bn for reducing PR debt.

2. Put back effing Section 936 into the Federal tax code to encourage businesses to go to Puerto Rico and put its people to work.

3. Rebuild its electricity grid underground to protect it from hurricanes. Give special grants and tax breaks for installation of solar and wind energy and purchase of Tesla power walls. The global heating caused by the mainland’s carbon dioxide emissions ensures that the hurricanes will get worse and worse, and the island needs to be rebuilt to withstand high winds.

4. Give grants for people to rebuild their destroyed and damaged homes and businesses.

The US kidnapped Puerto Rico in the imperialist war of 1898, which was fought on trumped up pretexts. Washington exploited its sugar cane fields and then its cheap industrial workers, and the US navy benefited from its strategic position in the eastern Caribbean. The Puerto Ricans never asked for all this to happen to them, and never passed the laws that ruined their economy.

The least we can do is get the island back on its feet and put into place policies that will bring prosperity back.”

The entire island is out of power. A heat wave is building. Food is scarce and so is clean water. Many ill people are struggling.

While some National Guard troops have been brought in and a hospital ship was begrudgingly sent from Norfolk, Virginia to Puerto Rico today, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico emphasized the need for federal aid.

"Puerto Rico, which is part of the United States, can turn into a humanitarian crisis,” Rosselló said in a New York Times article. “To avoid that, recognize that we Puerto Ricans are American citizens. When we speak of a catastrophe, everyone must be treated equally.”

It's tough being an American colony. You're essentially treated like second-class citizens, while much is still demanded of you. In this time of arguing over being seen as "patriotic," let's ask those people in American colonies like Puerto Rico and Guam, if they feel patriotic, especially when the colonizer (Uncle Sam) demands so much, but still gives little - and begrudgingly. 

It's high-time Puerto Rico became either independent or America's 51st state

Congress? Hello? Are you out there? 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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