The hurricane exposed long-hidden violations of the people of Puerto Rico’s right to just, fair, and equal treatment as US citizens.
For the last three years, President Trump has done nothing to support Puerto Ricans. Instead, he’s labeled the island’s elected officials as corrupt, disrespected Puerto Rican integrity by implying we’re all money-hungry, and treated our people as his personal transactions when he asked if he could sell Puerto Rico. Time and time again, he has shown us that he is not only a clown, but also a hypocrite.
Trump’s disregard for Puerto Rico was shown during his visit to the island right after Hurricane Maria’s devastation when he threw paper towel rolls to a crowd in San Juan and also through his administration’s continued refusal to respond to the needs of the US citizens of Puerto Rico. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), by its own admission after evaluating its performance in Puerto Rico, said that its response was poor.
When a community is in a profound crisis, much like Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, every second counts. In the precious hours immediately following the hurricane, FEMA was not ready. It did not have personnel on the island, and it did not provide the support that was needed.
How did FEMA perform according to Trump? “Exemplary! A 10! The best job in the world!” But what can we expect from someone with neither empathy nor any introspection? This is just one more of the thousands of lies Trump has told us that cost thousands of lives in Puerto Rico.
Contrary to what his announcement on Friday implied, the $13 billion of aid for Puerto Rico isn’t something new. In fact, those funds have been available since 2018 when Congress allocated them. For two years, the Trump administration has stopped its distribution. Now that impeached Trump has been told about the importance of Puerto Rican voters in Florida, it seems we’re moving ahead.
“We all have learned by now that Trump will say and do anything if it moves his reelection forward.”
Trump’s announcement hinges on his belief that we are stupid and can’t see through this charade. We all have learned by now that Trump will say and do anything if it moves his reelection forward. But what is really troubling is how Puerto Rican Republicans are openly and unabashedly praising impeached Trump for this cynical move that starved Puerto Rico of necessary help for years.
Let’s be clear, Puerto Rico needs this money. The island has needed the money for a long time, but that funding especially could have been used during these past two years to help rebuild an energy grid currently held together by spit, for which Puerto Ricans continue to pay through the nose and in return get bad and shaky energy service.
Trump is the latest flavor of a deep-rooted problem Puerto Rico continues to face: its colonial status. The deadly impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico devastated the country and unmasked the contradictions of the island’s colonial status. The hurricane revealed long-hidden truths about violations of the people of Puerto Rico’s right to just, fair, and equal treatment as U.S. citizens, as well as the right to self-determination that they have been denied throughout history.
It is not surprising that Trump is ready to sell Puerto Rico, while the interests of over 3 million American citizens are completely disregarded. Colonialism cannot be any clearer than in impeached Trump’s statements.
If Puerto Ricans want to once and for all resolve the status of Puerto Rico, voting Trump out of office is imperative. There is no way that someone who believes the people of Puerto Rico are second-class citizens will accept statehood as the solution for the island. He also won’t enter into an agreement for independence, because he won’t accept the will of the people. So no matter what Puerto Ricans decide, the Trump administration will never negotiate a final status for the island.
On the third anniversary of the hurricane, we remember and honor the memory of the thousands we lost. We salute and honor the resilience of local communities; we recommit, here in the diaspora, to continue to raise awareness and work together toward finding justice for Puerto Ricans, and rebuild a stronger and better future. Getting rid of Trump is a necessary step for the island to engage in a process of self-determination.
This man threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans in San Juan, and then blocked our aid after Congress approved it. Now he’s releasing funds only weeks from the election and pretending to be magnanimous to Puerto Rico. One thing is abundantly clear: everything he does is about what’s good for Donald Trump. Nothing has ever been, nor will never be, about what is good for the people of Puerto Rico.
If any Puerto Rican believes this clown, I’m selling three bridges including a new one in New York for a buck.