Puerto Rico’s November 20-26, 2017 political week in tweets

by | Nov 26, 2017 | Political Week in Tweets | Comments

TWO MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE MARIA, PUERTO RICO IS STILL IN CRISIS

Last week marked two months since Hurricane Maria wrought havoc on Puerto Rico. Despite all recovery efforts and relief aid, the crisis is still far from being over. As of last Monday, electricity came back to less than a half of the islanders, cellphone service is at 65 percent working capacity, and there are still issues with the access to drinking water. Politicians and public figures keep calling for further efforts and political measures for crisis management.

PRESIDENT TRUMP MAY BE POSITIVE ABOUT RECOVERY EFFORTS BUT WHAT IS THE REAL SITUATION?

President Trump is convinced that recovery efforts in Puerto Rico are prompt and successful. However, in reality it is quite challenging to find substantial evidence supporting his belief. In the aftermath of the disaster, much of the infrastructure remains disrupted, the islands lost thousands of jobs and businesses and more people moved to the US mainland. The scandal over reconstruction works did not appease the situation either. In this reality, what should the government measures be and what is the personal role of the President?

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RELIEF AID TURNS INTO ANOTHER DISASTER FOR PUERTO RICO

Negligence, ignorance and poor management are the main factors that hamper disaster-relief policies for Puerto Rico. While dealing with Hurricane Maria, FEMA did not fully understand “the real dimensions of environmental “disasters””, hired unqualified people to work on the islands (those who do not speak any Spanish, for instance), relied on technology that was unavailable in Puerto Rico at the moment (cell phones as the most obvious example) and did not provide the people with adequate supplies suitable for their health conditions. The Government’s poor performance together with other issues, such as austerity measures, only deepen the already existing crisis.

ROSSELLÓ ADMINISTRATION’S WINS VICTORY AGAINST THE OVERSIGHT BOARD

One of the latest power struggles between the Puerto Rican government and the Oversight Board has resulted in a victory for the Rosselló administration. Federal judge Laura Taylor Swain rejected a request to install a former military officer, Noel Zamot, to oversee the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). The Oversight Board introduced his nomination as PREPA’s chief transformation officer after the denouncement of its emergency manager because of the Whitefish contract scandal.

“PUERTO RICO IS NOT FORGOTTEN”: MARCH IN SUPPORT FOR RELIEF AID TOOK PLACE IN WASHINGTON

Last weekend, thousands of people gathered in front of the National Mall to foster public awareness of Puerto Rico’s relief needs and demand the US Government to provide more significant support for the islands. According to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s speech, even money coming from charities, funds and organizations do not provide substantial help in the absence of effective government measures.

FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON VISITED PUERTO RICO TO ASSESS RELIEF SUPPORT EFFORTS BY CLINTON FOUNDATION

Last Monday, former US President Clinton came to Puerto Rico to visit towns and villages affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. As part of his visit, President Clinton went to those places that receive assistance and relief from the Clinton Foundation and their partners. The Foundation has helped provide medical supplies to the islands and start solar energy project “Solar Saves Lives”. Recently, President Clinton, together with four other former US presidents, also made the “One America Appeal” calling for support for the recovery efforts.

CHARITIES TOOK CHARGE OF HOLIDAY MOOD OF PUERTO RICANS AFTER HURRICANE MARIA

Holiday season has approached but not so many people are in celebratory mood two months after Hurricane Maria. With the absence of electricity and damaged property, few Puerto Ricans could afford a proper Thanksgiving last week. However, charity organizations across Puerto Rico came to help save the holiday spirit of the islanders by preparing free Thanksgiving meals. For many, these meals were “not just a celebration but also a necessity”.

ONE OF THEM WAS #CHEFSFORPUERTORICO INITIATIVE

Since Hurricane Maria hit the islands, Chef José Andrés and his project “World Central Kitchen” have provided more than two millions of free meals for Puerto Ricans. Last week they decided to go further and started a “Chefs For Puerto Rico” initiative to create Thanksgiving atmosphere regardless of all the odds. Andrés’ team of volunteers has managed to prepare thousands of festive lunches across Puerto Rico and people were truly thankful for this meaningful contribution.