Puerto Rico’s January 15-21, 2018 political week in tweets

by | Jan 22, 2018 | News Week in Tweets | Comments

FEMA AND THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT REFUSE THE AID LOAN TO PUERTO RICO DUE TO ITS OWN “SUFFICIENT” FUNDS

On January 9, FEMA and the Treasury Department informed the government of Puerto Rico that they will not disburse the loan through the Community Disaster Loans Program, after they found out that Puerto Rico had a cash balance on December 29 of last year of $1.7 billion for ongoing operations. Opinions differ on the issue of financial aid to Puerto Rico, however, it is quite evident that the people of Puerto Rico have been treated by the US government, and particularly Trump administration, as second-class citizens who are not entitled to the same rights and benefits as other people do. While the government of Puerto Rico was not transparent enough about fiscal situation, it does not mean that the islands have sufficient resources to overcome the devastation caused by the hurricane.

LAKELAND ELECTRIC AND POWER RESTORATION IN PUERTO RICO

Lakeland Electric company involved in power restoration works on the islands, has encountered various organizational and logistics troubles while trying to do their job. The company got caught “between the political situation involving PREPA, the Puerto Rican electric utility, and Whitefish Holdings, the company hired by PREPA to lead the rebuilding effort”. The team promptly responded to the aid call from Puerto Rico, however, out of 20 days they spent rather little time actually doing the restorations work.

ELECTRICITY ISSUE OF PUERTO RICO FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE LAST WEEK

During a space-to-ground question-and-answer session with hundreds of Puerto Rican students, astronaut Joe Acaba recalled his emotions when he saw Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria from the outer space. He said that usually it was very recognizable because of bright lights but after the hurricane hit the islands, it became very difficult to see the islands from space. Acaba is the first astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage as both of his parents were born there.

FOLLOW UP ON THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES SHORTAGE ISSUE AFTER HURRICANE MARIA

The US is currently facing a serious deficit of IV saline bags which are used to administer and dilute medications. Being the key supplier of the IV saline bags for the whole United States and producing more pharmaceuticals by dollar value than any of the 50 states or any foreign country, Puerto Rico plays a very important role in supplying hospitals with essential medicaments, in particular IV bags. The United States had already experienced several shortages of IV bags, however, the devastation of Puerto Rico after the hurricane has worsened the IV bag shortage, in particular sodium chloride 0.9% injection bags.

MARCO RUBIO CRITICIZES ROSSELLÓ’S EFFORTS FOR PUERTO RICO STATEHOOD

Last Thursday Senator Marco Rubio expressed his criticism over governor Rosselló’s policy priorities. He pointed out that the governor has been spending too much time and efforts fighting for the statehood status of Puerto Rico while paying much less attention to the actual governing of the islands, especially after Hurricane Maria. “If I were the governor of a state or territory that does not have power, I would spend more time [there] than in Orlando,” Rubio told Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, El Nuevo Dia.

MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT OF HURRICANE MARIA KEEPS AFFECTING PUERTO RICANS

According to a recent report that was released by the Commission for the Prevention of Suicide, in November suicide rates in Puerto Rico increased to almost one per day. Compared to 2016, the suicide rates increased by 16% last year. A lot of experts agree that such a big number of suicide cases is directly related to the impact of Hurricane Maria that hit the islands in September. “A lot of patients are presenting severe mental health issues since the storm and the number of patients in our clinic has increased dramatically,” said Dr. Kenira Thompson, who works at the Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico.