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Author: Benjamin Bartu

More reports of Puerto Rico IDs getting rejected stateside

On Wednesday, May 23, a Puerto Rican couple traveling through Rancho Cordova, California were not permitted to check in to their room at a Motel 6. When Raul Villanueva and his wife arrived at the motel, Raul gave his Puerto Rican driver’s license to the clerk, who promptly turned them away, saying they needed a license from the United States. Villanueva’s response was that Puerto Rico was indeed a part of the US. Nonetheless, the couple was turned away. Though Motel 6 does indeed require photo identification upon check-in, there is no policy on their website that requests that...

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FEMA faulted for failed contracts to deliver hurricane aid

A new investigation by Democrats on the United States Senate Committee on Oversight has found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was unable to produce evidence of suppliers’ capacity to deliver when it distributed contracts. In the case of many inhabitants of Puerto Rico, these promised hurricane supplies have yet to arrive, months after a state of emergency was declared. One of the more startling examples is that of Global Computers. A company registered as a federal government contractor in September, it received its FEMA contract for tarp delivery (in the total sum of $33.9 million) only a month...

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Starkist Samoa donates $50,000 in disaster relief

The American seafood company Starkist, based in Pittsburgh, PA, recently donated $50,000 in disaster relief to American Samoa. Mr. Sangdong Kwon, the general manager of Starkist Samoa, the principal facility location for Starkist Co., noted, “StarKist Samoa is a member of this community and has been so for 55 years, and we want to do our part in supporting Governor Moliga’s (D) efforts to provide relief to the people of this great territory.” Indeed, Governor Lolo Moliga accepted Starkist’s donation in a small ceremony at the Governor’s Office Conference Room. Though Moliga thanked StarKist Samoa for its donation to the ongoing...

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Rogers’ accent joke and the vanishing context

Jennifer González-Colón (R, PNP) is the twentieth Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. Though a member of the United States House of Representatives, she serves a term of four years, and has no voting power. Though she may serve and vote on committees and sponsor legislation, González-Colón is denied a vote when on the House floor. This presents a set of issues worthy of scrutiny in their own right, one receiving little attention online or off. The internet does have its fixations, however, and Puerto Rico is one of them — right? Tangentially, perhaps. Last week, during a C-Span airing of a...

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Three Weeks after Cyclone Gita, state of disaster declared

In the wake of Cyclone Gita, president Donald J. Trump has officially declared a state of disaster in American Samoa, where some 500 residents are still living in emergency shelters. The total cost of damages wrought on the territory remains to be calculated, but governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga estimates the full details of the declaration’s policy plan to be published soon. Although Trump was quick to respond to Cyclone Gita when it first hit American Samoa on February 9, the follow-up slackened afterwards, and three weeks later, with many still without a home to return to and infrastructure sorely damaged, the...

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