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Author: The Conversation

Puerto Rico has not recovered from Hurricane Maria

Lauren Lluveras, University of Texas at Austin Puerto Rico was in crisis long before Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 20, 2017. For years, this U.S. territory had been struggling with debt, economic crisis and drought. In May 2017, the government defaulted on US$73 billion in loans and declared bankruptcy. Then Hurricane Maria slammed the island with 155-mph winds and coastal flooding that rose to 6 feet within 30 minutes of landfall. The storm caused the longest power blackout in U.S. history. Sixty-four Puerto Ricans died during Maria and an estimated 2,975 Puerto Ricans perished from hurricane-related problems in the...

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Why Puerto Rico ‘doesn’t count’ to the US government

Jay L. Zagorsky, The Ohio State University Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September, destroying homes, crops and communications. Many weeks later, power has been restored to fewer than 20 percent of homes. A third of the population still lacks reliable drinking water. I am an economist and have followed the hurricanes’ impact with great interest because my sister lives in Puerto Rico. She was off the islands and preparing to fly back when Irma hit. Her friends in Puerto Rico all tell her the same message: “Don’t come back now.” I began wondering: If the damage...

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Need another reason to help Puerto Rico? It’s a key US economic and military asset

By Lilian Bobea, Bentley University Three weeks after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, half of the population still lacks fresh water and medicine, and almost 80 percent doesn’t have electricity. The scarce resources arriving from international private sources are quickly running out. Satellite communication remains limited. Despite this crisis, President Donald Trump’s support for this U.S. territory has been nominal at best. At first, he all but ignored the island’s devastation. Federal help arrived five days after the storm, but then he started blaming residents for their problems. Most recently, Trump threatened to pull federal aid workers out of Puerto Rico. …We cannot keep FEMA, the Military...

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Trump loses appeal, but travel ban fight isn’t over yet

Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis Thursday’s appellate court opinion, which denied President Donald Trump’s appeal concerning his immigrant ban executive order, was unsurprising. It cautiously declined to upset the status quo, temporarily continuing to prevent the executive order’s enforcement nationwide. But it also allowed for further briefing and argument. As a constitutional law professor and former Justice Department litigator, I see the court’s reasoning as suggesting deep skepticism of Trump’s position and, at the same time, spotlighting the main issues for the further appeals that will inevitably follow. The order, then the ban Among other things, the executive order...

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In Puerto Rico, environmental injustice and racism inflame protests over coal ash

Hilda Lloréns, University of Rhode Island For scholars like me who study environmental justice, it has been encouraging to see residents in Flint, Michigan and the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota organize against threats to their homes and health. But elsewhere in our country, other struggles are happening out of the spotlight – and often dragging on for years. In Puerto Rico’s south, protests are building over the disposal of toxic coal ash in landfills. Small-scale protests began in 2014, but opposition has grown. A recent demonstration drew an estimated 1,000 people. Protesters have been routinely harassed by...

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