What Puerto Ricans need is not just disaster recovery but also economic recovery. Puerto Ricans find themselves in the center of a manufactured disaster made worse by a natural disaster. When they mostly needed a straightforward plan to get them out of debt and recovery from the disaster. They are being promised solutions that never succeeded. Puerto Ricans should be able to get out of their debt and come across their issue as a country. People were already distracted by the economic crisis that was happening before the hurricane. According to the 2016 Puerto Rico Community Survey, statistics about 44 percent of Puerto Ricans were living in poverty. This was right before Marie hit the Island in 2017.
This is the fault of a corrupt system, which mostly affect the people in the lower class. Puerto Ricans in the lower class are very affected by the hurricane, in terms of who gets first aid when it comes to people’s health, power, water and other needs. Puerto Ricans themselves have very little control on the system.
“ Running out the Island which is part of the United States, to reenter the United State again” by me
Migrations is not a solution, people were migrating to other states in the United State. Based on statistics, “every single one of the 470,335 Puerto Ricans who have already left or will by 2019—an estimate calculated this month by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in New York—has their own reasons for moving away from their homeland”. This is related it to the economic issues, 75 percent of the island is still without power and 25 percent has no water service. People were leaving the island because of multiple reasons such as violence, pressures, crimes, lack of food or even outbreak diseases were things that people were afraid to face.
Puerto Ricans who migrated to the state of Florida, which was the state that most Puerto Ricans migrated to after the hurricane. Puerto Ricans who migrated to florida, had to stay in a motel, knowing they can be asked to leave at anytime. These motels were provided aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA). After the pressure from members of Congress, Puerto Rico’s governor and evacuees, as well as multiple investigation from CNN, FEMA announced it that they would extend the motel assistance for Maria survivors because they had a deadline to move out, they can stay there for free for a long time. This shows that migration is not a solution for Puerto Ricans because they might become home homeless in a community where people do not understand them. At Least by staying in the Island they know the people in the Island and will see people that have the same experience as them.
Why are Puerto Ricans going to the United States? It important to know Puerto Rico story of colony and how it is related to the economic crisis in Puerto Rico. which was a colony of spain. Soon after, Puerto Rico became a Spanish colony and remained under Spanish rule for over 400 years. The American took over the Island in 1989. When it comes to wealth the United States control all the important feature of Puerto Rican’s life including the following aspects:
“communications, currency, trade (national and international), transportation, citizenship/naturalization, immigration and emigration, foreign travel (passports), customs laws and tariffs, labor relations, wage laws, census (population, agriculture, commerce, industry), defense/military service/internal security (FBI, CIA), international relations, banking systems, health standards (slaughterhouse, food products, medicines), Social Security/unemployment and disability benefits (just not as much as an official state gets), environmental laws, prices, penal system and court system.” and really what control do they have over themselves?
People Ricans should not live or develop based on what Americans want them to do or want them to become. Even though we know that America colonize them, and should be involved in Puerto Rico affairs. However should give them the chance to recover and see what they can change as Puerto Ricans, not as American citizen. American should help Puerto Ricans not just because they are American citizen. Since Puerto Ricans started to believe that what the colonial are not bring any benefit to the Island, they might as well start to build it for themselves. Puerto Ricans do not need the help of the Americans citizenship, if they are not getting any benefit or specially help after such a disaster. Even foreign countries can not interfere without going through the American government.
Sometimes when people talk about Puerto Ricans being American citizens and having access to American rights, what they really mean is having access to money, the wealth of this country. While People are living in the United States and let’s call these people not “ first citizens” but the “second citizens” because they are people of color. People of color do not receive all their rights as citizens. The question is in what citizenship posisition are Puerto Ricans
From the point of view of a Puerto Ricans who have a different perspective of how Puerto Rico mindset should be set. How they should be responding to the issues that they are facing as a country. I interview A.L who is a Puerto Rican living here in the United States. He had done research and wrote about what happened in Puerto Rico. He is also a political scientist by training and an activist. My interviewee’s understanding of what is happening right now was very different from what we have discussed in class. We covered a lot of concepts about hurricane maria, but we focus mostly on how government ( American) can help with the recoverer. When as my interview whole idea was that Puerto Ricans should find a way to help themselves in the first place—this quote is an explanation from the interview:
“ The kind of emotional responses people have to crisis like this, is more about blaming themselves for the trauma and the suffering they are experiencing. I think that the fact that Puerto Rico was going to a crisis already and is going to a crisis as right now. That was compounded by the hurricane and people experience that not as a country, however the way you experience that is as a person like the loss of job, the loss of family member, losing a house. I think human nature is not to first think about we are suffering this as a country or society, rather to see and experienced how is it happening to you as an individual and to your family.”
“ I think that we are all conditions in a way which is both bad and good to really think about the problem that we have in a very specific individual ways. That’s good because it is a very effective way of trying to see what can I change, what do I have control over right now. What I can be doing differently to change my situation, so that is positive response you just don’t blame things from outside or people. Try to see how you are responsible because essentially we are one way or the other responsible for many of the things that happen to us.”
He thinks that people should make an impact thinking about what can they improve in their life. He believes that people need to be more responsible about their personal decision. this also is almost the best was for Puerto Rico to recover from their Issues. One you learn how to get yourself out of a challenging situation, you will not need someone to help.
“ I believe that other people in the Island do need support that the people in Puerto Rico ideally do not want to see themselves as being helped, that is not what defines us. The economic crisis can not be at the end what defines us. The hurricane can not be what defines us. I am afraid that the hurricane is going to end up defining who we are. You know hurricane have happened before and along with the economic crisis. The history of Puerto Rico has been economic crisis and hurricanes going over and over again.”
” Now it is been amplified because of how many people live in the Island, the complexity of modern life, and our independent. All of those things we have to address them and colonialism and the relationship of the United States gets in the way of that. It does not allow people of Puerto Rico to practice the necessary skills and experience to train themselves on how you run a country. We always need to be looking over our shoulders to see what the Americans want us to do. I personally think that the United States should get out of the way in many of the things that they do, obviously we need them and want them to be part of what happened in the Island.”
These quotes stands out for me, the most. The interview was very conversional and his perspective on the issues that are happening in Puerto Rico was different and great. My interviewee has a very positive thought about Puerto Ricans and how they can recover from this disaster. He also talks about how the hurricanes and the economic crisis can not be something that define Puerto Ricans. He was scared that hurricanes were going to remind people of who Puerto Ricans are. He did not like the fact that people have been talking about the hurricane and the economic crisis over and over again. Instead of looking for what can be changed to make Puerto Rico recover from this disaster. For these chances to happen people need to stop expecting from others, for them to do better for themselves. He believes that the United States should stop interfering in Puerto Rico affairs in certain ways. They need to allow Puerto Ricans to develop their own skills and experience. Americans should be helping without interfering as much as they should. Puerto Rico as a country should be able to build their nation together.
Many people have issues dealing with emotion in their everyday lives. Puerto Ricans mental health is higher than ever before because of Hurricane Maria. The mental health of Puerto Ricans is negatively affected after the tragedy of Hurricane Maria. Living in bad conditions, months of living without power, in damaged homes without enough food, left many suffering from anxiety, stress and depression. Having to travel long distances to get food is depressing.
After the disaster, Puerto Ricans have been going through mental health issues in relation to emotion, physical, economic and other matters. I choose to talk about individual and family experience living in such a dysfunctional environment. This is a trauma and psychological issue to the community. As a territory of the United States, Puerto Ricans were supposed to received a total resilience from the United States government. Going thought this disaster and not having the support from the people expected to support them, have an effect on people’s lives. People are forced to adapt to the environment they live in. This situation leaves them with no hope for the future of Puerto Rico. Everyone affected by the hurricane, did not recover. The wealthy people did not have to struggle with the lack of electricity or water. Whereas the poorest are suffering to have water or electricity. Homelessness rate increased because it was hard for them to survive where everything was inaccessible to them.
As today we are celebrating Maria’s anniversary, Puerto Ricans are living a catastrophic disaster. Hurricane Maria did not only destroy homes but also increased the issue of homelessness which was already an issue. As their community totally changes as they adapt to a new environment and survive with what they have access to, for example, people were using natural resources to provide for themselves. Puerto Ricans had already been in crisis way before Maria and after Maria. Negative events happening chronically to this community, like having hurricane every season. Hurricane Maria hit the island two weeks after Hurricane Irma, the back to back disasters cause mental illnesses. These people have lost close relatives, which have a huge impact in their emotional stability. The Hurricane itself left the community with a higher mental health crisis. Should this be considerate as an American disaster?
Every family and individual was dealing with a psychological distress due to their own experience and what people around them were experiencing. The idea of normalcy is missing in this community, because they lost everything. Which can make you forget about yourself to make others feel better. Puerto Ricans wanted to hold each other up in a certain way, as they did not want their family members to break down emotionally. The stage of mind that these people are experiencing is not imaginable. Socialization was their strongest weapon, the community was dead and were trying to live again on their island. Some people did not want to leave their home. Others do not have an opportunity of leaving because they do not have nowhere to go, neither they can not build their houses again. They cannot have access to resources to recover.
Thinking of the children and parents relationship after the disaster. I can relate to these parents, sisters, and brothers. These adults have to hold on to their emotional feelings. They have to pretend that they are well to make the younger feel better, loved and safe. Puerto Ricans have to give up a lot of stuff for their relatives. People have half of their family on the other side of the world, because there were no jobs and migration was separating families. Some parents have to send their children to migrate, where they stay in the island, because they could not afford to send the whole family. In the aspects of what sacrifices parents make for the well being of their children, giving up to their personal desire to seek a better life for their children, even if they are away from them. Parents overall goals is to save their children even though they are not safe. This has to deal with their emotions of fear, afraid to not offer the best life for their children.
After the hurricane their community seen to be strong and also got weaker in different ways. The depression level have gone higher, because people have gone through a huge disaster that affect their mental health. This has an indirect impact on the death rate in Puerto Rico. Even people who needed help the most was hard to research out to because they could not move around the island, traveling was challenging. These people are still waiting for the government to help. Out of personal experience, you can also feel for others, who were dealing with worse things than you. You might be helping others, when you need held at the same moments, because they need mental support more than you do. Over all Puerto Ricans have negative thoughts about being able to overcome this disaster. Most Puerto Ricans might develop some kind of mental health. Hurricane Maria tragedy have chance a lot of these people’s lives. The trauma in this community has gotten worse after Maria.