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Political Recovery of Puerto Rico

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 



5 Comments

  1. I like how you call the situation prior to Hurricane Maria a manufactured crisis. I think that it’s very telling and showcases the lack of responsibility by the gov’t.

    In your final point about helping Puerto Ricans not as American citizens, I wonder if you should explore the political views of Puerto Rican people on this topic. While it is important to recognize them as they are rather than pretend they have a status that is not truthful, there may be many who want to have that citizenship. (I don’t know the numbers/stats myself, but I think it would help to further your point.)

  2. Good start. Just develop your themes about colonization. How does climate change affect the idea of sovereignty? The title here is especially useful. How can Puerto Rico recover itself politically? Even without a consensus on independence vs. statehood, what local initiatives, efforts towards self sufficiency, and political consciousnesses are making that binary moot and/or pushing the ball forward to some kind of conclusion? Or at least expanding the horizon of possibilities?

  3. Hi Khady, there are several interesting ideas here – but it needs a lot of work in getting to a final OpEd form. You will need to pick one central ideas – you have several interesting ones! The idea of the debt crisis needing attention as part of hurricane recovery is interesting and you can tie this to the class issues you mentioned. Puerto RIco has one of the highest rates of inequality in the region, and this is part of what has led to the disproportionate impact of the hurricane. There are many studies you can cite, and lots that you can bring in! I suggest doing a little reading, taking notes, then making an outline to ensure you get your point across. (They can also help you with this at the writing center BTW!)

  4. Good idea to a piece, I love the beginning line you wrote and how natural disasters only exacerbated their conditions. You should include issues from Puerto Rico’s history that arose from colonization and exploitation.

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