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Puerto Rico Didn’t Need the United States

We see it all the time, people are failed by those they are supposed to trust, government corruption, illuse of funds that are meant for the citizens. It has been a common theme we have been exploring throughout this class and how it affects the people of Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, residents of Puerto Rico looked to the Government to provide them with what they needed, however the government constantly gave people the run around, excuses for why they weren’t receiving help or making it so that only certain people would receive help and that there was a “How bad is your damage standard?”.

Many people believed that Puerto Rico actually got the aid they needed and that the government was supportive in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico, however, I believe that Puerto Rico was deserted and left to fend for themselves. In times of natural disaster, the people are left to rebuild and help each other in times of need. The government leaves the burden of their responsibility on the people that they are responsible for. Natural disasters shed light on the true intentions of countries, it sheds light on the idea that many countries are not equipped to successfully handle crises. Hurricane Maria occured in 2017, it left people’s lives upside down. President Trump takes pride in failing as a president, he failed Puerto Rico when he went on twitter rants instead of aiding Puerto Rico in their recovery. According to the Washington Post “On Thursday, after the governor of Puerto Rico publicly denounced Trump’s failure to fulfill a promise of a meeting to address issues with recovery from Hurricane Maria, Trump proclaimed that he had treated Puerto Ricans better than not just any U.S. politician but any “human being.”” President Trump spent more time speaking of how much he helped Puerto Rico than he did actually helping them. He bragged and boasted about the effort that he put in, however, footage from Puerto Rico surfaced of trump throwing paper towels at the citizens of puerto rico, in a “you get one, and you get one” fashion.


It is as if having control over Puerto Rico was the help that he had given them. Instead is the fact that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US and depend on them for help during times like this. It is the United States’s responsibility as an “empire” to provide support to Puerto Rico. This idea is something that is often explored after many major natural disasters. However, this is not limited to only the United States and Puerto Rico, but has been seen with Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Gilbert and most recently Hurricane Dorian. These have one connection, the United States. It brings the question to mind, what does the United States, the best country to live in, really have to offer survivors of natural disasters, and why does is so easily influence the governments of the places that are affected and why do they have a say in what happens to the lives of innocent people simply affected by natural disasters?

The United States sat back while Puerto Rico suffered. They watched as the people cried and begged for the help of the giant while president Trump sat back and complained about how much Puerto Rico was making a dent on the budget and how needy people were. This was a big slap to the Puerto Rican people who are a part of the United States due to Puerto Rico being a colony. It is as if the US had forgotten its moral obligation is to help Puerto Rico in the time of need. Puerto Rico is being affected unfairly due to climate change. Bigger global powers such as the United States pollute the environment and leave small island like Puerto Rico to deal with the wrath of Mother Nature with her very unpredictable and dangerous storms. The incompetence of the United States and FEMA only proved that the Puerto Rican people can only really count on themselves.

It was the people of the small communities that created soup kitchens and support groups to help one another get through the toughest times of recovery after Maria. It was neighbors that helped rebuild when FEMA didn’t provide enough aid to even get supplies. It was people within the community that fed others that couldn’t afford to be fed, or ran generators to help others.

The differences didn’t stop the people of Puerto Rico. People gave when they had nothing to give, gave because that is all they knew. Puerto Rico didn’t need the help from the United States because they had each other, an island of loving people who overcame the odds and differences they had to support one another through this horrendous tragedy.

1 Comment

  1. This oped was well conceptualized with a strong opinion and good integration of multimedia. If there was more time in the semester I would have recommended heavy proofreading and links to outside resources.

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