Puerto Ricans denounce U.S. response to hurricane Irma

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After Hurricane Maria first hit in September nearly 60 percent of the island is still without electricity.

Support given by local artists, communities, associations, foundations and churches to Puerto Rico’s hurricane victims far exceeds official aid received from the U.S., according to an organization on the tiny U.S. territory.

“Remember that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is an insurance that is paid for the mortgages of all in Puerto Rico,” the Independentista Nacional Hostosiano Movement, MINH, said in a statement.

The slowness and pettiness of the federals contrasts with the immediacy and determination of the recovery of the people of Puerto Rico through their communities and organizations.”

Cuba offered to assist the Caribbean island with reconstruction of both its electrical and medical systems, while Venezuela provided diesel fuel. Artists, athletes and “brother countries” offered additional support, but were blocked by federal agencies under a law dating back to the 1920s.

“If it were not for that immediate collective coherence of our people, we were still pulling dead people out of the rubble,” the statement continued. “Do not depend on what the ‘other’ will do for us. Do not rest until you have the desired result. Let’s continue sharing what we have with the most needy. It has been and will be the backbone on which we will build the new Puerto Rico that is not only possible, but necessary.”

Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the Board of Supervision and Financial Administration for Puerto Rico, has told the U.S. Congress that the island requires emergency funds “on an unprecedented scale” to rebuild homes and restore water and electricity services.

Since the hurricane first hit in September, thousands of people have had to be housed in temporary shelters. Tens of thousands of homes still have no roof, and nearly 60 percent of the island is still without electricity.

The board estimated that Puerto Rico will require at least US$21 billion over the next two years to “guarantee the provision of basic government functions,” including fire crews, police, teachers and other public employees. Puerto Rican authorities estimate the island has suffered between US$45 million and US$95 million in damages.

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Irma hit hard the Caribbean countries

Hurricane Irma a record Category 5 storm churns across the Atlantic Ocean on a collision course with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

At least 26 dead people  and substantial material losses are reported after the crossing of the hurricane Irma through most of the Caribbean islands.

Nature seems to be charging a pay to human civilization due to climate change. Experts say hurricane Irma and other environmental disasters today are not like in the past because of global warming, pollution and greenhouse gases.

Even though capital defenders denied it, the industries ecological harm is the reason why our planet is on the verge of collapse.

Meanwhile, some governments -like the US- are proud to be out the few strategies to stop human extinction.

Unfortunately, people who suffer natural disasters´ impact are not the minority that owns the resources and industries, but the disadvantaged.

 

 

‘Thank You Fidel’: Puerto Rican Poet and Ex-Political Prisoner

Rafael Cancel Miranda was part of an assault on the U.S. capital building in 1954 demanding the independence of Puerto Rico from U.S. colonial rule.

I give thanks to life
for my boricua skies,
my soul, nationalist
my belief, Fidelista.

I give thanks to life
for the courage to fight,
for the courage to confront
the imperialist beast.

I give thanks to life
for Isabel and Albizu
and for those friends
who served as guides.

I give thanks to life
for my brave people,
who have honorably
kept their soul alive.

I give thanks to life
for the light on my path,
and for marking my destiny
with that of my country.

Having just finished this poem, I learned of the physical death of compañero Fidel. In order to honor one who honored us so much, I gave the poem the title, “Thank You, Fidel” and in his honor, I changed one word in the poem.

This morning a journalist interviewed me about Fidel’s death, although he has not died in my mind. Fidel will keep on for a good while. The imperialist mafia did its best so he would not reach 50 years old, but being Fidel, his body decided which day he would pass away.

Continue reading “‘Thank You Fidel’: Puerto Rican Poet and Ex-Political Prisoner”

Debt restructuring in Puerto Rico: US Senate

The PROMESA Bill plans to give a U.S. federal board control of Puerto Rico’s economy to pursue austerity and debt restructuring.

The United States Senate voted on Wednesday to advance a controversial bill to address Puerto Rico’s crippling US$70 billion debt crisis, just days before the Caribbean island is poised to default on a US$1.9 billion debt payment.

Senators voted 68-32 for cloture of the bill, setting up a vote on final passage no later than Thursday afternoon.

Lawmakers predicted that the vote will be tight as supporters scramble to get the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, also known as the PROMESA Bill, through Congress before Puerto Rico’s July 1 debt payment deadline.

PROMESA proposes to hand control of Puerto Rico’s economy, including debt restructuring, over to a Washington-appointed federal oversight board.

Both Republicans and Democrats back the bill. Though several Democrats have raised concerns about the structure of the legislation, many also argue that the consequences of a default without a plan in place are too serious to justify opposing the bill.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who has voiced criticisms of the bill, said a failure to pass PROMESA would mark “a tremendous win for the unscrupulous hedge funds that have held this bill up for six months demanding to be first in line over the needs of the people of Puerto Rico.”

Debt expert Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, argued in a letter to the Senate on Tuesday that the “very serious” impacts on Puerto Rico if the bill fails would include threats to social services and pension protections, as well as a swoop of predatory “vulture funds” looking to exploit the economic crisis on the island.

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Continue reading “Debt restructuring in Puerto Rico: US Senate”