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  September 30, 2017

Trump Blames People of Puerto Rico for Their Suffering

On Saturday Trump launched a racially-tinged attack on Puerto Rico's mayor who has attacked the administration's inadequate relief efforts
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Jaisal Noor: U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the people of Puerto Rico for their suffering on Saturday, hurling criticism via Twitter towards the mayor of hurricane-hit San Juan one day after she slammed Trump Administration officials for saying the relief efforts were successful and were a "good news story."

Included in the tweets were use of racist stereotypes of Latinos, essentially calling Puerto Ricans lazy for not doing more for recovery efforts. The island nation has been devastated by Hurricane Maria and years of austerity. On Friday, the mayor of Puerto Rico pleaded for help.

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto: We are dying here. And I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long.

FIMA asks for documentation. I think we've given them enough documentation. Look at this. Look at this. So, I am asking the President of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency. If it won't stop, and we don't get the food and the water into people's hands, what we are going to see is something close to a genocide.

Jaisal Noor: The Real News' Aaron Maté recently spoke to journalist, Ed Morales whose recent piece is titled, “Puerto Rico Needs Massive Emergency Aid and an End to Austerity.”

Ed Morales: I mean, that's typical of what we've heard from the Trump administration so far. I mean, he usually sounds like a used car salesman that is telling you that, you know, a car that has completely broken down is going to be a great car and it's going to be wonderful for your family. I mean, it's just the same thing over and over with him. And it's incredible how the American public allows, or elected him, or allows him to continue to operate in this fashion. But, I guess we're just in a sort of a post-fact age or just an age of disconnection.

Aaron Maté: Right. Now, your piece for the nation also calls for an end to austerity, arguing that the economic conditions that Puerto Rico faced before the storm helped worsen its impact. Why does Puerto Rico now need an end to austerity?

Ed Morales: Well, you know, it could be argued that they needed an end to, I mean, people were arguing that people needed an end to austerity before the hurricane because this purported objective of the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board which was enforced by the PROMESA Act that bipartisan effort of Congress people passed. That purported purpose was not only to restructure the debt, but to get the economy going again.

But the idea of getting the economy going is not something that they tackle seriously. Most of the measures for at least the first year and probably years after that were more designed to just extract more from the populace through levying more taxes, privatizing more services to that. That would result in less money going to the government coffers. And cutting jobs. So, the island was going into a really bad situation economically, regardless. But I think that the hurricane, I mean, I don't want to see it at all as a good thing. But it's almost making PROMESA meaningless or obsolete. I mean, even today, the head of the Fiscal Oversight Management Board said that they had to have a meeting so that they could re-assess exactly what they were doing.


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