NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY
 
 $70,210
 
 175

HOT TOPICS ▶ Honduras Elections     Target: Iran     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    


  October 13, 2017

Trump Threatens the Aid that Puerto Rico Needs


President Trump has threatened to withdraw federal emergency workers from the Puerto Rico as much of the island remains in dire straits, says Julio Lopez Varona of Make the Road Connecticut
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I appreciate immensely The Real News reports. You report news that is covered nowhere else. - Elizabeth Sheppard
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


transcript

AARON MATÉ: It's The Real News. I'm Aaron Maté. President Trump has launched a new attack on Puerto Rico as it grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. On Twitter, Trump suggested Puerto Rico is mostly to blame for its financial crisis and damaged infrastructure. Trump also threatened to withdraw federal emergency workers from the recovery effort.

The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz responded by calling Trump, "The Hater in Chief." Trump's threat to withdraw aid from Puerto Rico comes as the island remains in dire need. About a third of its residents are without running water and some have even tried to get it from contaminated sites. The death toll has climbed to 45 and is expected to rise. This comes as congress is weighing a 4.9 billion dollar measure for Puerto Rico but it's not in the form of direct aid but a loan.

Julio López Varona is the lead organizer for Make The Road Connecticut. Welcome Julio, let's start with responding to what we heard from President Trump on Twitter today, apparently blaming the island for its financial crisis and then making the suggestion that he's going to withdraw federal emergency workers from Puerto Rico saying that he can't keep them there forever.

JULIO LÓPEZ: Hi, Aaron. It's great to be here. I would say there's a couple of things that seem interesting. In a broader sense it's just keeps marking the disregard that Trump shows for Black and Brown communities. Puerto Rico is just another layer that gets added to 100 years of colonialism and disregard for the people of Puerto Rico who are American citizens. I think it goes to show how he has seen this strategy that's happening in Puerto Rico, which is extremely unfortunate. It's not, his comments are not in any something that we don't expect because he was throwing paper towels at our people two weeks ago, but they are extremely unfortunate.

AARON MATÉ: Right. His comment comes just one day after the EPA put out a press release urging residents not to drink or gather water, drinking water from hazardous superfund sites. Saying that people are so desperate that they've been forced to collect water from there. Can you talk about that situation when it comes to water and people in such need that they're forced to go and try to collect it from these sites?

JULIO LÓPEZ: Well, people are desperate in most parts of the island. Many parts of the island are still disconnected from any place where there are resources. The resources that the federal government is giving Puerto Rico are extremely limited so it's up to the people to actually organize and do something.

People are just going to rivers or where ever they can to get some water. Unfortunately, because of the hurricane the ecosystem was just destroyed, which meant that it created disease, it created these combination of things that are making disease spread, are making people die, are making people go to the bathroom in the same place where they're getting their water. It's a really bad situation that's getting even worse because of the fact that we're not getting the support we need.

AARON MATÉ: Right. On that front, let's talk about food as well. There's a report in the Guardian yesterday, saying that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is only providing 200,000 meals per day to meet the needs of more than 2 million people. They call this a daily shortfall of between 1.8 million and 5.8 million meals.

JULIO LÓPEZ: Exactly, so it's about 200,000 meals and to make matters worse, I don't know if you've seen the packages of meals, but they're not very healthy. One of the biggest criticisms since the beginning was that they were not getting to where they needed to. Now, only 200,000 are getting and what we're finding is that the packages are, they are giving to families are small, are unhealthy and don't have what families need to actually get them fed.

AARON MATÉ: Right. In terms of aid not reaching people, I mean, most of the footage that we see comes from San Juan, that's where a lot of the aid is being delivered to. That's where most journalists are reporting from, but all this is very cut off from the remote communities who are not getting the aid. Can you talk about their situation?

JULIO LÓPEZ: Well, I was actually in Puerto Rico when the hurricane passed. I just came back on Monday. San Juan has become this very interesting poster child for recovery that has nothing to do with the rest of the island. Most of the packages that were delivered, even donations are stuck in San Juan because the government, for about a week and a half, was still making sure the packages were paying taxes so there was a logistical nightmare that happened. That logistical nightmare meant that many of the packages either just got to San Juan where there were some, and there is some, access to water and electricity, but they were not getting to the rest of the island. When we're talking about not only food, but medical equipment we have a crisis that's brewing and is becoming even worse because dialysis stations are not getting the medicine they need so it's getting, it was a hurricane but what it's really becoming a disaster or the hurricane is the fact that the response has been so terrible.

AARON MATÉ: Finally, Julio, your reaction to this request from Trump, to Congress, not for 4.9 billion dollars in aid to Puerto Rico but 4.9 billion dollars as a loan.

JULIO LÓPEZ: Well, it's sad and laughable at the same time. Many of the debt that Puerto Rico has right now, the over 72 billion dollars in debt that Puerto Rico has, are from the same friends that Trump has on Wall Street that impose those debts 10 years ago because they knew Puerto Rico was in a dire situation and those same friends impose us 30 measures that made the Puerto Rico infrastructure unable to respond to any crisis.

Now, to Trump say that they're going to lend some money for Puerto Rico to pre-pay knowing that Puerto Rico is in a dire crisis, and that crisis is made because of Wall Street billionaires and millionaires that have created this situation, and have made a really bad hurricane worse, is just a slap in the face and an insult to American citizens living in Puerto Rico.

AARON MATÉ: We'll leave it there. Julio López Varona, lead organizer for Make the Road Connecticut, thank you.

JULIO LÓPEZ:: Thank you.

AARON MATÉ: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Paul Jay On Our Need For Monthly Donors
The Death of Detective Sean Suiter: How Deep Does the Corruption Go?
Undoing the New Deal: Roosevelt Created A Social Safety Net, Not Socialism (pt3)
The Only Peace Process is Palestinian Freedom
A Chicago Alderman Introduced A Water Affordability Ordinance. Does Baltimore Need One Too?
State of Emergency Declared in Southern California
To Fight Crime We Must Address Root Causes, Says Mayor of Compton, CA
DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party
Children's Health Insurance Program to Expire Under GOP Tax Bill
Hariri's Unresignation is Saudi's Latest Failure
Palestinians Resist Israel and its US Enabler
Coal, Lies and Renewable Energy, Australian Style
Bernie Sanders and Ben Jealous Hold Healthcare Rally in Baltimore
Mystery Surrounding Detective's Death Heightens Mistrust of Police
Unlike US Embassy, Palestinians Will Not Be Moved
Greece Emerges from Economic Crisis with Increased Inequality
Reporter's Harassment Sparks a #MeToo Moment at WNYC
The Argument for Closing Low-Enrollment Schools is Wrong, Advocates Say
Undoing the New Deal: Truman's Cold War Buries Wallace and the Left (pt2)
Trump's 'Criminal' Jerusalem Move Could Backfire
Is Saudi Arabia Destroying Yemen to Plunder It?
A Semblance of Justice For Walter Scott
Senator Al Franken Resigns
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Wants to Make Jackson the Most Radical City on the Planet
Bankrupt Greece Becomes a Major Military Spender and 'Sales Agent' for NATO
Residents Say Police Lockdown in Wake of Cop's Death is Unconstitutional
The Whole Bushel: It's Hard To Tell From Your Bio
Ben Jealous: Maryland Needs Medicare-for-All
Preemptive Strike on North Korea: Is Trump Wagging the Dog?
Trump's Jerusalem Embassy Move Was Long in the Works

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting