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While Preying on Venezuela, Trump Leaves Puerto Rico Adrift

puerto-rico-venBy Randy Alonso Falcon

The United States President Donald Trump and his cortége (Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio, Abrams) are obsessed with Venezuela. They have breakfast, tweet and talk in their unique language of aggressiveness against Caracas.

Public and secret funds are now being allocated for an imperial attack against the South American country. The U.S. State Department is requesting 500 million dollars for its interventionist activity in Venezuela next fiscal year. The Pentagon is making calculations for an eventual military assault. Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, authorities, inhabitants, the media, question where is the promised and unfulfilled aid on behalf of the United States Administration to face the unresolved effects of two powerful hurricanes, Irma and Maria, that hit in September 2017, as well as the increasing accumulated poverty rates in the so-called Island of Enchantment.

President Donald Trump complained a few days ago that his Administration, which controls Puerto Rico as a colony, allocated about $ 91 billion for its recovery. According to him, that amount exceeds the aid granted by the Federal Government to other states also affected by tornadoes. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rosello refuted those statements and stated that in fact Washington had only granted $5.3 billion, specifically to restore their power supply and to replace steel and wood roofs ripped off by strong winds with tarps.

Rossello said that 18 months after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005 under the George W. Bush Administration had, 2,400 permanent building projects, while Puerto Rico has only 46.

Puerto Rico suffered more than 4,000 deaths during and after Hurricane Maria, an amount not recognized by the administration in Washington, and more than a year passed before its power grid was restored. People around the globe will never forget the image of Mr. Trump throwing paper towels to an audience that received him during his brief 4 hour visit to Puerto Rico.

High Child Poverty Rates

Childhood poverty has been a heavy burden for Puerto Rican society for decades. According to statistics released by the non-profit Institute for Youth Development (IDJ), it has never dropped below 50% since 1999.

The latest Well-being Index of Children and Youth, released yearly by this non-governmental organization during the last five years, shows an increase of 58 per cent in 2017, the last year with available statistics which is 2% more than in 2016.

What is worse, according to newspaper El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico has had more poor children than non-poor for decades but there are no governmental policies against it.

“We have never had a public policy aimed at this issue of childhood poverty. It is not incorporated into economic development plans. Sometimes we talk about the participation of the labor force, which is helpful but it’s not the same as taking into account the needs of families with children, who have very specific challenges. We do not see that either in political agendas,” says IDJ executive director Amanda Rivera.

Statistics from the United States Census Bureau show that Puerto Rico’s standard of living has continue to decline. . At the end of July 2018, 44.4% of the Puerto Rican population was in poverty.

That same information shows that poverty rates in the United States is at 12.3%.

U.S. Census Bureau Data

The famous showcase colony that the United States tried to display in the sixties and seventies as opposed to the Cuban Revolution has completely broken down.

A news article recently released by Puerto Rican Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation in the U.S., warned about the situation of living on the island; “A real national emergency continues in our nation almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria ripped apart the homes and livelihoods of millions of Puerto Ricans, leaving tens of thousands struggling without jobs and housing, and suffering through a federal disaster-relief effort that is so poorly managed that it almost appears intentional. A year later, we continue to see heartbreaking evidence of how President Trump and his administration continue to dismiss and disregard the plight of American citizens living in Puerto Rico.”

The Puerto Rican people are second-class citizens for Trump and his Administration. They are loathed and forgotten. They are colonized and discarded.

There is not one single thought from the White House’s boss for the Boricuas in need. He is too busy drafting his next tweet or a new sanction against Venezuela.

Source: Cubadebate, translation by Resumen Latinoamericano North America bureau

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