PUERTO RICO: America’s neglected brother

Isabelle LaBianco, News Editor

Hurricane Maria had began its discourse Sept. 20 on the island of Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning. Six days later, the island of Puerto Rico, specifically the city of San Juan, had been destroyed. Electric power shocked, high levels of flooding, destroyed homes, and annihilated spirits.

The day before Hurricane Maria’s wrath, I had skyped my friend Esteban who lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. While we were talking, he had mentioned that this would be our last time for at least a week. As I could hear the harsh wind roaring in the background, I began to grow dubious and knew it would be more than seven days.
Puerto Rico has suffered from the destruction of cell phone towers, electric power loss, and lack of nutrients, such as water. Fresh water has been scarce, with one fire hydrant on the whole island being the only source of water.

The citizens are running low on resources. According to CNN.com, hospitals are running on single generators and 97% of Puerto Ricans are surviving without Internet or cell phone connectivity. Air and boat travel to the United States is incredibly expensive and all booked out until mid October.

In this time of crucial aid, it seems more than probable for the US to step in, especially with Puerto Rico being a US territory. However, the US has only sent 2,500 National Guard soldiers to the island. Yet in comparison to the 35,000 soldiers that were sent to Houston during the storm of Hurricane Harvey and the 7,000 sent to cities in Florida due to the wreck of Hurricane Irma, it seems as if Puerto Rico is America’s least favorite child.

While all of the hurricanes were absolutely devastating, Puerto Rico has lost many more resources. It will most likely be months, as projected by Governor Ricardo Rosselló, before the energy grid is restored.

In US media, many current events are occurring in a short period of time: the debate on kneeling during the national anthem at sporting events, the Graham-Cassidy bill, and the new proposed tax reform. Yet, for the incredible amounts of news notifications that pop up on my phone daily, merely five since Sept. 20, have been about Puerto Rico.

Coming to the aid of our US territory is not a subject of politics, it’s the duty our country must serve to our people. What is taking focus on the media’s limelight should not be distracting us from helping the people of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Ricans are Americans, too. They deserve the same amount of assistance and relief that our country provided for Texas and Florida.

If you are interested in providing monetary relief to the territory, nonprofit organizations such as “Unidos por Puerto Rico” and “”Hispanic Federation” are great resources to provide contributions.