Puerto Rico Is Suffering for Our Sins

Before we forget about it completely in the fog of Michael Wolff's book about the fog that Donald Trump apparently exists in, let's pause to recognize that, post-Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still fucked and it won't be unfucked for a long time. How can we list the ways?

- It might be May before the entire island has power. Half the people on the island, including those in some urban areas, do not have electricity. And while the Army Corps of Engineers thinks that power will be restored to 95% of Puerto Rico by March, we're still talking Americans living without power for 6 months since the storm, and, in the more remote areas, 8-9 months, just in time for the 2018 hurricane season to start. (Those areas still have over 80,000 people in them.)

- Some of those remote areas still don't have potable water. FEMA has been insisting that 95% of Puerto Ricans have access to drinkable water, but the island's water was a fucking mess before the storm. Yeah, pre-Maria, 99.5% of the island's citizens drank water that violated the Safe Drinking Water Act. And after the storm, with water treatment plants needing, you know, electricity, even if you get your water from your kitchen sink, it still was contaminated with bacteria, as seen by an uptick in illnesses caused by those little fuckers.

- Connecticut's two senators, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, returned this week from a visit to the island. Murphy, in particular, was stunned by what he saw. He said that "'almost none' of the aid Puerto Rico was supposed to receive has been delivered as part of a $36.5 billion October package that also allocated relief for Florida and Texas." And Murphy believes that the final death toll from the failure of the federal government to send the aid needed will be "in the multiple thousands."

- Speaking of the death toll, it's already estimated to be over 1000, when you take into account things like the people who died because the power grid was destroyed and they couldn't get dialysis. Don't take my word for it. Listen to the demographer who helped come up with that number. Alexis R. Santos-Lozada believes that the lower number of 64 directly attributable to the hurricane in action will remain the official death count. She warns, "[M]inimized figures could weaken efforts to provide relief to communities affected by the hurricane at the local and international level." The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, just launched an effort to look into the actual number of deaths.

- While it looks like the issue might be shortly fixed, Puerto Rico is a primary place where IV bags and saline fluid are made, and so there has been a shortage of those in hospitals on the mainland. Amazing how this shit works. The FDA is saying that the manufacturing plant is back on the commercial grid, but, holy shitballs, did you even know this was happening?

- Meanwhile, there has been an exodus of Puerto Ricans to the mainland United States, which they can do freely and legally (sorry, Trumpenheimers) because they are Americans. Hundreds of thousands of them have come to settle here. At least 200,000 are now living in Florida, which Trump won by 113,000 votes in 2016. Anecdotally, many of those new residents are registering to vote. PR Gov. Rosselló is saying he will work to mobilize the millions of Puerto Ricans in the states to take revenge on Republicans in 2018.

And that, in the end, will be the only way to unfuck a part of the United States that our madman president wants us to forget about.