How the United States is Failing Puerto Rico

The relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico is a unique one. For some time now, the island has been making attempts to gain the title of Statehood. And While it is a territory of the U.S, many believe that the United States has done a lot less than it should, to protect its own territory.

This concern has once again been brought to the national narrative after the responses to Hurricane Maria and Irma’s damage, in Puerto Rico. For starters, major media outlets have given the disaster a lot less coverage than they have with the other hurricanes in the recent months. Instead, the country seems to be focusing more attention on protests at football games than on national disasters.

Puerto Ricans are suffering, and over 95% of their cell towers are down. The Guajataca dam located on the Northwestern side of the island is very close to bursting. The dam threatens 70,000 people who have all been ordered to evacuate. Puerto Rico’s electricity grid took on so much damage, they will likely have to rebuild. A process that could leave locals without power for 4-6 months.

The response to the crisis from the White House has been much less enthusiastic than survivors could hope for. Politicians from Puerto Rico are saying that Federal Aid has not been coming quick enough for them. The White House retorted that they are moving at a much faster speed than would generally occur but, considering that the President’s own response was late and appeared to be more concerned with the island’s debt than the local’s lives, the crisis facing Puerto Rico does not appear like it will be alleviated quickly, by the United States.

There is a history of the United States disregarding the island. Puerto Rico only has a non-voting member in Congress. They also do not have a vote in the Federal Election. So while it is possible that the States will turn a new attitude towards Puerto Rico, history says this doesn’t seem very likely.

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