Can’t cope? Won’t cope!

It simply beggars belief. This is not a case of cannot cope! The current US admin won’t cope. It simply refuses to help Puerto Rico.

How come a French minister is able to fly out on practically the first plane to Sint Eustace and Saint Martin, after hurricane Irma struck?

How come French and Dutch soldiers started patrolling the streets of the islands to stop looting, restore order, start helping and rebuilding within a week after the islands were hit? More ships with aid headed out to the islands, even before Maria barreled through the area.

Yet Trump’s grand USA, a nation which is a world leader, is incapable of realizing the same for Puerto Rico? While Cuba sent over help.

Like Irma and other hurricanes, Maria did not strike out of the blue. Computer models were used to predict its course. There was plenty time to start preparing and organizing help for Puerto Rico, well before Maria hit.

Yet what is the current state of affairs?

Trump’s admin refuses to waive a piece of US law, thus barring more ships to head to Puerto Rico bringing it aid it desperately needs.
There are no plans to ship troops to Puerto Rico to help stop looting and gang-rule.
Containers full of food and aid which reached Puerto Rico are left rotting in the harbour.
Looting has become a fact of life.
Gangs rule – not just during the nights.
People are dying.

US civilians are taking action, some donating time, others donating money. A few billionaires have offered their private planes. Despite owning several planes of his own and having Air Force One at his disposal – Trump has not offered any private planes or donated his own money.

What does Trump do? Apart from going on rallies to promote his tax cuts for US billionaires, mocking McConnell, mocking McCain, taking weekends off?

Guess what: he will visit Puerto Rico, despite it being surrounded by some big, huge, enormous ocean. Unfortunately, Trump’s diary is so full, he can’t visit earlier than next Tuesday. How many days did it take Trump to visit Texas, Louisiana after hurricane Harvey- albeit after some pressure?

Emanuel Macron, the King of the Netherlands, plenty officials and politicians of France and the Netherlands managed to visit Sint Eustace and Sint Martin hit by Irma, within a week after hurricane Irma devastated the islands.

Some Americans are already calling their country’s inability and the Trump’s administration’s unwillingness to assist Puerto Rico an intentional genocide.

By now, it comes as no surprise most Puerto Ricans no longer want Trump to visit.

After all: who needs an impotent, racist, unwilling president who fails to do anything useful for part of his country caught up in a major disaster, to fly over for a photo-shoot to promote and polish up his image.

Update 17:00 CET: Trump finally listened to Ricardo Rossello and others and decided to waive the Jones Act for the time being.

While Trump was claiming to think about lifting the Jones Act, senator McCain sent a letter Tuesday – so two days ago – to the Department of Homeland Security to demand a “full repeal of this archaic and burdensome Act“.

28-09-2017: Guardian: Trump waives Jones Act
29-09-2017: Update: Unconfirmed yet, but seems Trump only waived Jones Act for 10 lousy days. Or as some on twitter put it: “Someone in White House thinks you restore Puerto Rico in 10 days.” That someone of course not being ret gen Russel L. Honore.

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About Kate

Multilingual arts & culture journalist, blogger, columnist, writer and translator. Contributes to international (news) media. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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