Puerto Rico left shattered by disrespect, disaster

US territory trapped by crisis after crisis while government provides little help

By Leila Salam and Claire Oh

Puerto Rico has undergone ridiculous hardships over the past few years. From devastating Category 5 hurricanes to 5.8 earthquakes, it’s a miracle that the U.S. territory is still in one piece. 

Despite having undergone numerous natural disasters, Puerto Rico has been largely undercompensated for the damage it has been left with. 

Illustration by Leila Salam
Puerto Rico is struggling to provide for its people. The US government refuses to give necessary aid.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly decided to ignore pleas from Puerto Rican citizens as the U.S. government refuses to give up its aid money. As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is entitled to $41 billion in aid from the U.S. However, only $11.2 billion has been allocated since 2017, according to Fact Check

In addition, Trump also made an outrageous claim on Twitter falsely stating that the government already sent $91 billion in aid. In the same tweet, he continued to rant that “all [the Puerto Rican] politicians do is complain and ask for more money.”

To add insult to injury, Trump tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd of locals during his visit after Hurricane Maria. Such ridiculous conduct proves just how little respect he has for the territory and all it has been through.

Even though Puerto Rico desperately needs aid, as electricity and running water are scarce in most parts of the territory, it seems the money will never come. Aid has not been sent to Puerto Rico because the president lacks  both recognition and respect for the U.S. territory.

While all 50 U.S. states have congressional representation, Puerto Rico and other island territories have no say in the rules being enforced and the aid being given. This poses a major issue as the Puerto Rican people have no government officials speaking on their behalf. 

Another part of the problem is the territory’s chronic corruption. Due to many public uprisings against the government, Puerto Rico’s government has crumbled, leaving the territory politically trapped and without a governor. Despite its incredibly frail economy, the territory is desperately trying to survive with the little money that it has.

Without a stable and competent government, the territory can not petition for change — much less stand up — to the U.S. and demand the help and respect that they deserve.