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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/7/18

Naomi Klein: 4,645 Deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria Were "State-Sponsored Mass Killing"

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JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yea, I wanted to follow up. Elizabeth, before the break, you were talking about the federal response. And one of the things that folks have not gotten much -- paid much attention to is that the -- Trump's Federal Communications Commission recently decided that they were going to sharply reduce the Lifeline project, which most people are not aware of, but the Lifeline project is a project that provides cellphone and broadband services to low-income Americans. And there are 500,000 people in Puerto Rico who receive that Lifeline. It's a government subsidy for communications. Now, we all talk about the communications catastrophe that occurred in Puerto Rico, but 369,000 people in Puerto Rico are going to lose -- there's 500,000 in Puerto Rico who receive this service; 369,000 are going to be cut off as a result of this decision. And they're not going to have access to even government-subsidized communications in an emergency situation like this. Another example of how, in very -- in many different ways, the federal government is failing the people of Puerto Rico.

ELIZABETH YEAMPIERRE: You know, what's really interesting is that we're living in the age of climate change. And everyone who is talking about climate adaptation, resiliency, building social cohesion, one of the central things to making it possible for people to survive recurrent extreme weather events is a good communications system. And so, we just finished hearing about a report where people lost their lives because they had no access to communication. They couldn't get access to healthcare. They couldn't get access to -- you know, if they had diabetes and they needed medical care.

And so, by doing that, by dismantling that and by diminishing that, it really increases the chances that more people are going to die. It increases vulnerability. It destroys social cohesion. And it really is an attack on the survivability of the Puerto Rican people. And I think people think of communications, and they don't see the relationship between the ability for people to have access to all of their needs, through that system, and their survival. And there really is a direct relationship. And that's just one of the many things that is happening in Puerto Rico to really make it impossible for people to make it through.

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