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Is Puerto Rico Being "Ethnically Cleansed" for the Super Rich?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Harvey Wasserman       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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From youtube.com: The Ugly Truth About Puerto Rico {MID-197634}
The Ugly Truth About Puerto Rico
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Stefan Molyneux)
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Two months after the Sept. 20 landfall of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico -- like the nearby Virgin Islands -- is still in a state of horrifying devastation. The help being offered by the Trump administration is thin to the point of being cruel and unusual.

At this point one must ask: Is Trump's astonishing lack of aid part of a larger plan to cleanse the islands of their native populations, drive down real estate values and create a billionaire's luxury hotel-casino-prostitution playground la Cuba before the revolution?

In other words: ethnic cleansing for the superrich.

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There is just one piece of good news: Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., has joined Rep. Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands in proposing that Puerto Rico's electric grid be rebuilt with wind, solar and a network of micro-grids. More than half the original electric grid is still not functioning, with frequent blackouts occurring in areas where the grid is operational.

Amid a widespread green campaign (more on that later), Lieu and Plaskett have asked the public to cosign their letter to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to "invest in a more resilient energy infrastructure focused on renewable energy technology and distributed generation."

One major wind farm on Puerto Rico's south shore did survive Maria intact, as did the solar array of a local greenhouse business. Elon Musk has revived a children's hospital by shipping in a solar/battery array that is sustaining the few medical facilities in San Juan with reliable power.

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But overall, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are in such horrific shape that it's hard to dismiss the idea that the weak recovery effort might be by design. Consider this:

-- Throughout the islands, U.S. citizens are dying due to lack of clean water. Tens of thousands are still without food, clothing, medical care or even basic shelter.

-- A CNN survey of Puerto Rico's burial services found a minimum of 499 deaths in the wake of the storm. That number cannot begin to cover the entire scope of the casualties, as many of the corpses have never made it to funeral homes. The official government death toll is about 65. When Trump visited the island he proudly put it at 16, complimenting FEMA for keeping it so "low."

-- Despite enormous resources available, the Trump administration has failed to deliver even sufficient tarps to cover rooftops that have been shattered or blown away altogether.

-- North Carolina activist Ana Blackburn reported on prn.fm radio's "Green Power & Wellness Show" that her mother, who lives in central Puerto Rico, is feeding more than 100 people per day at a church kitchen that can barely scrap together enough food for everyone.

-- She also confirmed widespread reports that FEMA workers are delivering small quantities of bottled water, but nowhere near enough to prevent desperately thirsty locals from drinking contaminated water from polluted streams and even from designated SuperFund sites (hazardous waste dumps), resulting in widespread sickness and death.

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-- FEMA has been responding to requests for help by handing people without phone service or electricity a flier with a phone number to call and a website on which to fill out an application.

-- Many in Puerto Rico have died because most of the island's hospitals have no power and cannot provide surgery, dialysis and other basic life-saving services. Insulin and other medicines have spoiled due to lack of refrigeration.

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Harvey is a lifelong activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, election protection, social justice, grass-roots politics and natural healing, personal and planetary.He hosts "California Solartopia" at KPFK-Pacifica and "Green Power & Wellness" atprn.fm. (more...)
 

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Daniel Geery

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A most important article here for sure. One question I have is whether Puerto Ricans are using rainwater to solve the water problem. Some years back I was in Vieques for ten days, and they were selling bottled water at an exorbitant rate, yet every day it rained for an hour or two and untold gallons of water could have been caught off rooftops for free, filtered with simple charcoal filters. There would have been no end to the supply of potable water. I don't know if those conditions were typical all year long but it appeared to me that they are. Catching rainwater is a relatively simple matter. I have friends who have lived off the grid that way for years and I did something similar with 4th graders when we were growing a garden in the woods. One small rainstorm filled a 55-gallon drum in no time at all with a plastic tarp on a hillside. I'd love to hear from anyone who has more information and what is actually going on in that regard, if anything.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 23, 2017 at 4:48:52 PM

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911TRUTH

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Daniel, isn't it illegal to capture rainwater in Utah? Or is it Colorado?

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 23, 2017 at 5:22:49 PM

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I'm not sure, but I gather it was made illegal in Flint, when and where it was/is needed most.

To be honest, on a project like this, it's easy to slide under the radar. More importantly, if everyone did it I predict it would be impossible to stop.

In any event, it should be done wherever needed and feasible. Even "grey water" from the house can be used in the garden. Living off grid in Idaho for 15 years, we used a well, 60' deep, with a 2 amp 12 volt solar pump and two plastic, 55 gallon water storage tanks click here

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 23, 2017 at 6:49:12 PM

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In Guatemala when they privatized the water works they passed a law that catching rainwater was theft.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 5:03:00 PM

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I am reminded of a phrase that my Dad used frequently up to his death, at 93, two years ago.


My siblings and I use it often, and I pass it on here for others, who I'm sure will find ample use for it: "The bastards are out to screw you!"

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 5:58:50 PM

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content
I thought that situation happened in Bolivia...but maybe in Guatemala, too.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 11:41:54 PM

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these comments make a great point---the entire island(s) should now be outfitted with a network of rain catchment facilities. right next to the solar panels!!

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 9:57:51 PM

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these comments make a great point---the entire island(s) should now be outfitted with a network of rain catchment facilities. right next to the solar panels!!

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 9:58:03 PM

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It is certainly doable and in large production should cost little per unit. Having lived off-grid for 15 years, ending in 1995 (due to moving location), I can say with certainty that with the technology out now it is a perfect time to turn crises into creative opportunity. Even with a 900 ft2 roof, there would be water to spare, based on calculations from minimal rainfall in PR.

P.S. Here's where my kids were living when their teachers were telling them that solar energy "wasn't feasible" click here

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 10:44:24 PM

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Carol R Campbell

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I live on Catchment Water, and have since we moved to Hawaii Island. Seems these Developments were grandfathered in 50 years ago and the County provided no services... I'm not complaining! It beats Kona side with 3 of 5 County Well Pumps broken, and living on water hours/shortages.

That said, there are lots of problems with catchment in the tropical areas that you won't find in UTAH. Vermin and disease are a constant threat without a secure cover and a U/V+filter purifying system. Leptospirosis is first of course - it's known colloquially as Rat-P*ss Disease because the rats tend to pee where they drink - fouling the water. That's a real threat to local dogs who drink standing water... Careless, or poor people are obviously at risk also.

The newest one is Rat lung Disease - So called because the rats are the primary carrier, but it is spread by snails and slugs. Any water they have wandered into or any fresh greens they've sampled are suspect - The greens have to be carefully washed several times in fresh, clean water. The water is presumed contaminated and must be dumped. Then there are the multitude of mosquito spread diseases like dengue and Zika caused by standing fresh water mosquitoes can breed in.

This all means more infrastructure than climate refugees who have lost everything, including any hope of help makes what looks easy in the fly-over country poses extreme problems for people trying to scrabble something together to shelter their kids and elderly Parents, in a society that has decided they are expendable.

Everyone seems to have their hand out this year, and most are good causes I try to donate to every year. But this year, Puerto Rico is at the top of my list - and not the big-name Charities with the CEO who makes a high six figure income...

Submitted on Friday, Nov 24, 2017 at 6:58:45 AM

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Carol, most interesting and informative comment, thank you very much. I'm not surprised as I read what you said here but I do wonder if we seriously applied existing technology better if we could solve these problems fairly easily. Not an expert here obviously but keeping vermin out and getting the cost of UV filters down with mass production sounds doable. I admit to having great faith in the potentials of technology, applied properly, which of course is the Big Catch. Again thank you for this update and important information.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 24, 2017 at 4:23:52 PM

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Carol R Campbell

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The Technology exists. The Peace Corps used to install simple systems for water and cooking to L.A. and Africa back in the 90's We invested in a Company that was developing this stuff - since sold and now going by the name Gaia. I don't know if the emphasis on easy survival solar stuff still is maintained by the new Corp. But we bought the best UV System they sold in 2000. It is still available, but not cheap. Back in the '70s, a house I bought had a simple U/V sterilizer mounted on the kitchen sink, so this is not rocket science.

The system you described is functional, as long as the tanks are covered & with a u/v system for the out-flow. The problem I see is that these things do require availability, and local mechanics to install them. Not being in the Peace Corp, I don't know how to go about setting something like that up in PR.

Now, if we could import a brigade of Cuban Emergency Experts, we'd be in business!

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 8:14:24 PM

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Our military SHOULD be there installing them, paid for by the money we spend on one F35--or a few thousand other WMDs.

A UV filter would take energy, which is the problem I see here. However, any camping store has filters that work well for backpackers. It would be wonderful advertising for any company that would take this idea and run with it.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 9:41:10 PM

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Carol R Campbell

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U//v works on solar as well as fossil fuel:) The problem with the filters, especially for some of the rat vectored Tropical Diseases I mentioned is that the parasites are too small to filter out efficiently. A 10 micron filter to catch big stuff and UV for living things is the easiest most efficient solution. Think about it a 2' long glass tube exposed to tropical sun would kill just about anything - including me if I were immersed in one any length of time...

For those who are appalled at my casual mention of rats, they are endemic in the tropics - the Polynesians brought them to Hawaii in the 1st Canoes, BTW. They do not rely of man or our garbage - The exist just fine on palm nuts and other tropical fruits.

You can keep them outside and away from your living area with vigilance, but they'll be in the palm trees you plant for landscaping, just waiting for you to go on vacation. Even my dogs love the palm nuts, and Bella stays a bit too fat snacking on them - Just like I do on popcorn!

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 26, 2017 at 6:38:44 AM

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I've been wondering about these things since your last comment. My original house panels, in 1980, were 50 watts each in full sun. That might be enough for the UV. Our fairly new local pool uses a large probably acrylic pipe in lieu of chlorine and everyone loves it. These should be easy things to find out and yet more grist for military conversion projects, not to mention individuals or companies in PR. If Trump weren't busy playing deadly "military games" and tweeting maniacly, he just might get the ball rolling to everyone's benefit on a large scale. On another point, I read long ago about invasive species that have largely taken over Hawaii, starting with early Europeans.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 26, 2017 at 4:27:06 PM

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Harvey Wasserman

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above all, the island need to be completely solarized. let's ship in solar panels!!!

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 9:54:58 PM

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Carol, thank you for this input. One never knows when such facts may be important.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 2:51:42 AM

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Of course it is.


I've been saying this from day one after the storm when it was obvious that trump was doing nothing to help PR.


He is going to buy up ocean front property all over the island virtually for free.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 23, 2017 at 5:21:15 PM

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This is as good an explanation as any. Naomi Klein called it The Shock Doctrine.

Puerto Rico is being set up to be another Haiti, but one under direct US control.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 23, 2017 at 7:35:58 PM

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Does anybody know what's going on in St. Martin? What do the locals eat over there - the wreckage?

Antigua nd Barbuda and Dominica have Govts. on their own at least, to manage the recovery no matter how slow.

CUBA is in better shape than Puerto Rico right now beyond any doubt.

Check this out on Puerto Rico and Trump's money ties click here

As NYT wrote, Puertoricans are landing massively in Orlando, Fl.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 24, 2017 at 1:22:25 AM

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cuba its in better shape because it has the base of a social democracy. it's leaders have been repressive. but the social services and the educational systems have been put in place. without the embargo, things would be much better there. but that's precisely what the corporate capitalists are afraid of!

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 10:04:04 PM

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Thank you for this article and your truth telling, and for intelligent and oompassionate commentary.

Is there anything we can do to stop this plan by billionaires to wrest Puerto Rico away from the Americans who by rights should live there now, during and after the rebuild - or can we start a rebuild through volunteerism and grassroots help? Anything at all? If so, then we the people should be doing it, because the oligarchs and plutocrat bigots and crooks won't help our own citizens there, and in fact, would probably prefer that they die.

Thanks also to Carol R Campbell for expaining the difficulties of the water situation. I wonder where one can even donate money so that basic needs like water can get through to the people.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 24, 2017 at 9:09:02 AM

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thanks for the kudos! much appreciated.


to stop this we need a whole turnover in government, which is what the MAJORITY of americans really want. had bernie not been deprived of the nomination and had then faced trump in a real election, we'd be headed in that direction. as it stands, we have a HUGE job ahead of us to win social democracy and ecological sanity.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 10:00:29 PM

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Another point of view: Puerto Rico might be undergoing ethnic cleansing but imho the real scenario is PR is being tossed under the bus as unsaveable...climate change is here and a rational mind will expect that next year and onward there will be repeats of monster storms that will continue to wreck the Caribbean and coastal Gulf cities and up through the Ohio Valley. It will be a waste of money to try to rebuild year after year...Puerto Rico especially. And wait until Houston gets so far behind in rebuilding that the rebuilding agencies, insurance companies and citizens themselves simply leave Houston to the stroms.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 24, 2017 at 12:07:15 PM

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After reading the article and comments a couple times, I was thinking the same thing. It's a given that the PTB won't help brown people who speak Spanish. But whether or not they want the island for themselves is debatable. Could be a sun haven for the rich; could be a cause recognized as lost to climate. Either way, the people lose and lose and lose.
ps. Sending people back to ravaged Haiti; that's stark naked racism; no debate.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 24, 2017 at 5:24:26 PM

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trump is doing everything racist to appeal to his fascist base. this is a dangerous time! ultimately, we are not a fascist country. but there's been a coup d'etat and the corporate democrats are doing nothing. time for the social democrats and the greens to finally get it together....

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 10:02:02 PM

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you watch...there will be casinos & luxury hotels there, with trump's name on them, built high up, backed by russian money

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 25, 2017 at 9:56:15 PM

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Reply to Harvey Wasserman:   New Content

Get Russophobia out of your head click here

click here

and the idea about "socialist regimes" being "repressive" too.

The US put and overthrew Psdts worldwide by the means the US considered "necessary".

American Ambassador went out on TV in Bolivia in 2002 to tell people not to vote for Evo Morales, now the USDOS tells Evo Morales not to run for re-election.

Paul Singer paid for Macri's campaign in Argentina click here javascript:nicTemp(); click here click here

and check the link in my first comment - it makes it clear why Puerto Rico won't be solarized (no need for Russian money).

Submitted on Friday, Dec 1, 2017 at 6:43:32 AM

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Harvey Wasserman

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(Member since May 16, 2006), 19 fans, 141 articles, 8 quicklinks, 9 comments


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Reply to Guglielmo Tell:   New Content
we'll see. i think we still have a chance in PR. let's hope.

Submitted on Friday, Dec 1, 2017 at 8:45:28 AM

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Guglielmo Tell

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Author 84998

(Member since Jan 6, 2013), 13 fans, 7 articles, 72 quicklinks, 2367 comments


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Reply to Harvey Wasserman:   New Content

More:

PR click here

Arg click here


Submitted on Friday, Dec 1, 2017 at 7:04:27 AM

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