One hundred days after being hit by Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to make landfall in almost a century, Puerto Rico languishes amidst devastation. An American colony since it was seized during the imperialist Spanish-American War of 1898, Puerto Rico joins the growing list of “sacrifice zones” like Detroit (after the auto-makers abandoned it for cheaper labor elsewhere) and New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina flooded the low-lying black and working class districts).
Here are some details:
- Nearly half the island is still without power in the longest power outage in modern US history. Power lines litter streets. Blackouts are common.
- Hundreds of thousands struggle to survive without modern necessities like running water, refrigeration, stoves and ovens, not to mention lights.
- Hospitals and medical clinics must make do without the modern infrastructure they require.
- Over 250,000 homes were destroyed. Many families depend on tarps to protect themselves from the elements.
- Outside tourist areas, streets are littered with garbage and landfills are beyond capacity with waste and debris.
- Thousands of businesses have closed, many never to reopen. More than 100,000 people are out of work.
- Over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island, many with only what they could carry, and 300,000 more are expected to follow.
The American ruling class could not care less. President Trump even managed to blame the Puerto Ricans themselves.