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The country of Puerto Rico, Part 2

After a weekend of everyone focusing on the NFL, twitter is focusing with increasing alarm on Puerto Rico. The island is expected to be largely without power for 4-6 months. It puts my little week without after Sandy in perspective. Imagine no electricity for AC, refrigeration, hospital equipment. It’s a nightmare.

But that’s not the only indignity for Puerto Rico. There’s also the Jones Act. That act prohibits any foreign ships from entering Puerto Rico unless they have passed through a US port. So, any aid from any other country can’t get to Puerto Rico speedily. If the French have a few more generators or the Dutch have supplies left over from rescuing Sint Maarten, they have to go thru the US first.

The hospital is nearing collapse. There is a dam in danger of bursting, safe drinking water is scarce and as far as I know, no one has lit a fire under the Trump administration to do anything about it.

Republicans are too fixated on creating a spectacle out of their crazy “healthcare” bill.

Governor Rosello has to go on TV to remind the president that “Puerto Rico is part of the United States”.

This is turning into another Katrina but we aren’t seeing it yet. Sooner or later it’s going to explode on our radar and we’re going to bear the burden of having Puerto Rico descend into chaos and unnecessary deaths on our watch.

So, if there are any NFL players out there who are planning to take the knee tonight, make sure you don’t waste this opportunity to do something for our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico who are in dire straits.

Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own.

And it flies over Puerto Rico.

8 Responses

  1. Nothing touches this mfer. Below is a 1984 letter — read it. That was the guy then and still the same guy today but he became president. I don’t think he will pay any price for what he is or who he is which is why he rubs it people’s faces all the time.

  2. PR didn’t vote for him. So he will screw them.

  3. The buffoon has not won the culture war yet (unlike some in the media are concluding).

  4. It’s time for all of us to ask “Are we better off than we were eight months ago?”

  5. I’ll contribute to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through UNICEF. I trust that org.

  6. But that’s not the only indignity for Puerto Rico. There’s also the Jones Act. That act prohibits any foreign ships from entering Puerto Rico unless they have passed through a US port.

    I don’t think that’s quite right. There is a provision of the Jones Act that prohibits foreign shippers from stopping in Puerto Rico and then continuing on to US mainland port, but that isn’t the real problem for Puerto Rico.

    I believe the main provision of the Jones Act that harms Puerto Rico is the one that requires goods moving between the US mainland and Puerto Rico to be transported by US shippers, on US vessels with US crews. Actually it prohibits transport of goods between US ports by foreign shippers/vessels. This makes every US good much more expensive in Puerto Rico than on the mainland, because US shippers are more expensive (even more than they would be otherwise, because they know a captive market when they see one). This has been a continual drag on the Puerto Rican economy. This isn’t just something that has caused recent problems, it’s been hurting them for nearly a century.The same factors don’t affect the mainland as much because there are other transport means available (rail, trucks, etc.). You can’t drive from Baltimore to San Juan.

    Similar regulations are applied to air carriers, which is why Air Canada can’t legally fly you from Denver to LA, even though they have flights through both airports. Some people circumvent this restriction by connecting in a foreign airport, but it’s still technically illegal and airlines have been known to void such itineraries after purchase. Such illegal itineraries are examples of cabotage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabotage.

    It’s difficult to know how much this is interfering with relief efforts. As I understand it, the only currently functioning port in Puerto Rico is San Juan and the transportation infrastructure on the island is so damaged that aid simply can’t get from there to other parts of the island and is piling up in San Juan. This sounds like a job for heavy-lift helicopters (of which the US military has many), which makes Hillary’s call for getting the Navy involved eminently sensible.

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