Unpresidential behavior on Puerto Rico visit

By Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia

 

On Tuesday Oct. 3, President Donald Trump visited my devastated homeland, Puerto Rico, where millions of American citizens are starving due to the tragic storm that hit the island. There is little power all over the island, there’s no water, only half of Puerto Rico’s grocery shops are open, supplies are minimal and there’s very little communication on and off of the island.

Trump visited the island to work on strategic relief for the Puerto Ricans who are suffering, but in the process, he dismissed the tragedy as not being a real catastrophe and lacked compassion and kindness towards the thousands of people who have lost everything. The president decided to compare Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Irma and diminished the 48 people who have died due to Hurricane Irma by comparing to the hundreds who died in Hurricane Katrina. I guess our president would rather see thousands of American citizens dead  to be able to consider the situation of Puerto Rico’s status a real catastrophe.

Trump only visited touristic areas like San Juan and Guaynabo. He did not visit inland where the conditions are much worse. It’s hard to judge whether or not something is a real catastrophe if you don’t have the full picture. Damages in San Juan and Guaynabo were less destructive compared to inland mountainous areas of the island.

Trump showed no empathy to the families of those who died or those who have lost everything. Even the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, said that Trump had been disrespectful and left her unsure if he had taken the situation seriously. During the meeting, the president said things like, ‘you’ve thrown our budget out of whack’ and was even seen throwing paper towels at people. A real leader would have walked up to the citizens to give them the item, shake their hand and say something supportive to give them hope moving forward.

Many Puerto Ricans are enraged at how poorly Trump handled the situation, complaining about the cost of relief efforts and also disrespecting the family and memory of those who lost their life due to the hurricane. His behavior was inappropriate, childish and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. With the majority of my family in Puerto Rico who have lost so much and are currently suffering, I’m ashamed to see that this is the way the situation was handled. Not only the people that currently live in Puerto Rico —but also thousands of Puerto Ricans who have migrated to the continental United States — feel disrespected that this is the way a commonwealth of equal American citizenship as those in Texas, who were affected by Hurricane Harvey, were treated.

Although Hurricane Irma has passed and the number of confirmed deaths is 50 victims less than the death toll in Texas, if Puerto Rico doesn’t get the help it needs from the United States Government, that number of 48 confirmed deaths will only increase more. There’s no power in half of the hospitals in Puerto Rico. People are dying due to the lack of medicine, and many Puerto Ricans are getting sick due to the poor conditions.

In this current situation, there’s no sense of urgency to rescue Puerto Ricans from the humanitarian crisis they are currently in. I’m completely amazed at how different the situation is being treated to Texas and Florida, while Puerto Ricans are American citizens and should be treated just the same.

In this current situation, there’s no sense of urgency to rescue Puerto Ricans from the humanitarian crisis they are currently in. I’m completely amazed at how different the situation is being treated to Texas and Florida, while Puerto Ricans are American citizens and should be treated just the same.

 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s