"Washington must abandon its austerity agenda and support the removal of all manmade obstacles to Puerto Rico's recovery and reconstruction."
While Wall Street vultures circle amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis and try to entice Puerto Rico with "relief" offers in the form of more debt, advocates for economic justice are demanding immediate debt relief and federal stimulus spending to rebuild the island's devastated infrastructure.
"Puerto Rico needs immediate humanitarian assistance before many more lives are lost thanks to America's latest climate catastrophe, and reconstruction aid to help them rebuild their infrastructure," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, wrote for Common Dreams on Friday. She continued:
The hurricane only made a bad situation much, much worse: Puerto Rico has been reeling from austerity measures for years that were put in place by Wall Street, which has been calling to recoup the debt. One of Donald Trump's first responses to the mounting humanitarian crisis was to remind people of the "billions of dollars" the territory owes to the bank, "which must be dealt with"—signaling what the priorities will be.
Since Hurricane Maria struck the island last week, nearly half of the commonwealth's 3.4 million residents remain without access to potable water and 97 percent remain without electricity—which its governer has warned may not be fully restored for up to six months.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, as Common Dreams reported Tuesday, has continuously offered assurance that the recovery efforts are "doing well" while also suggesting the government can offer only limited assistance because of Puerto Rico's debts.