As the days grind up in number, creating time and distance from the thrashing winds and surging inundation of the deluge of water hurricane Maria pulled over Puerto Rico, statistics remain alien from the view on the ground, a tangible contradiction to a popular and racially charged narrative that Puerto Ricans “need to stop relying on the trump administration for relief and rebuild themselves”.
A Puerto Rico which was already a decade behind in infrastructure, limping with debt and who is projected by economists to run dry of money by November cannot rebuild from this level of damage.
Puerto Rico is heavily scarred with countless homes populated by home bound and bed bound elders sitting in a silence that was once occupied by the sounds of air conditioners and televisions, sheets of perspiration from the sweltering heat falling into their frustration furrowed brows.
Debris clogs traverses. Telephone and Electric poles are snapped, bent, broken and either lie on people’s roofs or sprawl across busy roadways.
Long stretches of lush fields of trees, crowded in elbow to elbow are naked of leaves and have torn appendages scattered across the land.
And rather than learn from a decentralized model of human to human, neighbor to neighbor circumvention of FEMA and military protocols which limit food resource output to 200,000 meals per day on an island of more than 3 million people needing 3 meals a day, they continue to prop up their relentless disaster occupation ethic against stacks of financial subsidization.
Throwing money and resources to power structures that have proven their bottle neck relief structure to be sorely lacking, at a time where ‘sorely lacking’ means life or death to people not privy to catered buffets in air conditioning at the glitzy Sheraton hotel where these defective models legitimize their worth through meetings and op sec tactical strategizing while people cook to death in their living rooms.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief workers have traversed these waste models as being just as unpassable as collapsed bridges in Utuado.
An assessment, supplies and medical team has been circulating through mountain villages, Refugee camps and resource-untouched communities and with tons per day of supplies to mitigate the damage that has been wreaked upon them by the crime of abandonment.
We are working to reduce harm and provide access to medical care. We are supporting radical, grassroots efforts on the ground with supplies and amplification. We are countering the narrative taped over the mouths of a people with a history ripping at the seams with endured violence, colonization and exploitation from San Juan to Aguadilla.
We continue short term relief as the opening scenes to a committed effort which is preparing for a systems team to come in with long term solar and water purification infrastructure.
Decolonization is fueled by independence and empowered self determination.
In Puerto Rico, relief efforts continue to be constructed by the determined hands of communities rooted in environmental justice and supported by the hands of comrade movements.
We continue to amplify the people’s struggle.
This story will be told by the people of Puerto Rico.