EIC Column: U.S. lacking in foreign aid due to Trump’s prejuidice

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The Trump administration has sparked controversy for being wildly unprofessional and compassionate to the people of Puerto Rico and lacking in the call to help fellow American citizens. The behavior reflects poorly on the U.S.’ image as an aiding country because it makes it seem as though we are neglecting our territories.  Despite this, communities all around the world, including Stillwater have answering the call to action that our country’s leaders have not.

Central American countries and the southern Unites States have been plagued with four devastating hurricanes in the last month. Puerto Rico has recently plagued with Hurricane Maria, which caused irreplaceable damage and death. Puerto Rico has also learned that they will be without power for at least six months, which will set back the country’s rebuilding process. 

Trump’s administration has been criticized for the delayed call to action in assessing the islands damages in comparison to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Puerto Ricans waited 12 days before a visit from President Trump and are still waiting for federal aide. The two previous hurricanes in the U.S. received aid and a visit from the president shortly after their storms hit, the fact that Puerto Rico has not shows the lack of urgency the administration feels.

“I think it was a failure on our government because we have to make sure our laws can conform to any situation that can happen even before it happens, like hurricanes,” sophomore Christian Howlett said.

I think it was a failure on our government because we have to make sure our laws can conform to any situation that can happen even before it happens, like hurricanes.”

— Christian Howlett

It was announced on Oct. 18 that a small Montana based energy company called Whitefish Energy would be given a $300 million contract to restore the islands power. Not only does this decision breed nepotism because it is from the hometown of Interior Secretery Ryan Zinks hometown, it also jeopardizes the task of restoring the power grid. The company had 2 full time employees and little experience with major jobs like this, so it does not seem as though Whitefish can perform the urgent task.

PREPA executive director Ricardo Ramos approved the contract because Whitefish was “available to arrive and they were the ones that first accepted terms and conditions for PREPA,” he said in a statement on the matter. Puerto Rican government appears to be underlying doubt in major U.S. based companies to help them, so much so that they sought Whitefish as the best/only option. Allowing an incompetent, low level company to restore the power to a major U.S. territory definitely proves that the U.S. does not care about Puerto Rico as much as inland states. The Trump administration had no comment on the deal, which shows that they are completely fine with letting a minuscule company restore energy to a major U.S. territory.

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Despite the U.S. government’s inability to aid all of its people, the American people have shown they are willing to support and fight for their fellow citizens. Celebrities like Beyonce, Jay Z and Pitbull have joined the fight for Puerto Rico by either donating or being on the ground in the nation itself. People, towns, communities and companies have helped in the effort by sending supplies or donating to charities. Two students from Stillwater have even joined the fight to raise money for their fellow Americans.

“Staying informed, urging politicians and just plain donating are all effective ways community members could to help Puerto Rico,” Howlett said.

Staying informed, urging politicians and just plain donating are all effective ways community members could to help Puerto Rico.”

— Christian Howlett

The administration has to deal with setbacks regarding FEMA‘s availability, but the lack of genuine response or care compared to Harvey and Irma is alarming. Its immoral that Puerto Ricans should have to wait this long for aid.

Whatever the reasons may be, almost the entire country of Puerto Rico will be without power for 6 months. Without power people cannot gain access to light, telephone and internet, adequate cooking supplies, plumbing, etc. People have lost their homes, possessions and family members making  the need for aid from it’s parent country is more dire than ever. This heartbreaking reality and this irresponsibility should make anyone angry. In spite of this the best way to help Puerto Rico is to donate money, time or confront government decisions on the matter.

“If this was happening in any other part of the country, like California, the [United States] would certainly have immediate aid. Puerto Rico is a territory and still part of our country and we need to take care of it,” junior Anna Landsem said.

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