Archives for September 2017
Readers of this blog know that I have been consistently very tough on Puerto Rico’s mismanagement and debt.
And now things changed.
First Hurricane Irma, and now Hurricane Maria, have left the island and its 3.5 million American citizens, plus others who went there from the Lesser Antilles seeking aid after Irma’s destruction, in a most critical condition.
Very few have running water.
Very few have electricity.
Very few have internet.
I mean hospitals, police, firemen, emt, essential buildings, whole areas, not simply neighborhoods.
Most people have no jobs to go back to, especially if their businesses were destroyed.
This is what most roads are like:
Worse yet conditions in the mountains, with landslides.
And the farther away you are from the metro areas, the lesser the chance of help reaching you soon.
Governor Ricardo Roselló does not exaggerate when he speaks of humanitarian crisis (emphasis added):
Stressing that Puerto Rico, a United States commonwealth, deserved the same treatment as hurricane-ravaged states, the governor urged Republican leaders and the federal government to move swiftly to send more money, supplies and relief workers. It was a plea echoed by Puerto Rico’s allies in Congress, who are pushing for quick movement on a new relief bill and a loosening of financial debt obligations for the island, which is still reeling from a corrosive economic crisis.
You can kiss the debt good-bye.
Here’s the situation, and pay attention because I’m only saying it once:
Puerto Rico has no money.
Most of the island has been destroyed by the elements.
It’s not simply that “there ain’t no ‘there’ there.” What there is left, has to be cleared, removed, rebuilt.
Thankfully, help from FEMA, the US Coastguard and Navy is arriving.
— FEMA (@fema) September 25, 2017
The problems are immense,
Authorities have reopened Puerto Rico’s biggest port but say efforts to speed relief supplies to the island devastated by Hurricane Maria are being hampered by heavy damage to roads, computer systems and other critical infrastructure.
Cargo ships carrying supplies from the mainland U.S. began arriving at San Juan’s port on Monday. But distribution of water, food and temporary shelter is building slowly, federal officials and private companies taking part in the relief efforts said, with thousands of shipping containers waiting for transport at the port.
I estimate that at least a million Puerto Ricans are coming to the 50 States in the next six months. As U.S. citizens, they can, and will, do so legally.
The consequences of this migration will be very severe, both for the States and for the Island.
In order for those who leave to return, they would have to have confidence in the island’s economic future.
America has done it before, and in a much larger scale: The Marshall Plan.
A new Marshall Plan is what’s needed, now.
Leave Puerto Rico on its own, and you’ll have yet another narco-terrorist enclave. On whatever is left.
A Marshall Plan may be needed, but it must be with heavy outside supervision
To which I replied, Absolutely, YES. Only with outside supervision and full transparency.
Otherwise the effort, time and money will be squandered, just as so much has in the past.
A Marshall Plan, not a blank check.
My grandfather didn’t come to America; America came to him.
Like many young Spaniards over the ages, he – along with his brother and two cousins – left Spain. They left their sisters in Northern Spain, arrived in Puerto Rico in the late 19th century, started businesses, married, started families, and thrived.
When the Spanish American War ended Spain’s rule over Puerto Rico, my grandfather was a justice of the peace and owned a farm.
By the early 1900s, he was an executive with the tobacco company at a time when Puerto Rico was producing around 35 million tons of tobacco a year. He was provided housing and housekeeping staff as part of his compensation, but, as his children grew in size and number, decided to build a house.
It was 1917.
The two-story house he built in a prime location facing Comerío’s town square was huge. Have you returned to a place as an adult that you remember thinking was big when you were a child, and realizing it was small? The house had the opposite effect: When I visited – after years of absence – it was even larger than I remembered.
The house had commercial-use space on the first floor, and two bathrooms (one on each floor) at a time when most housing in the area relied on outhouses. My mom used to say that her dad joked that he was grateful for the Americans “for bringing good plumbing.”
A separate entrance from the street opened to a concrete staircase of 24 steps reaching the second floor.
The second floor was vast, large enough for his eight children. The style was mostly Craftsman-for-the-tropics. Living room, foyer, dining area in the center (with the living room facing the street), bedrooms on each side, kitchen and bathroom in the rear. The interior was wood, the exterior walls were solid concrete so thick that one of my earliest memories is realizing that the window sill was wider than the length of my arm.
Engraved on the first floor façade are my grandfather’s initials and the year the house was completed,
My grandparents died in their late eighties. One of my uncles died in childhood. The remaining ten children (two more children were born in the house) lived even longer than their parents, including one of my aunts who was at least 106, and my mom, the youngest, who passed away last year at the age of 96. Most of my cousins had moved away from Puerto Rico over the years.
The house was neglected.
My mom had moved to Florida prior to inheriting the house from her sisters, and decided to sell it. It took five years to find a buyer, and five more to close. My sister worked hard and long to get that closing, traveling back and forth from Miami to Comerío until it was done.
This is what the house looked like at the time,
The house was bought by the municipality, and was designated a landmark. By 2014 it was being restored, even in Puerto Rico’s disastrous financial situation.
Yesterday I watched Calle de la Cerca’s Facebook video.
The house had been painted blue, and I was able to locate it.
The roof and all the doors had been blown off.
Linked to by Instapundit. Thank you!
Cross-posted at Wow! Magazine.
Trending at BadBlue.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
with Bryn Terfel as the Dutchman, Operhaus Zurich 2013,
Maria blows the stars around
Sets the clouds a-flyin’
The mountains sound like folks was out there dyin’
The scenes from Puerto Rico are horrific: Ruin, destruction, flooding, and no electricity, cell signals or clean water for three and a half millionAmericans.
Read my post, Puerto Rico: They call the wind Maria
Via Mary O’Grady,
experts find Nisman was murdered:https://t.co/Zmm7szlAxk
— MaryAnastasiaO'Grady (@MaryAnastasiaOG) September 20, 2017
The official report from a team of forensic experts states that prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered. He was first beaten by two people and drugged with ketamine, which had not been previously detected.
Among the injuries from the beating, Nisman’s nose was broken.
According to the report, Nisman died at 2AM on Sunday, January 18, 2015 in the bathroom of his apartment.
Twenty-eight experts in different areas, from ballistics to psychology, determined that Nisman was murdered by a shot to the head, and that the murderer (or murderers) then attempted to cover their tracks at the scene of the crime, according to a report in the Argentine news site Infobae.
[link to Infobae article in Spanish]
The report also highlighted that only two footprints belonging to Nisman were found in his Puerto Madero apartment. This finding is inconsistent with Nisman’s activities on previous days, suggesting that the suspect or suspects carefully cleaned Nisman’s apartment before they left to cover any tracks.
Lastly, experts explained that the position and angle of the gunshot are not compatible with that of a self-inflicted wound, making it physically impossible for Nisman to have committed suicide that way.
The report was submitted to prosecutor Eduardo Taiano, now in charge of the case.
Nisman: the Gendarmeria Boffins Report (emphasis added)
Taiano has requested that Ercolini order a reconstruction of the murder in Nisman’s actual flat. The flat has long since been rented out to someone else. The someone else in question doesn’t have any choice about cooperating with a federal judge but the paperwork might take time. What will happen then is that the gendarmes will act out their hypothesis with Ercolini and his staff present. It’ll be filmed as well. So when that’s done and not before Ercolini will decide whether he accepts the report of the gendarmeria experts.