Ponce & San Juan: Injustices brought onto the national spotlight due to a “natural disaster”
John Wesley Crespo
Robles, Frances, Luis Ferré-sadurní, Richard Fausset, and Ivelisse Rivera. “One Day in the Life of Battered Puerto Rico.” The New York Times, September 30, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/30/us/24-hours-in-puerto-rico-after-hurricane-maria.html
This source by the New York Times is a first-hand account 24 hours after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The writers above traveled to different towns in Puerto Rico, San Juan and Ponce included, to get the lay of the land and examine how the people coped with the tragedy, lack of vital aid, to finally trying to simply get by. I will be using this source in my paper to demonstrate the value of ‘worth’ as a citizen, how Puerto Rican’s mentality differed greatly in this regard compared with state vs. commonwealth and lacking infrastructure. One such example is a quote that stuck out to me from Jorge Díaz Rivera who stated “they have forgotten about us” as well as other sentiments that speaks volumes in that the treatment from United States was not reciprocated in terms of aid; not truly a ‘citizen’ like that of a state but rather a commonwealth. Additionally, the infrastructure aspect of my paper post Hurricane Maria will also be briefly examined where condition of roads and houses were severely damaged, first-hand accounts are provided throughout; will be great to incorporate a sense of “realism” in my paper so that the reader can easily comprehend in invoking emotion while reading. All in all, I believe this primary source will be quite useful and impactful in my paper due to the first-hand accounts, vivid imagery, as well as touching upon some of the aspects I am focusing on.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Resilience Solutions for the Puerto Rico Grid. June 2018. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/06/f53/DOE%20Report_Energy%20Resilience%20Solutions%20for%20the%20PR%20Grid%20Final%20June%202018.pdf
This government document by the U.S. Department of Energy examined the energy/infrastructural system of Puerto Rico pre Hurricane Maria as well as providing recommendations to the improvement of such systems post-Maria. I will be using this document in my paper to demonstrate how the energy infrastructure of Puerto Rico pre-Maria was already lacking, as this document shows the various ways in which the failing system operated. One key example is detailed in one of the main sections in this report dubbed “The Pre-Storm Condition of the Electricity System” where it goes into more depth in the specifics; for instance poor management of power plants is critically looked at. There are graphs and figures in this report that serve as great eye openers in just how lacking Puerto Rico’s energy/infrastructural system really was, where Hurricane Maria truly set back this system decades. Overall, this primary source is a great example detailing Puerto Rico’s lacking energy system pre/post Maria, where the two factors include the high cost and finally low reliability to its people; an aspect I will examine wholeheartedly in my paper.
Stein, Jeff. “FBI Makes Arrests in Puerto Rico Corruption Scandal, Prompting Calls for Governor’s Ouster and Concerns about Billions in Storm Aid.” The Washington Post. WP Company, July 11, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/07/10/fbi-makes-arrests-puerto-rico-corruption-scandal-prompting-calls-governors-ouster-concerns-about-billions-storm-aid/.
This source is important as it examines the corruption scandal that was going on pre Hurricane Maria to even after it made landfall. Specifically, government officials in Puerto Rico were directing federal funds, whose sum is in the billions of dollars, appropriated by the United States Congress to private politicly connected contractors. In turn they were profiting from these investments even before Maria; the hurricane in question rather simply exposed these 6 individuals after the fact. I plan to use this source in my paper to speak about the aspect of corruption in Puerto Rico, notably its capital of San Juan where these government officials posts were located at, where Hurricane Maria greatly brought onto the national spotlight these illegal acts. In doing so, I plan on answering the question regarding ‘How did corruption at both the local and state level further bring on environmental injustices to those in San Juan and Ponce?’ in that the people could not have received vital aid in a fast timeframe due to illegal direction of federal funds to private entities rather than to their people themselves they supposed to represent. This source in the end is a good example of corruption that was going on in the time frame I am looking at (2010-2017) that unfortunately further galvanized environmental injustices for Puerto Ricans even after Maria made landfall.
citizen, class, energy, corruption, infrastructure, racism