Puerto Rico has been through a lot. The island experienced damages from a 6.4 magnitude earthquake earlier this month that resulted in serious damages. This came only two years following Hurricane Maria, which resulted in a death toll of over 3,000 people, destroyed homes, and left many Puerto Ricans displaced. One of the most upsetting parts of all this is the lack of support Puerto Rico has received, including unused aid that was specifically hidden and recently discovered in a warehouse in the southeastern city of Ponce that was supposedly there since 2017, when the hurricane hit. Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin won’t have it though. He recently took to Instagram to call out the government for failing to help the island recover.
“What happened in a warehouse in Ponce, Puerto Rico is an act of callousness, mistreatment, and sinister irresponsibility,” he wrote on Instagram. “In our people’s greatest moments of needs, those who assume they are the leaders have failed again. The most basic human rights have once again been absent: water, roof, education, security.”
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Lo ocurrido en un almacén en Ponce, Puerto Rico es un acto de insensibilidad, de maltrato e irresponsabilidad sinigual. En los momentos de mayor necesidad de nuestra gente, los que suponen sean los líderes han vuelto a fallar. Han vuelto a faltar a los derechos más básicos de los seres humanos: agua, techo, educación, seguridad… Lo hicieron con maldad. No hay otra explicación. Pero, entre tanta indignación y para consuelo de todos, vuelvo a ver a la gente, a los nuestros, despiertos, atentos y sobre todo, de pie. Luchando, defendiendo, cuidando, protegiendo y regalando amor a lo largo y ancho de ese tesoro que es nuestro Puerto Rico. En este vídeo podrán ver a un pueblo unido y yo desde aquí, celebrando una alianza tan sólida y bonita con nuestros amigos de @SERPuertoRico. Unimos fuerzas para llevar bienestar a quienes más lo necesitan luego de los terremotos en el sur de mi tierra. Estoy con ustedes. Sintiendo el dolor y firme en defender lo que corresponde, lo que es digno para todos. Voy en ruta a Puerto Rico. Muy pronto les vuelvo a acompañar en este reclamo de respeto, justicia y paz. Ahí los veo, mi isla. P.d. Y a todxs lxs voluntarios que sin esperar nada a cambio lo entregan todo por el bienestar de sus compatriotas, MUCHAS GRACIAS.
On January 18, locals found a warehouse in the southeastern city of Ponce filled with cases of bottled water still encased in plastic, pallets of new diapers, baby formula, and wipes, along with boxes of wrapped tarpaulins, portable stoves, and propane gas. Many of the supplies, including the water and the baby food, was found inspired which leads many to believe that the emergency aid had been sitting there and gathering dust since it was sent out in 2017 for Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. Why didn’t anyone distribute the disaster supplies? Many Puerto Ricans on the island believe it’s all been part of the government corruption that’s been happening over there. Outraged Puerto Ricans took to the streets to demand answers and protest that the governor resign.
“They did it with evil. There is no other explanation,” Ricky added. “But amidst so much outrage and to everyone’s consolation, I see people again, our people, awake, attentive and above all, standing up. Fighting, defending, caring, protecting and gifting love through the treasure that is out Puerto Rico.”
He then went on to discuss his own plans for real discovery for the island.
“In this video, you can see a united people and I from here, am celebrating such a strong and beautiful alliance with our friends from @SERPuertoRico. We join forces to bring well-being to those who need it most in the aftermath of earthquakes in the south of my land,” Ricky wrote. “I’m with you. Feeling the pain and firm in defending what is right, that which is worthy for everyone. I am on my way to Puerto Rico. Very soon I will accompany you again in this call for respect, justice, and peace. I’ll see you there, my island.”
It’s hard not to be infuriated by the lack of support the island has received from Trump and even from the Puerto Rican government. Why would anyone purposely let an entire island of people suffer when there are obviously resources available to help them? As Ricky said, this is just pure evil. The real heroes are the Puerto Ricans on the land and the volunteers who have gone to the island to do the best they can to provide real emergency support. Ricky made sure to shout them out.
“And to all the volunteers who. Without waiting for anything in return, give everything for the well-being of their compatriots, THANK YOU VERY MUCH,” he wrote.
There has been such incompetence in the handling of emergency aid and it has literally cost Puerto Ricans their lives. It’s enraging to say the least. According to the NY Times, there were even donations compiled in Florida that rotted away because the Puerto Rican government didn’t have money to ship them to the island. Governor Wanda Vazquez recently fired Housing Secretary Fernando A. Gil-Enseñat, along with two other high profile officials, after residents discovered and exposed the unused aid at the warehouse. But many question the motivation behind the governor’s decision and are concerned about the timing since the island is supposed to receive long-awaited recovery funds.
It’s sad how Puerto Rican citizens, volunteers and folks like Ricky Martin have been doing more for the island than the government itself.