Puerto Rico Thread



As Donald Trump waffles between cruelly threatening to pull aid from Puerto Rico and pathetically whining about criticism of his terrible relief efforts there, the island continues to deal with ongoing devastation. According to a FEMA report, nearly 40 percent of Puerto Ricans have no access to clean drinking water. The situation is so dire that some residents are attempting to get water from polluted, contaminated and toxic sources.

“There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste ‘Superfund’ sites in Puerto Rico,” the Environmental Protection Agency notes in a press release cited by Reuters. CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud tweeted an image of the report.


Has Trump tried to get input from the President of Puerto Rico? Maybe he/she has something useful to say.




The thing is, I 100% believe he has conversations with himself in the mirror, and that’s where he gets the advice he actually listens to.


I disagree. He doesn’t get advice from his mirror image. He tells his mirror image his plans and receives 100% compliance, which he then expects from everyone else around him.


I can’t argue with this … that totally fits his personality.


Some reports put the death count as high as 500.

This is fake news. What actually happened was that the hurricane coincided with the expiration date of Puerto Rican Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers in Puerto Rico are just dying of natural causes at the same time as the hurricane “disaster”.

If there are cholera outbreaks in the coming weeks, it is just a coincidence too.


Trump’s remarks about Puerto Ricans “healing rapidly” aren’t just harmless falsehoods. Many people believe him: 56 percent of Republicans say that the 3.4 million Americans in Puerto Rico are getting the help they need. And if Americans accept Trump’s Puerto Rico denial, he will face less pressure to approve adequate emergency relief funding or keep FEMA on the island (he has threatened to pull FEMA out). Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans will have little power—figuratively and literally—to fight for themselves. Not only do they lack a voting representative in Congress; 84 percent of them don’t have electricity.


I think I read a few days ago there are more FEMA in both Florida and Texas than PR. Or maybe those were military relief workers. Or gvmt relief workers in total.


FEMA has a few places here where people can get SNAP cards and report home damage. It’s ongoing until at least the end of November. And possibly longer if needed. Don’t know about Texas but I’d guess the same there.

As well they have places where PR citizens can get help if they end up here. And then get help going back. When they can go back.

Edit: OTOH some venues were shut down by police due to extremely large crowds. There has also been violence. Too many people in lines in the hot sun. Not enough of, well, anything.


Clinics that are overwhelmed with patients and staff say they don’t even know how to begin sending cases to the ship. Doctors say there’s a rumor that patients have to be admitted to a central hospital before they can be transferred to the Comfort. Only 33 of the 250 beds on the Comfort – 13% – are being used, nearly two weeks after the ship arrived.


Overall, we have identified more than 30 hedge and mutual funds, insurers and financial institutions that collectively claim billions of dollars in Puerto Rico’s debt.

The popular narrative of Puerto Rico’s debt holders is that they are “small” individual bondholders—rookie investors who trusted their savings to financial firms. But our investigation reveals that some of the most aggressive players demanding debt repayment in Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy court are so-called “vulture firms.” These hedge funds specialize in high-risk “troubled assets” near default or bankruptcy and cater to millionaire and billionaire investors.
The financial firms have organized themselves into alliances to aid their quest to get paid. These alliances include the Mutual Fund Group, which claims $7.1 billion in Puerto Rico’s debt; the Ad Hoc Group, which claims $3.3 billion; the Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition, which claims $3.1 billion; ERS Secured Creditors, which claims roughly $1.4 billion; and the QTCB Noteholder Group, which claims more than $600 million.

The alliances can afford to hire prestigious law firms, like Jones Day, to file motions in Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case on their behalf. And with the exception of the Mutual Fund Group, these big alliances are dominated by vulture funds.

For example, while the Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition says it represents individual and retired bondholders, it is in fact controlled by vulture funds such as Canyon Partners, GoldenTree Asset Management and Tilden Park Capital Management, which require its clients to invest a minimum of $1 million to $5 million. Of the more than 30 known financial firms vying for Puerto Rico’s debt repayments, at least 24 are vulture firms.




My friend Mari is back from Puerto Rico. It’s. . . rough.

She was largely up in her family’s farm, which was obliterated. Their concrete-and-steel bunker built into the side of a mountain withstood the storm with almost no damage, but everything else was just scrubbed from the earth. One of the saddest things she relayed was how all the fruit bats on that part of the island are starving to death, so when her mom gave up running their big freezer full of preserved fruits to save gas for the generator, the surviving bats just flooded the land outside their house as they dumped out bags of rotting fruit.

Things are just a hellish, post-apocalyptic mess in most of the rural areas of the island, and people are flooding out, if they can afford it. She barely got a ticket out for Tuesday’s flight; that $1000+ first class ticket at fuckoclock in the morning was the only opening the airline had through November.

I. . . I dunno. Doesn’t feel right sharing the more personal stories she shared, but things are bad down there right now. The people are desperate for help.


I have a friend with family on the island. They couldn’t get out pre-storm because the airlines wanted $8000 for an economy seat. Nice.

I’m also hearing that it is very, very bad, especially for those who need medication or care that requires refrigeration (insulin).



So what’s the best way to help? I am not jumping on any bandwagons against the big organizations that, well, organize aid but is there anything out there to help with the rebuilding part?


This is pretty cool, information is an important commodity in situations like these:


For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.
The power authority, also known as PREPA, opted to hire Whitefish rather than activate the “mutual aid” arrangements it has with other utilities. For many years, such agreements have helped U.S. utilities — including those in Florida and Texas recently — to recover quickly after natural disasters.
Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Its chief executive, Andy Techmanski, and Zinke acknowledge knowing one another — but only, Zinke’s office said in an email, because Whitefish is a small town where “everybody knows everybody.” One of Zinke’s sons “joined a friend who worked a summer job” at one of Techmanski’s construction sites, the email said. Whitefish said he worked as a “flagger.”

Zinke’s office said he had no role in Whitefish securing the contract for work in Puerto Rico. Techmanski also said Zinke was not involved.