Things That Matter

People Are Angry That The Trump Administration Has Time And Money For Notre Dame But Not Puerto Rico

The Trump administration has been in one scandal after another since Trump took office and the scandals don’t seem to be ending. The latest controversy surrounding the president is his decision to send aid to France to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, which suffered a horrific fire this week. While the Trump administration has offered U.S. aid to rebuild the cathedral, Americans are asking about Puerto Rico, Flint, and numerous American cities and citizens suffering after natural disasters.

The world watched on in horror as Notre Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames.

Credit: @Chrchristensen / Twitter

The structure, which has been an iconic landmark in the heart of Paris since 1345, suffered serious damage from a fire. The roof of the cathedral burned and the iconic spire that rose from the back of the cathedral tumbled to the floor while on fire. Horrified spectators watched as a small fire in the cathedral grew in ferocity and started to cause structural issues.

Some people had some hot takes on the issue.

Credit: @GeorgeTakei / Twitter

All kidding aside, there are so many Americans that need assistance, real assistance. The border wall is not included in the outcry for the U.S. to take care of their own as so many continue to rebuild and struggle after natural disasters.

The announcement from the White House was immediately met with anger from Americans seeking justice for Puerto Rico.

Credit: @iridescenita / Twitter

Puerto Ricans, who are also U.S. citizens, are still in recovery mode after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017. The Trump administration has been asked repeatedly about their slow and inadequate response to the natural disaster that killed around 3,000 Americans and left millions without power and water for months.

Some people are calling this a race thing.

Credit: @EdKrassen / Twitter

President Trump brags about putting America first but the optics of his decisions and policies speak volumes to the contrary. While Flint is five years into a health crisis tied to tainted water at the hands of a white, Republican governor, the Trump administration has time to help France. Now, there is nothing wrong with helping an ally in need. However, for an administration with a long history of saying part administrations never did anything for the American people, this move is coming off to some as hypocritical.

Not to mention, we recently had a racist man set fire to historically black churches in Louisiana.

Credit: @MythiliSk / Twitter

Holden Matthews, 21, is the son of a local sheriff and the man arrested for setting fire to the three churches in Louisiana. He is facing hate crime charges for targeting the churches in his arson attacks. Fortunately, shortly after Notre Dame burned social media directed people to the GoFundMe page for the three black churches and they have raised $1 million to help them rebuild.

The criticism from people that the Trump administration is operating based on race and religious discrimination is fueled by the lack of response to a burning mosque in Jerusalem.

Credit: @emmilliaaaaa / Twitter

The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is one of the most important places of worship for the Islamic faith. The structure burned the same day as the Notre Dame fire but the attention has been minimal. In fact, nothing has been said by President Trump addressing the tragic and equally devastating loss of Al-Aqsa.

There hasn’t been a concrete number for the aid the U.S. is offering France but people aren’t letting the administration live it down.

Credit: @ZackFord / Twitter

Only time will tell how much the Trump administration will send to France. Time will also tell how much longer Puerto Rico will continue to struggle as the Trump administration ignores the humanitarian crisis they created by ignoring the disaster from the beginning.

READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Unapologetically Bringing Puerto Rico To The Halls Of Congress

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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Puerto Rico Lost Its Giant Telescope But Now It Hopes To Build A Giant Space Port

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Puerto Rico Lost Its Giant Telescope But Now It Hopes To Build A Giant Space Port

Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo telescope collapsed in December after years of neglect and damage from earthquakes and hurricanes. But the island is looking to the future with the hope that the U.S. territory could become a major hub for space exploration as a potential space port.

Puerto Rico seeks to be a hub for international space travel.

Puerto Rico may best be known for its tourist packed beaches and its bankrupt finances, but as the island continues to recover from the economic disasters in the wake of hurricanes and earthquakes, it’s looking to the future.

And to many officials on the island, the future is in space exploration. The Caribbean island has put out a request for information, or RFI, seeking companies interested in turning a sleepy airport at the base of the El Yunque National Rainforest into a space port.

The island’s location between North and South America and close to the Equator gives it “viable trajectories to a large range of desirable low earth orbit launch inclinations,” Puerto Rico’s Port Authority said in a notice posted Friday.

The potential base could be a major boost to the Puerto Rican economy.

The site is currently a small airport that already houses an 11,000 feet runway and offers flights to various points in the territory. But with the existing infrastructure, officials state it could easily be converted into a space port.

If the site does generate interest, it would be a major boost to Puerto Rico’s small but vibrant aerospace sector. Honeywell Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace all have manufacturing plants on the island.

Puerto Rico would also join a growing number of U.S. states and jurisdictions that are vying for pieces of the commercial launch business, which is expected to become a trillion-dollar market over the next decade.

The executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (APPR), Joel A. Pizá Batiz, believes that “The aerospace industry is one of the economic sectors that is experiencing the most rapid growth. In fact, in the midst of the pandemic it was one of the few sectors that did not receive much impact,” he explained.

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