Things That Matter

Trump Wants To Stop Sending Hurricane Relief Money To Puerto Rico

Earlier this year, it was reported that Puerto Rico would finally be receiving federal money in efforts to help the island land back on its feet after big hit with two devastating hurricanes. Well, the money has helped somewhat. The Wall Street Journal reported that Puerto Rico’s bonds are “soaring” which means that their financial future is on the upswing, or at least, looking hopeful. The news of their economic gains caused concern with President Trump who is now threatening to stop the money from reaching the island.

Despite being promised money, President Trump now wants to stop sending federal funds to Puerto Rico.

Congress approved an estimated $16 billion to help Puerto Rico‘s housing, electric grid, and Medicaid. Puerto Rico, however, had asked for a whole lot more. According to the New York Times, Puerto Rico wanted “$17 billion for the power grid alone.

According to the Axios report, Trump believes that Puerto Rico is somehow using federal funds to pay off their $73 billion debt ($120 billion in bond and pension debt) despite not having any proof to back up those claims. He also allegedly believes that Puerto Rico is mismanaging the money that Congress has already promised them.

A source told Axios that Trump misinterpreted the Wall Street Journal believing that the good report about their bonds somehow meant their debt was decreasing.

Congress will be approving a new budget in December, and according to Axios, it may include sending more money to Puerto Rico. Some may think that the $16 billion, that Puerto Rico is already getting, is way too much. In comparison, during Hurricane Katrina, FEMA got an estimated $60 billion to help people affected by that hurricane in 2005.

People on social media, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, say this latest attempt at taking money back from Puerto Rico, is just another sign of Trump’s disdain for the island.

“Today when he should honor the lives sacrificed by thousands Trump once again insults PR. ENOUGH, R.E.S.P.E.C.T!,” Yulín Cruz said on Twitter.

On Oct. 23, the president tweeted: “The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations. The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!”

 Yulín Cruz added that Trump has yet to acknowledge the actual number of people killed due to the hurricanes.

The president has always doubted the number of dead that was released by George Washington University. In August, the school said almost 3,000 people died due to the hurricanes, but Trump still says that didn’t happen.

On Oct. 23, he tweeted: “This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”


READ: Hurricane Maria Devastated Puerto Rico’s Agriculture Industry. This Website Is Helping To Bring It Back

Share this story by tapping that share button below!

The U.S. Offers To Lift Crippling Sanctions Against Venezuela In New Plan, But There’s A Major Catch

Things That Matter

The U.S. Offers To Lift Crippling Sanctions Against Venezuela In New Plan, But There’s A Major Catch

Anadolu Agency / Getty

The coronavirus isn’t stopping the United States from continuing its maximum pressure campaign on Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela. 

For well over a year, Venezuela has suffered from a massive political crisis. President Nicolas Maduro clings to power as a growing number of foreign countries (including the U.S.) recognize his main competitor, Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim-President.

But as the country struggles to confront a growing Coronavirus pandemic, the international community is imploring the Trump administration to ease sanctions of the struggling nation. Many are concerned over its spread amid a collapsing health care system and a deep economic crisis, aggravated by U.S. sanctions and low oil prices.

The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government.

Credit: Kenneth Rapoza / Getty

However, getting both Maduro and Guaidó to buy into the plan – let alone millions of Venezuelans – will be an immense challenge. Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó would both have to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, according to U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Under the “democratic transition framework”, all political prisoners would be released, and all foreign – mostly Cuban – forces would leave. A five-member council would be selected, with two members chosen by the opposition, two by Maduro’s Socialist party, and the fifth member picked by the other four.

“The hope is that this set-up promotes the selection of people who are very broadly respected and known as people who can work with the other side,” the US special representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, told the Associated Press.

The U.S. has long pushed for regime change in Venezuela and this could be a major step towards achieving this policy.

“The United States has long been committed to finding a solution to the manmade crisis in Venezuela,” the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said.

“The urgency for this has become all the more serious in light of the Maduro regime’s failure to adequately prepare for and address the global Covid-19 pandemic. This framework demonstrates our commitment to helping Venezuela fully recover and ensures that the voice of the Venezuelan people is respected and included.”

The plan would mean the end of the Maduro regime and the likely withdrawal of his largest competitor.

Credit: Elizabeth Melimopoulos / Getty

Since early 2019, Venezuela has been in the throes of a political crisis with two clashing sides vowing to take back control of the country. Millions of people have poured into the streets in support of one side or the other – often resulting in violent flare ups that have left thousands dead.

But could the promise of zero sanctions against a struggling economy be enough to make the plan work?

Credit: @carmses_in / Twitter

The US and EU would then lift sanctions on the current leadership. Broader sanctions on the country’s oil business would be lifted after all foreign forces had left the country. All sanctions would be lifted after free elections, to be held within six to 12 months.

“The basic outline is simple: We call for a transitional government that would govern for nine to 12 months and hold free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections,” U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams told reporters Tuesday. “The United States will recognize the result of a free and fair election no matter which party wins.”

The proposal comes five days after the U.S. indicted Maduro and top members of his government and army for drug trafficking and money laundering.

The Department of Justice indicted Maduro and many of his right-hand men on a range of charges, all but guaranteeing they will not be part of any potential democratic transition in Venezuela down the line.

The indictment for crimes ranging from drug trafficking to corruption to narcoterrorism puts the spotlight on the horrendous acts Maduro and his associates have allegedly perpetrated.

In addition to giving the U.S. additional leverage over Maduro, the indictment also acts as an incentive for the 14 individuals charged along with him — and others close to him — to cooperate with U.S. authorities.

The plan has his critics on both sides of the aisle.

Skeptics of the plan said it provided few incentives for the incumbent officials to give up power, days after they were charged with serious offences and multimillion-dollar rewards put on their heads.

The ultimate focus must be on alleviating the suffering of the Venezuelan people, and though it will not be eased by these recent actions alone, the only way forward is to address the root causes of the crisis, starting with Maduro.

Prince Harry And Meghan Officially Say Goodbye To Royal Life And Clapback at Donald Trump’s Attacks

Entertainment

Prince Harry And Meghan Officially Say Goodbye To Royal Life And Clapback at Donald Trump’s Attacks

meghan.harryfan / Instagram

Come and gone so soon.

When Meghan Markle became part of the British Royal family in 2018, we good apples were excited to see how the former “Suits” actress would shake-up the stuffy monarchy. Sadly, after an onslaught of racial and other colorless attacks on Markle, the family made the decision to take a step back from the limelight announcing that they would become “financially independent” in early 2020.

Today marks the first day of Prince Harry as one of us normals and the return of Meghan Markle.

Earlier this year in January, Harry and Meghan announced that they would be taking a step back from royal life and become “financially independent,” sharing their desire to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution” in an Instagram post.

In response to rumors that Meghan and Harry might be moving to the states, Donald Trump took the time to peek up from the coronavirus pandemic to comment.

“I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!” Trump tweeted.

Ahead of their official ‘goodbye’, the two released a statement made on Monday seemingly in response to this statement.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would prefer that in the immediate weeks and months, the focus remains on the global response to Covid-19,” a Sussex spokesperson said according to CNN. “However, we recognize there are outstanding questions relating to their future beyond their Household transition deadline.”


The statement came just days after United States president, Donald Trump tweeted that the United States would not pay to protect Prince Harry and his wife Meghan when they move to the states. So that’s that.