On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and devastated the island. Thousands had fled the island before the hurricane even hit, but majority of people stayed in their homes.
Almost 5,000 people have died because of Hurricane Maria and the problems it left.
The people of Puerto Rico were without electricity for months and the U.S. federal government had not sent aid like it did to other places in the country that were in hit by a hurricane.
Houston, Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey and flooded the entire city, which left the metropolitan city of 6.5 million people stranded. Mr. Trump paid the city a visit and promised more aid. Florida was also hit by a large hurricane and that was also caught the country’s attention, so millions of dollars were donated and the federal government helped out as well.
However, when Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the federal government was slow in their response to help the people and did not provide as much aid as they did to Texas and Florida. Does the United States government treat states differently than territories, the answer seems to be yes.
In 1980, the United States government made Puerto Rico a U.S. Territory after the Spanish-American War. Puerto Rico’s residents can share their own legislative assemble, a governor, and a representative to the U.S. House of representatives, but their representative has no vote.
However, they cannot vote in presidential elections. In 1917, the U.S. Congress passed the Jones–Shafroth Act, which grants U.S. citizenship to anyone born on the island. As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans can freely travel and move to the U.S. mainland without a passport or a visa.
There are clear and distinct differences between American states and American territories. These differences were magnified when President Trump started to treat Puerto Rico differently than Texas and Florida. He gave the two states compassion and aid, while he insulted the Mayor of San Juan.
It’s as if the United States wants land, but they do not want to have full responsibility of the people living on that land. It’s really similar to how Great Britain and other European countries treated the land and people they colonized. The United States was made to be different than European countries. It was meant to stand for things that were not tolerated in Europe.
So why is the United States acting like this now?
Every now and again a person must check themselves to make sure they do not become what they once hated. It would be great if the United States did the same so that the people of Puerto Rico could be treated equally.