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21 marzo 2017

shadow towers puerto rico

“Puerto Ricans had already undergone a huge amount of trauma due to the colonial relationship to the United States,” most recently during the debt crisis. And it was true, too, of the young people I met in Orocovis, bursting with pride about how they were able to bring food home to their families.It makes sense that helping would have this healing effect. Indeed, they have been preparing for this moment for generations, from the height of the independence struggle to the successful battle to kick the U.S. Navy out of Vieques, to the anti-austerity and anti-debt coalition that peaked in the months before Maria.And Puerto Ricans have also been building their future world in miniature, on those islands of sovereignty hidden throughout the territory. And in every case, deep community relationships, as well as strong ties to the Puerto Rican diaspora, successfully delivered lifesaving aid when the government failed and failed again.Casa Pueblo was founded 38 years ago by Arturo’s father, Alexis Massol-González, who was awarded the prestigious Goldman Prize for environmental leadership in 2002. There had been resistance at earlier stages, including a general strike in 2009. And they fear that if this post-disaster gold rush is allowed to continue unchecked, it will foreclose the very different versions of paradise they are daring to imagine for their island.Land is scarce in Puerto Rico, especially prime farmland. No strikes in response to his plans to radically contract the state and roll back pensions. But after driving up into the mountains and arriving at Casa Pueblo, the mood shifted instantly. “Instead of helping people here, providing shelters here, bringing more generator power to the places that need them, getting the electric system up and running, they’re encouraging people to leave instead.”There are several reasons why evacuation may have been heavily favored by Washington and the governor’s office. But advancing such democratic models requires the political participation of a population that has a lot of other things on its plate right now.There is reason to hope, however, that a post-Maria shock-resistance may be starting to take root. One month after Maria, she tweeted that New Orleans should be a “point of reference,” and “we should not underestimate the damage or the opportunity to create new, better schools.”Central to a shock doctrine strategy is speed — pushing a flurry of radical changes through so quickly it’s virtually impossible to keep up.

Who wants to become the 51st state, with full democratic rights? We need to know where is our ultimate goal. Casa Pueblo is just one example among many. The ESJ Towers is located on beautiful Isla Verde Beach. Time after humiliating time, Puerto Ricans have been sent that familiar message about their relative worth and ultimate disposability. Massol-González shares his son’s belief that Maria has opened up a window of possibility, one that could yield a fundamental shift to a healthier and more democratic economy — not just for electricity, but also for food, water, and other necessities of life. Rather than transforming that infrastructure so that it truly serves the public interest, they argue for selling it off at fire-sale prices to private players.This is just one part of a sweeping vision that sees Puerto Rico transforming itself into a “visitor economy,” one with a radically downsized state and many fewer Puerto Ricans living on the island. “And it reminds me that these are the descendants of colonization and slavery, and they are strong.”In the weeks after I left the island, the 60 groups represented in Mariana solidified into a political bloc that they named JunteGente (the People Together) and have had meetings all over the archipelago. Actually, we have a problem that you can help us with. Who is Puerto Rico for? Not every battle was won, but it was clear that there would be no all-out shock doctrine-style makeover of Puerto Rico without a fight.Then came Maria, and all those same rejected policies came roaring back with Category 5 ferocity.In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Ramon Torres stands in the wreckage of his sister-in-law’s home on Sept. 27, 2017, in Corozal, Puerto Rico.The jury is still out as to whether this latest attempt at the shock-after-shock doctrine approach will actually work. There are other models — implemented successfully in countries like Denmark and Germany — that would greatly improve Puerto Rico’s broken and dirty state-run utility, while keeping power and wealth in the hands of Puerto Ricans. The dome that hangs over the reflector dish and the platform to access the dome were also damaged.Dr. He also guided me through the framed pictures on the wall — massive crowds of people protesting open-pit mining (a pitched battle Casa Pueblo helped win); images from their forest school where they do outdoor education; scenes from a protest in Washington, D.C., against a proposed gas pipeline through these mountains (another win).

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