Puerto Rico may have faded from your news feeds, but the crisis there is raging. Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck over one month ago, 85 percent of the island remains without power, people have not been able to work, students cannot return to school, and far too many are forced to rely on contaminated drinking water .
But the struggle is not going to be easy: even before the storms, a manufactured debt crisis was being exploited to impose brutal austerity on the majority of Puerto Ricans, the people who had nothing to do with creating it.
In fact, the island’s financial decisions are now in the hands of an unelected body known locally as “La Junta.” It’s the Shock Doctrine playing out in real time, right under our noses.
Our own Naomi Klein recently teamed up with our friend Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of Uprose Brooklyn  and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance , to lay out a powerful argument for a justice-based recovery in Puerto Rico, published in The Intercept. This is an important piece that tells a story not reported by mainstream media — a story that everyone should hear.
Here’s the stirring crux of the piece:
Under the banner of a “just recovery” for Puerto Rico, thousands have come together to design a bold and holistic plan for the island to be rebuilt as a beacon for a safe, resilient, and thriving society in the era of accelerating climate chaos, spiraling economic inequality, and rising white nationalism.
The Leap is proud to be working with the #OurPowerPuertoRico coalition, seeking long term solutions that address Puerto Rico’s overlapping crises at the root. Naomi and Elizabeth make it crystal clear: recovery efforts must be led by Puerto Ricans for Puerto Ricans.
As for the rest of us, supporting these local efforts can be a model for how we assist all marginalized communities disproportionately punished by global warming and predatory economics.
As the article says, “Puerto Ricans are hard to shock, but the island may be on the verge of shocking the world by seizing a crisis of unimaginable hardship to forge an inspiring new model of economic development.”
Happy reading and thank you for all you do,
Avi, for The Leap
us-news/2017/oct/12/trump- criticises-puerto-rico- hurricane-aid-cannot-go-on- forever
- To learn more about Uprose Brooklyn, click here.
- To learn more about Climate Justice Alliance’s #OurPowerPuertoRico campaign, click here