Americans in Puerto Rico are Suffering! We Must Act NOW to Save Lives.

UPDATE: As of September 28, 2017, the Jones Act waiver has been approved for 10 days; however, we must call on Congress to extend the waiver for at least a year. Please continue to raise your voices for Puerto Rico.

Like many, my family in Puerto Rico, has been affected by Hurricane Maria. I have been in contact with most, but am still searching for some. The fear of not knowing is compounded by the frustration that more could be done if the powers that be would step in.

One important way is via the waiver of the #JonesAct, a federal statute that requires all shipments to Puerto Rico be sent via U.S. owned and operated vessels. Not only would a waiver allow shipments of water, food and medicine to arrive faster, at a time when lives are at stake, instead of sitting in warehouses as they are now, but it would also lower the costs of necessities.

Right now, Puerto Ricans have to pay TWICE as much for food, clean drinking water, baby food, gas, medicine and much needed supplies to rebuild homes, roadways, and communities, at a time when many can not access their money. Most of the island is without electricity, as well as telephone and wifi services; as a result, banks are closed and residents cannot obtain money via online or mobile payments systems, like PayPal or Venmo.


Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria | Latina On a Mission

Photo of Bayamon, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Photo submitted by Nydia Rodriguez Rivera to Latina On a Mission. All rights reserved.

Let’s be real: Puerto Rico has lost most of their agriculture and livestock. Homes have been flooded or destroyed. They will need to rebuild. Infrastructure. Schools. Hospitals. Roads. Parks. Libraries. Entire communities will. need. to be. rebuilt.

Supplies will need to imported at TWICE the cost if the Jones Act is not waived.

At a time, when Puerto Rico is reeling and facing a daunting road ahead, a road that many aid workers are stating can take years, policy makers are expecting them to not only wait for supplies, but pay TWICE as much as we would in the states.

That’s INSANE. Americans in Puerto Rico are Suffering! We Must Act NOW to Save Lives.

Homes have been destroyed. Families are sleeping on waste. Clean drinking water and food are scarce. Hospitals are not fully operational. Safety is a concern. There are no street lights or traffic lights. And people are desperate.

As of today, the Trump Administration has stated it will not waive the Jones Act. Yet, it was waived for Texas and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Why not Puerto Rico?

Related: Be the Kind Stranger and Stop Victim Blaming Puerto Rico

Please put pressure on Congress to waive the Jones Act.

***As of today, several policymakers have spoken out and submitted letters requesting a one year waiver of the Jones Act. Below are their names and social media platforms. Please tell them thank you for standing with Puerto Rico.  Let them know we are watching and appreciate those who stood with human lives, not dollars and lobby interests.

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona

Eight House Democrats (shown below) submitted a letter to Congress in support of Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico

  1. Nydia Velazquez of New York
  2. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois
  3. Jose Serrano of New York
  4. Darren M. Soto
  5. Adriano Espaillat of New York
  6. Joyce Beatty of Ohio
  7. Norma J. Torres of California
  8. Joe Crowley of New York
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About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

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