By Anna Daniels
Hola My Tia. Yes they r talking about closing schools. It’s really scary my niece writes from the municipality of Carolina which neighbors Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. The bagmen who are now running the show have proposed laying off teachers and closing schools as one solution to the island’s financial crisis.
There was a time when we could agree that our children’s public education was a collective responsibility and one of the best investments in their future and our future as a democracy. That time seems to have passed as hedge fund managers, investors and banks demand to be paid today. The future be damned.
And now with the water issues the schools r closing half a day. Ana’s school is only till 1:15 and she has no class Fridays. We have one day of water and three days without. It’s a pain!!! Someone gave us a cistern. Thank God. But it is affecting everything. Blessings, Jessie
Yes, there are water issues too. Puerto Rico is experiencing a drought. “The drought here has cost the water authority as much as $15 million a month as payments have fallen and operating costs have risen, a big hit for an agency already $5 billion in debt.”
Access to water is a human right. Debating that point is as criminal as it is cruel.
Global warming is humanity’s greatest existential threat. Perhaps the grimmest manifestation of that threat is the lack of water–potable water. That diminished availability is affected not only by climatic events like the current prolonged drought but by direct human intervention and design. A news headline today reads “Water Is Being Used as a Weapon of War in Syria, Red Cross Says”. The civilian inhabitants of Aleppo are sustaining deliberate cuts to the water and electricity supply.
Lest we think that deliberate cuts to a civilian population’s access to water is a barbarity that only happens in countries half a world away, consider what occurred in Detroit Michigan last summer. Residents whose payments were in the arrears had their water cut off. The cuts have resumed again. “The latest crackdown is raising fears of a growing public health crisis. Thousands already are living in southeast Michigan without running water, according to the Sierra Club.” Fifty businesses, however, which owed a total of $9.5 million were left untouched by the service cuts.
What is perhaps most dangerous and most disturbing is that banks and multi-billionaires are buying up water all over the world. “In 2008, Goldman Sachs called water ‘the petroleum for the next century’ and those investors who know how to play the infrastructure boom will reap huge rewards…”
Access to water is a human right. Debating that point is as criminal as it is cruel. If our only response to the water crisis is cisterns, which we purchase from Goldman Sachs, and prayer, we are consigned to a future in which the depravity of the Hunger Games will be surpassed by that of the Thirst Games.
After the rain, coquí, Puerto Rico’s diminutive beloved frogs…
Photo credits: Rich Kacmar