I barely noticed the imbroglio over the Harvard and George Washington studies that contradict the official Hurricane Maria death toll for Puerto Rico by raising the deaths to several thousand, 4,645 for the Harvard Study and over 3,000 for the George Washington University study. I figured that they were in some way phony, and were just a grab for federal cash, and my checking the methodology of the George Washington University Study showed I was right:
“We implemented the project as three studies, each with specific yet complementary methodologies. Our excess mortality study analyzed past mortality patterns (mortality registration and population census data from 2010 to 2017) in order to predict the expected mortality if Hurricane María had not occurred (predicted mortality) and compare this figure to the actual deaths that occurred (observed mortality).The difference between those two numbers is the estimate of excess mortality due to the hurricane. “
In other words, the studies were simply statistical analyses, with no examination of the actual causes or mortality. Living in a hurricane zone, I’m well familiar as to how hurricane deaths are actually counted, and that’s through death certificates; the actual causes of death. Imagine its three days after a hurricane and a family runs their generator inside their home and die of carbon monoxide poisoning (it happens after every hurricane): That’s a hurricane death. Choke on a peanut? Not a hurricane death. It’s not difficult and doesn’t add up to a requirement to run a statistical analysis of any sort. Just look at the death certificates.
So in spite of the running around by Puerto Rican officials shopping around these fake reports as a way to say screw Trump and Trump please send us more money, I ignored the issue until I happened to catch this interview with Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Morning Joe last week.
Most of the interview is Rosselló making the case for the studies, and the various needs of the island for disaster preparation but there was a point in which I found myself, as the kids say, triggered, by Rosselló’s comments. Starting around 6:28, “legendary” journalist Mike Barnicle asked Rosselló to make his case for statehood. Rosselló went on to blabber that the only reason that Puerto Rico’s recovery was different from other areas was because Puerto Ricans are treated as second class citizens and Puerto Rico is a colonial possession of the United States, and the “root cause” of the problem is colonialism. He phrased it thusly, “Do you want the United States to be the standard bearer of democracy while carrying colonial territories in the 21st Century? How can you go to Cuba or Venezuela and preach democracy while you have over 3 million US citizens disenfranchised?”
This is his case for statehood? That the United States is an oppressive colonial power, therefore let us join it?
Throughout history, there has been one solution to imperialism for a colonial territory, independence. If Rosselló really has a vision of the United States as an imperial boot on the necks of freedom loving Puerto Ricans, that actually really isn’t different from the views of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments toward the United States, and it’s not that different from the view the old Soviet Union for that matter. Why the hell is he serving as governor of a territory that’s, in his view, is an occupied territory? That makes him no better than a Quisling.
If Rosselló and Puerto Rico feel so damn oppressed by the imperialist colonial running dogs of the United States, I feel the only and correct solution to such an injustice is for Congress to act and grant immediate independence to the “colonial’ territory of Puerto Rico.
Good luck with your next hurricane.