Petition to Department of Homeland Security, President of the United States
Waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to Help Rebuild its Infrastructure and Economy
Everyone has seen the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The entire island is without power and thousands of Americans may die. Many have asked how they can help. This petition focuses on cutting through bureaucracy that could cost lives and add to the suffering of millions of Americans in Puerto Rico. The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act 1920, 46 U.S.C. § 883) prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Foreign ships can't stop in Puerto Rico to offload goods. Instead, goods are dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flag ships. This makes everything more expensive, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act to relieve PR, but the waiver expired on September 22, 2017. I started this petition on Saturday, September 23rd. By September 28th, this petition garnered nearly 500,000 supporters, and President Trump and DHS agreed to waive the Jones Act for 10 days. While this is a good start, Puerto Rico will need additional time to rebuild its economy and infrastructure and should receive the benefit of foreign support. For example, Germany has already begun assisting Puerto Rico with restoring its power grid. By signing this petition, you are telling the Department of Homeland Security and the President of the United States to waive the Jones Act for 12 months to give Puerto Rico the relief it needs to recover and rebuild its infrastructure and economy.
Petition to Bill Shuster, Don Young, Eleanor Norton, John Duncan, Frank LoBiondo, Eddie Johnson, Sam Graves, Elijah Cummings, Duncan Hunter, Rick Larsen, Rick Crawford, Michael Capuano, Lou Barletta, Grace Napolitano, Blake Farenthold, Daniel Lipinski, Bob Gibbs, Steve Cohen, Daniel Webster, Albio Sires, Jeff Denham, John Garamendi, Thomas Massie, Hank Johnson, Andre Carson, Mark Meadows, Scott Perry, Rodney Davis, Dina Titus, Mark Sanford, Sean Maloney, Rob Woodall, Elizabeth Esty, Todd Rokita, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, John McCain, Lois Frankel, John Katko, Cheri Bustos, Brian Babin, Jared Huffman, Garret Graves, Julia Brownley, Frederica Wilson, Barbara Comstock, David Rouzer, Donald Payne, Mike Bost, Alan Lowenthal, Randy Weber, Brenda Lawrence, Doug LaMalfa, Mark DeSaulnier, Bruce Westerman, Lloyd Smucker, Paul Mitchell, John Faso, Drew Ferguson, Brian Mast, Jason Lewis, John Thune, Roger Wicker, Roy Blunt, Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer, Jerry Moran, Dan Sullivan, Dean Heller, James Inhofe, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Shelley Capito, Cory Gardner, Catharine Young, Bill Nelson, Maria Cantwell, Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, Edward Markey, Cory Booker, Tom Udall, Gary Peters, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth, Maggie Hassan, Catherine Cortez Masto, Marco Rubio, Sonny Beauchamp
Send Helicopter Aid to Puerto Rico to save lives NOW!
Supplies getting to Puerto Rico have been bottlenecked. They are sitting in warehouses in Puerto Rico and are not being distributed to the people on the island that are in desperate need. People are living without access to food and water. Because of the Jones act the island is unable to receive aid from anywhere but the USA unless the USA decides to waive this (which as of 9/26 they have not). We also have failing infrastructure throughout the island due to the overwhelming amount of debt we hold and an unyielding attitude to allow us to restructure the debt or have access to bankruptcy court. PROMESA was nothing but broken promises to our people. We have still seen no debt relief in any form since the passing of the bill. We demand respect and dignity as people who have been continuously exploited by the USA despite the immense sacrifices we have made for this country economically and militarily. We demand the following: 1. Suspend the Jones Act just as was done for FL & TX & allow foreign relief vessels into Puerto Rico. EEUU controls air and marine frontiers in Puerto Rico. They need to be open NOW for any and all international help. The Jones Act needs to be waived for hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.2. Send immediate and massive aid to Puerto Rico beginning with helicopters to distribute donations and rescue people in areas that are cut off & including cell towers to aid in communications for residents & relief workers.3. Pass bankruptcy relief legislation & negotiate public debt relief immediately.4. Pass a major reconstruction bill that includes solar energy & other sustainable technology that will save millions in the long run.
Petition to Elon Musk, SpaceX, SolarCity
'Powering' Puerto Rico after Maria
Idea: Use SolarCity technology to create a distributed electrical grid backed up by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, in trade for land to build a SpaceX launching pad and facilities that will additionally create new jobs on the island. Everyone wins...
Petition to Members of the 115th United States Congress
Grant Immediate Emergency Aid to Puerto Rico & Eliminate Cost-Sharing for FEMA Aid
We the people of the Puerto Rican diaspora and other tax-paying citizens of the United States demand that members of Congress provide for the following measures: 1- Provide for a minimum 15 billion dollar package to Puerto Rico, akin to what was granted for Texas and Florida to support state infrastructure and citizens in rebuilding after the catastrophic impact of Harvey and Irma. Senators Nelson and Rubio, Congressman Soto (FL) agree and have also called for the "same level of determination in responding to Hurricane Maria’s impact as the federal government did to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.” 2-Eliminate cost-sharing for FEMA aid. The cost-sharing requirement will make it impossible for the economically bankrupt island to access all of the FEMA resources that will address the damages from Hurricane Maria. 3 - Absolve the debt. Any focus on repaying debt in the face of the immediate rebuilding needs will impede necessary growth and attention to humanitarian needs. In the aftermath of Maria, Puerto Rico's road to recovery has moved from long to never-ending unless debtors and insurers are compelled to absorb losses. 4-An immediate waiver of the Jones Act which requires all shipping between U.S. ports be done by American-built and American -crewed vessels. The Jones Act is logistically limiting the arrival of life saving medicines, food, and water during this crisis.
Petition to Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Stop FEMA From Ending Food & Water Aid for Puerto Rico
On Monday, January 29th, 2018, the National Public Radio announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will end food and water aid for Puerto Rico on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018. With an estimate of about one-half of the island still being in complete darkness and much of the island without running water, we are asking FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to continue providing federal aid for impoverished Puerto Rican citizens. Many Puerto Ricans are dependent on FEMA's food rations and, without food and clean water, lives will be endangered. Please sign to ensure that Puerto Rican citizens will get the resources they need. Photo Credit: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/unseen-aftermath-hurricane-maria-heart-puerto-rico-gallery-1.3594028
Petition to Scott Pattison, Lolo Moliga, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder, California Governor, Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Greg Abbott, Bill Walker, Doug Ducey, Asa Hutchinson, John Hickenlooper, Nathan Deal, Eddie Calvo, David Ige, C.L. "Butch" Otter, Bruce Rauner, Eric Holcomb, Sam Brownback, Matt Bevin, John Bel Edwards, Iowa Governor, Connecticut Governor, Delaware Governor, Alabama Governor, Paul LePage, Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker, Mark Dayton, Phil Bryant, Eric Greitens, Steve Bullock, Pete Ricketts, Brian Sandoval, New Hampshire Governor, Susana Martinez, North Carolina Governor, Doug Burgum, John Kasich, Mary Fallin, Kate Brown, Tom Wolf, Ricardo Rossello Nevares, Gina Raimondo, Henry McMaster, Dennis Daugaard, Bill Haslam, Utah Governor, Vermont Governor, Terry McAuliffe, Kenneth Mapp, Jay Inslee, West Virginia Governor, Scott Walker, Matt Mead, Northern Mariana Islands Governor
Governors use the NGA to create awareness about the P.R. crisis.
Dear Hon. Governors, Congressman and Congresswomen: As you may have read or seen in the newspapers and social media, Puerto Rico is going through a very tough time. Part of the problem is that Puerto Rico has never had any solvency because it was transferred from Spain to the United States and since then, its rights to be an independent country were cut short and amputated. Today there are over 5 million Puerto Ricans is USA (http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/15/hispanics-of-puerto-rican-origin-in-the-united-states-2013/ ), and there are over one million of Puerto Ricans in Florida alone. (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/30/in-a-shift-away-from-new-york-more-puerto-ricans-head-to-florida/ ) We need our elected officials to take Puerto Rico's situation seriously. It is irrelevant if you are for their independence, statehood or ELA status. You must act in support of stopping the impending humanitarian crisis that is about to take over the islands (1) as a result of Promesa Law (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2328 ) and the Financial Oversight and Management Board imposed by the US Congress to Puerto Rico. https://juntasupervision.pr.gov/index.php/en/home/ After over 500 years of colonialism, Puerto Rico is at a breaking point, and it is the responsibility of USA to take care of the debt. Why? In part, because of the Paris Agreement of 1898 that gave Puerto Rico to the USA after the Hispanic-American War. In that agreement, Cuba was granted its independence, in part, because the USA reputed Cuba's debt as Spain's debt. It was stipulated then, that the imperial ruler had to take care of the colony financial burdens and this was one of the reasons why Spain had to let go of Cuba and USA could not acquire it, this is now called the Odious Debt. (https://www.brookings.edu/articles/odious-debt-when-dictators-borrow-who-repays-the-loan/ https://www.brookings.edu/research/odious-debt/ ) Also, there are historical records that show President McKinley was for that ruling: "The American negotiators telegraphed President McKinley to ask his opinion. He responded by making it clear that the United States would not agree to take on any Cuban debt and would not encourage Cuba to agree to do so." (See the link to read the complete article http://www.cadtm.org/The-USA-s-repudiation-of-the-debt If the USA does not want to solve the debt issue, it needs to then, audit the debt and remove the illegally disbursed funds and illegally approved loans from the amount of Puerto Rico’s national debt. What can local and state US elected officials do? Reach out to the Puerto Rican community and listen to our requests for our compatriots and US citizens to be treated with dignity and respect. Move those requests into action and help your constituents by helping their families in Puerto Rico. Local and state elected officials can call unto their national elected representatives' counterparts and raise awareness about the precarious situation that these USA citizens endure in the Islands. Use your membership in the National Governors Association to bring awareness to this issue and request the same from your colleagues. (1) As a way of clarification, here are the Islands that are part of Puerto Rico: Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Monito, Desecheo, Caja de Muertos and many other cays, islets, and atolls that are natural reserves. It is also important to recognize that those natural reserves must be taken care of and not polluted, which has not been the case with Vieques and Culebra. These are spaces that the US Navy used as target practice and left them contaminated after they left. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Puerto_Rico ) Respectfully, The Puerto Rican diaspora community of Florida and all of those who stand in solidarity with us.
Petition to Department of Justice, Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
Justice for Puerto Rico -- Hold FEMA Accountable
On behalf of the residents of Puerto Rico, I am requesting that an investigation be conducted immediately into the mismanagement and unethical way in which FEMA responded and handled the funds and programs allocated for the devastation of Hurricane Maria. As a resident of Puerto Rico, as a victim of Hurricane Maria, as a mother of a child who was handed blows to both her health and education due to this storm, as an advocate for human rights, as a leader of relief and rescue efforts, as a human being, I am completely appalled and insulted, shocked and disturbed that this in fact was our only hope, our only chance. I personally can attest to the failure and mishandling of the FEMA funds for this Island. On September 17th, 2017, my 9year old daughter and myself along with a team of volunteers and a boat load of supplies went to St. Thomas to assist the EOC and VITEMA in Search and Rescue as well as supply distribution. We got stuck, our boats sunk, we didn’t make it back home until September 29, 2017. Upon coming home, we learned our life literally had drowned in the storm and then was buried by mold, everything my daughter had including her first drawings from preschool all the way to her favorite dolls were flooded out, there was nothing left, the water and mold took it all from us. Within just days, my 9year old daughter was rushed to the hospital with Pneumonia, the flooding and mold in the home attacked her respiratory system, she spent a week in the hospital battling pneumonia and colitis and upon being discharged, we set out to search for safe housing. We found another place to live at our own expense and although we never got a chance to replace our belongings, we had a safe home long enough for me to fight FEMA for months and months. December 11th 2017 I was finally granted an Inspection to determine if FEMA would finally help. A three-minute inspection, with the inspector being denied access to the rental we had, with her telling me that she would “finish the reports at home”, without her ever asking me what we lost, without her ever even asking my name, it was over that quick, we were denied within hours. To date, we have been denied every aspect of help including coverage for the medical bills, I have filed numerous appeals and each call tells me a difference answer, as of today, we have TSA that we just became aware of only until January 13, 2018 but other than that, we have not gotten anywhere other than being thrown in a circle of nonsense and instructions for new demands from FEMA with no help whatsoever. Sounds bad right? Our case doesn’t even reflect a margin of what the rest of the residents of Puerto Rico have went through and how Fema has handled them. It’s a disgrace and an injustice to the American people, and for the record, that is the Puerto Rican people. On September 20, 2017, the Island of Puerto Rico was pummeled by the impact and force of Maria, the Hurricane was equally relentless and merciless, with devastating winds and flooding that created damages throughout infrastructure and life Island wide. When Maria was finished, Puerto Rico was left without power, running water, food and drinking water, healthcare, communication, shelter, and for a long time, it was stripped and absent of hope. Days went by, and the consequences and aftermath of the storm became intensely felt, but yet help was slow to come. Municipalities battled with the need for answers, water, food, safe housing, medical care, and the urgency for someone to hear our cries for help, with the days passing and those needs being left unattended and unanswered. When FEMA finally made their rounds throughout the Municipalities after weeks of waiting, they then performed one of the most inhumane circus acts filled with confusion, attitudes, and misinformation, but even worse, without any realistic help. People stood on lines for hours and hours, waiting for their chance to share their experience, to tell someone whom they believed had answers to their devastation the traumatic encounter they fared with Maria, only to be put in an assembly line of vast indifference and thrown documents and well recorded lines of a process that none would understand. The following issues pertaining to FEMA and how they handled Puerto Rico are of not only of concern to the Puerto Rican people, but to the world. TSA was issued in response to the great many folks whose homes were no longer habitable either due to the devastation or the health issues that arose from the lack of water and electricity, as well as the hazards to health such as mold infested homes and or other issues that became dangerously concerning to residents whose homes were brutalized by Maria. TSA was issued, but the problem is, no one knew about it. FEMA states it sent electronic or postal correspondence declaring that a household was issued TSA, however hundreds of thousands of people never knew, and the hotels who participated in this program can equally attest to that. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans sat in homes that should have been declared condemned as they waited and still do wait for FEMA to show up. They were and are completely unaware that they have an option not to sleep in a home full of mold, or with no roof. As these people sit in these deplorable conditions, the correspondence of FEMA remains a mystery because to date, they are still nowhere to be found. Once people became aware of TSA through word of mouth, as the excitement of a safe sleeping zone grew, the number of hotels who participated were so low that it was impossible to take advantage of this program and it left the great many people of Puerto Rico back to feeling hopeless. Those that found the program in time, only quickly realized that the program has an ending date sooner than the possibly of finding or restoring safe housing. TSA was provided to give “transitional shelter assistance” with the hope that had the people been properly informed of this program and or how to use it, that FEMA would have enough time to process their application and award the monies needed to repair their homes. Unfortunately, that would have required FEMA to treat the residents of Puerto Rico like first class citizens versus the second and third-class treatment we received. Now as of January 14, 2017, there will be hundreds of homeless people that trusted in the process of FEMA and participated in their TSA program. FEMA hired and contracted inspectors with zero qualifications that fully lacked the necessary skills and abilities to deal with a devastation of this magnitude, they practiced unethical and unfair treatment, taking advantage of the language barriers and the preexisting socioeconomically issues that were created due to the colonization of this Island and used the devastation of this storm to further cripple the chances to create a fair chance of being properly treated by our “Country”. The vast majority of inspectors denied applications with reasons unknown and a process that was not fair, they played God, Judge, and Jury with hundreds of thousands of people who were completely confused and unaware of the system set in place that should have helped during the traumatic aftermath of the storm, instead it hurt them. Inspectors who didn’t listen or list the losses, Inspectors who failed to show for appointments and wrote false inspection reports, Inspectors who spent less that 5 minutes at a home and denied every application, and Inspectors who didn’t even call the applicant to the inspection and therefore it was denied, improperly trained and or hire Inspectors who made life changing decisions for victims of a catastrophic storm. To add additional insult to injury, there was no direct helpline in place, all anyone had was a call center number with untrained customer service representatives, but never a realistic helpline with qualified professionals whose education and professional experience reflected that they were the best candidates to deal with an Island who lost life, their homes, necessities such a power and water, nevermind their mental wellbeing. Every call made into the call center resulted in mass confusion, misinformation, disrespect and answers that were not realistic or researched. The appeals process is as flawed as every other program and department in FEMA, it is completely mind boggling that with all that is considered during a storm of this nature, that the victim of the storm, or in FEMA’s words, the applicant, is never given a chance to speak to someone that can explain case notes or outcomes, nor actually make a decision on the countless calls and cries for help. The appeals departments as well as the “Caseworkers” are well protected secrets of the FEMA program and we are not granted the chance to know a name, speak to that person, or even correspond with them through email yet, they decide our fate. How can someone who never interacts or is present in any aspect of the case, determine what or how much you are entitled to, how is that even ethically possible. Countless calls are made, but the answers are never the same and the information is equally misguided call after call. A great majority of the representatives who field the questions, respond with such an authoritarian tone that mirrors the inappropriate relationship that FEMA has with the victims of this storm, as if we are a burden or even worst, undeserving of a healthy life and a safe home. The monies that are granted to the few cases that are approved are so insanely inappropriate in comparison to what is needed to actually repair the devastation, that there is no fair of fighting chance for any residents here to be granted a realistic chance at having a normal life or a decent one, it is a cycle of a horrific relationship between the United States and the Island of Puerto Rico and action is immediately requested. We request the attention of the President of the United States, The Justice Department, as well as all members of the House and Senate, we are pleading with you to please give the people of Puerto Rico fair and honest treatment in response to Hurricane Maria.
Petition to Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate
Urge Congress to send aid to Puerto Rico to combat the devastation of Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria took place on September 16th, 2017 through October 3rd, 2017 in Puerto Rico. The devastating hurricane wreaked havoc across the island and caused major destruction and devastation. The hurricane damaged infrastructure, killed 66 people, and left millions without access to clean water and electricity. Considering that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, one would expect the United States to immediately solve this problem. Although President Trump has signed a bill giving aid to Puerto Rico, the aid given to Puerto Rico has clearly not been enough. Half of the island still doesn't have electricity. Please take a minute out of your day to sign this petition to urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to send more aid to Puerto Rico.