EL DIABLO NARANJO, PUERTO RICO — Hurricane Maria wrought undeniable destruction to the island of Puerto Rico. Power is out to most of the island, and reports of the relief effort underway give mixed results and analyses of its efficacy and success. Some are speculating about whether Maria might have helped to drive large swaths of the island’s population, U.S. citizens though though Puerto Rico isn’t an official state in the union, back to the mainland.
12-year-old Puerto Rican boy Julio Cortez has been reaching out to various media outlets and sharing his story via social media channels. Julio said this week in a video blog entry that he’s never seen the island he calls home so “ripped and torn up” and he worries about sick people getting medicine as well as people still in Puerto Rico not being able to keep their food from spoiling, with electricity being still largely dependent on generator power, which not every family has.
“Honestly, I’m worried about where my next meals are coming from,” Julio said, looking into the lens of the camera he records his posts with, “but I’m told that there’s high nutritional value in angry tweets about professional football players, so I’ve still got hope I’ll last another couple weeks.”
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Julio’s school has been indefinitely postponed, and both his mother and father’s employers have had to shut down their businesses. Julio’s family is wondering how they will survive. But every day they check Twitter, hoping that instead of focusing on helping him, his family, and the thousands of U.S. citizens on the island, that President Trump will have gone on what Julio calls “another one of his unhinged rants about how people choose to exercise their freedom of speech.”
“No doubt I’d rather have a meal of actual food,” Julio said, “but in desperate times, a little salt and pepper will make any angry, unhinged twitter rant taste just that much better.”
Julio says he’s found that spices and sauces go a long way to making Trump’s tweets eatable.
“I just dump them into a bowl, smother them in some kind of sauce, and slurp away,” Julio said, “they’re naturally salty and bitter, of course, so I try to make the sauce something that will balance that all out.”
Unsure of when Trump will no longer feel like anger-tweeting about players kneeling before the national anthem before NFL games, Julio says he and his family have some backup plans for securing something to eat.
“This guy’s attention span is shorter than a gnat on meth,” Julio said, “so he’ll probably have some other wild hare up his ass to go off about something else soon. But we think there might be some caloric value in angry tweets about Democrats. Or maybe in angry tweets about Obama or Hillary Clinton. We’re not sure. We just hope that he finds some way to help us eat.”
President Trump was roundly criticized for the delay in action to help the people of Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit. The White House blames these delays on logistical concerns, while critics say the number of days it took to get aid and relief on its way to the island is beyond what those concerns would be. Estimates are in the billions of dollars in terms of what will enable a rebuilding effort for Puerto Rico.