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Editorial

Hope 

Por Mariel Fiori
October 2017
September has just ended, full of catastrophes as well as hope—which at the end of the day is the last thing to go. On the one hand, we witnessed three hurricanes, one after the other, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which left paths of water and destruction through Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. The satellite image of the three hurricanes, three strong, violent balls of windstorms, all in a line as though waiting their turn to strike, are reminiscent of those apocalyptic scenes from recent movies, and of the most drastic scientific predictions, all become reality. It seems there is no room left for doubt: human actions have caused these natural disasters, which in turn destroy many human structures.

Not everything is lost; human actions can also be very solidary in difficult times. Help flooded in from North and South, from East and West, with provisions and money as well as many helping hands. Party politics took a back seat and United States citizens extended a friendly hand to Texas and Florida. When Maria lashed Puerto Rico, some did not know, or did not want to know, that the island is part of the United States and their inhabitants are fellow United States citizens. But the help from the Hudson Valley did not tarry, and several flights have already left from JFK carrying love and provisions

And suddenly, at the same time, one earthquake, two earthquakes, three earthquakes, shook Mexico, and once again structures went down, bridges, houses, buildings, all made a pile of rubble leaving hundreds of people buried. The Mexican diaspora and their fellow Latinos in the United States, the Hudson Valley included, became involved, and donations began to flow to collection centers set up overnight in bodegas and private garages. For those who are suspicious of the Mexican government (by the way, independent journalists and citizens are showing every day even more proof of terrible acts of political corruption in the middle of such tragedy), other channels exist to collaborate and send aid to the ones most affected. If you would like to know more about the different ways to help Mexico and Puerto Rico, read our article in this month’s issue of La Voz on page 15.

Life goes on; the reconstruction of the damages will take months and even years. Knowing that climate change is already a reality, perhaps authorities will take advantage of the situation and plan to allow only structures that can better handle the natural conditions and climates on their soil. Hope is the last thing to go, isn’t it? Of course, I also believe that our actions, how we raise our voices in moments such as these, is crucial. Otherwise, how can we expect for anything to change?

Months ago, I wrote an editorial that resembled a thank you card to our president Donald Trump (The Latino Resistance, March 2017). I thanked him for having lead millions of people across the country to demand justice, to use the tools of democracy that were rusting away. And so many banners, so many marches and demonstrations in the streets, so many calls, meetings, and messages, have produced results.

Here is the most recent example, and a very relevant one: for several days, while Puerto Rico was in the dark, our president seemed to be in the dark as well as to the news, and, in classic presidential style, began attacking athletes for exercising their rights to free speech. Afterwards, it seemed that someone let him know, and then he went on to say that the island was bankrupt (no kidding), showing absolutely no solidarity and generating more controversy, one tweet at a time. But the people already know how things work and they began to demand to waive the ban of the Jones Act of 1917, in order to allow international aid. And in the face of popular pressure—because who really believes that someone in the government thought of it first?—the president authorized the, temporary, lifting of the ban.

The road is long, dear friends, but we are in it together.
And this is cause for hope.

Mariel Fiori
Managing Editor

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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson

 

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