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Some news in recent days seems to have been taken directly from an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” but it is taking place in real life. For example, that story about how immigration officials took a Salvadoran woman in labor contractions to a Texas hospital to give her medication to stop her contractions, with the goal of deporting her to Mexico. That, with the objective that she give birth there and wait for an elusive asylum hearing that will probably never arrive, as the magazine Time reported.
Add that to the saga of Donald Trump and the map, about the trajectory of Hurricane Dorian, when the President insisted, with a map apparently altered by himself, that the disaster would also affect Alabama, which was never in its path, and the meteorological service of that state had to deny what the President said. Even worse, The Washington Post reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) instructed its employees to not express opinions or provide information beyond what was contained in official bulletins, which was interpreted by some employees as an order to not contradict Trump.
But that’s not all. Last week Trump also re-rerouted money from 127 programs at the Pentagon to dedicate those funds toward construction of the wall he promised in the 2016 campaign and which, in the face of 2020, he wants to complete at any cost. Among the diverted funds are $400 million that had been destined to the National Guard of Puerto Rico for construction of military installations, including some affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Any suspicion that Trump is acting intentionally toward Puerto Rico is totally confirmed, although the diversion of military funds affects twenty-three states, two more territories (besides Puerto Rico), and twenty countries.
Fact is, Trump is diverting funds to reinforce installations and projects related to national security and that of our allies in order to finance a useless wall, which even Republicans failed to fund when they controlled both chambers of Congress; a wall that will not solve anything and will simply allow Trump to assure his followers that he is following through on that promise. In fact, on Sunday he tweeted out a video titled “We’re building the wall,” where he promises that by the end of 2020, 500 miles of fencing, thirty feet high will be completed and that they are taking funds from everywhere because the Democrats refused to finance it.
All of this comes at the same time the leader himself announces, as if it were nothing, that he was cancelling a secret meeting with the Taliban, at Camp David in Maryland, no less, and just days before we commemorate eighteen years that passed since the September 11 terrorist attacks perpetrated by terrorists trained in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule. Trump blamed the cancellation on a terrorist attack in Kabul perpetrated by the Taliban that claimed twelve lives, including that of Puerto Rican Sergeant Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz, thirty-four years old. Trump referred to the sergeant as “one of our great great soldiers.” A great soldier who like so many other Puerto Ricans and Hispanics has given his life and his blood in defense of this country, even though they are discriminated against by the Commander in Chief.
In the Trump era this is just another week. On a daily basis, this President has something up his sleeve to swindle the political class and the country. Worst of all is that his incendiary and racist rhetoric has given way to concrete actions not supported by the law, but by executive orders and actions that have permitted this President to bypass Congress and implement cruel policies that directly impact the lives of many. It’s not just about a totally cruel immigration policy, in particular toward children, and as we now see, pregnant women. It’s not only about undocumented immigrants. We Puerto Ricans, who are citizens, have felt the discrimination of this President up close and personal, above all in moments of crisis like the threat of a hurricane. For other states in the path of Dorian he had supportive words; to Puerto Ricans he blamed us for being in the path of so many hurricanes.
I do not know what effect this dysfunctional presidency of Trump’s is having on the electorate. The alternative offered by the Democratic Party has yet to become clear. This week in Houston, Texas we will have another debate with ten of the twenty presidential primary candidates of that party.
While those Democrats elucidate about who will be their nominee and how they will win against the Republican leader, the chaotic succession of events, decisions, scandals, and cruel and discriminatory policies of the Trump administration will continue. And sadly, this is not an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” Here, the reality has already surpassed fiction.