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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  October 18, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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10/18/17 10/18/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! we are done.u, the world will not know what is happening here because the twist and turns of a man that knows hising more than to tweet hate away will take over. and we cannot let that happen, so it is on us, but it is on you because after all, we are one nation. amy: an appeal from san juan mayor carmen yulin cruz one month after puerto rico was devastated by hurricane maria.
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most of the island's 3.5 million residents still lack electricity. food and water remain in short supply. we'll get an update from independent journalist rosa clemente, just back from the island last night. and as puerto rico faces an estimated $95 million in clean-up costs, we'll look at a major new investigation into "exactly who owns it's $74 million debt." then in california, as wildfires scorch more than 200,000 acres, roughly the size of new york city, more than 11,000 firefighters are rattling the blaze -- a number of them are prisoners. a the only way you would tell was a prisoner firefighter is if i told you. on the line, you would not know at all. amy: the incarcerated women who fight california wildfires. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a federal judge in hawaii blocked most of president trump's latest version of a travel ban tuesday, just hours before it was set to take effect. u.s. district judge derrick watson, who previously blocked plans by the administration to ban refugees and travelers from six majority-muslim nations, ruled the latest ban "plainly discriminates based on nationality" in violation of the law as well as the "founding principles of this nation." the ban would have barred some travelers from chad, iran, libya, north korea, somalia, syria, and yemen. however, the hawaiian judge watson's order will allow a ban on some north koreans and venezuelans to go into effect. the supreme court was scheduled to hear arguments this month on an earlier version of a travel ban, but canceled the hearing after trump issued new
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restrictions. the white house has vowed to appeal the latest ruling. on capitol hill, two senators said tuesday they've reached a deal to stabilize health insurance markets as president trump wages a campaign aimed at undermining the affordable care act. the limited deal by republican senator lamar alexander of tennessee and democratic senator patty murray of washington will fund health insurance subsidies for low-income americans for two years. president trump said he would back the deal, even though said last week he was ending billions of dollars in federal subsidies to insurance companies, part of his effort to "let obamacare implode." in florida, the widow of u.s. army sergeant la david johnson, myeshia johnson, wept over the casket of her husband as his body arrived at miami international airport on tuesday ahead of a funeral planned for the weekend. sergeant johnson was one of four u.s. soldiers killed in an
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ambush during a patrol in niger on october 4 -- a raid that president trump did not publicly acknowledge until a reporter confronted him about it this week. on tuesday, florida congressmember frederica wilson said trump called myeshia johnson as she was accompanying her family to the airport in a car. the congresswoman said she heard trump say over a speakerphone -- for,new what he signed up that when it happens -- but when it happens it hurts anyway." in response, wilson told "the miami herald" -- "i think it's so insensitive. it's crazy. why do you need to say that? you don't say that to someone who lost family, the father, the breadwinner. you can say, 'i'm so sorry for your loss. he's a hero.' i'm livid," the congresswoman said. trump stirred outrage monday when he falsely claimed that president obama did not personally call the families of u.s. soldiers killed in combat. the comment prompted former obama's deputy chief of staff to
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call the claim an "eff-ing lie" while blasting trump as a "deranged animal." on tuesday, the president doubled down on the claim in an interview with fox news radio. pres. trump: did the best of my knowledge, i think i have called every family of somebody that has died. it is the hardest call to make. i said it loud and two yesterday, the hardest thing for me to do is to do that. as far as other representatives, i don't know. you could ask general kelly, did he get a call from obama? you could ask other people. i don't know what obama's policy was. i write letters and i also call. amy: trump was referring to his chief of staff, retired marine corps general john kelly, whose son, first lieutenant robert kelly, died in 2010 in afghanistan when he stepped on a land mine. kelly has previously refused to discuss his son's death publicly. "the washington post" reports john kelly attended a 2011 breakfast held by president obama for gold star families.
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in somalia, new details about saturday's massive truck bomb attack reveal an accused mastermind of the attack may have been motivated by a deadly u.s. raid last summer that left 10 civilians dead, including children. the guardian reports the suspected bomber is from the specific community targeted by the raid last august, a village near the capital mogadishu. saturday's attack killed more than 300 people and left more than 400 others injured. in afghanistan, string of taliban attacks on security forces tuesday left 80 people dead and nearly 300 injured in afghanistan's worst day of violence in at least five months. in the deadliest attack, taliban fighters used a series of bombs to breach a police compound in the city of gardez, entering the building and setting off an hours-long gun battle. in kenya, opposition leader raila odinga called off a protest campaign on tuesday
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after three people were shot and killed by police as they demonstrated against kenya's election commission. with the latest deaths, human rights groups say at least 67 of odinga's supporters have been killed in protests over a failed election on august 8. the incumbent president uhuru kenyatta won that election with 54% of the vote, but kenya's supreme court nullified the result citing irregularities in kenya's electronic voting system. odinga said last week he would not participate in a re-vote scheduled for october 26th without electoral reforms. israel's army rated tv channels and media outlets across the occupied west bank overnight tuesday, confiscating equipment, forcing broadcasters off the air, and arresting two palestinians. in a statement, the israel defense forces accused the media outlets of inciting terrorism. the palestinian journalists syndicate condemned the crackdown and promised to rally media workers outside u.n.
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offices in ramallah. the raids came as israel approved plans to build 31 new housing units in a settlement in the palestinian city of hebron. it's the latest move by prime minister benjamin netanyahu to defy international law by expanding jewish-only settlements. this is hagit ofran of the israeli group peace now. >> this plan is going to be in the heart of the palestinian city of hebron. it will increase the number of settlers by 20%. this is a bad decision that israel is now allowing to expand the settlement which represents the most ugly face of israel's occupation. amy: newly declassified documents reveal diplomats at the u.s. embassy in jakarta knew about and supported a mass extermination campaign by indonesia's government in the 1960's that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians -- and by
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some estimates, more than 1 million people. beginning in 1965, indonesian military and paramilitary forces communistd, accused -- slaughtered accused communists after overthrowing the democratically elected government. that military was backed by the administration of president lyndon johnson and led by general suharto, who would go on to rule indonesia for decades. in memos made public on tuesday, u.s. embassy officials cheered reports describing the slaughter and indiscriminate killings of indonesians. one memo from late 1965 read -- "generally victims are taken out of populous areas before being killed and bodies are buried rather than thrown in river." historians have already established that the u.s. provided the indonesian army with financial, military and intelligence support at the time of the mass killings. back in the united states, president trump's dominant for drug czar tom marino withdrew from consideration tuesday after a washington post/60 minutes investigation found he let drug
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industry -- drug industry-backed effort to weaken federal government's ability to crack down on the opioid epidemic. the bill, backed by marino, made it nearly impossible for the dea to keep large quantities of prescription opioid pain pills off the black market. in a tweet, president trump acknowledged marino was withdrawing and called him a "fine man and a great congressman!" in los angeles, a fire erupted overnight at a massive chevron oil refinery near the los angeles international airport, lighting up the night sky and sending huge columns of smoke into residential neighborhoods. police warned nearby residents to close their windows as firefighters spent about a half hour extinguishing flames. chevron describes the site as the largest oil refinery in the western united states, processing more than 250,000 barrels of crude oil each day. meanwhile, in northern california, a new wildfire erupted in the santa cruz mountains southwest of san jose tuesday, the latest in a record-setting fire season. the official death toll from the
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fires has reached 41, the deadliest in california history. dozens more remain missing, and according to sonoma county's sheriff, some victims were reduced to ashes and bones and will never be identified. in texas, the american civil liberties union says the trump is administration is barring a pregnant undocumented teenager from getting an abortion. in a lawsuit in federal court, the aclu says the 17-year-old girl, who's living unaccompanied in a refugee resettlement shelter, has been granted permission from a judge to terminate her pregnancy, but officials with the department of health and human services and other agencies have refused to transport her to a women's health clinic for an abortion. california governor jerry brown signed a bill that will allow residents to claim a third gender when applying for official documents. beginning in 2019, anyone applying for a drivers' license or birth certificate will be able to identify themselves as
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female, male, or non-binary. the legislation follows similar bills that passed in oregon and washington, d.c., with other states, including new york, set to follow suit. in chechnya, a russian man who says he was kidnapped and tortured by police has become the first openly gay witness to describe what human rights groups are calling a "gay pogrom" carried out by chechen officials. 30-year-old maxim lapunov told reporters monday he was abducted on the street in the chechen capital grozny last march and taken to a bloodstained jail cell where he was tortured for 12 days. >> this cell was really scary. one quarter of it was covered in blood. it was no blood from yesterday or the day before yesterday. it was fresh. it just soaked into the floor. first they were beating me with plastic types. i can't say for how long, but it was long. i was falling down because i could no longer stay on my feet
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any longer. my legs, buttocks, back were all beaten. they would let me take a breath now and then but afterwards, pushing me back up and resuming the beating shouting threats and neck is asian's. -- threats and accusations. amy: human rights groups say as many as a hundred people, mainly gay young men, were swept up by chechen police and tortured earlier this year. back in the united states, the white house is denying an explosive article published in "the new yorker" that reports president trump joked that vice president mike pence wants to hang gay people. according to reporter jane mayer, trump made the comments in a private meeting with a legal scholar, saying of the vice president's views on lgbt rights, "don't ask that guy -- he wants to hang them all!" trump also reportedly mocked pence over his religious views and his anti-abortion activism. white house press secretary sarah sanders told reporters the remarks never happened, but the "new yorker" stands by its reporting, saying the report is
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based on over 60 officials. activist will be allowed to present a so-called necessity defense when they go to trial on charges for turning off routes to an oil pipeline in a direct action protest last year. the activist who said her decision to break the law was resuscitated by the clear and present danger posed by climate change will be allowed to call expert witnesses on climate change. among those who may be called our former top nasa climate scientist james hansen and founder bill mckibben, who told the website common dreams "the whole planet will be inside a single courtroom today this trial begins. it is a rare chance to explain precisely why we need to act and act now." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in puerto
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rico, one month after it was devastated by hurricane maria and before that, hurricane irma. four out of five puerto ricans are still without electricity and food and water remain in short supply. puerto rico's governor ricardo rossello has set a goal of reestablishing electricity to 30% of the island by the end of the month. meanwhile, on monday, the island secretary of state luis rivera marin posted a shocking video of himself standing in a large dumpster where he claimed to have found food and water that had been discarded instead of distributed. >> look, this is the food that we should be disturbing to people. boxes of food. we will do an inventory of this. this is water. the water that the people need. we will see what explanation they have to give us a cousin this makes even the eyes of god cry. juan: as puerto rico struggles
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to rebuild, we turn now to a major new investigation that examines the looming question of what will happen to the island's $74 billion debt as it faces an estimated $95 billion in storm-related damage. reporters at the center for investigative journalism and in these times in the united states spent five months digging through court filings and documents from financial firms and much more in order to put together the most up-to-date list of 10 of the largest financial firms that are now scrambling to get billions out of the bankrupt island as it tries to rebuild. more than 30 known financial firms are vying for puerto rico's debt repayments, of which at least 24 are so-called vulture funds that specialize in high-risk assets and cater to wealthy investors. several of the funds were complicit in past financial crises in other parts of the world, including in argentina
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and greece, as well as the 2008 financial collapse in the united states. after president trump visited puerto rico earlier this month, he told fox news his administration would help the island recover from the extensive damage caused by hurricane maria by possibly wiping out its massive debt. pres. trump: we are going to work something out. we have to look at their whole debt structure. they owe a lot of money to your friends on wall street. we're going up to wipe that out. you can say goodbye to that. i don't know if it is goldman sachs them of the two ever it is, you can wave goodbye to that. the debt was massive on the island. amy: trump's comments shook financial markets. the next morning, white house budget director mick mulvaney walked back the remarks, saying they should not be taken word for word. >> dealing with the challenges that puerto rico has, the island is at least $72 billion in debt before the storm. we're going to focus our attention right now on rebuilding the island, making
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sure everybody is safe, and that we get through this difficult time. we're not going to do right now with those fundamental difficulties that puerto rico had before the storm. by the way, not many folks have talked about this yet, a lot of those issues are already dealt with through previous promesa.on called amy: this comes after trump tweeted last month that "puerto rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble" with "billions of dollars owed to wall street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with." in a minute, we will go to send want to be joined by carla minet co-author of the new investigation on "who owns puerto rico's debt, exactly?" minet is a journalist and editor at the center for investigative journalism, based in puerto rico. an award-winning independent media outlet that marks its 10th anniversary this year. first, we go to chicago, illinois to be joined by jessica stites executive editor of in , these times and an editor on
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this new investigation. why don't you lay out what you found? >> we teamed up with the center for investigative journalism in puerto rico, which has been doing amazing work looking into this debt crisis. and what we wanted to know was, who are the current owners of the debt? you think that would be an easy question because the owners of the dead are in courts fighting -- and that are in court fighting with the government of puerto rico trying to get the money back. but actually, this is new credibly secretive process. a lot of this happens behind closed doors. it is not at all public who is involved in these negotiations. what the center did was comb through these bankruptcy documents that have been filed in court since may and pull out the names of these on holders and creditors that are trying to get their payments. we were actually surprised by what we found. we heard a lot of names floated in relation to the debt crisis.
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a lot of big firms. at some point, goldman sachs has been involved, merrill lynch has an involved. at the firms that are most active in bankruptcy court right now we found or what are called vulture firms. mentioned, these are firms, hedge funds. they specialize in high risk assets. so troubled assets. so they are going into places where there is a risk of a default, a risk of a bankruptcy, and buying up the stuff and selling it to investors who tend to be very high net worth people. we're looking at investment thresholds of $1 million to $5 billion stephen buy into these .irms although there are a lot of debt holders, this is who we are seeing fighting tooth and now in court to try to get this money back.
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juan: jessica, there was quite a bit of difficulty on the part of the center for investigative journalists to even get the government to release some of the original folks who bought the bonds. not necessarily want to have them now. can you talk a little bit about the legal battle that went on for, i think, a couple of years? >> sure. carla can tell you more, but i certainly know they put in, as they should have come a public records request. puerto rico is part of the united states, governed of the same public records law. the government basically told them, no, we're not going to give you this information. they cited privacy of the creditors. the center had to go to court it tookfor it and months. so they finally got the names of the people who had bought this junk-bond mission. but they got them.
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in 2015, that information was already becoming old because this debt continues to change hands. so getting up-to-date names and that amounts have been incredible he difficult. amy: earlier this month, democracy now! spoke to congressman nydia velazquez of new york's 7th congressional district. she says she supports debt forgiveness. >> or get about public debt. the most important aspect and commitment from my end is to fight, to get the resources that we need. if we don't make puerto rico whole, you're going to see a massive migration of people coming into the united states. and hedge funds were others who are owed money, they need to forget that puerto rico will be able to pay anything. if anything, we have to take care of retirees in puerto rico
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and the pensions liabilities. amy: shouldn't that be forgiven? there is a way in terms of the authority of the federal government, yes, i will support it. nyn: that was commerce woman dia velazquez. we're also joined by carla minet , who is co-author of the new investigation by in these times . welcome to democracy now! >> good morning. juan: you list a bunch, especially the top 10, holders of the debt. not surprisingly, from what i saw of the list, seven of the 10 are based in new york city. could you talk about some of these funds? many of them are hardly household names. few people know they exist unless they are in the financial world. >> definitely.
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who have been investigating this issue for the past three years, i believe, so most of them are not new names. , like onee cases whose parent company is [indiscernible] about their owners just recently because a journalist went on looking for directions, different kinds of anonymous directions, and finally got to an address where they found the owner of the firm. so some of them have been anonymous for some time. amy: carla, we are very glad we were able to get you online. we hoped to have you on video stream. obviously, it is extremely difficult in puerto rico right now. there we go on with
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investigation, can you describe the situation on the ground? this is a month after hurricane maria hit. and now president trump threatening to pull fema workers out saying the u.s. can't stay or the workers can't stay in porter go "forever"? be aght now there will month this friday since maria came into puerto rico. we have to remember we first saw irma first. -- saw it has been hell for everyone in puerto rico. we are still very stranded. there is electricity for only less than 20% of the population so.water for around 30% or difficulthave very
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communications using cellular phones in puerto rico. you can do it only mostly in san juan, the capital. you know, mostly people are without food, without water -- especially in the mountainous region of the island. they lost their homes. they have no roofs. veryhelp has been very, slow in puerto rico. stillou know, we are clearing the roads in some places. ask: carla, i would like to -- to go back to your report and to list some of the firms that you highlight in the report. i'm just looking at the list of the new york-based firms, which is most of them. autonomy capital, monarch alternative investments, gold entry asset management, tilden
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park, stone lion capital, and fundamental advisors. interestingly, as you know in your report, these vulture funds are in different alliances because they have a whole different parts of the puerto rico debt and are often at odds with each other over who is first in line in case there is a reduced payout him who is going to be the first one at the front of the line. so could you talk about this battle between the bondholders? >> well, yes. as you said, some of the bondholders have different kinds of bonds. puerto rico has 18 different kinds of bonds. cases, there are definitely conflicts. even inside some of the firms that own different kinds of those bonds.
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some have priority. some are constitutionally committed. as some of them are not. criteria that of anyone deciding who is going to be paid would have to take into consideration. so they are all forming with legal representation and they have the same lobbies in the same public relations firms. in terms of the common interests defend in court or publicly, they formed this group. there are five groups right now in the bankruptcy process.
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it is a big battle. $74.8 billion debt battle, the biggest in the u.s. a lot of people are having different kinds of interest there are small bondholders and at the very end are puerto ricans. amy: i want to thank you so much for being with us, carla minet, co-author of the new investigation jointly published by her organization the center for investigative journalism in puerto rico and in these times called, "who owns puerto rico's debt, exactly? we've tracked down 10 of the biggest vulture firms." and thank you so much to jessica stites, joining us from chicago, in these editor of times. when we come back, we find out voices on the ground in puerto rico, what is happening today. .tay with us al
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♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we continue to look at puerto rico one month after hurricane maria as we turn to oscar lopez rivera, speaking last week in puerto rico. until earlier this year, he had been in federal prison for 35 years -- much of the time in solitary confinement -- after he was convicted on federal charges of opposing u.s. authority over the island by force. president obama commuted his sentence in january and he was finally released in may. amy: this is oscar lopez rivera in the neighborhood of las monjas in san juan. he was busy visiting with community members affected by hurricane maria.
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he spoke with nicole salazar while riding in the back of a van. >> the overwhelming majority of puerto rico is completely, completely alienated from the political structure. colonialism is really, really strong and alive in puerto rico. and the politicians have taken full advantage of that. we have a debt of $74 billion, caused primarily by the system and the political structure in puerto rico. for me, it is been very devastating experience. primarily, because one of the first things that i noticed was gentrification. anticipate a lot of communities, including this one
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here, will be displaced once it probablyfied and gentrified. this is for a close to the ocean. a community where a lot of potential. once they can wipe out the residence, then they can do whatever they feel like doing here. but we can see it in point still , where we can see the buildings, where we can see the condominiums, or we can see it by ocean park -- every part of puerto rico. we can see gentrification taking place. gentrification meets the displacement of puerto rico, the displacement of the working class in puerto rico, and at the same time, foreigners coming into puerto rico -- especially because the foreigners to invest in puerto rico having access to
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incentives that we don't have access to. if i buy a house tomorrow, i would have to pay taxes on my house. but if a multimillionaire by the condominium for julian dollars, he will not have to pay any tax for 25 of 30 years. that is the difference in terms of advantages and disadvantages. got a puerto rico with a very --h on the planet rate puerto rico with a very high unemployment rate. >> in a moment of crisis like this, a lot of time to see the financial sector moving in, people taking advantage. what are your main concerns right now given the sort of desperate situation puerto rico is in. >> the financial institutions are going to move in. they will invest. they will buy out because the property israel cheap right now. a lot of puerto ricans are
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moving out. i am surprised at the number of puerto ricans moving out still. i thought line of the immigration of puerto ricans had decreased a little bit. but, no, with a hurricane, it has increased even more. i see the financial institutions, especially the hedge funds, moving into puerto rico with all of the force knowing their investments for the future are going to be elevatedd or probably to quantities beyond any notion of how capital works. >> can you respond to donald trump and the u.s. response to the island, the political response? >> i think it is reflective of thecolonizer treats colonized. he has demonstrated it clearly already by doing what he has done.
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it is shameful for me to see a president tossing things to so muchho are suffering as puerto ricans are. besides that, the way they came in with fema and homeland whatity really reflects colonialism is to puerto ricans. we can see how fema can come into puerto rico and dictate and say, this is what you have to do, this is what you have to do. and be totally disrespectful. the same with homeland security. andland security comes in it is honest and credible how they treat people, how they have been dealing with our situation in puerto rico, rather than being sensitive and respectful of the people, they are being totally disrespectful of the people. not liketreating us citizens, but treating us like animals.
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see the results because we have not seen the results from the medical side of puerto rico, once we see the results, we see that we are being killed by neglect. responset reflects the of donald trump and the u.s. government to the crisis in puerto rico. >> right now a of the puerto rican population, according to polls, prefer statehood. what do you see as the political trajectory that puerto rico is on and where you would like it to go? the majority puerto ricans want to be puerto ricans. once we become annexed to the united states or by the united states, then we will lose our national identity. i can look at hawaii as an example of people who lose, the natives who lose their identity.
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i can look into the native american reservations and see people who lose their national identity, their culture, their land. that is what is going happen to puerto ricans. there are times when people think, well, oh, we are blessed with the relationship with the united states. -- the end not result will not be that. this much, ifu puerto rico becomes similar to hawaii, the hawaiian native population is about 9%. if we go to the prisons, the overwhelming majority of the prisoners are the natives. the same with alaska. i can anticipate puerto ricans will not be better off by the annexation of the united states of puerto rico. i also know for a fact that once
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in the nation or any people lose their identity, their culture, their language, their way of life, that they are dehumanized. this is the reality that we are facing as puerto ricans. problem if, big, big puerto rico is to be annexed. but i believe the overwhelming majority of order rico wants to be puerto ricans. i have been in five different states in the united states and have found young puerto ricans in the states who really love puerto rico, who really want to do something for puerto rico. and for me, puerto rico has to be the promised land of all puerto ricans, whether we are in the united states or wherever we are. but this has to be the promised land. annexation will never be the answer. amy: that is longtime independent activist oscar lopez rivera. until earlier this year, he of
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in a federal prison in the u.s. for 35 years, much of that time confinementry after he was convicted on federal charges of opposing u.s. authority over the island by force. president obama commuted his sentence in january, finally released in may. special thanks to nicole salazar of divided films and ed mariota who recorded that footage while filming in puerto rico for the series "america uprising," which airs on refinery 29. as he continued to look at puerto rico's recovery from hurricanes maria and irma one month in story and made landfall, this comes as residents desperate for drinking water have begun pumping the dorado groundwater contamination site, a hazardous waste superfund site. the epa warns the water contains chemicals that cause liver damage and an increased risk of cancer. our next guest, rosa clemente, is just back from puerto rico, where she joined other independent journalists in documenting conditions for a project called pr on the map.
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this is a clip from a video she recorded at the dorado superfund site, where she met a woman filling up her water tank. >> good morning. how are you? you have come to fill up water? >> yes. >> the water doesn't have chemicals? >> know, indestructible. this is called a superfund site. it is chemicals right here. how do you say in the ground? did you know it has chemicals? >> well, indestructible. they are selling it as trigger pull. when you fill it up, the water is not yellow. i use it to drink and more. juan: that's rosa clemente speaking with a woman filling up her water tank at the dorado superfund site in puerto rico, and now rosa joins us in the studio. she was the 2008 vice-president nominee for the green party, and is now a doctoral candidate at the w.e.b. du bois department of afro-american studies at the
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amherst. >> this is a group that i for together in less than 10 days because i knew no one could tell the stories like we could tell. so, look, the people of puerto rico are dying. they want the puerto rico without puerto ricans. so from contaminated water to mothers who are not lactating to abc to each mashed bananas because baby food cannot be found, to people getting in eyes lines waiting for two bags of a massiveis violations of human rights. this is a colonial problem that began 119 years ago. in my opinion from what we have seen, the government has collapsed in puerto rico. we were able to get to places that the military said they .ould not get to
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people have not even seen 1/10 of what is happening in all these places. itself a superfund site? >> that was a little easier to get to. the fact that we got to another one, i'm sorry -- amy: adjust the place their drinking farm. >> the water looks clean, but the hoses they took a part in the ground. it is completely black. we have people who say "pull up your socks" because of the chemicals. he is a veteran of afghanistan and iraq and has never seen the level of incompetence coming from the top all the way -- there wasng katrina, a lot of criticism of the local government, the mayor, and the governor. but in puerto rico, this government has totally failed the local government -- the newly elected governor, to deal
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with the crisis. two days ago, he was at a concert in miami with jennifer lopez and marc anthony raising money for his wife's bond. he also recently made an agreement with a private electrical company based in montana that has no record of a power grid. 90% of the island is still without electricity. much of what we see, san juan, who is relatively doing well. amy: let's turn to the san juan mayor carmen yulin cruz. >> wheyou are mo tha50 years old, you're afforded the opportunity of getting a little emotional. this the only way i know how to say it.
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to t young people out there at the diaspora -- [indiscernible] without you, we are done. the world will not know what is happening here because the thats and turns of a man knows nothing more but to tweet is hate away will take over. happen.annot let that so it is on us, but it is on you because after all, we are one nation. one nation. juan: that was the san juan mayor carmen yulin cruz in an interview with our guest rosa clemente for the project pr on the map. rosa, if you could talk -- carmen yulin cruz has been a
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target of trump. talk about her role was just a 45 is a megalomaniac what's up from assist and that is what we're dealing with plain and simple. has become the de facto leader of puerto rico. she is also the voice of the that to this day people have not received walkie-talkies of their 78 million minas appellate he's. there are 77 mayors and mayor cruz has become kind of the leader of puerto rico. she gave us an audio interview the day before while she was getting a respiratory breathing thing because she is so in the next day, she gave us over an hour in that exclusive video will job on friday. there have been critiques from people in san juan who are saying she is going to other places. but when we have more in the
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extended conversation, we go, maybe because they mayors are completely isolated. there is no fema. when we were -- we went to the fema location. they were not trying to tell us where it was. there is no signage. a national guard off the record told us where to go. there were over 40,000 meals that had not been distributed to the people in the area, but there was a complete military occupation of that town. and people said, why? said there is copper, potential uranium in these mines, and they want to take this part of the island for that. amy: you bumped into national nurses united volunteers from the mainland? >> we were at a press conference and they were incensed. amy: let's go to a clip. how do i tell a mom not to
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give her two-year-old daughter water because it makes her sick? i don't have anything to offer them. there is no one coming. she lives on a mountain using a car battery for electricity, trying to put a fan on the baby. a car battery. amy: she was -- >> one of the many nurses that was there. one of the things they're saying is they are fearing a cholera outbreak, loved to process from the rats from all of the animals in the water. they let us know the u.s. -- that is there that can hold -- amy: the ship. >> the hospital ship. at the moment, has 60 people in it. my and was in a hospital, they let me in with a hazmat suit, to see her for 10 minutes and the nurse said, unless you are dying even if you have an infection that can kill you, we cannot have surgery because we don't have water. andle need to be evacuated
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the comfort says there now with less than 20 people of 20,000. juan: total mismanagement. >> i think it is more. as puerto ricans, and island as a people, they are extracted from us another want to extract all of us from the island. amy: and you president trump tweeting "we cannot keep fema, the military, first responders who have been amazing under the most difficult circumstances in pr forever." >> i scion parting at the partying-- i saw him sheridan, less than two miles, people don't have food and water. amy: we will continue to cover this catastrophe that is puerto rico right now. rosa clemente, just back from puerto rico, is an independent journalist, and 2008 vice-president nominee for the green party. we will link to her project
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called we come back, the firefighters fighting the fires in california, a number of them are prisoners. we will talk about the women prisoners on the fire front lines. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: performing here from their new album here in the democracy now! studios. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we end today's show in california, where raging wildfires have killed at least 41 people and scorched more than 200,000 acres -- roughly the size of new york city. the fires are now the deadliest in california since record keeping began. at least 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate, with about 75,000 displaced after their homes and businesses were destroyed. more than 11,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, and many of them are prisoners, including many women inmates. in this clip, from the film "the prison in twelve landscapes," an inmate with an all woman crew describes being sent to fight a raging fire in marin county. >> my first day here them when i first got to camp, i got thrown on the fire. we had just got through orientation and the horn went
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off. i got thrown on a bus and off we went, chasing smoke. we're driving up the mountain and seeing dirty burn everywhere. all of a sudden, there's a 40 foot wall of flame on both sides of me. amy: that's a clip from pbs's independent lens. "the prison in 12 landscapes." to find out more about these firefighters, we're joined by two guests. in fullerton, california, romarilyn ralston is with the california coalition for women prisoners-l.a. chapter, and is the program coordinator for project rebound at cal state university. romarilyn experienced 23 years of incarceration. and while she was incarcerated, she was a fire camp trainer and a clerk for the california department of forestry and fire protection. and in los angeles, journalist and author jaime lowe joins us. her recent story in "the new york times magazine" is headlined "the incarcerated women who fight california's wildfires."
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ro maryland, if you could tell us who is on the front lines, people might be surprised to hear that prisoners, among them women prisoners, are fighting california's wildfires right now for >> good morning. thank you for having me on the show. yes, the women who are on the frontline are women have volunteered for the camp training program or are assigned to the program because they have nonviolent offenses were classified as minimum custody. so these are women who are able to leave the prison and be housed in one of the 43 conservation camps. i'm sorry, one of the three female conservation camps. amy: how is it this program started? who are these incarcerated women who are fighting fires? >> the program started many years ago, i think around world war ii, where inmates the game involved with -- became involved
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with fighting disasters in california. ,epairing roads, sandbagging things like that. the first conservation camp for women i believe was opened in 1983, which was camp rainbow. it was formally a male conservation camp. firefighting program for female inmates has been around since 1983. juan: how much are they paid compared to others who are fighting the fires on the front lines? >> fire pay is typically about one dollar an hour while you are in fire camp training, some folks are paid zero for that training or up to $18 a month. once you get to the classroom and you are part of the field training, then that pay escalates to a whopping $48 a month. if you are a swamper, you might
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get had $56 a month. why do women do it? >> women do it for various reasons. several reasons are to get closer to their kids. those types of jobs come with a huge reduction in sentence. so the credit that you'd see for fighting fires is worth putting your lives at risk between the time that you serve. amy: are you saying they get to see their children if they fight the fire? >> they get to see their children a lot sooner because you get a reduced sentence. you are in day for dave. you get to see your children at a visiting area in a camp, not at a prison, where there are less restrictions, where the environment is more park-like. who doesn't want that? juan: jaime lowe me wrote an article "the women to fight california's wildfires." could you talk about what you found?
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>> i talked to people who ranged in many different backgrounds. i found their response to the program was anything from the hardship of the work to a lot of appreciation for the responsibility of working within the community and doing something that was giving back to it. was --id, i think it these women are putting their lives on the line for very little money. they make one dollar and number when they are actually fighting fire, two dollars a day in camp per day. and while the camps are nicer place to experience prison, they are still prisons. they are still prisoners. amy: what surprised you most in your research for this piece for "the new york times"?
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>> the philly that there was a real appreciation -- definitely that there was a real appreciation for participation. i was shocked how many women were really -- one woman i talked to felt transformed by doing the work. but i think it was also just really hard for her. when she described being -- confronted with flames and confronted with the training, it was something she had never experienced before. and her description of it was so visceral and so intense, it was felt outside of the lines of incarceration in some ways. it is not what you would expect will stop it is felt more like an hour bound experience -- outward bound experience. it felt -- these women are providing a service for the
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state. amy: have any of the prisoners who are fighting the fires lost your lives? >> yes. that is how i was first not introduced, but why i wanted to write about the program. i had never fully heard of it. about amaller article prisoner who passed away in february 2016. she was on one of the crews in the malibu camp will stop there are three female camps. it struck me that nobody really talked about who she was, how she got there, her background, and how she ended up dead. amy: we're going to continue this discussion and have you back on later in the week. this is a critical story. your story,nk to jaime lowe, a new book out this week called "mental." juan, your speaking at rutgers tonight? check it out at . romarilyn ralston, they get so
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