Puerto Rico: Agricultural Losses are Critical / Political Prisoner Nina Droz sent to Jail in Florida

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By: Cándida Cotto / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / October 3, 2017


The secretary of agriculture, agronomist Carlos Flores Ortega, stated to Puerto Rican news outlet Claridad that the losses caused in agriculture by hurricane Maria haven’t been quantified yet since there still affected areas that cannot be reached. Some regional directors still haven’t completed the report that is submitted after a catastrophe due to the inaccessibility of some areas and to the damage suffered by some employees of the Department.

Although the department didn’t provide an estimate number of losses, Flores Ortega stated that the 75% of the information is checked and that, once data ins compiled, losses would surely exceed by far the numbers that had been announced previously: “it is going to be pretty high, we will have a number of losses and damages never seen before in Puerto Rico”.

According to numbers provided by the Agriculture Department in 2016, Puerto Rico invested 72.4 million dollars in bananas, 15 million dollars in coffee and 216 million dollars in livestock.

The secretary attributed the delay in the final calculation not only to the difficulties in estimating crop loss, but also to the delay in the report on the loss of infrastructure, since it was seriously affected. The agronomist affirmed that one of the agricultural companies that is still functional has enough food for distribution. Manure seems to remain unaffected. He also stated that there are enough coffee supplies in the Agriculture Department to supply the toasters’ demand.

The Agriculture Secretary recognized that now the balance of local production will change and imports will increase in order to establish the crops again, which is what really generates economic movement and development in Puerto Rico. He also stated that fruits, coffee and pineapples crops will be more difficult to recover, because they can take between two and three years to recover. The crops that will be recovered sooner are starchy products, vegetables, guineos [unripe banana], grain, legumes, and everything that has a cycle of less than a year. Many coffee trees seem to be unharmed, but many will die due to the strong winds they endured causing their roots to suffer irreparable damage; they are going to die and therefore many plantations will have to be rehabilitated. “The replantation of the crops will take several years, this will not be fixed in one year, even those plantations that endured the harsh winds will require renovation and there won’t be floration for at least two years, so we will have to do a lot of work”.

Regarding the poultry industry, he said that it will need a lot of work. The sector had a lot of old structures that were two stories high and collapsed, while the newest ones, which are only one story high, held their ground. Regarding the milk industry Flores Ortega declared that it is already back into production, even though there were losses of cattle. Some regions suffered heavy floods and that some animals had to be moved, and in other cases that wasn’t enough.  Milk is already been sent to be processed at INDULAC. “

We haven’t lost the tomato crops since they are planted for winter”, he expressed in an optimistic tone. 

The Agriculture Secretary told CLARIDAD that the biggest concern of farmers is how fast they will receive help, and indicated that in this occasion assistance would be received from the 10 relief plans that the Agriculture Department of the USA owns for emergencies. He encouraged the insured farmers to present their claim to the Agriculture Credit Corporation, and clarified that those who made claims for the damages after Irma can claim again if they suffered bigger damages, since the damages caused by Maria were more serious. Claims must be done in the agricultural regions of the AD and stated that he would be flexible with the 48 hours claiming time.


Activist Nina Droz sent to Jail in Florida

By: Gabriela Ortiz Díaz / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / October 2, 2017

After hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico, an operation was carried out to transport and relocate of nearly 300 inmates of the Guaynabo federal prison of Puerto Rico to US prisons. Sources inidcate that Nina Droz was translated to a prison located in Florida, possibly in Tallahasse.


An electronic petition titled “Libertad para Nina Droz Franco” (“Freedom for Nina Droz”) is being shared, which can be signed through the web page change.org, which reads:

“We do not believe in coincidences, Nina was moved to Florida without any kind of notification to her parents. We do not have any details, but it is possible that she is in Tallahasse. Puerto Rican patriots have had tragic experiences in Florida. We make a call to the Civil Rights Commissions of the United States and Puerto Rico to keep track of Nina.”

Droz’s transfer happened at the same time when over 300 federal jail inmates were moved from Guaynabo to different jails of the USA The jail was evicted since it has no ventilation and it needs air-conditioning due to its architectural design.

After the incarceration of the young activist on past May, several independentist, civil and human rights sectors and organizations denounced that the intervention and accusation of conspiracy made by the US administration against Nina Droz, are intended to intimidate the people of Puerto Rico to  discourage them from protesting the imposition of the Board of Fiscal Control.

Nina Droz Franco was detained by the Puerto Rican police under the false accusation of burning a cement building with a match. This occurred during a manifestation on May 1, 2017. The “colonial” police delivered her to the USA where she was accused and condemned without undergoing trial. She has been in prison for over 4 months without right to bail. She has been demonized by press. Nina has a health condition and her medicine has been denied. Nina is 37 years old, she is a model, an artist, an animal lover and a beloved daughter.

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