We are in a fight for our lives. Hurricanes Irma and María unmasked the colonialism we face in Puerto Rico, and the inequality it fosters, creating a fierce humanitarian crisis. Now we must find a path forward to equality and sustainability, a path driven by communities, not investors. And this book explains, with careful and unbiased reporting, only the efforts of our community activists can answer the paramount question: What type of society do we want to become and who is Puerto Rico for?” —Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan
“Naomi Klein concisely reveals to us what Puerto Rico has faced, shock after shock, before Hurricane Maria and after it and also the voices of people who believe and build a future for Puerto Rico from the strength of their communities." —Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, feminist, human rights activist, former president of the Puerto Rico Bar Association
Like so many of my generation, I’ve been a reader of Naomi Klein’s since the late 90s, always finding something to learn from her rigorous reporting and thoughtful analysis. There’s no-one better to tell the story of Hurricane Maria and its global significance than Naomi. In the face of speculation, exploitation and climate crisis, this book calls on us to recognize Puerto Rico’s struggle for democracy, justice, and human life itself, as our own.” —Ada Colau
“What ‘shocks' in this work is the resilient spirit del pueblo boricuá. They become the metaphor, the meaning and the maker of possiblity. And one is left immeasurably hopeful.” —Cherríe Moraga, Las Maestras Center for Chicana Indigenous Thought & Art Practice, UCSB
“A gripping and timely account of classic 'shock doctrine' being perpetrated in Puerto Rico. Naomi Klein chronicles the extraordinary grassroots resistance by the Puerto Rican people against neoliberal privatization and Wall Street greed in the aftermath of the island's financial meltdown, of hurricane devastation, and of Washington’s imposition of an outside control board over the most important U.S. colony." —Juan González, co-host of Democracy Now! and author of Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.
“Against the rampant greed of disaster capitalism, only radical solidarity can provide the way forward for Puerto Rico. To build it, our approach must be grounded in uncovering and combating the strategies that have been developed to deprive an entire nation of its human rights and its ability to defend itself. Klein's work does precisely this, inspiring a unified vision to create the Puerto Rico we need.” —Amárilis Pagán Jiménez
Activist and journalist Klein (No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, 2017, etc.) looks at the "shock doctrine" as it is now unfolding in the ruins of Puerto Rico.There's a method to the apparent madness that, more than half a year after the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria, keeps much of Puerto Rico without electricity and drinking water. By the author's account in this brief cri de coeur, it affords an opportunity for a clearance sale and land boom, which explains why the "disaster capitalists who have descended on Puerto Rico are reinforcing the most traumatizing part of the disaster they are there to exploit: the sense of helplessness." Helplessness is the keyword for cities and their chokepoints, dependent on sea traffic from Florida to bring in supplies, unable to rely on agribusiness for fresh produce, and unable to air condition or light buildings. What to do? Sell out cheap and move to America, turning Puerto Rico into a place for natives to visit even as the speculators are moving to turn San Juan into the next Miami, helped along by a governor who seems committed to the project of luring American corporations to the island with a 4 percent corporate tax rate, "a fraction of what corporations pay even after Donald Trump's recent tax cut." It all seems to be working, except that, as Klein notes, plenty of Puerto Ricans are demonstrating that there can be another course, one in which the island is remade with small farms and gardens, renewable power, decentralized government, and other instruments of economic, small-is-beautiful revolution. As the author tours the island, she contrasts the desolation of the cities with the relative prosperity of communities that have adopted these soft-path, anti-colonialist strategies. Which will prevail? "Both are gaining power fast," writes Klein in conclusion, "and in the high-stakes months and years to come, collision is inevitable."A revealing, on-the-ground report that ably shows that the real looters after disaster are not the poor.