Fernando Mendez | 8/24/2018, 4:26 p.m.
Sometimes the real facts are inconvenient for a government and then the citizens are given incomplete or false information. The Harvard study that revealed the number of victims of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico reached 4,600 was not enough to change the official report issued by the government.
As of this writing, the government of Puerto Rico is still holding on to the number they published originally which was 640. That number is clearly wrong by most estimates and the other number they agreed upon with some caveats, of 1,400 is also wrong. This is one more example of the way governments manipulate information to suit their purposes.
Miguel Angel Asturias, like George Orwell let us see the consequences for the citizens when a government hides the truth. What often happens is that those who try to tell the truth end up in prison or dead. In the case of Watergate the journalists and informants in that story feared for their lives.
That is not what happens in the case of Puerto Rico and the reports issued by the state. But the discrepancy between the official version and the Harvard report shows that the numbers have been manipulated to explain the low level of interest on the part of the federal government. Billions of dollars in aid have been wasted. Warehouses full of supplies to help the people of Puerto Rico have been found abandoned. Furthermore, it has been confirmed by several reports that many people died in the hospital, weeks after the storm as a result of a lack of supplies. Unfortunately, because of the lack of transparency in the case of Puerto Rico and similar examples, we continue to lose our faith in what the government tells us. We have to wonder how we will recover from the Trump era of deceit and manipulation.
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