The Battle For Paradise Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists

Review :

Naomi Klein's The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists is an excellent, in-depth, and short introduction to Puerto Rico's plight after Hurricane Maria.

It outlines in quick and direct language how the US's colonialist policies and parasitic history with Puerto Rico set it up for disaster. Klein outlines the ways that after the disaster, the government and cryptocurrency bigwigs are taking advantage of Puerto Ricans' struggle to survive by trying to push through new policies and deals that would privatize much of the island. They are trying to make Puerto Rico a paradise for outside capitalists who would like to no longer pay high taxes and instead take over local beaches and real estate, not only by making deals that Puerto Ricans would oppose if they weren't busy fighting for their own livelihoods-for things such as electricity and food-but also by sponsoring emigration and encouraging Puerto Ricans to leave to the US mainland. But Klein takes time to parallel this version of a "paradise" with the one being formed and envisioned by Puerto Ricans themselves: a self-sufficient, community-driven world based on traditional farming methods that removes the threats of losing the main harbor that brings in imports or of a monocrop approach. They are also pushing for less dependence on wider electricity grids that have failed Puerto Rico after the hurricane and that the government is threatening to privatize, instead trying to shift focus to microgrids or renewable resources such as solar panels that survived the hurricane.

The inside copy of the book says that "all royalties from the sale of this book in English and Spanish go directly to JunteGente, a gathering of Puerto Rican organizations resisting disaster capitalism and advancing a fair and healthy recovery for their island." Klein's small but invaluable treatise helped to more fully inform me on Puerto Rico's struggles and the way that the US set it up for disaster and is setting it up for even worse in the future. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and my honest recommendation is that it is required reading. The Battle for Paradise comes out from Haymarket Books on June 11 and is a must-read.


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