Of course, all of these issues only compound in the storm's aftermath and with Washington's sluggish emergency relief. President Trump responded to the island's urgent pleas for help by starting a Twitter argument
with San Juan's exasperated mayor, and the United Nations
has already criticized the striking difference between the aid efforts sent to hurricane-battered mainland states and Puerto Rico. For activists like Xiomara Caro of the Center for Popular Democracy
, it's all emblematic of a larger trend: that the struggles of Puerto Rico are its own, borne under the indifferent gaze of the United States. "Since the hurricane, thousands of people in Puerto Rico have been assuming the responsibility of providing an immediate response to their neighbors and their families," she says. "Now it's just more visible for the world to see what Puerto Rico is, both in potential and capacities of solidarity, but also the stark inequality that people live every day."