By Beatrice E. Rangel
Hurricanes are the vapor water offspring that form over warm ocean waters during summer and mid-autumn. They essentially are intense low pressure areas.
Vapor water releases latent heat of condensation. The heat released in this way is carried away by wind shear.
When there is little wind, shear heat builds up causing low pressure to form. The low-pressure triggers wind spirals that move inward toward the center of the low pressure.
Soon the environment turns into a blender moving at maddening speed to grind everything on its path. 2017 will probably be remembered as the most punishing hurricane season in the 21st century. Harvey; Irma Jose and Maria brought havoc to most of the Caribbean and a significant proportion of Texas and Florida.
As they passed over the basin that bears the name of the fiercest original nation in Latin America, covert drawbacks affecting the victim nations became evident.
These were: the weakness of the power grids and the lack of real planning for the contingency that should be considered part and parcel of the geography.
And as lives were lost and economic development severely affected, the nations of the Caribbean Basin including the U.S. came to the realization that they need to group and begin to slowly rebuild the trade and communications infrastructure with a different vision than the one so far employed to create what was wiped away by Harvey and company.
Hurricane resilient infrastructure includes: solar fed electrical grid; gas boilers; electrical meters, domestic hot water pumps, hot water heaters; and oil backup storage.
But more than that it would demand the use of biodegradable building products such as glass; fiber and wood which can be built to be flexible so that wind does not blow them away.
This of course requires cooperation among nations that border the Caribbean Basin and that are as different from each other as the U.S. and Dominica.
Fortunately for the surviving population in the island nations of the Caribbean, this vision seems to be shared by most rising leaders in politics and business.
What the region now needs is the U.S. to come on board. And while President Trump has been outspoken about the need to quickly replace decayed infrastructure, 9 months into his mandate an infrastructure renewal plan has yet to be developed. Perhaps the hurricane season will bring the much-needed sense of urgency to his mind.
But hurricanes did not stay in the Caribbean.
They were also present in the United Nations General Assembly with President Trump delivering a ground-breaking speech.
For the first time in the organization's history a head of state clearly presented the choices left to at least three nations to successfully engage with the U.S. These countries were North Korea; Iran and Venezuela.
To all of them an ultimatum was issued to correct current course or face U.S. might. The speech wiped out every other intervention by world leaders while creating at least three political tornados in the world.
The first and most obvious was the Chinese decision to apply sanctions to North Korea. This could effectively bring North Korea to its knees as China is its sole effective trade conduit.
It however remains to be seen whether Kim-Jong Um ups the ante and detonates a bomb in the Pacific as he threatened to do.
Should this be the case, the U.S. would need to group with China and Japan to agree on and unfold a cooperative policy vis-a-vis a leader that until very recently was described by the President of the United States as "a smart cookie."
The second tornado was the Iranian response to the Trump speech which requested the international community to come to the defense of a treaty blessed by the United Nations. And by so doing, Iran understands that it must become more open to searches from the International Atomic Agency.
This strategy would most probably engage many nations in a treaty that was up to now largely seen as an affair between Iran and the U.S. In the process, Iran hopes to gain time up an until President Trump ends his first four-year term.
Venezuela for its part seems truly subdued and disconcerted.
And as days pass and other countries like Canada join the fray of sanction-imposing nations, the ruling clique in Venezuela must be increasingly seeing the handwriting on the wall that indicates that time is up.
But as we all too well know, leadership of rogue states seems to believe that there are perfect crimes in the world. It is up to the international community to prove them wrong.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
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