Almost six months after hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, the United States territory is struggling to recover. Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the capital San Juan, blames US President Donald Trump and his administration for a slow and inefficient relief effort.
“The aftermath of Maria, if I had to summarise it, has contributed to a social meltdown,” said Cruz. “Suicide rates have gone up … Still, about 30 percent of the population does not have electricity.”
When Cruz began to speak out against the Trump administration in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Trump called her, and other critics, “politically motivated ingrates” with “poor leadership”. She responded by saying the president was “unfit to lead”.
Cruz continues to give sharp criticism of the president and his government’s actions.
“The US government response has been inadequate, has been inefficient, and has been inappropriate,” says Cruz. She alleges that Puerto Ricans have yet to see any of the $4.9bn loan approved by the federal government in November.
“It could be affected by racism, it could be affected by ignorance,” she says, “There’s no sense of urgency there.”
Before the hurricane hit, Puerto Rico was already $73bn in debt and bankrupt. Hurricane Maria made the situation worse and, according to Cruz, a third of the population has since left the island.
When asked if she plans to run for the Puerto Rican governorship in 2020, Cruz said, “This is not a time for political calculations, this is a time for human calculations.”
Source: Al Jazeera News