Friday, March 29, 2019
CONTACT: Erica Gonzalez

New York City, NY -- Today, the Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition issued the following statement in response to the latest developments and comments towards Puerto Ricans by President Trump and his administration.

“President Trump has made clear that the safety and lives of Puerto Ricans do not matter to him nor his administration. He has reportedly and repeatedly expressed that the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are somehow receiving ‘too much’ money for food, resiliency and recovery. This is outrageous considering the well documented damage, estimates and predicament of Puerto Rico and the thousands of families displaced after Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Power 4 Puerto Rico Director Erica Gonzalez. “This is also outrageous given that this month, 1 million Puerto Ricans' emergency nutritional assistance was cut and poor and elderly Island residents are literally struggling to put food on the table while some patients have had to sit in soiled diapers. Now, the President is falsely claiming that no one has taken better care of Puerto Rico than him.”

But here’s how President Trump’s administration has truly treated Puerto Ricans: FEMA -under the direction of Trump- botched the federal response to Hurricane Maria.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took more than a year to allocate an initial round of Congressionally authorized funds.  HUD is now under investigation by its own Inspector General for political interference that may have delayed work around Puerto Rico’s recovery. And as we also recently learned, structures such as the only hospital in Vieques and public schools throughout the island are falling short of industry safety standards because FEMA reneged on funding commitments, contravening Congressional intent.

Gonzalez added: “The post-Hurricane Maria insults, cruelty and roadblocks to recovery must stop and Congress needs to step in and ensure the administration is actually providing Puerto Rico with the resources it legislated for the Island.

“The loss of thousands of Puerto Rican lives should stand as a painful reminder of what is at stake when poor leadership, planning and responses are allowed. Yet, it is clear that without heavy pressure from Congress, the media and public, this assault on the human rights of Puerto Ricans will continue.”