Opinion: How San Juan’s mayor failed her own citizens

Posted on Oct 4 2017 - 8:00am by Matthew Dean
There have been a lot of comments lately that paint Puerto Rico’s post-hurricane devastation and President Donald Trump’s response as “his Katrina.” In case you were out of the loop, any of Puerto Rico’s post-Irma problems have nothing to do with the fact it’s an island or had poor infrastructure beforehand. It’s Trump’s fault.
If you lived in some of these people’s worlds, you would honestly believe Republicans have moved on from football to perpetrating “something close to a genocide” by natural disaster.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz speaks with a man as she arrives at San Francisco hospital in the Rio Piedras area of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, as about 35 patients are evacuated after the failure of an electrical plant. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

The worst proponent of this attitude is probably the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. She would have you believe our president is just sitting back and letting people die as he enjoys a taco salad while tweeting from the comfort of the White House.

However, the facts of the matter may suggest that the mayor is the one failing her citizens.
In the horrible, post-hurricane wasteland where no people can get anything that’s been donated to them and communication is better done with an Ouija board or smoke signals than anything else, Mayor Cruz was fortunate enough to be distributed a fashionable “SOS” hat and “HELP US WE ARE DYING” shirt. Just in time for her CNN interview, too. How convenient.
Funnily enough, another Puerto Rican mayor, Angel Perez Otero of Guaynabo, stated in an interview that he was having much better luck. I don’t claim to know how to run a city, but I would bet at least $5 that his people were probably better off because he was actually meeting with FEMA himself — unlike Cruz, who admitted in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that she was not doing this.
To prove there are other Puerto Rican leaders who have had success, note that the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, also had positive words about the federal response, according to a CNN report. Rossello said, “The administration has answered and has complied with our petitions in an expedited manner.”
All of Puerto Rico undoubtedly needs a lot of help recovering and rebuilding from these hurricanes, and the federal government should do what it can to help. Anyone trying to lessen or invalidate Puerto Rico’s bad condition should be corrected.
On that same note, anyone assuming problems with disaster relief are exclusively the fault of President Trump is incorrect. Local response is one of the most important factors in disaster relief.
Cruz reportedly has an intention to run for governor of Puerto Rico. Apparently, her current strategy for disaster relief is to blame Trump so she can later campaign on the lie that Puerto Rico was abandoned by the world.
Unless Cruz adjusts this tactic for the future, Puerto Ricans would be wise to learn from the misfortune of San Juan and elect a governor who doesn’t sacrifice her people for political gain.
Matthew Dean is a senior criminal justice major from Possumneck.