The devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria has been a publicity boon for San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has become the face of the island’s crisis. Cruz has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s response, claiming it is not enough, and lives are being lost as a result.
Some however, are questioning whether Cruz has an ulterior motive to her criticism, and a photo that caught the Mayor being anything but helpful is putting her motivations in a different light.
While the federal response to Puerto Rico has been less than perfect, the problem is not all with FEMA or the Trump White House. CNN reported last week that shipping containers full of aid remain undistributed because Puerto Rican officials will only allow licensed truck drivers to deliver it – and there aren’t enough to handle the job.
Even with the problems, the government response has earned praise from Puerto Rico leaders. Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said “Whenever we have an ask for this effort, they have delivered,” he said, despite Gov. Rosselló being a self-described “progressive.”
But the media isn’t focusing on Rossello. Instead, they are focusing on Cruz, who famously claimed “we are dying” as a direct result of Trump’s ineffective handling of relief efforts. She claims no supplies are reaching residents, and basic needs like water and electricity are unavailable. She says this, even as she is seen on television standing in front of pallets of food and water. She also managed to find a t-shirt maker to make custom shirts with her new signature catchphrase, without the use of electricity, apparently.
Cruz is hardly the self-sacrificing leader she pretends to be. She doesn’t bother to attend FEMA meetings to coordinate aid, and seems more focused on promoting herself, without mentioning her far-left leanings. The New York Times has detailed some of Cruz’s radicalized views, who they describe as a “left-leaning populist” who supports leftist terrorists.
She is also an unapologetic supporter of Oscar López Rivera, the Puerto Rican militant associated with a group that carried out a deadly campaign of bombings in New York and other cities in the 1970s and 1980s.
As far as her claims that Trump is letting Puerto Rico down, her fellow mayors in Puerto Rico feel differently. The mayor of Guaynabo, Angel Perez, revealed she doesn’t attend FEMA and HUD meetings to organize aid distribution.
When asked about Cruz’s “genocide” statement, Perez said, “I don’t know why she is saying that. What I can tell you is my experience. She is not participating in any meetings and we had a couple already with the governors and with representation of FEMA and of HUD, of these whole federal agencies that have given us help and she’s not participating in those meetings and some mayors from her political party have been participating, so I don’t know why she is saying that. My experience is very different.”
The media is reporting something far different, running pictures like this, showing her distributing aid to people in waist-high water.
What the media isn’t saying, however, is how they got that photo. Rather than spending her time organizing aid efforts, Cruz was caught doing this: taking press on a tour of flooded Puerto Rico, and giving them lots of photo opportunities showing her “aiding” in relief efforts. They followed along – and played along – with the charade willingly, because Cruz is giving them the anti-Trump angle they want.
Note that Cruz is wearing the exact same shirt and carrying a bullhorn as she is in her “aid” photo above. She conveniently jumped off to “help,” with the full press contingent watching nearby.
Remember this photo the next time you hear the usual media talking points on Puerto Rico.
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