Puerto Rico oversight board asks Washington for more aid for island

Frederick Owens
October 2, 2017

In the first six days after the hurricane made landfall here, the Navy had deployed just two ships, citing concerns that Puerto Rico's ports were too damaged to accommodate numerous large vessels.

Trump said Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz has shown "poor leadership ability" for her inability to organize a municipal response to the devastation and is now taking cues from Trump's Democratic critics to blame him for the unfolding humanitarian crisis on the island. "It's very hard for them", Lopez says.

The governor tweeted "Thank you" to the President's official twitter account Thursday morning. Cruz criticized the federal government's lackluster response, saying that she "cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world can not figure out logistics for a small island 100 miles by 35 miles long".

The Jones Act is problematic for Puerto Rico at this time, because even the most basic of shipments from the U.S.to Puerto Rico - and vice versa - are required to be done through expensive protected ships, instead of being opened up to a global market.

Trump's waiver is in response to Rosselló's request, according to the White House.

The roughly 100-year-old Jones Act requires goods shipped between American ports to travel on US -flagged ships with American crews.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (R-NY) had called on Trump to issue a waiver for Puerto Rico, which he said Wednesday he was "thinking about".

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"Damn it, this is not a good-news story", Cruz told CNN. Southwest still hasn't restored full service to Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean.

Trump is expected to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke waived the law earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages in the Southeast following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

That order included Puerto Rico but expired last week, shortly after Maria struck.

After days of urging, Trump on Thursday temporarily lifted restrictions on foreign shipping from the USA mainland to Puerto Rico to move aid more quickly and the Pentagon appointed a senior general to oversee military relief operations.

But the president also lashed out at "fake news" television networks, which he accused of criticizing federal relief workers as a way to punish him politically.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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