Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan, garnered international attention this weekend after she pleaded to President Trump and his administration to send more help to the US territory in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Trump rebuked her, saying Puerto Ricans wanted everything done for them, and that Cruz showed “poor leadership ability.”
However, the 54-year-old mayor is emerging as a passionate political force. Cruz, who has been living in a shelter after her home was destroyed in the hurricane, is at the forefront of efforts to help Puerto Rico recover from the destruction created by the storm more than a week ago. She has toured the US news circuit, raising awareness about the island’s dire condition, and on Friday (Sept. 29) Cruz held a press conference at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, which is being used as a government center and holds some supplies, and made this desperate plea for help:
I will do what I never thought I was going to do: I am begging. I am begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying. And you are killing us with the inefficiency and bureaucracy. We will make it with or without you because what stands behind me is all due to the generosity of other people.
On Saturday, she responded to Trump’s tweeted comments, saying, “It’s not about politics, it’s not about petty comments, it’s about moving forward, putting boots on the ground and saving lives.” She also said that aid from various sources had increased to Puerto Rico on Saturday morning. “It’s a good start,” she said but a lot more still needs to be done. Cruz also tweeted this morning to clarify that there is one goal: to save lives.
Read more at Quartz.