A Puerto Rican police officer says that the United States military needs to take over disaster relief on the hurricane-ravaged island because the local government is not doing what needs to be done.
The distraught female officer, who was able to get a call in to a Hispanic radio station in New York (La Mega) last week, described the gross incompetence and inaction she has been witnessing in the wake of the hurricane. She said she couldn’t give her name because she works for Puerto Rico’s police department.
FEMA reported in a news release on September 21 that commodities such as meals, water, cots, and blankets were already pre-positioned and ready for distribution at its Distribution Center and Warehouse in San Juan. More supplies have been shipped in since then.
As of September 30, at least 10,000 shipping containers of food, water, medicine and other critical supplies were sitting on the docks at the port in San Juan, but were not moving because of a lack of truck drivers, some of whom appear to be on strike.
The frustrated officer said red tape was preventing people from getting the supplies they need.
Fighting tears, she said Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was not allowing anyone to distribute the aid and begged that the U.S. armed forces take over and distribute the aid and stop Governor Rossello and Mayor Cruz from “doing what they are doing.”
“It’s an abuse,” she sobbed. “It looks like communism in our own island!”
She said “people are helping us but they are not accepting it. They are not accepting any more help because supposedly they have to wait for the [licenses] …”
In the meantime, she cried, Boricuas [Puerto Ricans] “are dying of hunger.”
“I am embarrassed,” she added.
The officer complained that the local government officials seem more concerned with politically expedient optics than with getting help out to the people.
“Everything is a soap opera, everything is a show,” she said. “There have to be cameras here and there because you know, they are just looking for votes for the upcoming years.”
The officer added that the governor and Mayor Cruz don’t move unless there’s a camera behind them. She said as hard as it was to get through to the radio station in New York, it was worth it because she wanted to speak for the people.
“The people are suffering,” she sobbed.