San Juan mayor talks about new estimated death toll from Maria

'Too much power has been given to that number,' Mayor Cruz says

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, an outspoken critic of relief efforts following Hurricane Maria, said no matter what the death toll is, the Puerto Rican people did not get the help to which they were morally entitled.

“Too much power has been given to that number,” said Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. “The truth is that people died because the Trump administration did not pay attention and because the political class in Puerto Rico decided to be silent and look the other way.”

Cruz’s comment came while speaking to San Antonio journalists Saturday prior to the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists Scholarship and Award Gala, at which she received the Corazon de Oro award.

SAAHJ President Joey Palacios said the association gave the award to Cruz for her dedication to the people of Puerto Rico.

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, Cruz found herself on a national and international stage as she criticized relief efforts and urged for more help for the island.

Earlier this week, a report to Congress estimated a death toll that could be in excess of 1,400 people after Hurricane Maria, far beyond the official estimate of 64 people, which Cruz said was obviously low.

Weeks after the hurricane, President Donald Trump acknowledged the devastation on the U.S. territory and then praised his administration, saying his team deserved a perfect score of 10.

Earlier this week, the White House sent CNN a statement saying that the Trump Administration is continuing to aid Puerto Rico. 

Cruz, however, described and island that is still facing difficulties with power grid reliability, heath and humanitarian issues and a financial crisis. She asked that people not forget Puerto Rico.

“Keep us not only in your prayers, but make sure the Puerto Rican disaster is kept on people's minds, and that we can work together to do something about it," Cruz said.

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