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CPD Demands Trump Administration to Stop Control Over Aid

Trump's media grandstanding is an insult to people who need real help, not offensive tweets. Inefficiency and the depraved indifference of the Trump administration is rising to the level of criminal negligence.


SAN JUAN, PR -- Ahead of President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria, Xiomara Caro Diaz, a San Juan native and the Director of New Organizing Projects at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and coordinator of Hurricane Maria Relief and Recovery Fund (“Maria Fund”), released the following statement:

“Trump’s visit comes after 12 days of a failed local and federal government strategy that values centralization, control and militarization of Puerto Rico. Instead of facilitating the distribution of aid, their coordination has effectively obstructed the capacity of the Puerto Rican people to lead a swift and equitable response to the emergency with their communities. Let’s be clear, this visit is a PR stunt that comes only after intense criticism. This is already Trump’s Katrina.  

In the absence of a robust response, citizens and grassroots organizations -in the island and abroad- have been self-organizing to help communities survive. Two weeks after the storm, people are still at risk of dying in hospitals and nursing homes; thousands who lost their homes need urgent shelter, and entire towns are suffering from hunger and dehydration. Inefficiency and the depraved indifference of the Trump administration is rising to the level of criminal negligence. We have been supporting groups that are working in low-income communities out of San Juan and help has not arrived. Communities and organizations have experienced firsthand an incredibly slow response and inefficient coordination between local and federal government, including FEMA.

Our demands are clear:

  1. Decentralization of relief efforts including cutting the red tape and the release of the aid sitting in airports and seaports.

  2. The approval from Congress of an aid package -with no strings attached- that prioritizes the just and sustainable rebuilding of disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color that addresses structural inequalities.

  3. No displacement of communities from their homes. We have already heard of FEMA denying resources for people to rebuild where their home is, effectively penalizing poverty.

  4. Complete and irrevocable repeal of the Jones Act, a law that has subordinated Puerto Rican trade capacity to US private interests for too long and impose a unbearable economic burden on Puerto Ricans.

  5. The complete and irrevocable forgiveness of all Puerto Rican public debt by Congress, and to put lives above the vultures of Wall Street who are holding the island hostage.

This is not the time for shallow politics, it is the time for saving lives and rebuilding our communities. Recovery after Maria will mean going beyond immediate aid and seriously addressing the neglect and oppressive relationship between Puerto Rico and United States.”



The Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda.

Contact: Samy Nemir, solivares@populardemocracy.org(929) 285-9623