I spent half the weekend following what was happening in Puerto Rico more than a week after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

There has been more fact and fallacy in news coverage over recent days, since I last covered it on Friday, September 29, 2017.

Media strategy

As I wrote a few days ago, the media’s — and Democrats’ — strategy is to set up Hurricane Maria to be Trump’s Katrina:

What follows is CNN’s admission, referred to above in the second tweet, which the channel hoped would ruin President Donald Trump. General Honoré, interviewed below, took over the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. The mayor referred to below is that of San Juan:

Two comments about the CNN interview.

First, I followed Katrina closely for weeks; I do not recall that General Honoré was lauded by anyone at the time, or afterwards.

Secondly, it is unlikely San Juan’s mayor is living on a cot. I saw many photos and a few videos of her at the weekend. She looks very clean and has a change of clothes for her many photo opportunities.

Of course, CNN, the Dems and the rest of the Left will continue to push their twisted narrative, but some Americans are already tiring of it — and are particularly annoyed with the mayor of San Juan:

Note the Podemos sticker behind her!

We still don’t know definitively where she got the tee shirt, although there is information on it below. Someone probably brought it over.

Democrat complaint

Below is a request from Democrat congressmen asking for an investigation into Trump’s handling of Maria in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is dated September 28:

Good luck with that. FEMA and the military can prove detailed plans were in place before Maria struck the US territories.

San Juan’s mayor

Carmen Yulín Cruz is the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan.

Last week, she commented favourably on relief efforts. She changed her tune at the weekend and gave an interview to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt’s son and ex-CIA operative, in the tee shirt you see above:

Strangely, her Twitter feed has no videos or photos of her in the ‘We are dying’ shirt, but there are many other photo ops from the past few days.

Unlike President Trump, Mayor Yulín sees no need to help hand out supplies or lunches to her constituents:

Now, particularly note the following tweet. San Juan received supplies from the US government, but Yulin did not distribute them to the people of San Juan. She donated them to another community:

Fair enough. But there is more.

She then made it look as if Goya, the foods company, was the saviour. They probably planned all along to make a donation, which arrived soon after she gave FEMA supplies to Comerío:

Afterwards — standing in front of numerous pallets of Goya products — she gave the interview to Anderson Cooper in the SOS hat and ‘We are dying’ tee. In a press conference, wearing the same attire, she said:

I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who 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.

On October 1, The Hill reported that Jose Fuentes, a former Attorney General for Puerto Rico, does not think much of Mayor Yulín:

The article says, in part:

Former Puerto Rico Attorney General Jose Fuentes on Sunday took aim at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, accusing her of attacking President Trump and using hurricane relief efforts to lay the groundwork for a gubernatorial bid.

“The mayor of San Juan is a political hack,” Fuentes said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Fuentes accused Cruz of making an about-face, saying she supported Trump until her political adviser suggested the idea of running for governor. 

Now, here’s an interesting comment from Fuentes about the ‘We are dying’ tee shirt (emphases mine):

She is singing the praises of the president until her political adviser, [Rep.] Luis Gutiérrez from Chicago, got there and brought her the t-shirts and said, ‘Hey you want to run for governor, if she wants to run,” he continued until the anchor cut him off, pointing to audio issues.

Wow — typical CNN response! Cut the audio, claiming technical issues. They have done that several times over the past year. Each time, a nugget of truth half comes out until CNN cuts the rest of someone’s statement.

Mayor Yulín then took a swipe at Trump, who said that the government couldn’t do everything. People would have to help each other, too. Again, she’s not lifting a finger, only talking. Her caption is more fitting than she thinks:

In this ABC interview with George Stephanopolous from October 1, she backtracked on Trump a bit, saying she would meet with him if he requested it. He will be in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 3.

There is something else.

Yulín is the only mayor in Puerto Rico who is not actively working with FEMA:

The results can be harmful to people who have elected someone to be their mayor.

This is the Paineful Truth of the matter:

Geraldo Rivera

Geraldo’s reports from Puerto Rico have been excellent. I feel I’m watching the young investigative reporter I remember from the early 1980s.

This is what he has to say:

Puerto Rico situation summed up

This eight-minute video from a Cuban immigrant really gets to the heart of the matter. This woman takes issue with Yulín, goes into the mayor’s support of an FALN terrorist Obama freed and explains the issue with truckers getting supplies from the ports to towns and cities across the island. The teamsters have a grievance with the governor, some truckers cannot get to work but many others can. Some fuel is being sold on the black market. This lady says that everyone in Puerto Rico knows what is really going on:

On Friday, September 29, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said they are looking for qualified volunteers to help with transport:

(WASHINGTON) – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is working closely with Joint Council 16 in New York and the AFL-CIO to provide qualified volunteers to provide much needed support to the people of Puerto Rico. Teamsters Local Union 901 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, an affiliate of Joint Council 16, represents more than 2,000 working men and women across the island.

“Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico are suffering under unimaginable conditions wrought upon them by Hurricane Maria,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “We are working to identify ways in which the union and our members can best assist those in need.”

The Teamsters are joining with labor unions from across the nation to identify skilled workers to travel to Puerto Rico next week to provide much needed support in critical areas.

“This is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions,” said Teamsters International Vice President and Joint Council 16 President George Miranda. “It is imperative that we provide the manpower and financial support necessary to get Puerto Rico on the road to recovery.”

“Tronquistas (Teamsters) are in the street working since the first day after the hurricane passed and we will continue working to bring peace back to our people,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 901. “The only goal of the Tronquistas is to raise Puerto Rico back up, stronger and better.”

Alexis Rodriguez’s name is on the listings for Local 901 in San Juan.

At the weekend, there were many mentions of a video with a Victor Rodriguez, the ‘guy with no teeth’, who is said to be the president of Frente Amplio de Camioneros. It is unclear where he fits into the picture.

A Facebook post by a Pedro Gonzalez says:

…este Sr se llama Víctor Rodríguez, es el presidente del frente amplio de camioneros. Ha dado instrucciones para q ningún camionero saque vagones de los puertos y mucho menos gasolina en P.R. A ti Victor, te hacemos responsable por el caos próximo a suceder en la Isla por tus caprichos políticos en contra del Gobierno de turno. Eres un narco político, un vividor y buscon. Con la necesidad del Pueblo puertorriqueño no se juega, so CHARLATÁN!

Gente compartan esto para que llegue a todos los puertorriqueños fuera y dentro de la isla!!

Translated, that says:

This is Mr. Víctor Rodríguez, he is the president of the broad front of truck drivers. He has instructed that no truck driver should remove wagons from ports and much less gasoline in P.R. To you Victor, we hold you responsible for the chaos next to happen on the Island for your political whims against the government in turn. You are a political narco, a vividor and buscon. With the need of the Puerto Rican people, we do not play, just CHARLATÁN!

People share this so that it reaches all Puerto Ricans outside and inside the island !!

The assumption that many online readers of various blogs and news sites made over the weekend is that Victor is from Local 901.

However, someone on Twitter pointed out that Victor is not a union official (see here and here).

Alexis is.

That said, Victor created a non-profit corporation called Frente Amplio Camioneros de Puerto Rico (F.A.C.) Inc. in 2003. It is still in operation.

The relationship between FAC and the union is unclear. But, there must be something, because Victor appeared on television last weekend. Hollywood LA News has the video, courtesy of a Facebook user. Hollywood LA News is under the impression that Victor is an official of Local 901, when he is not.

In any event, Victor said:

it’s the diesel supply of which FEMA is in charge that’s the problem and that their truck drivers have been ready to drive all along. One can discern the skepticism on the face of the interviewer, who then brings up the fact that authorities have put out a call for independent non-union drivers to volunteer because of a lack of people willing to do the work.

That’s the point in the video after which Mr. Rodriguez bombastically started spouting curse words urging the people to pressure FEMA to release fuel and other supplies. By his side is the president of UTRA (Unión de Transporte y Ramas Anexas).

Puerto Ricans on social media are very critical. The top comment for this particular video is from a woman who says that no one is so ignorant to believe that FEMA is to blame for the mess. Others point out that the truckers are refusing to get in line for gasoline and are thus putting lives at risk.

There is more transport information and intrigue from other news sources in that article, so please take the time to read it.

Anyone who dares to volunteer to drive a lorry in Puerto Rico under these conditions can do so:

Overall, this is a highly complicated situation, one that only those who live in or are from Puerto Rico understand.

American media are not explaining it properly, so I would suggest hanging fire before committing to knee-jerk reactions.

Latest news developments

During the weekend, three-star general Jeffrey Buchanan arrived in Puerto Rico:

Governor Ricardo Rosselló gave an update on Sunday:

The Department of Defense has a summary of Rosselló’s briefing. Highlights follow:

The number of DoD personnel deployed to help their fellow citizens in Puerto Rico jumped from around 4,600 to around 6,400 members, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said during a San Juan news conference today …

There are more than 720 gas stations open across the island. The island will receive more fuel in the coming days with close to a million barrels of diesel and half-a-million barrels of gasoline arriving on the island. This is important as diesel is needed to run generators providing electrical power for key infrastructure — such as hospitals — in areas where Maria knocked out the power grid …

“One of the main efforts that the DoD will take on is making sure that we can air supply food and water to those communities while we establish direct connection through the roads,” Rossello said.

The governor said the commonwealth will increase the number of regional distribution centers from the current 11 to 25 or more. “The more of these we have throughout Puerto Rico, the easier it is to get food and water for these municipalities,” he said. “DoD and FEMA and our government are working together so we can establish these locations and make sure food and water get distributed appropriately” …

The Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort is expected to arrive at the island October 3 or 4 and will bring its 1,000-bed capability.

DoD personnel will establish a logistics effort for two areas on the island where more hospital support is needed, the governor said.

“The DoD will establish some alternative locations, those being in the southeastern part of the island and in the middle north of the island, so we can get patients to the hospital and the service that they need,” Rossello said.

More tomorrow.

 

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