You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 4, 2017.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

I will cover their visit in a separate post, but one thing President Trump said upon his return to the White House that day was that truckers must start work again (see at 55-second mark):

Part of the reason supplies are not reaching Puerto Ricans is because some of the truckers will not drive.

On October 2, my post included a piece on transport on the island. I stated that I needed more research to complete the picture.

In summary, the Teamsters there are part of Local 901, based in San Juan. Alexis Rodriguez is the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 901.

There is another trucking organisation called Frente Amplio de Camioneros (FAC). It is led by Victor Rodriguez.

These are two different organisations led by two different people.

The Teamsters have asked for volunteers from the United States to help their Alexis Rodriguez and his members in Puerto Rico. The response has been favourable:

Victor Rodriguez established FAC in 2003.

Over the past few days, Victor — known as ‘the toothless guy’ — has been giving inflammatory interviews to Puerto Rican television and radio. He wants the island’s governor to give in to their demands before his drivers get behind the wheel again. He also has blamed FEMA, as I wrote the other day, citing a Hollywood LA News which has a video of him from last week (emphases mine below):

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.

Here is another video of Victor threatening strike action unless FAC’s demands are met. These are the drivers who are not behind the wheel:

Hollywood LA News had a helpful follow-up article on October 2, ‘How You Can Help Puerto Rico (Frente Amplio Edition)’.

The article began with a post of October 1 from FAC’s Facebook page. The second demand has already been answered. President Trump waived the Jones Act at the weekend:

Many friends abroad ask me what they can do to help Puerto Rico. This is what matters the most is to advocate for: 1. a moratorium or an amnesty on Puerto Rico’s national debt. 2. the repeal of the Jones Act or a permanent exemption for Puerto Rico. 3. the repeal of the PROMESA law and the Fiscal Control Board. Now more than ever, we need the removal of these three colonial fetters. The island is completely destroyed. Only if we are free from these three yokes will we be able to begin reconstruction in a just manner.

Esto es de Mara Pastor y yo suscribo para quienes estamos en USA:
Muchas amigas y amigos en el extranjero me preguntan qué pueden hacer para ayudarnos. Lo más importante: abogar por la moratoria o amnistía de la deuda billonaria que nos quieren cobrar, por la eliminación de las leyes de cabotaje o exencion permanente para Puerto Rico de esas leyes, por la eliminación de la ley Promesa y de la Junta de Control Fiscal. Ahora más que nunca, necesitamos que se eliminen estos tres grilletes coloniales. La isla está completamente destruída. Sólo liberándonos de estos tres yugos comenzaremos a reconstruirnos de manera justa.

First, dealing with the debt will take time and negotiation. Secondly, there needs to be some control in place until then, hence PROMESA.

I highlighted the text so that you can see what a lefty Victor is.

Hollywood LA News tells us (emphases in the original):

Victor Rodriguez has been the most visible and vocal leader of professional truck drivers in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, appearing in many media interviews to denounce the governor.

The Facebook page of the “Frente Amplio de Puerto Rico” mentioned first on this page has this in their About section:

The Frente Amplio de Puerto Rico was founded on February 8, 2012 as a political coalition with the purpose of uniting the parties, groups, political causes leftist, sovereign and independence under a single political movement. We seek the union between leftist / pro-independence parties and groups like MAS, MINH, MST, PPT, MUS, Nationalist, Socialist and Communist Party, OSI, FUPI, UJS, PIP, sovereignty within the PPD, recruit independents & leftists who do not vote, recruit those who vote in mixed fashion, those who have no political affiliation among others.

That page also has emblems from various left-wing Puerto Rican independence groups, including one which has a hammer and sickle.

Again, it’s important not to confuse Alexis Rodriguez’s Local 901 with Victor Rodriguez’s Frente Amplio de Camioneros. The first is on the roads; the second is at home.

It is unimaginable that drivers would allow politics to get in the way of delivering life-saving supplies to their fellow countrymen. But that’s the way the radical Left rolls.

Hollywood LA News continues to investigate the transport situation and posted another article on October 2, ‘Puerto Rico Teamsters’. Excerpts follow, emphases in the original.

First, we discover a bit more about Victor:

Those who doubt that Victor M. Rodriguez is the leader speaking for the truck drivers are very out of the loop. Anyone who has even heard of a transport strike on the island in the last two decades knows who he is.

The old man was listed as far back as 2009 in Wikipedia as a notable homeboy of the town of Trujillo Alto. He’s a leftist hero who’s a product of the University of Puerto Rico and he had the cachet to negotiate with the government until he met his match this year with the new governor taking office.

Secondly, we learn that Local 901 are blaming transport delays on paperwork clearance at the port:

The Local 901 affiliated with Joint Council 16 of New York represents a little over 2,000 workers (not just drivers) in the entire island, which has a population of 3.4 million.

The Teamsters of Puerto Rico have argued that the reported non-movement of relief goods from the shipping terminals / ports is actually due to paperwork issues pertaining to the cargo’s release to business owners on the island.

How then will bringing in more volunteer Teamsters from New York speed up the clearing of paperwork?

The Teamsters have not replied to this particular review.

I have looked for an update on the containers still in port but have not been able to find anything, including on El Nuevo Día. To be continued.

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