Protests in Puerto Rico against earthquake crisis management



Hundreds of protesters demonstrated Monday at the Capitol, the seat of the Legislature, to demand the resignation of the governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, for his management of the earthquake crisis and supplies for the victims.

The protesters had previously concentrated in front of La Fortaleza, the residence of the governor in the Puerto Rican capital, to show their dissatisfaction with the situation of the island after the earthquakes that have been recorded since last December 28.

Critics point to the fact that there has not been enough help to those affected by earthquakes, which on January 7 reached magnitude 6.4 causing a death, a tip of up to 4,000 refugees and damaged homes and buildings.

The discontent reached its critical moment last weekend, when through the social networks the existence of a warehouse full of supplies in the city of Ponce was denounced that were not distributed to the victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017, nor during the crisis caused by earthquakes.

Although these are two natural disasters without comparison - because of Hurricane Maria, about 3,000 people died - the citizens understand that the aid provided has not been enough, nor now between 2,000 and 4,000 victims of the earthquakes, a considerable percentage of whom, however, turned to shelters for fear of landslides, not because their homes were damaged.

After the start today of the protests before the headquarters of the Executive, Vázquez ordered the withdrawal of the Police Shock Force mobilized to guarantee order.

"I respect the constitutional right of citizens to demonstrate and I trust that my Puerto Rican brothers will do it in order. There is no need for the use of the Shock Force at this time, so I have requested that regular security be withdrawn and maintained. ", wrote the first executive in her Twitter social network account.

Protesters shouted slogans such as "Wanda, resign! To demand the resignation of the governor.

Vázquez announced on Sunday the removal of the secretaries of the Department of the Family, Glorimar Andújar, and Housing, Fernando Gil, for his relationship with an alleged mismanagement of the crisis, which includes the discovery of the warehouse full of supplies in the Ponce city that were not distributed to the victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017 or now with the hurricane crisis.

"The handling of that place was inadequate. That warehouse should have responded with priority," Vázquez said.

Hundreds of water boxes, diapers, awnings, propane gas, gas stoves, batteries and awnings with the emblem of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema, in English) were found in that warehouse, managed by the government Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Management (NMEAD).

After the discovery, the governor also dismissed Carlos Acevedo as commissioner of the NMEAD and appointed Nino Correa for the position.

Today's protests recall those of last summer that caused, by popular pressure, the resignation of Ricardo Rosselló as chief executive.

The trigger for his farewell to the charge was a case of corruption by government officials and, above all, the publication of a private "chat" in which along with about a dozen direct collaborators were dedicated to insulting and ridiculing women , homosexuals, members of the opposition and even members of their own party.

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