New York Governor Andrew Cuomo returned to Puerto Rico on Monday, July 23. The trip marks the Southampton resident’s fifth visit to the ravaged island and U.S. territory since last year’s hurricanes Irma and Maria.
While the federal government might have its attention on other matters, Governor Cuomo reassures Puerto Ricans that New York has been behind them since day one, and will continue to help recovery efforts until the job is done. “The federal government’s incompetent and inhumane failure to respond to the crisis in Puerto Rico has been a national disgrace,” Cuomo said via Facebook, challenging U.S. officials for their apparent callous response to the citizens of Puerto Rico.
Cuomo brought an army of volunteers, including 100 SUNY and City University of New York students, as well as laborers, construction workers, healthcare and non-profit executives, and elected officials such as New York City Advocate Tish James and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The volunteers are following other New Yorkers currently working on different aid projects around the island. Additionally, the state has sent more than 4,400 pallets of drinking water, food, first aid kits and other supplies.
Puerto Rico, while not a state, is a United States commonwealth. This means residents hold U.S. citizenship, pay certain U.S. federal taxes, and are eligible to apply for Social Security. Puerto Ricans living on United States soil can vote in United States elections. They are a part of America in all but name.
The Puerto Ricans pay for federal services, put money into the federal treasury and yet are denied federal involvement in times of crisis. During President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico after the hurricane, he famously contributed by tossing paper towels to the crowd.
Governor Cuomo is set to return to New York on Tuesday, July 24.