A week from today disgraced Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello will exit from his post amid wide-spread corruption within his administration’s government, that’s led to multiple indictments of officials related to the misappropriation of federal funds for hurricane relief efforts. In my June 12th Q&A, I found corruption in Puerto Rico weeks prior to the indictments of Rosello officials during the debate of the latest relief package that passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump.
Let’s look at the money already provided to Puerto Rico for relief efforts from the 2017 hurricane cycle. According to the federal government, the figure is $40.5 billion. According to Puerto Rico’s “Recovery Office”, it’s $11.4 billion. That's prior to the recently approved relief funds. What’s most odd is that according to Puerto Rico’s Recovery Office, only $5.7 billion were dispersed and accounted for as of May. But that $11.4 billion is also only what had specifically been provided through FEMA funding. Other federal money that’s been earmarked for the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico is:
- $9.73 billion from Housing and Urban Development
- $2.52 billion from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $1.98 billion from the Small Business Administration
- $1.27 billion from the Department of Agriculture
- $299.5 million from Community Disaster Loan program
There’s literally no record keeping of if or how this money has been used. Have relief funds been abused in Puerto Rico? Yes. How much? We don’t know. These issues regardless of any other considerations lead me to say that Wanda Vazquez isn’t fit to be governor. It was her job as Secretary of Justice to investigate and prosecute corruption in Puerto Rico. She didn’t do it. Federal officials from Washington had to. If Wanda Vazquez is governor of Puerto Rico, one can have no confidence the island will be in better hands than with its current governor.
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