Washington, DC – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Friday that they are reviewing allegations that local Puerto Rican officials are withholding much-needed hurricane relief and aid supplies, doling them out to friends and campaign contributors first and leaving those who need it the most with close to nothing. The FBI’s announcement comes amid the growing dispute between San Juan’s Mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz and President Donald Trump. Cruz has repeatedly used the misfortune of Puerto Ricans to further her personal political agenda and leveraged the left-wing media to garner free publicity and media time. The Democrats and the left-wing media, eager to find any angle to undermine the Trump administration have happily jumped on the bandwagon to feed the false narrative about Puerto Rico relief that has been perpetuated by Cruz.
Cruz has repeatedly conducted media interviews in front of huge stockpiles of federal supplies destined for Puerto Rican families and claimed that there were logistical issues in doling out the aid. Those logistical issues now appear to be endemic corruption, rife among Cruz and her cronies.
Sources familiar with Cruz and her former aides tell of how she would award public contracts favorably to her campaign contributors and other supporters and it appears that despite the need of the Puerto Rican people, Cruz’s brand of politics has superseded the needs of the people. According to FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio,
“People call us and tell us some misappropriation of some goods and supplies by supposedly politicians, not necessarily mayors, but people that work for the mayors in certain towns.”
“They’re supposedly withholding these goods and these supplies and instead of handing them out to people who really need them, they say they are assigning them to their buddies first – people that have voted for them or people that contributed to their campaigns or what not.”
U.S. Federal prosecutor, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, who is in charge of the region that includes Puerto Rico, says she’s also looking into the allegations – though both she and the FBI cautioned that they are only at the beginning of their respective investigations, and that nothing is yet concrete.
Puerto Ricans who know of the investigation are not surprised. According to one San Juan resident who declined to be named, fearing reprisals,
“Cruz is as crooked as they get, but it’s not easy to pin this on her. But you think her people would be able to do this without her knowing? Without her approval?”
“There’s a ‘sense’ among politicians in Puerto Rico that they can get away with anything because Washington is far away and the long arm of the law doesn’t reach down into Puerto Rico.”
The law may however be catching up with Puerto Rican politicians. The FBI is clearly taking these revelations seriously – and if true, the claims could go a long way in explaining the disconnect between American relief efforts and the continued suffering of Puerto Rican hurricane victims. Despite thousands of pound of food, clean water, and medicine delivered to the island, and ten thousand Federal employees involved in relief efforts, the situation on the ground seems shockingly slow to resolve and politicians like Cruz have seized on the opportunity to attack President Trump.
As of now, the FBI is aware of six municipalities among Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities where such activity is allegedly happening – including San Juan, Arecibo, Patillas, Aguadilla and Vieques. Politicians in all these municipalities are currently under investigation, including Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan. The U.S. federal prosecutor on the island, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, announced on WAPA radio last Sunday she is looking into these claims and is ready to criminally prosecute any official who withholds relief. Cruz may regret drawing unnecessary attention to herself when they eventually place her behind bars.