PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens of people gathered in Center City Wednesday afternoon for a rally urging the United States to provide more relief for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
The rally, organized by the Building Services Union, was held in front of Santander Bank because protesters say the problem of rebuilding stems from the island’s debt.
“We’re asking for an independent person to actually look at all this debt because we don’t believe that this whole debt is owed to them,” said Daisy Cruz, who has family in Puerto Rico. “We’re not saying that we shouldn’t pay anything, that we don’t owe, but at this point, Puerto Rico is done.”
Cruz says the post-hurricane crisis is worse than what we see.
“Things are bad. They’re standing in line two-three hours to go to the supermarket and the shelves are empty. They’re waiting in line for gas, there are dead animals in the street and God knows what’s going to happen. People are not getting the medication that they need,” she said. “What the news is actually showing, whatever you see in the news, it’s actually ten times worse.”
Tania Rios also has family in Puerto Rico. She worries, based on the president’s tweets, their post hurricane hardships will be made worse because of the debt.
“I attribute the lack of aid to the debt crisis,” she said. “A lot of us understand that a large reason that aid isn’t coming fast enough or in great enough quantity is because the United States administration is punishing the Puerto Rican people for owing a debt that isn’t even their [debt].”
As for what she thought of President Trump’s recent visit to Puerto Rico…
“It was a complete mockery,” Rios said. “I’m so deeply offended by the apparent attempt at jokes that he made.”