[News] Puerto Rico Protests After Supplies Found in Gov't Warehouse

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Thu Jan 11 16:42:12 EST 2018


https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Puerto-Rico-Protests-After-Supplies-Found-in-Govt-Warehouse-20180111-0017.html 



  Puerto Rico Protests After Supplies Found in Gov't Warehouse

11 January, 2018
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Residents and workers in the Puerto Rican city of Toa Alta hit the 
streets with the town’s mayor leading the way to protest state-owned 
Electric Power Authority, AEE, on Thursday.

"The demonstration is to make it clear to the government of Puerto Rico 
and the AEE that they must accelerate the work and send more brigades to 
the city," said the Toa Alta mayor, Clemente Agosto.

The town’s demands are simple. An end to the continued series of delays 
which have left 65 percent of the city and at least 20 businesses dark 
and without power since Hurricane Maria hit the territory five months ago.

The company’s incredible mismanagement has contributed mainly to the 
months of delays surrounding the electrical repairs. This was made 
painfully clear after a statement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
USACE, revealed that government authorities seized thousands of 
materials which were supposedly out of stock.

Over 2,875 pieces of materials were discovered during a raid of a Palo 
Seco warehouse which was led by federal officers, accompanied by armed 
security personnel.

"The material stored in the warehouse is critical for the mission of 
restoring Puerto Rico's electrical system ... Warehouse number five is 
in control of the Transmission Division, and has lacked transparency and 
responsibility in the inventory," said USACE spokesperson Luciano Vera 
told The Intercept.

Both the USACE and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, were 
charged with managing the distribution of materials. Vera stated he and 
the other engineers were shocked to find the wealth of building repairs 
filling the warehouse shelves. Meanwhile, half a million of Puerto Rican 
families remain homeless with 30,000 surviving the winter temperatures 
with blue tarps stretched over the gaping holes where their roofs once were.

"The irresponsibility and ineptitude of the Authority is such that they 
do not even know what they have in stock to repair the electrical 
network of Puerto Rico. Here we have had Puerto Rican engineers who 
returned to their jobs in the United States annoyed because they could 
not give their best because of the lack of materials,” said Democratic 
Party House Representative Ramon Luis Cruz Burgos.

“However, today a warehouse full of materials appears. It is incredible, 
the degree of irresponsibility and incapacity of the government. The 
insensibility is such that they forget that they play with the lives of 
people. It is not only who needs machines or equipment that work with 
electricity to maintain their life, it is that people lose jobs because 
there is no electric service, children do not receive the first-class 
education required by the modern world, health services are affected, 
and drinking water service does not arrive properly. The abuse that 
causes the ineptitude has to end now, you cannot keep losing time in 
people who act as if governing was a game,” the politician said, calling 
for immediate government action.

The Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosello announced Wednesday his plans 
to launch a campaign to become the 51st US state and end 120 years of 
colonialism. No U.S. state would ever have to struggle with a 
six-month-blackout or the damaged infrastructural conditions, Puerto 
Rico has suffered, Rosello said, adding that he felt it was the right 
thing to do.

-- 
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