Category Archives: Carribean

October 19, 2017

FBI Investigates Puerto Rican Officials Distributing FEMA Aid Based On ‘Loyalty’ (Video)

The FBI San Juan Field Office announced Oct. 13 it had received “numerous” complaints that FEMA aid packages were mishandled and fraudulently distributed. The agency is investigating charges in six of the island’s 78 municipalities.

The FBI is investigating allegations that Puerto Rican officials are passing out Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supplies based on “political loyalty,” according to Congressional letters sent to the head of each department.

Three GOP representatives and Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón of Puerto Rico sent letters Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FEMA Administrator William Long requesting a briefing on Puerto Rican aid and recovery efforts by Oct. 23.

“With so many residents still in grave need of basic supplies, it is essential that assistance from the federal government is provided in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” the letters said. “The public’s confidence in the integrity of FEMA’s distribution of emergency supplies is also imperative.”

“Allegations that local elected officials are distributing life-sustaining FEMA emergency supplies based on political loyalty is deeply disturbing,” the representatives added. “Any persons misappropriating FEMA emergency supplies should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Complete text and video linked here.

October 15, 2017

Double Disaster (Video)

By now you’re familiar with the sights of devastation from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. What you may not know is just how bad things were for the U.S. territory before the storm hit. It’s a story of corruption and waste and—Puerto Rican officials say—a lesson for all of us.

Alberto Martinez was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He recorded these pictures after Hurricane Maria.

Alberto Martinez: Puerto Rico was already suffering a financial crisis, now it’s been wrecked by Hurricane Maria.

Martinez also showed us around Puerto Rico over the summer before Hurricane Maria. For all intents and purposes, already bankrupt.

Alberto Martinez: This is the Ponce de Leon Avenue on Santurce. My school is on this avenue…

A college professor, Martinez is planning to include Puerto Rico’s example in a course at the University of Texas on money and corruption.

Alberto Martinez: Now it’s just a bunch of shut down storefronts with graffiti.

He blames more than a decade of poor tax and business policies, and big banks that convinced politicians to borrow like there was no tomorrow.

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Complete text and video linked here.

October 10, 2017

U.S. Prosecutor To Investigate Puerto Rican Officials Accused Of Stopping Aid From Reaching People

She added she also learned from another source on the island that an official was hoarding supplies for residents “who had voted for that person.”

U.S. federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodriguez announced Sunday her investigation into government officials who allegedly did not deliver hurricane relief aid to the island’s residents.

During an interview on WAPA Radio, Rodriguez criticized two officials who failed to deliver needed supplies to their constituents, Metro PR reported.

“This morning we received information from a town on the Island where a person close to the municipal administration was asking one of our federal agents that the supplies that were there could not be touched because they were for his mayor,” said Rodríguez, noting that the case is currently under investigation.

She added she also learned from another source on the island that an official was hoarding supplies for residents “who had voted for that person.”

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Complete text linked here.

October 2, 2017

‘Inept’ Puerto Rican government ‘riddled with corruption’: CEO

Jorge Rodriguez, 49, is the Harvard-educated CEO of PACIV, an international engineering firm based in Puerto Rico that works with the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. The Puerto Rican-born engineer says he has dispatched 50 engineers to help FEMA rehabilitate the devastated island — a commonwealth of the United States — after Hurricane Maria. He refuses to work with the local government, which he called inept and riddled with corruption.

For the last 30 years, the Puerto Rican government has been completely inept at handling regular societal needs, so I just don’t see it functioning in a crisis like this one. Even before the hurricane hit, water and power systems were already broken. And our $118 billion debt crisis is a result of government corruption and mismanagement.

The governor Ricardo Rossello has little experience. He’s 36 and never really held a job and never dealt with a budget. His entire administration is totally inexperienced and they have no clue how to handle a crisis of this magnitude.

For instance, shortly after the hurricane hit, the government imposed a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am and then changed it. Now, it’s 7 pm to 5 am, and makes no sense. The curfew has prevented fuel trucks from transporting their loads. These trucks should have been allowed to run for 24 hours to address our needs, but they have been stalled, and so we have massive lines at gas stations and severe shortages of diesel at our hospitals and supermarkets.

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Complete text linked here.

October 1, 2017

US slashes Cuba embassy staff, warns Americans not to visit after ‘attacks’

In Friday’s travel warning, the State Department said some of the unexplained physical effects have occurred in Cuban hotels, and that while American tourists aren’t known to have been hurt they could be exposed if they travel to Cuba.

The United States on Friday abruptly warned Americans not to visit Cuba and ordered more than half its Havana embassy personnel to leave the island in a dramatic response to mysterious recent “specific attacks” harming the health of U.S. diplomats.

The actions deal a blow to already delicate ties between the U.S. and Cuba, longtime adversaries who only recently began putting their hostility behind them. The embassy in Havana will lose roughly 60 percent of its U.S. staff, and will stop processing visas in Cuba indefinitely, officials said. Roughly 50 Americans are currently working at the embassy in Havana.

“Until the government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel in order to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement announcing the step.

He and President Donald Trump reviewed the options in a White House meeting this week, officials said.

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Complete text linked here.

September 30, 2017

Cuban Doctors Revolt: ‘You Get Tired of Being a Slave’

“When you leave Cuba for the first time, you discover many things that you had been blind to,” said Yaili Jiménez Gutierrez, one of the doctors who filed suit. “There comes a time when you get tired of being a slave.”

In a rare act of collective defiance, scores of Cuban doctors working overseas to make money for their families and their country are suing to break ranks with the Cuban government, demanding to be released from what one judge called a “form of slave labor.”

Thousands of Cuban doctors work abroad under contracts with the Cuban authorities. Countries like Brazil pay the island’s Communist government millions of dollars every month to provide the medical services, effectively making the doctors Cuba’s most valuable export.

But the doctors get a small cut of that money, and a growing number of them in Brazil have begun to rebel. In the last year, at least 150 Cuban doctors have filed lawsuits in Brazilian courts to challenge the arrangement, demanding to be treated as independent contractors who earn full salaries, not agents of the Cuban state.

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Complete text linked here.

September 25, 2017

Facing Months in the Dark, Ordinary Life in Puerto Rico Is ‘Beyond Reach’

Disaster exacerbated by corruption…

Two days after Hurricane Maria flattened this island of 3.5 million people, knocking out all its power and much of its water, the rebuilding of the services and structures needed for people to resume some semblance of ordinary life was looking more complicated by the day.

All or part of three towns in the northwestern part of the island — Isabela, San Sebastián and Quebradillas — were being evacuated Friday because of fears about structural damage to the nearby Guajataca Dam. Close to 70,000 people could be affected if the 90-year-old dam, which is 120-feet high and can hold about 11 billion gallons of water, collapsed, said Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló.

And with everyone from the governor of Puerto Rico to the mayor of San Juan predicting that it could take four to six months to resume electrical service, people were contemplating empty refrigerators, campfire cooking, bathing in their own sweat and perhaps wrangling for fresh water on an island accustomed to hard times but nothing like what the future may bring.

“It’s been hard to see infrastructure deteriorate in Puerto Rico, but it has been harder to meet citizens who have lost it all,” Governor Rosselló said.

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Complete text linked here.

June 18, 2017

Donald Trump to Cuban Regime: Send Back Cop Killer Joanne Chesimard (Video)

On Friday President Donald Trump called on Cuba to turn over cop killer Joanne Chesimard.

Cop killer Assata Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard, murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973 and then fled to Cuba.

Assata Shakur, a.k.a. Joanne Chesimard is a former(?) Black Panther and Black Liberation Army agitator and cop killer. She has been a fugitive from justice for nearly 40 years and openly thumbs her nose at her victim’s family while living in Cuba as a political asylee. In 1973, Chesimard shot and killed New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster execution-style during a traffic stop. She is currently hiding from US authorities in Cuba.

As Officer Foerster lay on the ground wounded and helpless, Shakur grabbed his gun and blasted two shots into his head.

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Complete text linked here.

June 13, 2017

The Ugly Truth About Puerto Rico Wanting U.S. Statehood – Stefan Molyneux (Video)

On June 11th, 2017, Puerto Rico held a non-binding referendum on whether to become an actual state or stay an American territory. While 97% of those who participated in the referendum vote favored statehood, only 23% of the territory’s population participated in the process. It was the lowest level of participation in any election in Puerto Rico since 1967.

December 9, 2016

Communist Failure: Food In Cuba is Now Going to Tourists as Locals Starve

“The private tourism industry is in direct competition for good supplies with the general population,” said Richard Feinberg, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and specialist on the Cuban economy. “There are a lot of unanticipated consequences and distortions.”

According to the White House, one of President Obama’s crowning achievements during his tenure has been “normalizing” relations between the United States and Cuba.

For the first time in 50 years, tourists from the United States are free to travel to the communist state. Flights are landing daily and cruise ships are regularly docking in port.

There’s just one major problem. Because the communist state is incapable of providing basic necessities to its citizens, it certainly can’t provide to locals and tourists. From the New York Times:

For Lisset Felipe, privation is a standard facet of Cuban life, a struggle shared by nearly all, whether they’re enduring blackouts or hunting for toilet paper.

But this year has been different, in an even more fundamental way, she said. She has not bought a single onion this year, nor a green pepper, both staples of the Cuban diet. Garlic, she said, is a rarity, while avocado, a treat she enjoyed once in a while, is all but absent from her table.

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Complete text linked here.