Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cuomo blames racism for weak federal response to Hurricane Maria victims

Cuomo blames racism for weak federal response to Hurricane Maria victims

PATERSON, NJ- When Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, President Donald Trump said the island was "obliterated", and, while the initial death toll at the time was minimal, a more recent study conducted by Harvard University indicated that almost 5,000 people lost their lives to the devastating storm.

Ahead of the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, Cynthia Nixon called for the state to divest from funds managed by firms that hold Puerto Rican debt.

Around eight months have passed since Hurricane Maria first slammed into Puerto Rico, and five percent of the island remains without power while studies continue to demonstrate that the actual death toll from the Category 4 storm is many, many times higher than the official count put forth by USA officials.

Also on hand was a marching contingent made up of people who are on the USA mainland only because they were displaced from their homes on the island after the hurricane.

Nora Ortiz of Brooklyn, and other parade-goers, voiced frustration over what they said was an under-reporting of the death toll in Puerto Rico and a tepid emergency response by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson were among the dignitaries on hand for the event.

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Julio Pabon led a group of demonstrators who chanted "Respect Puerto Rico" as it passed Trump Tower.

That help has continued and has, through the efforts of Paterson Partners with Puerto Rico, led to the donation of money and other supplies to help rebuild one of the many schools destroyed by the storm. At a pre-parade breakfast, Cuomo said, "We celebrate much, but we also stand and march in defiance today".

Cuomo said the death toll from Hurricane Maria stands at 4,500 - more than twice as many that died in Louisiana's infamous Hurricane Katrina - yet the amount earmarked by Washington to help fix the island's infrastructure has been paltry.

'Maria unmasked that we are a colony, ' said Pabon, 66, of the Bronx.

"Puerto Ricans are American citizens, we especially need to be there for them in their time of need", Pou told TAPinto Paterson continuing to say that there are still 100,000 people without electricity and 55,000 living in temporary shelters. He and the group he is marching with plan to be in black T-shirts that reflect the Harvard study's estimate of the dead.

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