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San Juan mayor barred from speaking on Trump's Puerto Rico relief conference call

Carmen Yulin Cruz is the outspoken mayor of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, who was publicly denounced by Donald Trump for pointing out the federal government's inaction during the worst humanitarian disaster in modern US history. Trump went on to characterize Puerto Ricans — chest deep in sewage raw sewage with no fresh water, no homes, no power and no gasoline — as "wanting everything done for them."

Trump's White House convened an extremely belated conference call to discuss disaster relief for the US territory, chaired by presidential Homeland Security advisor Tom Bossert. The administration trumpeted this as evidence of its engagement with the island's leadership. But when Ms Cruz joined the call, she was informed that she was invited in a "listening capacity only," and forbidden from speaking.

She said she expected to be overseeing the distribution of emergency food packages for at least three months. The arena where we met was half filled with large piles of packages, some from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA. She voiced disappointment that each box only contained one meal for one adult, which included apple sauce and Rice Krispie bars. She asked not to be photographed with a little leaflet contained in each of each them.

"These Meals are Sent to You by Your Fellow Americans," the postcard said, with an image of the American flag. "May they Provide Comfort and Nourishment. Be Safe and Know You are in our Thoughts".

Puerto Rico mayor invited to take part in White House conference call on hurricane disaster effort – but told she could not speak
[David Usborne/The Independent]

(Image: CNN)

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