LULAC Brings Puerto Rican Delegation to Washington, DC
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) announced that a delegation of more than 120 elected and community leaders from Puerto Rico and the United States are in Washington this week. The purpose of their visit is to secure commitments from Congressional Representatives for release of $90-billion in disaster relief aid promised by the Trump Administration in 2017 but which has yet to happen.
“We have more than 300,000 homes still without roofs, our communities, roads and vital services on the island are largely still in shambles, people are suffering daily and thousands have died,” says Jose E. Melendez-Ortiz, member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives and spokesman for the delegation. “We are in Washington to work collaboratively with both parties in seeking fulfillment of the promise made to the people of Puerto Rico. All we want is to be treated fairly, no more or no less than any other Americans whose lives and homes have been devastated by a major natural disaster,” added Melendez-Ortiz.
Also among the other key delegates in Washington are: Maria Eloisa “Mayita” Melendez, Mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico’s 2nd largest city and one of the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Maria leaving hundreds of buildings destroyed and thousands of residents homeless. Also, Dr. Ivan Gonzalez-Cancel, a cardiothoracic surgeon credited with performing the first heart transplant in Puerto Rico.
The delegation is scheduled to be in Washington until Thursday, May 23rd during which members will canvas select offices on Capitol Hill for one-on-one meetings with Congressional Representatives. The LULAC members come from throughout Puerto Rico, from different backgrounds and with a wide range of political views. However, all the delegates are unified with the single goal of securing specific commitments of how quickly funding will be released and prioritizing how the money is spent.
“If the Administration wants to place added federal controls or install more oversight, that’s fine,” says Melendez-Ortiz. “All we care about is getting the help to the people who need it most, the poor, isolated, young and old,” adds Melendez. That view is echoed by Elsie Valdez, immediate past National Vice-President for Women. “We have families that are still exposed to the elements and they don’t even have electricity or clean drinking water. Our sole focus now is impressing upon members of Congress and the Administration that we can and must act with urgency to prevent further harm upon the people of Puerto Rico.”
LULAC and its delegates demand answers on behalf of millions left desperate for promised action two years after Hurricane Maria and we will not rest until the U.S. government lives up to its responsibility in Puerto Rico.
LULAC National President
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org