Puerto Rico's governor discusses crisis during Philadelphia trip

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Puerto Rico's governor discusses crisis during Philly trip. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 5:30pm on February 16, 2018. (WPVI)

Faith and elected leaders gathered Friday morning at Esperanza in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia for a discussion with the governor of Puerto Rico about the ongoing humanitarian crisis still affecting the island after two devastating hurricanes.

"There is a vested interest for anyone who is not Puerto Rican, just like we had with New Orleans and with Houston," said Esperanza's president, Rev. Luis Cortez. "The real issue is what is the U.S. government is going to do when its citizens are hurt."

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without electricity nearly five months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.

Many are growing increasingly frustrated about what they say has been insufficient assistance from the federal government.

Carmen San Miguel of Taller Puertorriqueno has led significant fundraising efforts here in Philadelphia.

"Puerto Ricans in the diaspora are very much aware of the situation in Puerto Rico, the dire situation that our compatriots are having on the island," said San Miguel. "I believe the governor is trying to develop different bridges of work."

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, made an impassioned plea as the island now faces the possibility of rationing electricity.

A $300 billion loan is being considered for Puerto Rico's electric power authority. This, after a $1 billion request was rejected.

Rossello said the smaller loan would only allow the power company to operate until March.

"The power authority lacks money," he said. "There is no money to buy fuel. There is no money to execute appropriately."

Rosselló ultimately has appealed to Puerto Ricans currently living in the U.S., urging them to voice their frustrations at the polls this November.

Pennsylvania is one of several states Rosselló is visiting to keep attention on the humanitarian crisis that Puerto Ricans continue to face.

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politicsphilly newshurricane mariapuerto ricoNorth Philadelphia
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