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Florida's Democratic Leaders Call on President Donald Trump to Remember Puerto Rico During Coronavirus Pandemic

Photo: Ricardo Dominguez
Photo: Ricardo Dominguez

Florida’s Democratic leaders are calling on President Donald Trump to offer more aid to Puerto Rico during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the past decade Puerto Rico has endured catastrophic hurricanes, a series of earthquakes and now the coronavirus. 

Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida Vice President Natascha Otero-Santiago says Puerto Rico needs help. 

“Puerto Rico immediately needs disaster relief aid that has been allocated to the island since Hurricane Maria. It should receive separate disaster relief for the earthquakes and given equitable treatment under the CARES Act.”

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The Trump administration gave the island more than 8 billion dollars in hurricane relief earlier this year, and another 2.2 billion dollars under the CARES Act.

But Otero-Santiago says its unclear when residents will actually see this money.

“And still the Trump administration treats us as second class U.S. citizens, forgotten and without receiving the proper aid that we deserve.”

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Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced announced a state of emergency on March 12 after coronavirus cases began to rise. A curfew has been in effect since then.

Some small businesses began to reopen on the island last week and restaurants, retail stores, and hair salons are expected to open on May 18.

If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.