Puerto Rican community react to Trump’s tweet about Hurricane Maria deaths

HARTFORD – The Puerto Rican community in Connecticut are calling out President Donald Trump after his tweet said 3,000 people did not die in Hurricane Maria.

The island is still desperate for help and they blamed it on the president.

Puerto Ricans in Connecticut said they are infuriated at the president for downplaying the severity of Hurricane Maria. They said even though it has been one year later, they are still rebuilding.

One year ago, FOX61 interviewed three sisters who were in tears after they finally got a phone call from their mother in Puerto Rico after not hearing from her for weeks after the hurricane ripped through their neighborhood.

One year later, Isannette Santos-Vasquez who was one of the sisters, said while her island partially recovered, her uncle did not.

“I have an uncle who committed suicide because of the hurricane that happened,” said Santos-Vasquez.

President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning:

“'3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths”

 Santos-Vasquez said the president’s numbers are wrong.

“Fine, six to 18 people died only in the hurricane. I’ll take that but the rest of the 3,000 and plus more died because of the aftermath because of the lack of help that he gave,” added Santos-Vasquez.

She said she visited Puerto Rico herself a few months ago and people were dying all around from the lack of resources. People there were diagnosed with Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease because the water is contaminated.

As Hurricane Florence is barreling through the Carolinas, Santos-Vasquez said the president did not pay as much attention to Puerto Rico versus the Carolinas.

“How is it that Florida got back on its feet in a matter of months? How is it that Texas got back on its feet? How is the hurricane now treated so differently, but the hurricane in Puerto Rico wasn’t?” said Santos-Vasquez.

Meanwhile, three football fields of unused water cover a runway in Puerto Rico but none of it was ever distributed.

Jason Ortiz with the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda said he is also disgusted at the president for blaming the Democrats in his second tweet.

“I mean, he used the excuse that it was difficult to get to Puerto Rico because it was an island as if no one ever knew Puerto Rico was an island and now when it comes to Hurricane Florence, he’s putting a little more focus on it but if I were the folks in North Carolina, I wouldn’t feel too comfortable that President Trump going to be trying to help the people of the Carolinas,” said Jason Ortiz with the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda.

Ortiz said Connecticut’s senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal have stood up for the Puerto Rican community and have yet to hear from the president himself. When Trump arrived in Puerto Rico, he threw paper towels at the people when they were actually asking for help and while he was doing that, people were dying all around him,” said Ortiz.