Jan 21, 2020 - Science

Puerto Rico protesters call for governor to resign over unused aid

Protesters demand the resignation of Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced  in front of the Governors mansion on January 20, 2020 in San Juan
A protest outside the governor's mansion in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 20. The sign in the center reads: "The goverment wants us dead, while they hide what is ours." Photo: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside Puerto Rico's Capitol building and the governor's coastal mansion Monday evening to demand the U.S. territory's leader resign over unused aid, as earthquakes continue to rock the island, AP reports.

Why it matters: In her first major crisis since becoming governor last August, Gov. Wanda Vázquez fired three top officials over a viral video showing a government warehouse full of unused disaster relief aid dating back to Hurricane Maria in 2017.

  • In scenes reminiscent of the start of last summer's demonstrations that led to the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, protesters again declared they would "remain in the streets until Vázquez also steps down," AP notes.
  • Hundreds of people remain homeless in the quake-ravaged southern city of Ponce, where the video was filmed last Saturday, per NPR.

Video details: The livestream by activist Lorenzo Delgado shows cases of unwrapped bottled water, generators, blankets, diapers, baby formula and wipes. Boxes of ready meals can be seen, along with signs stating: "FEMA, Not For Resale."

What they're saying: Vázquez told a news conference Sunday the National Guard would help in the disaster response and she has "ordered a complete inventory of what supplies remained in warehouses as well as their expiration dates," BuzzFeed reports.

  • A National Guard spokesperson said late Monday its service members "had delivered some of the unused warehouse supplies to 10 municipalities outside of the main quake zone that had not previously received much aid, despite being affected by the temblors," according to the New York Times.


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