Mayor Marty Walsh visited Puerto Rico last month along with members of the Boston Red Sox franchise.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of the Boston Red Sox, video by WGBH News

Walsh: Federal Government 'Abandoned The People Of Puerto Rico'

February 8, 2018

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh believes the federal government is not doing enough to help the people of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and suggested the island, still reeling from last year’s storms, is being forgotten by the federal government.

“There’s no question. I’ll say it as the mayor of Boston: they abandoned the people of Puerto Rico,” Walsh told Jim Braude Thursday on Greater Boston. “You can see it; the infrastructure is not being built.”

Walsh visited the island last month with Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, who also appeared on Greater Boston Tuesday, where they helped deliver 10 tons of supplies to the city of Caguas, just south of San Juan.

“When you’re flying in about every third roof is gone, so you’ll see a blue tarp on them. We saw one crew working on power. This town doesn’t have power,” Walsh said, noting how slow the recovery process has been five months after the island was slammed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The storms destroyed tens of thousands of homes, cut off access to clean water, and knocked out power to 3.4 million people.

Critics have accused the Trump administration of having a delayed relief response, but federal disaster officials said transportation logistics coupled with the widespread damage made delivering supplies to the island difficult. 

Kennedy said the mission to help was spearheaded by the team’s new manager Alex Cora, a native of Caguas. He said catcher Christian Vazquez, who is also a Puerto Rican native, and pitchers Chris Sale and Rick Porcello also flew down to help hand out supplies like deodorant, water and diapers.

“You see people standing in line for an hour plus to get supplies from the mayor, or me, or Alex Cora — handing the boxes of supplies, it’s a really humbling feeling,” Kennedy told Braude.

Kennedy said it meant a lot to have the players there, taking time right before spring training, to bring awareness to the needs of an island far from fully recovering.

“It was just a reminder to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” he said.  “You know, we are so fortunate to live in the best city in the country here in Boston. But try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, going through what those people are going through — it’s not right.”  

To hear more about Mayor Walsh and Red Sox President Sam Kennedy's trip to Puerto Rico, as well as an update on the debate over changing the name of Yawkey Way, click the video player above.


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