Rep. Gutiérrez Statement On One Year Anniversary Of Hurricane Maria Hitting Puerto Rico
Washington, DC – The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) on the one-year anniversary of the day Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.
For me, the response to Hurricane Maria speaks volumes about Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. The greatest and most powerful nation on earth was unable to prevent 3,000 deaths on its colonial Caribbean possession and the failure to adequately respond stretches to the highest levels of the U.S. government. But the emergency and the response to that emergency grew out of decades of neglect and disregard for Puerto Rico and her people by Washington and the U.S. Congress. The U.S. has systematically stripped power from Puerto Rico to determine its own economic and political destiny and this contributed to the magnitude of the disaster as it unfolded last year.
Now the United States has an opportunity to work with Puerto Ricans to rebuild the Island as a self-sustaining, modern, self-governing nation where jobs and opportunities allow Puerto Rican families to grow and thrive in their homeland.
I am dedicating the next chapter in my life to the recovery and improvement of the Island. We need to link the industrious creativity of Puerto Ricans with the power of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the States to focus the resources and energy needed to remake the Island better than ever.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is the Dean of the Illinois delegation and a thirteen-term Member of Congress from Chicago. He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He was born in Chicago to parents who had migrated from Puerto Rico and spent part of his childhood in Puerto Rico. He has announced that after his retirement from Congress at the end of this term, he and his wife will move to Puerto Rico to assist in the recovery effort.
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