The one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s devastating strike on Puerto Rico is fodder for leftist Latino advocacy groups that plan to use the tragedy to blame President Donald Trump for the death and destruction on the U.S. territorial island and register displaced Puerto Ricans who are now in the United States to vote against Republicans in the midterm elections.
Latino Victory Project (LVP) and Power 4 Puerto Rico have launched the seven-figure get-out-the-vote campaign, according to CBS.
And the anti-Trump, anti-Republican effort will also include demonstrations in New York at Trump Tower on Sept. 20 and at the president’s estate in Florida on the September 22 anniversary of the hurricane.
LVP, which has spent years raising and spending millions of dollars on behalf of Latino political candidates, now plans to devote at least $1.5 million to locate, register and then turn out displaced Puerto Ricans living in Florida and other states, including Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The project could be especially critical to Democratic chances in Florida, home to competitive gubernatorial, Senate and House elections this year. Both major parties and several other political groups are investing millions of dollars to woo former residents of Puerto Rico, where political activism is a big part of the island’s culture.
One of those important elections is Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to win Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who has already spent millions on Spanish-language campaign ads, especially in the heavily Puerto-Rican population in Orlando, according to CBS.
Both candidates have made multiple trips to the island over the past year, CBS reported, to shore up support with new voters back on the mainland.
According to a Center for Puerto Rican Studies report using post-Hurricane Maria school enrollment data and data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), large populations of Puerto Ricans are now living in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, California, and Texas.
The CBS reporting includes a statement from Luis Miranda, a longtime New York-based Democratic political operative and LVP’s board chairman, who claims “gross negligence” by the Trump administration following the hurricane and that, ”By raising awareness of the crisis and empowering our community we can begin to repair the damage that has been done to my beloved Puerto Rico.”
Melissa Mark-Viverito, director of Power 4 Puerto Rico, said the campaign also would include activists in Washington meeting with lawmakers to push for more federal assistance to Puerto Rico.
This, despite the Trump administration and Congress having devoted billions to help Puerto Rico recover from the hurricane. Last month, FEMA announced an additional $34 million in Public Assistance grants for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and management costs related to Hurricane María recovery on the island.
To date, the FEMA Public Assistance program has obligated $2.6 billion in total funding to the Government of Puerto Rico and municipalities, the July 27, 2018 press release said.
CBS’s reporting also including a report just given to Congress by Puerto Rican authorities who claim 1,427 deaths following the hurricane — but with a caveat.
“The report said, however, that the 1,427 deaths in the four months after the storms ‘may or may not be attributable to the hurricanes.’ It said the figure topping 1,400 was based on data from the four years before 2017 when the two hurricanes hit the island,” CBS reported.
The official death toll still stands at 64.
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