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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  February 19, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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02/19/18 02/19/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> if the president wants to come up to me and, to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, i am going to happily ask him how much money he received from the national rifle association. amy: never again. students who survived the parkland, florida, school shooting muska on wednesday are now organizing a march for our lives in washington, d.c., to protest gun violence. we will hear a moving address from high school senior emma gonzalez who survived the
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shooting. then to puerto rico. >> we're facing privatization on the energy front. we're also facing privatization of the educational point. the local government of puerto rico has introduced the concept of charter schools and has said it is going to privatize schools . it almost seems like the perfect storm for disaster economics or the stafferll capitalism. amy: five months after hurricane maria battered puerto rico, a quarter of the island remains without power but moves are being made to privatize the island's electrical grid and schools. we will speak to the mayor of san juan, carmen yulin cruz. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump launched into a remarkable angry and
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error-ridden tweet storm over the weekend, following the justice department's decision to indict 13 russians for interfering with the 2016 presidential election. in a string of 10 tweets, trump lashed out at democrats, the mueller investigation, the obama administration, his own national security adviser, and the fbi -- which he falsely accused of spending so many resources on the russia investigation that it missed warning signs about school shooter nikolas cruz, who killed 17 people at the marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, last week. in one of the messages sent from his private mar-a-lago resort in palm beach, florida, trump tweeted -- "if it was the goal of russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the u.s., then, with all of the committee hearings, investigations and party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. they are laughing their asses off in moscow. get smart america!" another tweet -- "very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out
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by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign -- there is no collusion." trump also attacked national security adviser h.r. mcmaster for his comments to world leaders at the munich security conference in germany on saturday. >> as you can see with the fbi indictment, the evidence is incontrovertible. amy: in response, trump tweeted -- "general mcmaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the russians and that the only collusion was between russia and crooked h, the dnc and the dems." "crooked h" is a reference to his democratic rival, hillary clinton. "the washington post" reports many european leaders at the munich security conference were confused and alarmed by president trump's tweet storm and his attack on his national security adviser h.r. mcmaster.
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the post reports that one anonymous european diplomat suggested h.r. mcmaster and other u.s. officials may be following in the footsteps of german government officials, who continued to serve during hitler's rise, ostensibly in the name of protecting the country. president trump's tweet storm came after the justice department indicted 13 russians and three companies for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. friday's sprawling indictment charges the russians orchestrated a propaganda effort 2014 to undermine the election system and then developed into an effort to help donald trump win. the indictment says the effort, coordinated by russia's internet research agency, included russians posing as political activists, stealing the identities of u.s. citizens, and further politicized issues of immigration, race, and religion, in efforts to push american voters to choose trump over his rival, hillary clinton. this indictment also alleges some russians were in contact with people associated with
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trump's campaign, although it does not allege trump's campaign was aware of the propaganda effort or that there was any collusion. this is deputy attorney general rod rosenstein announcing the indictments friday. >> indictment charges 13 russian nationals entry russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the united states political system, including the 2016 presidential election. the defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states. with the stated goal of spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general. amy: and robert mueller's investigation into russian election interference, trump's former deputy campaign manager rick gates will plead guilty to wire fraud and will testify against trump's former campaign manager paul manafort.
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in florida, as funerals continue for the 17 people killed in at the stoneman douglas high school in broward county, florida, on wednesday, survivors of the school shootinhave launched an unprecedented youth-led movement to demand gun control. on friday, students at the south broward high school in florida walked out of class to protest the massacre, which was carried out by a 19-year-old white former student named nikolas cruz, who had a history of violent and abusive behavior , particularly against women. on friday, the fbi admitted it had failed to investigate cruz, even after someone close to him called the agency's tip line in january to warn them "about cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting." at a rally on saturday, survivors of the school shooting demanded politicians stop accepting money from the national rifle association.
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nikolas cruz reportedly trained in a youth shooting club that was funded by the nra. this is emma gonzalez, a senior at marjory stoneman douglas high school, speaking at saturday's rally. >> if the president wants to tell me to my face it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, i'm going to happily ask him how much money he received in the national rifle association. [applause] it doesn't matter because i already know! $30 million! and divided by the number of gunshot victims in the united in 2018 alone, that comes out to be 5800 dollars. is that how much these people are worth to you, trump? to every politician who is taking donations from the nra,
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shame on you. amy: we will hear the full emma gonzalez speech after headlines. an iranian plane crashed in the zagros mountains sunday, and all 66 people aboard are feared to be dead. the crash is the latest in a series of aviation accidents in iran in recent years, which are attributed to the difficultly of maintaining and repairing old aircrafts in the face of international sanctions. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu and iranian foreign minister mohammed zarif exchanged sharp words on sunday at an international security conference in munich, germany, a week after the two countries' engaged in a direct military confrontation in syria. netanyahu held up a piece of metal that he claimed came from an iranian drone, which israel shot down after it allegedly penetrated israeli air space. >> mr. zarif, do you recognize this? you should. it is yours. you can take back with you a message to the tyrants of tehran. do not test israel's resolve.
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amy: in response, iranian foreign minister mohammed zarif called netanyahu's display cartoonish and accused israel of escalating the threat of direct military confrontation. uses aggression as a policy. daily bombardments come almost routine bombardments of syria. someone asked the syrians if it had the guts to down one of its planes, it is as if a disastrous happen. amy: in syria, the u.s.-backed syrian kurdish forces and the syrian government have reached a deal for pro-government forces to enter afrin to combat a month-long turkish military offensive against the northwest syrian city. meanwhile, across the border, the turkish government has arrested nearly 800 people for criticizing its military offensive in afrin.
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and on friday, a turkish court sentenced six journalists to life in prison on charges of participating in the 2016 failed military coup. all six journalists deny any participation in the attempted coup. in gaza, family members gathered for the funerals of two palestinian teenagers who were killed after israeli tanks opened fire during an air and ground assault this weekend. the israelis say the airstrikes and tank fire was in retaliation for a bomb blast on the israel-gaza border, which injured four israeli soldiers. the ethiopian government has imposed a six-month state of emergency one day after the ethiopian prime minister's abrupt resignation amid widespread anti-government protests. it was the first time in modern ethiopian history that a sitting prime minister quit. despite the ban on all protests, there are reports the regional capital city of gondar in northern ethiopia is on strike
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today in protest of the state of emergency. in mexico, a military helicopter carrying government officials crashed in the southern state of oaxaca friday, killing at least 14 residents who had been displaced by an earthquake. dead three children. ,in the united states, black panther smashed box office records, grossing more money than any other february debut and the highest grossing film ever by black director, 31-year-old ryan kubler. it was also the fifth highest earning opening weekend of any film in u.s. history. the superhero flick, based on the marvel comic, features a majority black cast and it's been called a defining moment for black america. it has also renewed calls for the release of more than a dozen imprisoned members of the real black panther party will stop thousands of people have signed onto a petition calling on disney to invest 25% of the films worldwide profits in education programs in black
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communities. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. never again. that's become the rallying cry for students in parkland, florida, who survived last week's school shooting massacre that left 17 people dead. funerals continue to be held for the students and teachers who were killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in u.s. history. the confessed gunman, nikolas cruz, was a former student who had been expelled. he carried out the killings with an ar 15, which he reportedly bought three days after getting kicked out of school last year. on friday, the fbi admitted that someone close to cruz had called the agency's tip line in january to warn them about the teenager. according to the fbi -- "the caller provided information about cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the
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potential of him conducting a school shooting." but the information was never passed on to the miami field office and no investigation took place. in response, florida governor rick scott call for the resignation of fbi director christopher wray. meanwhile, students who survived the shooting have begun organizing a march for our lives in washington, d.c., and other cities march 24. one of the organizers is emma gonzalez, a senior at marjory stoneman douglas high school who survived the shooting. she gave a moving address at a gun control rally in fort lauderdale on saturday. they already haven't had a moment of silence in the house of representatives, so i would like to have another one. thank you.
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every single person up here today, all these people, should be at home grieving. but instead, we are after getting together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it is time for victims to be the change that we need to see. [applause] since the time of the founding fathers and since they added the second amendment, guns have developed that lead me dizzy. the guns have changed and the laws have not. we do not understand why should be harder to make ties with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semiautomatic weapon. in florida, to buy again you do not need a permit or a gun license. once you buy it, you do not need to register it. you do not need a permit to
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carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. you can buy as many guns as you want at one time. i read something very powerful to me today. it was from the point of view of a teacher. and i quote -- "when adults tell me have the right to own a gun, all i hear is my right to own a gun outweighs your student's right to live. all i hear is mine, mine, mine." instead of worrying about our ap chapter 16 test, we have to be stunning our nose to make sure our arguments based on politics and political history are watertight. the students of this school have been having debates about pence for what feels like our entire lives. subjectcussions on the even occurred during the shooting while students were hiding in the closet. the people involved right now, those who were there, those posting, those tweeting, doing interviews and talking to people
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are being listened to for what feels like the very first time about this topic. it has come up over 1000 times in the past four years alone. i found out today there is a website called shootingtracker. compost of nothing in the title suggests it is exclusively tracking the usa' is shootings and yet doesn't need to address the because australia has one mass shooting in 1999 in port arthur massacre and introduce gun safety and they have not had one since. [applause] japan has never had a mass shooting. [applause] canada has had three, and u.k. had one and they both introduced gun control and yet here we are with websites dedicated to reporting these tragedy so they can be formulated into a statistic at your convenience.
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i watched an interview this morning and noticed one of the questions was, do you think your children will have to go through other school shooter drills? our response is that our neighbors will not have to go through other school shooter drills when we have had our say with the government and maybe the adults have gotten used to iting it is what it is, but is a students have learned anything, it is if you don't study, you will fail. in this case, if you actively do nothing, people continually and up dead. so it is time to start doing something. [applause] we are going to be the kids that you read about in textbooks, not because we're going to be another statistic about mass shootings in america, but because just as david said, we're going to be the last mass shooting. [cheers and applause]
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just like -- we're going to change the laws. that is going to be marjory stoneman douglas in that textbook and it is all going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members, and most important, the students. [applause] these students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the students who are now suffering from ptsd, the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters who would not leave us alone, hovering over the .chool 24 hours a day there has been one tweet i would like to call attention to. so many signs the florida shooter was meant to be disturbed, even expelled for bad and erratic behavior. neighbors and classmates new he was a big problem. must always report such
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instances to authorities again and again." we did. time and time again. since he was in middle school, a was no surprise to anyone who knew him. those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you did not know this kid. ok? we did. claiming theree are mental health issues, and i'm not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this isn't just a mental health issue. he would not have harmed that many students with a knife. [cheers and applause] about we stop blaming the victims for something that was'the shooters fault. [applause]
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the people who let him by the guns in the first place. those a the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who did not take them away from him when he knew that you expressed homicidal tendencies and i'm not talking about the fbi. i'm talking about the people that he lived with. i'm talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns. upthe president was to come to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, i'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the national rifle -- how muchfor money he received from the national rifle association. [cheers and applause]
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you want to know something? it doesn't matter because i already know. $30 million! and divided by the number of gunshot victims in the united alone, that comes out to be 5800 dollars. is that how much these people are worth to you, trump? if you don't do anything to prevent this from coming, from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. .nd we will be worthless to you to every politician who is taking donations from the nra, shame on you. [cheers and applause]
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shame on you! shame on you! shame on you! shame on you! shame on you! >> if your money was as threatened as us, would your first thought be, how is this going to reflect on my campaign? which should i choose? or would you choose us? and if you choose us, would you act like a for once. you know what would be a good way to act like it? i have an example of how not to .ct like it in figure 2017, 1 year ago, president trump repealed an obama era regulation that would have made it easier to -- [boos] from the interactions i've had with the shooter before the shooting and the information that i currently know about him, i don't really know if he was mentally ill.
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i don't need a psychologist and i don't need a psychologist to know revealing that regulation was a really dumb idea. [cheers and applause] republican senators chuck grassley of i will was the sole sponsor of this bill to stop the fbi from performing background checks on people adjudicated to be mentally ill, and now he is sitting for the record, well, it is an of the fbi isn't doing background checks d on these mentally ill people. that duh, you took opportunity away last year. [applause] government whohe were voted into power are lying to us. and us kids seem to be a little to notice and our parents call bs. companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers nowadays sing all we are is harshestlved and
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into submission when our message does not reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call bs. politicians sit in their house and seeds funded by the nra telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this. we call bs. -- they say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. we call bs. the badd good guy with guy with the gun, we call bs. they say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. we call bs. they say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. we call bs. that us kids don't a what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works, we call bs.
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if you agree, registered a vote. contractor local congresspeople. -- contact your local congress people. amy: high school student emma gonzalez, a senior at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. she survived last week's school shooting that killed 17 people. she and classmates are now organizing a march for our lives in washington, d.c., and other cities march 24. 100 students from the school are planning to head to florida state capital in tallahassee tuesday to meet with florida legislators to demand a ban on military style assault weapons like the ar-15 used by the gunmen on wednesday. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. to see more, go to democracynow.org. when we come back, our interview with the mayor of san juan on this fifth month anniversary of
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hurricane maria. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "posthumous nocturne in c-sharp minor no. 20" by chopin. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. this week marks five months since hurricane maria battered the island of puerto rico, and the island is still facing a massive recovery effort. while the official death toll is just 64, it is believed that more than 1000 people died since the storm struck september 20. more than a quarter of the island remains without power, marking the longest blackout in u.s. history. wide swaths of the island were recently plunged back into darkness after an explosion and fire at an electrical station, sparking fears about the vulnerability of the puerto rican electrical system. meanwhile, the federal emergency management agency, known as fema, is facing criticism after it was revealed that only a
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fraction of the 30 million meals slated to be sent to the island after hurricane maria was actually delivered. fema approved a $156 million contract for a one-woman company to deliver the 30 million meals. but in the end, fema canceled the contract after she delivered just 50,000 meals, in what fema called a logistical nightmare. well, on friday, juan gonzalez and i spoke to the mayor of san juan, carmen yulin cruz. i started by asking her what the situation on the island is five months after hurricane maria hit. >> we are facing putting together a massive recovery effort, and that is part of the problem. wheels are-- spinning, but things don't get off the ground. ratencrease in the suicide
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, which tells you the mental state where people are at because of the dire situations and living conditions that we are still and. as you mention, 25% of the island is still without power. just last night, judge taylor swain denied the administration's request for an emergency loan for our power authority. so the government is now saying to bemployees are going let go, laid off, and that we're program go to blackouts. for many people, it will mean going back to september 20. at least for a few days during the week. our power grid is still very unstable, even though those of us that have electricity. just in san juan this past sunday, a massive community of san juan just got electricity for the first time, but things come and go. we are facing privatization on
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the energy front. we are facing privatization of the educational points. a local government of puerto rico has introduced the concept of charter schools and has said that it is going to privatize schools. it almost seems like the perfect orrm for disaster economics what they call the stats for capitalism. every thing seems to be out , while thosee essential services that do more than provide services -- they are sort of the equalizers of our society -- are all put on sale. the money from fema is not coming. municipalities are facing a dire need of cash in order to continue to provide services and make payroll. for san juan, the situation is a little better, but we are still in a very delicate financial situation. juan: mayor, i would like to ask
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you about the role of the oversight board imposed by congress. i saw on their site that they issued a bunch of letters to the 5,ernor on february basically, saying the governor's plan for what was going to happen with the water authority was not sufficient, that they wanted a 17% cut in cost because the water authority is projecting a 17% loss in water revenues as a result of the storm. they told the government that its overall financial plan was not sufficient in terms of cuts -- and amazingly, i saw that they wanted the government to reserve,reate a budget extra cash in the budget, while cutting other services. i am wondering how you see the role of the oversight board, which is supposed to be helping puerto rico's economy right itself. the have been against
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oversight board from the beginning just because it is anti-democratic. seven people that were not democracy -- and we are in democracy now! -- are now making final decisions. i may have very different views than the governor of puerto rico about how he has handled this crises about how he supported the trump administration and said there were doing a great job, but he is the governor puerto rico. he was elected in a democratic manner. so one of the things that is -- thent about legislation put forward by senator warren and senator bernie sanders with blues guitarist and you velazquez, it was in the hands of puerto ricans the recovery puerto rico. if one thing was proven, you cannot put the standard operating procedures a fema and other organizations and just put them on the ground here in the small island nation, the
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caribbean, as a things are going to work as they have worked in other places before. the fiscal control board is it for one thing, and that thing is to get the bondholders to get paid. now additionally, the governor when he was campaigning said that the puerto rican government had to pay. and now in this new fiscal plan, which is really an austerity plan. the governor submits it to the fiscal control board. the fiscal control board says, no, we want more. we want more taxation. we want more privatization. want less want -- we education because the fiscal control board is thinking about five hundred million dollars away from our largest public educational system, the university of puerto rico, and is taking away money from the minas of pahlavi's. so the fiscal control board is here for one thing and it is to ensure that bondholders get
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every single penny that they can. now should you pay for the loans that you made? you should pay for some parts, but that should.com on the shoulders -- should not come on the shoulders and the livelihood of the puerto rican people. gillibrand senator has also put together a legislation, basically, are marshall plan for puerto rico -- which is something that i have been very keen on advocating for. the united states did it in world war ii for europe, so let us just wipe out the entire dead and begin again, but let us make sure that puerto rico still has access to capital markets. amy: we started this conversation by saying it has been five months since hurricane maria hit. that is the longest u.s. with, what,history
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do you agree with these figures you go a court of the island still without electricity -- figures, a court of the island so without electricity? what are the facts and figures on the ground, including the number of people killed, officially, 60 something, something like 1000 is what we have. october, i used the numbers that the central government of puerto rico was given. the central government of porto go was saying in september order rico in september was saying we more deaths and cremations that we have ever had. it sort of continued that way in october. so it is more than 1000 people that have died. because you have to account, not only the people that died directly while the storm was taking place, but the people
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that i'm died because they don't have oxygen in their homes or because there were no oxygen tanks at the hospitals or the people that have died because of -- botched effort because they did not have their diabetic medications and insulin, so forth. so if you look at the suicide rate, which has gone up 55%. you know that more than 1000 people have died. i think one of the important things that should come out of this devastating to monetary and crises is that we should look at the way that we define a crises in a situation of dire need. that is number one. number two, yes, it is about 25%. the problem is that you may have an urban area where five houses in one street are lit up, and
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the other five houses are not lit up. and that creates with the government is calling and prepa is calling pocket's. unequal.kets are very it seems to be that the majority of the people that now they don't have electricity, which also impacts in them not having water. because a lot of does a town where maria came through, the mayor was telling me that he had 16 generators that he is paying for that are put in various water pumps in order to assure the people in that town have power enough to move the water. so it creates an escalated situation. the fiscal control board put together another partition this
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morning, very early in the morning, for a much lower amount of loan. but if you don't have electricity, if you don't have an appropriate grid, you will not be able to jumpstart the economic motor of puerto rico. so one of the things that we continually ask for and i continually advocate for is a waiver on the act. controlsthe acts that fema or gives life to fema, tells us we need to build everything the exact same way as it was before. well, yes, we need to pull back the electrical grid, but we also need to set the platform to transform and move from our addiction to fossil fuel to other sources of renewable energy. i am calling, and i will use your platform to do this, i am calling on any company in the united states that once to provide an wants to build solar
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panels in puerto rico. why? now you have a tax in the united states that when you import -- thanks to donald trump -- when you import solar panels from outside of the united states, you pay a 30% tax. so come to san juan. we will make sure it is worth your while because we have the legal tools in order to set we will put a waiver on the property tax that you have to pay and we will put a waiver on the municipal taxes that you have to pay -- juan: mayor, to follow up on that issue of the electrical livestion, my sister who in puerto rico and only recently got power back on, last week in they finally got electricity. but in the weeks before that, she says that there were private companies going door-to-door trying to convince the residence
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of her neighborhood to basically sign on to a private electrical generation system. so apparently, the governor and the promise of board both agree on the issue of privatizing electricity. can you talk about with the private electrical copies of already started doing in terms of creating not solar, but their own privatize versions of proper? prepa? >> and we have to own up and look at what we did that was not appropriate. the government waited for 60 days in order to invoke -- and have all of these private companies from the united states come and work your. we in san juan have been working closely with new york power authority.
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and they have been doing -- it is a must read taking with people see them in the streets and they say, because behind them comes electricity and behind the electricity comes an ability to at least have some semblance of a normal life and providing a good life for your family and for your community. this has not been the case in other towns. i always remind people that don't look at what is happening in san juan and think that is the exact same thing that is happening across puerto rico. as you move further from the metropolitan area -- i just got off the phone with a woman in another town, a teacher in another town, where in the past few weeks from san juan we have sent them powdered milk and water because the children don't have powdered note and water in their schools -- powdered milk
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and water in their schools. it is important for people to know things have been different. have have been mayors that talked about, look, let me help. what can i do from the municipality to ensure you can do your jobs? and what they have been told, and this is a quote from the mayor, what they've been told is "look, you cannot open the droves for us to go up the hill and do the work that we need to do because the army corps of engineers has subcontracted that. and the army corps of engineers is waiting for the company that they have subcontracted to bring their agreement to puerto rico to get the job done." to which the mayor said, "but i have the quitman. i can get it done right now." , "we are from prepa sorry, because we already subcontracted that." the private companies are
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starting to leave by mid-march, but yesterday, just yesterday, the army corps of engineers said they no longer could comply with 95%r goal of having 90% to of the island nation of puerto energized by february. they were thinking that could happen perhaps by march, but it would be better off if they said by april. so what they promised first, by december, the governor of the army corps of engineers had a tit-for-tat regarding that, then they promise for february, and now they're saying, it is most likely in april. so this keeps pushing back any opportunity that we have. what this creates? it creates desperation among people. so when people are asked in the street, are your favorite of
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privatization of the electrical company? they say yes. when you ask them -- the governor of puerto rico made a statement yesterday. when asked in new york, what would anybody buy prepa? he said, well, there's a lot of space for making profits because the puerto rican people are used to paying high prices for energy. so telling those listening, look, you may lower the cost of production of energy, leave the prize very high, and this gap will be yours. if that is not disaster if that is not setting the stage for the commercialization of services that are there to promote equality amongst people, i don't know what is. amy: we will continue with about yulin cruz, talking privatization, fema, president trump, and more, coming up.
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♪ [music break] amy: we continue with our interview with mayor of san juan, carmen yulin cruz. democracy now!'s juan gonzalez and i spoke to her on friday. i asked her if she was opposed to the privatization of prepa, the puerto rican power authority, the largest power authority in the united states. >> yes, yes. i have been opposed ever since i
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won a member of the house of representatives nine years ago now. and i will tell you why. electricity isn't only about getting the lights in your house turned on. electricity is about providing people access to equal services. so a private company, which is moved by profits, may decide that in this very remote urban area of puerto rico, it is not moneyhile for them to put into the system. it is not worthwhile for them to replace the light poles. so all of a sudden, some puerto ricans will be looked at with a different lens than other puerto ricans. i am against privatization of public schools for the exact same thing. there is a reason why essential services are handled by the government in an island nation
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that is 100 miles long by 35 miles wide. you: mayor, i want to ask on another issue, the issue of the role of the puerto rican ds threaten the united states. there are about more than 5 million u.s. citizens puerto rican dissent living in the mainland of the united states. hasr role since this crisis started in being able to provide support assistance to the fellow puerto ricans on the island. >> yes. in fact, i think we are now the diaspora. there are 5 million puerto ricans in the emojis days. about 3 million artery can in the island nation of puerto rico. but the diaspora has been the echo of our voices. so many times, they have in the past been at the forefront of when we, youts know, did what we had to do in order to get the navy out of
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then minas island, wi-lan. when we joined together in all different forces to get the release of oscar lopez rivera a year ago. the diaspora has been essential in ensuring our voices are heard and magnified. amy: mayor carmen yulin cruz, as you speak to us from san juan, you just recently returned from washington were you were the guest of new york senator gillibrand at the state of the union address of trump. you certainly had run-ins with president trump after hurricane maria when he finally went down to the island and tossed rolls of paper towels at hurricane survivors. he also attacked you and puerto ricans. he said such poor leadership of leaders who were not able to get their workers to help. you responded by talking about his other statement of
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hypocrisy. have you changed your views of president trump? what is your assessment of how he responded to the crisis, the hurricane in puerto rico? >> this has never been about president trump or myself. this was always about saving life and ensuring people of puerto rico got what they needed , and still continue to get what we need in order to move forward. now, you know, when you sit there in congress with all that power right there, it is -- the magical itself has a ring to it. but when you start hearing the president talk about and using language that is divisive, it using language that disrupts the ability of the american people to join forces together, then
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sort of the magic starts fading away somehow. i was very honored that senator gillibrand took it upon her self to invite me. to use five forms to ensure the american people and the powers to be no that this is not mission accomplished, as it was said. the tuesday before -- the day before the state of the union, fema said mission accomplished. we're stopping all the deliveries of water and food to puerto rico. now, it allowed me and the senator and many others the opportunity to use different platforms to call fema out on that. and lo and behold, they decided not to do that. what i really want the american people to continue to understand is that, look, i would want nothing more than to stand on democracy now! and to say,
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"thank god. things are happening and federal agencies are stepping up." but yesterday, the department of labor of the puerto rican government, of course, the secretary was appointed by the governor, was saying, no, we have not been able to pay because we haven't gotten the money from fema. most of the american people probably think out of that $4.9 billion that was approved between november and december that we have gotten some of that money. we have gotten zero. just because you throw millions of dollars at something, it doesn't mean that you are fixing the problem. it doesn't mean that you are fixing what is wrong. again, i think that what happened in puerto rico -- and some people say, well, if puerto rico was a state, this would not happen. i have one word for you -- katrina.
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when people don't put their heart and soul into what they're doing, things go wrong. when they don't see the magnitude of the suffering of the people and just look at it 10,000 feet above or 1000 feet above and a helicopter, things go wrong. so i think puerto rico should be studied from the standpoint of the federal agencies to ensure that what happened with katrina and with puerto rico, does not happen again. i had a short conversation with the mayor of houston. we were both saying, we don't understand why the money that comes to the municipalities from --a has to go first to through the federal level, then the state level, then it is provided to the municipalities. here is the mayor of houston and here is the mayor of san juan, thinking exactly the same. it isn't the political issue. i think that what many people in the trump administration failed
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to understand, it is a human issue. it is a humanitarian crisis that was not handled properly. and that mishandling of it has led to many other things. now, did we have problems before that? yes. have the problems increased after irma and maria? indeed they have. people say, well, whatever credibility issue. yes, we do. the situation about --, which again, it was giving a very small company that did not meet all of the requirements a multimillion dollar contract which was taken back a few days ago. all of that provides a credibility issue. with the governor of puerto rico went to congress and asked for $94 million. so he thought we needed $94
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million. a few days ago, they were celebrating $16 billion. 94 billion dollars and $16 billion. will that be enough? 94, now you can be celebrating 16. are they important echo of course they are. they needed? of course they are. will that be enough? well, from the account of the central government, it will not merely be enough. i think this is also the time now to look at the relationship between puerto rico and the united states and ensure that puerto rico stops being a colony of the united states once and for all. amy: mayor yulin cruz, the fema issue, you mention the whitefish contract which was canceled, then you had the $156 million contract for a one-woman company to deliver 30 million meals will step she delivers 50,000. fema approves a $30 million
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contract for tarps. not one is delivered. should there be criminal persecution -- prosecution's here and how are you dealing with these issues now? are you somehow recouping the money? >> number one, there should be investigations. if they resolve the fact people have not done what they are supposed to do and they committed criminal acts, they should be prosecuted. allowe we cannot disasters to be the breeding calls of what naomi klein disaster capitalism. what we're seeing are the acts of central government and some acts of fema have made this a breeding ground for inappropriate behavior. and fact, have made this a breeding ground for people to suffer. what does that open the path for?
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privatization. 50% of our schools as of two weeks ago were not energized. let say 60% now. the majority of our students with special and are not back at school yet. the majority of the schools are still going on a part-time basis. what does that mean? well, the governor finds a breeding ground because people are dissatisfied, two privatize the school system. but a school system is about so much more than just what you learn in books. let me pause for a second and say the hearts of the people of san juan go out to the people of andland school in florida really this cannot continue to happen in the united states. lives cannot continue to be lost because of gun violence. and that is an issue that has to be dealt with in a swift and
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appropriate manner, and in balancing all of the criteria that you can balance. but as the mayor of san juan, i want to extend our condolences and our wishes that this finally set a fire on the hearts of people in congress and the trump administration to ensure that something gets done to finish. going back to education in puerto rico. what has happened is than the governor has introduced basically a privatization bill. part of the piece of legislation says that only those companies or programs or groups that are approved by the central government are going to be able to bid. so what the central government is doing is using the desperation of people -- which, in some sense, has been brought upon by the botched effort to ensure that public services that
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are there to ensure that everyone gets treated the same, are privatized. in the short run and the long run, that is a recipe for disaster, for discrimination, and for inequality. amy: carmen yulin cruz, the mayor of san juan, puerto rico, speaking to us on this fifth anniversary of hurricane maria hitting the island. we will continue to cover the crisis in puerto rico and the prepa.r promesa this is democracy now! democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.
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