Senator Carmelo Ríos.
The spokesperson for the majority penetrated the Senate, Carmelo Ríos, argued this afternoon, when contrasting official documents, that the legislative record in Congress of Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González is much higher than that of her challenger, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, who served in the same position from 2001 to 2004.
Ríos stated in a press conference that it was a fair comparison, “Chinese with Chinese,” as he said, despite the fact that Puerto Rico has had to face two hurricanes that caused damage never seen before on the island and a streak of earthquakes in the south that have marked the lives of affected citizens. According to the senator, González has raised $ 121 billion in federal funds for the island, compared to the $ 22 billion that Acevedo Vilá raised during his tenure as commissioner.
“There is a whole generation of popular people who don't know why Charlie Delgado and other popular people don't want Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. They don't know him from that time and they don't know who he really is and what he did when he had the opportunity to do things for Puerto Rico, ”said Ríos. “It is portrayed.”
For example, Ríos compared an internal email from Acevedo Vilá's office stating that the popular candidate had raised $ 560,000 in funds for works at different ports on the island. Ríos did not specify the date of the document, but immediately pointed out that González, just for the dredging of the Arecibo and Mayagüez docks, had achieved $ 13.2 million, in addition to $ 4.5 million for improvements in the port of San Juan, $ 3 million for a study of coastal flooding for the Metro area and $ 54 million, through the Corps of Engineers, for additional improvements to the port of San Juan.
“The difference in performance is from heaven to earth,” said Ríos.
The legislator accused Acevedo Vilá did not get “not a single peso” in increases in disbursements from the Medicaid program, which finances the health card and was an accomplice in the process that culminated in the removal of 300,000 beneficiaries from the government health plan. Instead, Ríos said, González has raised $ 10.795 million in funds for the health card.
Ríos, on the one hand, stressed that Acevedo Vilá failed to get FEMA to allocate money to the government in the context of two massive floods in May and November 2001, while González has managed to allocate $ 20,000 million in CDBG-DR funds for reconstruction works after the passage of Hurricanes Irma and María, a total of $ 403,873 for damages caused by Storm Isaías, $ 70 million for the earthquakes in the southwest and $ 12,000 million for repairs to the country's electrical system and schools.
Ríos insisted that, although the damages caused by Irma and María were “extraordinary”, their comparison regarding the performance of both candidates was fair.
“In Aníbal's case, Congress was Republican and in Jenniffer González's case, Congress is Democrat,” Ríos said, omitting that the Senate is controlled by the Republican Party, that President Donald Trump is a Republican, that González is also a Republican and that the local government has faced multiple obstacles in getting the Trump administration to disburse the approved money.
“Unfortunately, as a jurisdiction, they have imposed measures on us that have not been imposed on other states … they put additional obstacles in Puerto Rico and we have to be more agile,” said Ríos.
ACEVEDO VILÁ REACTS
For his part, Juan Pablo Hernández, director of Acevedo Vilá's campaign, indicated that Ríos uses scenarios with catastrophic consequences for the country. At the same time, he accused González of “negligent, irresponsible and insensitive.”
“The“ achievements ”that Jenniffer González claims are a consequence of the passage of María and the pandemic. I don't think anyone in Puerto Rico is celebrating those sad events. At the moment the PNP government (New Progressive Party) of the current Commissioner has been negligent, irresponsible and insensitive to the thousands of brothers who still suffer from the damage caused by these natural phenomena, “Hernández said in written statements.
According to Hernández, when Acevedo Vilá was Resident Commissioner, Puerto Rico achieved parity in all federal funds for education and in the new drug program under Medicare that created the Advantage programs.
“Thanks to Aníbal's efforts, education funds are received today on equal terms and our Medicare Advantage participants have the same rights as other fellow citizens,” said the spokesman.
According to Hernández, the Congressional Investigation Service declared Acevedo Vilá the most productive Resident Commissioner in history.
“If Jenniffer wants to compare congressional records, do not be afraid and accept the invitations to various debates that are being denied and we discuss it in front of the Puerto Rican people,” he said.
El Nuevo Día learned that a television debate between the candidates for the resident police station is being coordinated for October 28.