After battering the U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday, Hurricane Dorian appears to be headed away from Puerto Rico. That’s an especially good thing for the island that faced so much hardship after Hurricane Maria in 2017, as well as the recent political turmoil.
Mario Negron-Portillo is a professor at the Graduate School of Public Administration at the University of Puerto Rico. He’s also a former Longhorn, earning his Ph.D. at the University of Texas. Negron-Portillo says Dorian was more like a “drill” to prepare for the next big hurricane.
“The new governor did really good,” he says. “She called the mayors, she gave out a couple of press conferences trying to tell everyone that everything was okay, that the government was ready.”
That new governor is Wanda Vázquez Garced, who took over after former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned in disgrace earlier this month. Negron-Portillo says it remains to be seen how Vázquez will govern since she’s still in the “honeymoon period.”
“Everybody was so tired, things [were] so bad with Rosselló. So, it seems like everything has calmed down,” Negron-Portillo says. “But I think everyone is waiting to see what happens when Gov. Vázquez has to make a decision. She hasn’t made any big decisions so far.”
And Negron-Portillo says most Peurto Ricans brushed off recent criticisms about the island by President Donald Trump. In a tweet Wednesday, he called Puerto Rico “one of the most corrupt places on earth,” and later wrote that he’s “the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
“There’s a saying in English, like, ‘The pot calling the kettle black,’” Negron-Portillo says. “People aren’t paying that much of attention. … The majority of the people in Puerto Rico really don’t care about Donald Trump that much.”
He says Trump’s comments about the island have been offensive, especially since Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
Written by Caroline Covington.