SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO.- The US federal authorities denied assistance to victims of Hurricane Maria on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques today, unless they allow the preparation of a file with photos and fingerprints.
The procedure, established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), is directed against those citizens who fought for the departure of the US Navy from Vieques (east), which occurred on May 1, 2003, after little more than 60 years of grievances against the people.
The echoes of those six decades of resistance and struggle of the small island, whose inhabitants suffered the effects of bombings, experiments and the use of reduced uranium, now translates into retaliation by both federal agencies.
The vice president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), María de Lourdes Santiago, said that FEMA and the SBA demanded, with the support of the suspended mayor Víctor Emeric of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), that no aid be given to any affected Viequense by Hurricane Maria who had been arrested or who in any way participated in the struggle to remove the United States Navy.
The complaint of former Senator Santiago is based on an affidavit signed by Héctor Oliviera, which establishes that those in need of assistance must go to the mayor of Vieques to provide their personal information, as well as leave their photo and fingerprints. .
Oliviera was dismissed this Wednesday from the address of the Municipal Office for Emergency Management of Vieques, for publicly exposing the situation.
The independentista deputy Denis Márquez assured through his Facebook account that Oliviera gave statements about what happened before the Puerto Rico Ministry of Justice.
In the sworn testimony he spoke of a meeting on February 20, in which a spokeswoman for the mayor said that representatives of FEMA and SBA visited the mayor’s office and warned that they would not provide aid to those who had been imprisoned for civil disobedience or have fought for the removal. of the United States Navy of the Occupied Territories in Vieques.
He added that they would only be given help if their personal information was previously documented, a photo was taken, and they were fingerprinted. According to the complaint, all this occurred in the presence of Emeric, who allegedly said in that same meeting that he already had the “little cards” to take the fingerprints of the Viequenses.
It is argued that at that time, Mike Barandian, official representative of the US Fish and Wildlife Agency, present at the meeting, reported that “he is a federal employee and had previously been a federal agent and had not been notified of that guideline and understood that it constituted selective persecution “.
At the meeting was FEMA staff and to inquire about the guideline given by the spokesperson of Mayor Emeric, FEMA representatives did not want to enter the subject.
Oliviera, who also witnessed questionable handling of the aid that arrived in Vieques to deal with the damage caused by the hurricane, was dismissed on the eve, while the independent special prosecutor investigating the mayor claimed his restitution as he is a witness contributor.