Washington - Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced - under whose administration restrictions on the use of reconstruction funds have not been lifted - believes this is happening because her government is regaining the confidence of President Donald Trump "little by little."
A few days ago, in a political event in Puerto Rico, Governor Vázquez Garced said that if she starts to argue with Trump "we won't receive anything" to mitigate the catastrophe caused by Hurricane María.
When she was asked Wednesday in Washington if she agreed with Congressional Democrats that President Trump is "vindictive," Vázquez Garced said, "if I don't have any expression against (the U.S. president) why I am going to say so?"
The governor - as Ricardo Rosselló Nevares once stated after Hurricane María - said the requests she has made to President Trump have been swiftly and seriously addressed.
Just as Rosselló Nevares was leaving the governor's office, on August 2, 2019, five days before Vázquez Garced took office, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its decision to appoint a federal financial monitor to oversee the use of the approximately $20.5 billion in Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR) funds.
The appointment of attorney Robert Couch did not become effective until last January. That same month, HUD also imposed new controls and restrictions on the use of nearly $16.5 billion in CDBG-DR funds, including the next $8.221 billion to be released in packages, the first of some $1.7 billion.
For Vázquez Garced, new restrictions imposed through the grant agreement on the use of that $8.221 and the Register Notice on the use of another $8.285 billion for mitigation projects are not a sign of distrust on her government, but rather consequences of the Rosselló Nevares administration.
"There was no good communication or hope that this money would come" under the Rosselló Nevares administration, she said, without mentioning, however, that during four months, since September 2019, HUD failed to comply with a congressional order to publish the Register Notice on the use use of funds for mitigation projects.
On Wednesday, the governor participated in the Latino Coalition legislative summit where President Trump was the main speaker. “Governor? Where is — hi, Governor. Thank you, Governor. Those lights are so bright, Governor, but you’re looking good,” said Trump in opening his speech
Vázquez Garced requested a meeting with Trump as soon as she arrived at La Fortaleza. She said the meeting is important to discuss, among other things, the recovery process.
One of the issues remaining and on which the White House does not comment, is the waiver from federal Cabotage Rules to transport natural gas, a request the Puerto Rican made in December 2018.
In May 2019, two Louisiana Republican senators, Bill Cassidy, and John Kennedy said that in a meeting with other colleagues, that President Trump intended to reject the waiver requested by Puerto Rico and also others requested by entrepreneurs from northeastern states.