Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, fired back at Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke on Friday for saying that the response to Hurricane Maria is “a good news story.”
In an emotional interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Yulín Cruz watched a clip of Duke giving her assessment of the dire situation in Puerto Rico after the Category 4 storm decimated the island just over a week ago.
At the White House on Thursday, Duke said: “I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.”
Yulín Cruz, visibly upset, replied: “Well maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story. When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings – I’m sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me.”
“I would ask you [Duke] to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that, because frankly, it is an irresponsible statement in contrast with the statements of support that I have been getting yesterday when I got that call from the White House. Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. It’s a life-or-death story.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Began Her Career in Politics in 1992
After living in the United States for 12 years, Yulín Cruz returned to Puerto Rico to begin her political career, first as an advisor to the San Juan mayor and then for the president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, according to an official bio.
She was elected mayor of San Juan in 2012.
2. She Went to College in Boston
Yulín Cruz completed her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Boston University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She also completed her Master of Science in Public Management and Policy from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she became the first student to receive the Spirit Award, now called the Barbara Jenkins Award.
Yulín Cruz worked in the human resources department at Westinghouse. She has also worked as HR director for Colgate-Palmolive, Banco Popular, Cellular One, Scotiabank, and the U.S. Treasury Department.
3. She Is the Third Woman To Be Elected Mayor of San Juan
Yulín Cruz was elected mayor of San Juan on November 6, 2012, defeating three term-incumbent Mayor Jorge Santini.
She became the third woman to hold San Juan’s mayoral office, after Felisa Rincón de Gautier, who was elected in 1946, and Sila Calderón, who was elected in 1996.
4. She Was Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1963
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto was born on February 25, 1963 in San Juan, according to Wikipedia. Her mother is Carmen Irene Soto Molina from Lares and her father is Pedro Cruz Vega. She has a brother named Pedro José Cruz.
Yulín Cruz inherited her middle name, Yulín, from her grandmother, Lutgarda Vega.
5. She Is Married to a Psychologist
Yulín Cruz married psychologist Alfredo Carrasquillo on September 25, 2010, three months after the start of their relationship. They were divorced the year after, but remarried in 2013. Cruz has a daughter, Marina Yulín Paul Cruz, from a previous marriage.