POLITICS

NYC mayor visits Puerto Rico's capital, calls on fed to fix city's polluted canal

Puerto Ricoâs Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, right center, and visiting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, take a stroll through the streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Puerto Rico√Ęs Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, right center, and visiting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, take a stroll through the streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

New York City's mayor visited a polluted canal in Puerto Rico's capital city on Saturday and said the federal government must do more to clean it up.

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Canal Martin Pena with other elected officials and said later that nearly 27,000 residents of San Juan are affected by the contaminated waterway.

"We went to a neighborhood in distinct need that deserves help from our federal government," he said, adding that Washington must "remember its obligation" to the U.S. territory.

Before touring the canal, de Blasio met with Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

The mayor was in San Juan for the Somos El Futuro conference, an annual gathering of Democratic elected officials from New York City and New York state.

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He told conference attendees at a reception that New York "would not be all it is today if it weren't for the contributions of the Puerto Rican people over the last century that have made New York so strong, so vibrant."

Switching to Spanish, de Blasio said the Caribbean island "has a special place in our hearts" and offered praise for "the climate, the food and above all the people of Puerto Rico."

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