By Elizabeth Zwirz
Published September 20, 2018
A year after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, New York Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday said the island was “still a colony” of the U.S. that “deserves real self-determination.”
“Today marks 1 year since Hurricane Maria. A year later, Puerto Rico is still in shambles,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Some things to advocate today: 1. PR is still a colony of the United States. The island deserves real self-determination. We must say that to fix it.”
Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S. and is not among the countries included on the United Nations’ list of what are considered “non-self-governing territories.”
In follow-up tweets, Ocasio-Cortez highlighted her views on climate change, labeling it “an economic, environmental, and social justice issue.”
Additionally, she said making investments towards “rebuilding impacted communities with sustainable infrastructure (energy & otherwise)” should be sought amid reactions to “natural disasters,” like hurricanes.
“Rebuilding should be treated as a moment to update & modernize. Rebuilding things exactly as they were sets up for a repeat,” she cautioned.
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments come a week after President Trumpwas criticized for rejecting the storm’s updated official death toll, which increased last month from 64 people dead to 2,975.
Separately, Trump touted what he described as the “incredibly successful” response to the back-to-back hurricanes that hit the island in 2017.
Hurricane Maria caused the island about $140 billion in damage, Gov. Ricardo Rossello told Fox News. And he feared that the next hurricane could break it all apart again.
“We have some stronger infrastructure that has been put in,” the governor said. “But all we’ve done right now is essentially lift up the old system, and in some parts it’s even more vulnerable than it was before Maria.”
Ocasio-Cortez entered the forefront of the political sphere after she issued a shocking primary defeat to Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in New York’s 14th House District race in June.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Phil Keating, Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.