San Juan Mayor Refuses to Criticize Cuban and Venezuelan Regimes

Says Puerto Rico endures captivity 'on a daily basis as a colony of the United States'

Carmen Yulín Cruz / Getty Images
July 9, 2019

In an interview with Univision, Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2020 candidate for Puerto Rican governor, and co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, had harsh words for the United States government but declined to condemn Cuba or Venezuela for their wrongdoings.

In a clip from Cruz's interview with Jorge Ramos, provided by MRCTV, Ramos pressed the mayor on her silence regarding the socialist Cuban and Venezuelan dictatorships while she denounces the United States.

"I don't understand why you don't want to criticize Cuba or Venezuela when we broadly know that we're talking about two dictatorships where human rights are violated, where there are political prisoners, where there is no freedom of the press," Ramos said.

Cruz initially rebuffed Ramos's comment, changing the subject to discuss Puerto Rican political prisoners taken by the United States. But Ramos did not let Cruz evade the issue so easily.

"Okay, so I know that you don't want political prisoners in Puerto Rico," Ramos said. "But can you say the same, then, that you don't want political prisoners in Cuba or Venezuela?"

Cruz again sidestepped the implication that she was turning a blind eye to ongoing abuses of power committed by the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.

"As long as Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States, my efforts will be totally directed towards the elimination of poverty in Puerto Rico…" Cruz said.

Cruz then said that the Vatican had called for "conversation, not confrontation" and mentioned Ramos's own experience with the Venezuelan government.

In February 2019, Jorge Ramos and his crew were detained and expelled by Venezuelan authorities following an interview with President Nicolás Maduro.

Regarding that incident, Cruz told Ramos that "we in Puerto Rico endure that complicated experience on a daily basis as a colony of the United States."