Fighter who took on Trump

As Puerto Rico grapples with the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria, it boasts a pint-sized, in-your-face advocate in San Juan’s mayor — a woman feisty enough to lock horns with President Donald Trump.
Meet Carmen Yulin Cruz, 54, who took on Trump angrily, emotionally and very publicly about what she called the slow pace of aid — or utter lack of it — arriving to the island of 3.4 million US citizens after the September 20 storm.
One of her nicknames comes from that of a tiny bird known to be a fierce fighter when attacked by a predator. “Power is about getting things done,” Yulin Cruz, who prefers people to call her simply Yulin, not even Carmen, said as she viewed the rubble of a park blasted by the storm.
“And I prefer to get things done, with the priority being people, not the political consequences,” said Yulin, who wore heavy boots, a baseball cap and trademark eyeglasses the shade of ivory.
The park is deserted — no kids playing on the swings, and the fountains normally bubbling with water now dry as a bone. Yulin is a non-fussy, down-to-earth kind of person. At one point she sits down on some steps in the park, reaches into her backpack and pulls out stuff to make a sandwich right there — with a Puerto Rican mash of ham, cheese and red pepper.
“Why should I feel embarrassed about making a sandwich if I am hungry,” she asks. Yulin shot to international fame through her spat with Trump. The island was hit by not one but two hurricanes: Irma, and then two weeks later, Maria. A month after the latter, the island is still largely a wasteland, with 81 per cent of the population without electricity and clean water scarce.
Yulin waged the final of a series of tweet battles with Trump last week after he warned that federal aid to the Spanish-speaking island was not open-ended. Says the mayor: “I have zero tolerance for injustice. I cannot understand how one person can be considered better than another due to their social position, skin colour or sexual orientation. We must build a society based on our differences.”
Her friends, political advisers and relatives describe Yulin as spontaneous, sincere and warm in her dealings with people.
The war of words with the president began when Yulin went before reporters nine days after the hurricane hit the island and said the federal government was dragging its feet in getting emergency aid delivered to Puerto Rico.
“If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying. And you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy,” Yulin said, her voice breaking. — AFP