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Velazquez Announces State of the Union Guest

Velázquez Announces State of the Union Guest
January 30, 2020
Press Release

Mother of Recently Deceased Vieques Girl to Attend Speech

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) announced today that Jessica Moraima Ventura Perez will be the Congresswoman’s guest to the State of the Union on Tuesday. Ventura Perez is the mother of Jaideliz Moreno Ventura, a 13-year old girl who died in January on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques. Jaideliz's death has been attributed to the lack of adequate medical care on the Island of Vieques, which has not had a functioning hospital since Hurricane Maria struck more than two years ago. 

At the urging of the community and Members of Congress, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently approved long awaited funds to expand medical services on Vieques. Nonetheless, the delay in the release of these funds is symptomatic of how this Administration’s help for Puerto Rico following the hurricanes and, more recently, the earthquakes has been uncaring, sluggish and incompetent.  Perez will travel to Washington on Monday, spend the day with Velázquez on Tuesday and attend the speech on Tuesday night.  Jessica’s husband, Luis Enrique, will accompany her to Washington.  

“The delay in restoring health services on Vieques is symptomatic of how the Trump Administration has so callously treated Puerto Rico, first after Maria, and now, following the earthquakes,” Velázquez said. “Jessica’s presence at Tuesday’s State of the Union will send a powerful message that we cannot abandon our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and we must hold the Trump Administration responsible for its feeble recovery and response efforts.” 

“My family has suffered an unspeakable loss,” said Ventura Perez.  “My daughter did not receive the appropriate medical services that could have saved her life when she needed it the most. Her death at such a young age, will not be in vain. We will make sure of that. There must be accountability of why the proper medical conditions were not and are still not there for the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico. There needs to be an explanation of why the funds for a proper health center have taken so long to be approved and disbursed. We need to know why the health center does not have the proper equipment, medicines and protocols. We are here to make a stand. The government and administrators of the health services and agencies of the federal, commonwealth and local health center, they all owe us an explanation and swift action to make sure more people don't die due to the lack of basic health services on this island of United States citizens who have waited three years to receive word of what is going to happen to them when lives are at stake. My daughter will not die in vain.”

The State of the Union comes as the U.S. House of Representatives is reportedly preparing to consider a $3.4 billion supplemental aid package for Puerto Rico in response to the recent earthquakes.  Some White House aides have suggested the Trump Administration might oppose that package. 

“Estimates suggest that 3,000 of our fellow citizens lost their lives after Maria,” Velázquez added. “Now, Puerto Rico faces another natural disaster and it is incumbent on our government to respond competently, compassionately and quickly.”