‘Bring me the proof’ and I’ll reject him, Senate president says about Labor nominee’s alleged racism
SAN JUAN – The president of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, requested on Wednesday—amid the public hearing held by the Committee on Appointments, which is considering the nomination of Carlos Rivera Santiago to be secretary of the Department of Labor and Human Resources—that evidence of the nominee’s racism be brought for his consideration and thus “hang” his nomination.
“Some people here have wanted to turn this into a case of racism. And I want someone to tell me what the act of racism that Mr. Carlos Rivera Santiago incurred consists of. Because I assure you…that if someone presents direct evidence of an act of racism or discrimination…, I’ll immediately” reject his nomination, Rivera Schatz said amid the questioning of Alma Yariela Cruz Cruz’s lawyer, Leo Aldridge.
“I am concerned that as a prosecutor no one objected. Nobody said a peep, nobody, and now, all of a sudden, allegations emerge through the media,” he added regarding incidents where, during his tenure as a youth advocate, the nominee allegedly did not defend the hearing’s witnesses.
For his part, Aldridge said that “the purpose of coming is to expose…what happened and you decide if that stain, which in my opinion is a large stain in the record, is or is not enough to deny him a second turn at-bat. That is [your] decision; I was not elected. You were all elected and…have that decision.”
“It does seem to me that the past of that person in their professional and governmental positions is worthy of being scrutinized…. Yes, I am going to tell you, senator, that this discourse of law and order and efficiency in this particular case was not demonstrated…because, as I said in my presentation, the law and order was that blacks were counted as three-fifths of a human being,” Aldridge said.
The public hearing continued with the deposition of the mothers allegedly harmed in the case of Alma Yariela Cruz Cruz, Mrs. Enid Dávila Hernández.
In her testimony, Dávila Hernández mentioned that Alma Yariela’s mother, Yomaira Cruz “did not face” the court summons.
“The three minors were summoned here to tell the facts. Once they interviewed us, we had the right to mediate or continue the case and we decided to continue the case,” he said.
He explained that the decision to withdraw from the case came from the mothers of the alleged victims.
Questioned if the nominee spoke to him about the case, he said, “I don’t know that person.”
He added that he never spoke with him.