Carmen Yulín Sworn in for 2nd Term as Mayor of San Juan
SAN JUAN – In a ceremony in which protocol took a back seat to music’s starring role at Luis Muñoz Marín Park, the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, was sworn in Monday for her second term.
It was approximately 11 a.m. when the Choir of Children from SER de Puerto Rico opened the ceremony by singing “White Christmas” and “Preciosa” before a dispersed audience that hid under umbrellas and tents, while others challenged the hot Sun, which was often covered by rain clouds.
“We can’t keep looking at the same problems the same way as before. We should commit to new educational and humane perspectives and, while doing so, we will honor the ‘[Great] Citizen of the Americas’ we share with our Dominican brothers and sisters,” Cruz Soto said in reference to Eugenio María de Hostos.
Before her message, Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite Oronoz took Cruz Soto’s oath as mayor of San Juan for a second term.
Among other songs, the Santa Bernardita Parish Church Choir sang “Hallelujah,” while the Encuentro de Tambores Group marked the oath process.
“The power is to confirm our Puerto Rican-ness, that unique and different way of being of ours in a world that’s divided between the respect for diversity and the violent attacks to erase and silence those differences. Being Puerto Rican implies speaking with pride about what we have overcome and built. The times demand we confront our reality without false illusions and that stubborn insistence in looking only to the past, which leaves us in the comfortable immobility produced by fear. I’m convinced that if we look at our nation with courage and honesty, we could break the chains that limit our economic, social and political possibilities, and construct a more robust Puerto Rico for everyone,” expressed the mayor of San Juan.
Former Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Govs. Rafael Hernández Colón, Sila María Calderón and Aníbal Acevedo Vilá were present in the ceremony, but outgoing Gov. Alejandro García Padilla was not present.
Former independent gubernatorial candidates Alexandra Lúgaro and Manuel Cidre, and the Venezuelan and Dominican consuls were also present at the event.
“If we want to grow, we need to understand that to listen to all the voices will be a challenge and it might take time, but that is the correct path. The power is such that San Juan will be a space to meet openly and discuss important topics like the solution to our colonial status, the strengthening of the municipal autonomy, the treatment of addicts with a health-based perspective, the conservation of our natural resources, the protection of public health and the environment — for example the fight against the disposal of [coal ash] in Peñuelas — the design and the development of a new, sustainable economic-development model that puts the decisions in our hands, that doesn’t depend on the generosity of others and that guarantees that most of the riches produced by the island stay and are reinvested in our economy,” she said.
The mayor made an appeal to implement gender perspective education because “there’s no reason our classrooms should turn into small incubators of discrimination,” while she also indicated that she would incorporate ideas of the other mayoral hopefuls.
From former New Progressive Party (NPP) mayoral candidate Leo Díaz, Cruz Soto will adopt the idea to establish a communication with banks to manage the problem of repossessed homes and to create a social project for the women providers of families.
Meanwhile, from the Puerto Rican Independence Party’s former mayoral candidate, Adrián González, she will adopt the idea and has already ordered a revision of the external contracts of the municipality’s legal office and the creation of an internal litigation department.
Cruz Soto also said she will continue insisting on alliances that will respect diversity, and made it clear that education, healthcare, culture and sports are essential services that “will never be placed in private hands” in San Juan.
“The conversations that propitiate alliances are necessary to guide a definite solution of the island’s political situation. For a long time, we thought we had a democratic model of a proper government that while it contributed to the prosperity and development, it was not necessary to face our reality. But now no one can call cheating. The recent event has presented an inevitable fact: Puerto Rico is a colony…. Puerto Rico wants to rescue its democracy from the hands of the Financial Oversight and Management Board…. We should audit the debt and renegotiate but always protecting the weak,” she pointed out.
Cruz Soto also committed to continue fighting to rescue the money “sequestered” at the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank (GDB) and asked those present not leave her administration during her management of San Juan.
“Let us assume the patriotic responsibility to build a country from which no one has to leave and that those who left, want and can return,” she concluded.