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Puerto Rico’s ex-housing secretary claims governor knew about unused aid

Puerto Rico’s former Housing Secretary Fernando Gil Enseñat claims that Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced knew about unused aid that was found sitting in a warehouse on Saturday. Vázquez has said she was unaware of the aid — some of the which allegedly dated back to 2017’s Hurricane Maria — and called for an investigation into its disuse.

Vázquez fired Enseñat, as well as the island’s emergency management director Carlos Acevedo and another high-ranking official, over the weekend. The governor cited in her decision a lack of information about aid collection and distribution centers.

In announcing Acevedo’s firing, Vázquez said it was “unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse.”

Enseñat challenged the governor’s denial on Tuesday. He told Puerto Rican radio station NotiUno 630 that the governor and other officials knew the aid was sitting in a warehouse in Ponce, a town hit by recent earthquakes. Enseñat said the aid was hidden from “no one.”

Enseñat also told the radio station he was upset by how he was fired by Vázquez in the aftermath of the aid’s discovery.

“It really pains me in the form and manner [I was told to leave], because it wasn’t fair for this servant,” he said.

In an official statement, Vázquez said she let him go because he jeopardized federal housing aid funds.

“We will not permit that nothing puts at risk the federal funds assigned to Puerto Rico that meets the needs of our people,” reads a translation of the governor’s statement.

Vázquez said on Tuesday that preliminary findings of the investigation into why the aid wasn’t distributed to people in need are confidential and will be further investigated by the new Attorney General.

Puerto Rican’s have called for her to release the preliminary findings now.

Protesters have gathered outside Puerto Rico’s Capitol building and the governor’s mansion, demanding her resignation.

David Begnaud and Christopher Brito contributed to this report.

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