Last night, Puerto Rican rapper Residente and Puerto Rican congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a fascinating bilingual chat about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting those on the island. Residente hosted the conversation (seen below) on his Instagram page and asked Rep. Ocasio-Cortez a variety of interesting questions regarding COVID-19, the upcoming presidential elections, and Puerto Rico is taking on these new challenges in the face of a corrupt government.
The talk, which was conducted in both English and Spanish, began with Residente asking Rep. Ocasio-Cortez why the island remains open to outsiders when tourists are bringing the coronavirus with them infecting Puerto Ricans. Residente said it’s unfair that the U.S. can close its borders but that the island continues to be open for outsiders. “We should lock down the airports,” he said, adding that Puerto Rico already has a shortage of medical supplies to treat its own people.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said that what we see now through the coronavirus outbreak is a reflection of the injustices that we already had, and we’re seeing that in how it is affecting the black community.
“It’s so reflective of colonial relationships,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded. “One of the initial symptoms of colonization was the infection of indigenous peoples. . . It’s like a reflection of history.” She added that there’s no logical reasoning as to why the government treats Puerto Rico and its people differently than other people.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did assert in Spanish that “Trump tiene un odio personal con Puerto Rico,” which translates to “Trump has a personal hatred toward Puerto Rico.”
Residente also asked Rep. Ocasio-Cortez about how supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders should move forward in the presidential election, adding if they should support Joe Biden.
“As Latinos, we have a very critical role in this election,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. “We have more of a chance with Biden than with Trump.” She added, “Trump makes it much worse,” she said, “but this problem precedes him, Democrats supported La Junta.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was also asked about the disparity within our healthcare system and how the coronavirus is affecting the island financially.
“We have almost now 20 million people that have filed for unemployment, and we’re trying to tell these people they still need to pay their rent. If we don’t fix it, we are looking at mass displacement, where there are far more empty homes than people who have become homeless,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. “We have to make sure we’re protecting working families in all this.”
At the end of the interview, Residente told Rep. Ocasio-Cortez that her Spanish was very good. Watch the entire interview below.