President Trump was widely condemned recently when he dismissed Hurricane Maria's official death toll in Puerto Rico without any credible evidence to support his claims.
"Puerto Rico is a colonial territory", and therein lies the "inherent difficulty", Rosello said in an interview with local radio WKAQ 580, as commemoration ceremonies for the hurricane victims were under way. The San Juan mayor has noted that the island has seen only a fraction of nearly $50 billion in recovery funds Congress approved for Puerto Rico, including $20 billion in HUD funds.
Researchers at George Washington University concluded last month that almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans were killed by the storm, comparing normal mortality on the island with the number who died in the months after the hurricane.
U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson was also on the island, where he was expected to give an update on his agency response efforts to Hurricane Maria.
He says rebuilding homes has been the primary focus.
The lawsuits also seek $2.6 billion in damages for those who have not been compensated since the Category 4 storm hit on Sept 20.
In San Juan, the crowd of worshippers gathered at the 230-year-old San Cristobal fort sang and prayed along with pastors and musicians on stage, with music echoing through the fort's heavy walls as the sun slowly sank into the sea behind them.
Calderon said Thursday that the current problems on the island are largely a "man-made crisis thanks to what's happened here in Washington, D.C." and the government's response.
"It reflects that Puerto Rico is not a commonwealth but a colony of U.S., that we can be dispensable to the U.S.", Labiosa told the Blade.
Cruz-Torres added those in the coastal areas, fishermen in particular, were among the hardest hit because of the gear and boats they lost.
"We're still waiting for help", he said.
Her father, 93, and mother, 82, did not have their electricity restored until the second week of May, and one year later the house is about 80 percent repaired, she said.
Secretary Carson said his agency plans to set aside $1.5 billion as relief efforts continue in Puerto Rico.
Trump in a second tweet accused Democrats of inflating the death toll "in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico".
On Thursday, Trump issued a one-sentence statement on the one-year anniversary of Maria.
Puerto Ricans are United States citizens, but since the island is a USA territory they can not vote in national elections, and are represented in Congress only by a non-voting representative.
"It's too much", she said.