Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto (born February 25, 1963) is a Puerto Rican politician who served as mayor of the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico from 2013 to 2020. From 2009 through 2013, Cruz served in the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.

Carmen Yulín Cruz
Mayor of San Juan
In office
January 14, 2013 – December 31, 2020
Preceded byJorge Santini
Succeeded byMiguel Romero
Member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives
from the at-large district
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
Personal details
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto

(1963-02-25) February 25, 1963 (age 61)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Political partyPopular Democratic (before 2023)
Independent (2023–present)
Other political

Early years and studies edit

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto was born on February 25, 1963, in San Juan to Carmen Irene Soto Molina from Lares and Pedro Cruz Vega.[1] She has a brother named Pedro José Cruz. Cruz inherited the second part of her given name, Yulín, from her paternal grandmother, Lutgarda Vega.[1][2] She graduated with honors from Julio Sellés Solá Elementary School[3] and attended University of Puerto Rico Secondary School where she was president of the student council as well as a representative at a presidential youth summit.[4][5]

Cruz earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Boston University on May 30, 1984, graduating Cum Laude.[6] She completed a Master of Science in Public Management and Policy at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University on May 12, 1986, where she became the first student to receive the Spirit Award (now called the Barbara Jenkins Award),[7] given to a graduating student for service and contributions to the college and region.[8]

Political career edit

First years in politics edit

In 1992, Cruz returned to Puerto Rico and became an adviser to San Juan mayor Sila María Calderón. She ran unsuccessfully for District 1 representative in the 2000 general elections.[9]

2009–13: Representative edit

Eight years later, Cruz ran again for the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, this time for an islandwide at-large seat, at the 2008 elections, after nomination in the PDP primaries.[10][11] After being elected, Cruz became the PDP's Ranking Member on the Women Affairs Committee. Due to the high population of Dominican immigrants in the subdivisions of San Juan, most notably in Santurce, Cruz became involved with the Dominican American National Roundtable as a supporter.[12]

Upon launching her re-election campaign in 2011, she became the first candidate from her party to collect the required endorsements, presenting more than the 4,000 total within the time frame required to complete only 2,000.[13] At the Popular Democratic Party primaries in 2012, Cruz led all of the candidates to the House of Representatives in votes, followed by fellow soberanista (sovereigntist) Luis Vega Ramos.[14] On the original result, she had 217,162 votes counted, which surpassed the incumbent House of Representatives President Jennifer González, with a reported 216,087 in the NPP[clarification needed] primaries.[15]

2012: Candidate for San Juan's mayorship edit

Cruz Soto began hinting at her interest in running for the mayorship of her native city of San Juan in early 2011, but decided to step down when opposed by the conservadores,[16] led by Popular Democratic Party president Alejandro García Padilla, who named the second in-command of that wing, representative Héctor Ferrer, to occupy the position. However, her name resurfaced following the resignation of Ferrer, who was forced to abandon the race due to a domestic abuse incident which led to a formal investigation.[17]

Cruz' campaign headquarters two days before the 2012 elections

Although Cruz initially denied that she was running for mayor of San Juan, on March 26, 2012, she announced her decision to accept the party's petition and challenge incumbent mayor Jorge Santini.[18][19] In the media fallout that followed, Cruz was favored over Santini throughout the social networks, Facebook and Twitter, as reported by a specialist in media marketing.[20] Likewise, she was favored in unofficial polls held by mainstream publications El Nuevo Día (64% of 1,940 votes) and Primera Hora (120,041 vs. 34,588 or 77.3%).[21][22]

On March 28, 2012, Cruz was promoted to the position of PDP Minority Whip in the House of Representatives.[23] Two days later, the PDP's San Juan Municipal Committee ratified her as their new president.[24] In contrast to the majority of the candidates for any mayorship, she has expressed not believing in the "perpetuation of office", noting that eight years should be enough to fulfill a development plan, if executed correctly.[25] On May 4, 2012, she attended a Service Employees International Union conference and held a meeting with Jim Messina, campaign director for President Barack Obama, to discuss health care and education funds, citing that "it is important to take stances in US politics, since half of all Puerto Ricans live there".[26] During this visit, Cruz also negotiated the establishment of a Chicago-San Juan alliance with the Puerto Rican community there, led by congressman Luis Gutierrez. Carmen Yulín has also expressed full support for LGBT and women's rights.[27]

2013–2020: Mayor of San Juan edit

Cruz was elected as the next mayor of San Juan on November 6, 2012, defeating three term-incumbent Mayor Jorge Santini in the city's 2012 mayoral election. She became the third woman to hold San Juan's mayoral office, after Felisa Rincón de Gautier and Sila Calderón.

Cruz's administration continued her predecessor Jorge Santini's plans for the revitalization of the Río Piedras district.[28] The first phase of this plan consisted of the restoration of historic buildings in the subdivision.[28] An economic plan spearheaded by José Rivera-Santana promoted incentives for housing and establishment of new businesses in Río Piedras, in an attempt to salvage the economic importance that the district once had.[28] This was complemented with direct communication and collaboration with the local community and several institutions, including the University of Puerto Rico.[28]

She won reelection in the city's 2016 mayoral election,[29] then did not run for mayor in the 2020 mayoral elections.

Hurricane Maria edit

In September 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,[30] Cruz made frequent appearances on national and international television, criticizing federal aid efforts for not getting the aid shipments into the hands of the people who needed them, accusing President Donald Trump and his administration of "killing us with inefficiency", and giving pleas for help in numerous media interviews.[31][32]

At a September 29 press conference Cruz said:

"We are dying here and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long... People are drinking off a creek. So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell... So I am asking the members of the press, to send a mayday call all over the world. We are dying here... And if it doesn't stop, and if we don't get the food and the water into people's hands, what we are going to see is something close to a genocide".[33]

Speaking on Fox News, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Brock Long responded to Cruz's remarks saying that unity of command was the main thing needed for the relief effort to be successful, and suggested the mayor needed to go to the joint field office and "get plugged in".[34][35] Responding to her statements, President Trump tweeted, "The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help."

Many legislators responded to Cruz's comments and the Trump tweets. Speaking on CNN, Rep. Al Green said that he saw undertones of racism in the President's remarks. "If they were all Anglos, I don't believe the President would have the attitude that he has, because you don't hear that kind of dog whistle, of people not wanting to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, when the people are Anglos. That's something reserved for people of color." In tweets Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called Trump's remarks "offensive" and Sen. Ed Markey said that the President needed to apologize to the people of Puerto Rico, saying, ""The definition of 'poor leadership' is sitting at your golf club while millions of US citizens beg for your help, @realDonaldTrump," Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Puerto Rico was in "crisis" and Trump should "stop playing politics with their lives." Rep. Don Beyer writing the President "focused on aid efforts in TX & FL but ignored Puerto Rico. Now you attack San Juan's mayor for saying 'people are dying.' THEY ARE DYING."[36]

2020 gubernatorial campaign edit

In March 2019, Cruz announced her candidacy for governor in the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for the 2020 elections.[37] In a three-way race she failed to secure the PDP nomination,[38] finishing third behind Isabela mayor Carlos Delgado Altieri and senator Eduardo Bhatia.

Other activities edit

On February 21, 2019, Cruz announced that she was joining Senator Bernie Sanders' Presidential campaign as one of its four national co-chairs.[39]

2021 Mount Holyoke College - Harriet L. Weissman and Paul M. Weissman Distinguished Fellow in Leadership [40]

Awards edit

Cruz has received numerous recognitions and awards, including the Martin Luther King Centre Justice, Peace and Freedom Award and Humanitarian Leadership Award in 2018, the Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award in 2018, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Humanitarian Award 2017, and the Puerto Rico Arts Alliance Felisa Rincón Legacy Public Service Award. She was also nominated by People en Español as one of the 50 most Powerful Women in 2017, and Time magazine chose her as candidate for Person of the Year recognition in 2017. In 2018, she was on the Time list of the 100 most Influential People in the World for her leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.[41] In 2018, Cruz received the prestigious Ridenhour Truth-Telling Award,[42] as well as Casa de Esperanza's Award for Inspirational leadership, the Hank Aaron Champion of Justice Award, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Award for Economic Justice. In 2018, she was named to Essence magazine's Woke 100 Women list.[43]

Personal life edit

Cruz married psychologist and University of Sacred Heart professor[44] Alfredo Carrasquillo on September 25, 2010, three months after their relationship started. They divorced a year later, but remarried in 2013 and divorced again in 2017.[45] Cruz has a daughter, Marina Yulín Paul Cruz, from a previous marriage.[46][47]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Bauzá, Nydia (May 7, 2012). "Con "las botas puestas" Carmen Yulín Cruz". Primera Hora (in Spanish).
  2. ^ Santiago, Amary (November 7, 2012). "Carmen Yulín le sigue los pasos a Doña Fela y a Sila María Calderón". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  3. ^ LaInformacion. "Carmen Yulín Cruz: juventud, logros e historia negra del azote de Trump". La Información (in European Spanish). Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "Trump called San Juan's mayor a weak leader. Here's what her leadership looks like". The Washington Post. September 30, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  5. ^ "San Juan mayor who's "mad as hell" has said politics is a "rough game"". NBC News. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "Con "las botas puestas" Carmen Yulín Cruz". Primera Hora. May 7, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Todos los Representantes: Hon. Carmen Y. Cruz Soto" (in Spanish). Cámara de Representantes de Puerto Rico. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "Diploma Ceremony Awards: Barbara Jenkins Award". Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Elecciones Generales 2000: Representantes". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on August 9, 2004.
  10. ^ "Primarias 2008: Representantes por Acumulación". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012.
  11. ^ "Elecciones Generales 2008". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014.
  12. ^ "DANR Successfully Concludes Leadership Summit in Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Dominican American National Roundtable. August 22, 2011. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  13. ^ "Carmen Yulín fue la primera en completar endosos políticos". Primera Hora (in Spanish). November 14, 2011. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Villa, Javier (March 19, 2012). "Soberanistas dan golpe moral a liderato de la pava con triunfo en primarias populares" (in Spanish). Noti Uno 630. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  15. ^ "Carmen Yulín con más votos que González aunque dice no mira la presidencia de la Cámara" (in Spanish). Telemundo Puerto Rico. March 19, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  16. ^ Keila López Alicea (April 5, 2012). "Política". Para Carmen Yulín la segunda será la vencida. Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Día. p. 12. Hace apenas un año, Yulín llegó a considerar la candidatura, pero decidió aspirar a otro término luego de recibir oposición por parte del liderato conservador del PPD, esto como consecuencia de sus posturas soberanistas.
  17. ^ Rosario, Frances (March 21, 2012). "Carmen Yulín asegura que no aspirará a San Juan". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014.
  18. ^ Rodríguez, Israel (March 27, 2012). "El PPD le apuesta a Carmen Yulin para la alcaldia de San Juan". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  19. ^ Nydia Bauzá (March 26, 2012). "Carmen Yulín será candidata por la alcaldía de San Juan" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  20. ^ Ely Acevedo Denis (March 27, 2012). "Se activa en Twitter la contienda por San Juan" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  21. ^ "Gana Carmen Yulín en las redes sociales" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. March 26, 2012. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  22. ^ "Encuesta: ¿A quién prefieres para alcalde de San Juan?" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. March 26, 2012. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  23. ^ Daniel Rivera Vargas (March 28, 2012). "Carmen Yulín Cruz y Luis Raúl Torres serán los portavoces del PPD en la Cámara" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  24. ^ Yanira Hernández Cabiya (March 31, 2012). "Asume la presidencia del PPD en la ciudad capital" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  25. ^ Marvin Fonseca (April 28, 2012). "Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto espera estar en la Alcaldía de San Juan solo ocho años" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  26. ^ "Carmen Yulín se integra a campaña de Obama por fondos Medicaid y Becas Pell" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. May 4, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  27. ^ "Agradece apoyo de Carmen Yulín a reclamos de comunidad LGBTT en San Juan" (in Spanish). Telemundo Puerto Rico. July 17, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  28. ^ a b c d Rosangely Piñero (September 15, 2013). "Mejoras al casco urbano de Río Piedras" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  29. ^ "CEE Event". March 12, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  30. ^ "In San Juan, 'the aftermath is almost more horrific than the actual passing of the hurricane itself'". Los Angeles Times. September 26, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  31. ^ "Puerto Rico mayor: Trump 'killing us with inefficiency'". Al Jazeera Media Network. Al Jazeera. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  32. ^ "Thousands of aid containers stuck in Puerto Rico port". NBC-12 news. September 28, 2017. Archived from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  33. ^ Choi, David (September 29, 2017). "'We Are Dying': Puerto Rico mayor says the island is 'inching close to a genocide'". Business Insider. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  34. ^ Colvin, Jill (September 30, 2017). "Trump snaps at San Juan mayor on Twitter after she criticizes federal response to Maria". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  35. ^ "Brock Long defends federal response to Hurricane Maria". Fox News. September 30, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  36. ^ Summers, Juana. "Trump attacks San Juan mayor over hurricane response". CNN. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  37. ^ "San Juan Mayor Announces Run for Puerto Rico Governor". Bloomberg. Associated Press. March 22, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  38. ^ "Puerto Rico's governor loses primary in chaotic election". Politico. Associated Press. August 16, 2020. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  39. ^ Gamboa, Suzanne (February 21, 2019). "San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to co-chair Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign". NBC News.
  40. ^ "Carmen Yulín Cruz". Mount Holyoke College. January 4, 2021. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  41. ^ "Carmen Yulín Cruz: The World's 100 Most Influential People". Time. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  42. ^ "Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto". Ridenhour Prizes. April 14, 2023. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  43. ^ "Essence Presents 2018's 'Woke 100 Women' List To Highlight Black Women Change-Agents". Essence. October 24, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  44. ^ Integradas, Comunicaciones (November 22, 2016). "Alfredo Carrasquillo expone retos de la diversidad generacional".
  45. ^ Rodríguez, Israel (April 13, 2013). "Carmen Yulín Cruz se vuelve a casar". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 15, 2013.
  46. ^ Rosario, Frances (October 7, 2010). "Carmen Yulín Cruz se casó en secreto" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010.
  47. ^ Muñiz Gracia, Alba Y. (May 9, 2010). "Orgullosas mamá-gallina". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on May 12, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2014.

External links edit

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of San Juan
Succeeded by