San Juan Mayor Wasn’t Impeached

Q: Has Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, been impeached?

A: No. That claim was made by a self-described “satirical publication.”

FULL ANSWER

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has had a public feud with President Donald Trump over the federal response to Hurricane Maria, is not being impeached.

A website called Daily Feed News published a story with the headline: “San Juan City Council Votes Unanimously to Impeach Trump-Hating Mayor.” The story claims that Cruz was to blame for problems with the distribution of hurricane relief supplies to the rest of the island, and was being removed from office because of it.

That’s not true. Daily Feed News describes itself as a “satirical publication,” and says in a disclaimer: “We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist.”

That didn’t stop other websites — like libertyinfo.net and anews-24.com — from posting the same story as though it were real news, regardless of the fact that its claims can’t be substantiated.

For example, the story says that the city council in San Juan held an emergency meeting on Oct. 12 to “initiate impeachment proceedings which begin on Monday.” But no such meeting was noted on the council’s calendar, and nothing was scheduled for Oct. 16, when the proceedings were alleged to start.

There wouldn’t even be a need for a meeting of the city council, since, according to the law that governs how Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities operate, anyone can file charges to remove a mayor from office with the Commission to Air Municipal Complaints, a state agency.

The story, which was flagged by Facebook users as being potentially fabricated, also falsely says that the U.S. isn’t required to provide Puerto Rico with disaster relief.

Puerto Rico has been a U.S. commonwealth since its constitution was approved in 1952, and people born there have been U.S. citizens since President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917.

Plus, the Stafford Act, which regulates the administration of disaster relief, treats Puerto Rico — along with the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands — the same as the 50 U.S. states.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.

Sources

Trump, Donald. Tweet. 30 Sep 2017.

San Juan City Council Votes Unanimously to Impeach Trump-Hating Mayor.” DailyFeed.News. 12 Oct 2017.

Disclaimer. DailyFeed.News. Accessed 16 Oct 2017.

San Juan Municipal Legislature. Calendar. Accessed 16 Oct 2017.

Autonomous Municipalities Act of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 30 Aug 1991.

Joint Resolution approving the the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. U.S. Government Publishing Office. 3 Jul 1952.

Jones Act. Library of Congress. Accessed 17 Oct 2017.

Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Accessed 17 Oct 2017.

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“San Juan City Council votes unanimously to impeach Trump-hating mayor.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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