There’s a conspiracy that Puerto Rican truck drivers are striking and delaying the delivery of crucial supplies – and Donald Trump may have bought into it.
Right-wing blogs The Conservative Treehouse and The Gateway Pundit recently published stories alleging that local unions were striking following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, preventing the delivery of food, water, and other crucial supplies.
The crux of the issue seems to be a quote from a Huffington Post interview with US Air Force Colonel Michael Valle, reports Snopes.
Valle said: “Supplies we have. Trucks we have. There are ships full of supplies backed up in the ports, waiting to have a vehicle to unload into. However, only 20% of the truck drivers show up to work.”
The main reason for the shortages is that local truck drivers have been displaced and are difficult to contact, due to fallen power lines. Puerto Rico is also dealing with blocked roads and diesel fuel shortages.
On Monday, the Teamsters Union clarified that union workers have been contributing to delivery efforts “since day one” and that unions are sending more truckers from across the US to help out. Additionally, a Puerto Rican government representative told CBS that claims were false, and that drivers are increasingly able to drive to ports to pick up necessary supplies.
Regarding the rumor of Puerto Rican truckers being on strike…it's not true. pic.twitter.com/EolwkeTUtr
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) October 2, 2017
In other words, there are many factors that caused a shortage of drivers – but there’s no evidence that a union strike is to blame.
However, the conspiracy has continued to grow online.
Did mayor of San Juan mention union workers at port are on STRIKE & demanding money first before distributing supplies off boat? #amjoy
— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) September 30, 2017
NOW THE TRUTH!!! Puerto Rico truckers union blocking FEMA from port. They say it is their jusisdiction and they want huge wage increase.
— Doug Lewis (@umpire43) September 30, 2017
What's really going in PR?
— Belle (@MistyPassions) September 30, 2017
The corrupt truckers union in Puerto Rico refuses to distribute supplies to people
— Brian Harmon (@BrianHphoto) October 3, 2017
President Trump seemed to allude to the conspiracy himself on Tuesday morning during his visit to Puerto Rico.
“But now the roads are cleared, communications is starting to come back,” Trump said according to a pool report. “We need their truck drivers to start driving trucks.”