Puerto Ricans have an excellent sense of humor, especially during their own humanitarian crises. When this picture first appeared, the islandhad been hit by a category 5 hurricane, María, which devastated the island on September 20th 2017. As they weather the aftermath that left over 4500 people dead – from causes attributable to the lack of proper emergency management practices by the government and its agencies – the citizens, and those abroad, were desperate to get news and updates from relatives and friends in the greater disaster zones. To cover the events, CBS sent reporter David Begnaud to cover the storm before it hit, and since he got stuck there with his crew upon landfall, David took to the streets to report the devastation, sharing updates through his trusty video equipment and uplink connection. His team dared to show the true panorama of the social and political climate, walking his new Boricua followers on social media through the chaos. By asking to not be evacuated and reaching our to those most affected he become a champion for those whose voices were not being heard; for all the Puerto Ricans living through the ordeal of not getting the aid they desperately needed from the USA and their own leadership.
It has been because of these efforts – and his ability to sincerely be emphatic for the folks on the US territory – that many not for profit organizations and rescue efforts stopped being ignored by the administration and the emergency management staff. His daily posts were a ray of light for those in the diaspora who could not find flights or relief crews to deliver messages and supplies directly to their loved ones. His dedication to reporting the truth kept him in Puerto Rico beyond the time frame most tourists and guests would comfortably endure. Once it was safer, his team departed on September 28th, to Aguadilla to give viewers a better gauge of the situation in the west coast, especially in those areas yet to be reached by relief efforts.
His resolve became legendary, and his loyalty to Borinquen was solidified when he returned to the island to cover the protests that ousted PNP governor Ricky Rosselló, and furthermore after risking his safety to document the earthquakes of the 2019-2020 holiday season which destroyed entire cities and municipalities in the south and south west locations, near the Indios epicenter.
As people clamored for a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his work in 2017, and we still feel is applicable now, we can tell that there are many great things Saint David Begnaud will accomplish in his future. This is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The people of Puerto Rico have proclaimed him an adoptive son, and I have been convinced he deserves this honor because of his unique and heartfelt coverage of the facts. Unlike other reporters, he genuinely feels compassion for his fellow US Citizens and marginalized community. Let us hope that with his writings and testimonials more compatriots are moved to help the Island of Enchantment survive its darkest moments in history.
Check out his Facebook page for more information and up to date news.
#PuertoRicoSeLevanta #YoNoMeQuito #SaintDavidBegnaud #RickyRenuncia