García Padilla Campaign Releases Controversial Anti-Fortuño Ad Highlighting Disabled Man

Today in Puerto Rico, the YouTube channel of Alejandro García Padilla, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) candidate for governor and the main challenger to incumbent Luis Fortuño (of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party), released a campaign ad called "Carlos." In the video, Carlos Cruz, who is disabled, tells viewers that he even though he grew up with difficulties, he earned a master's degree in economy and became an economist. Carlos then continues by saying that he worked with teachers and children in the Department of Education.

"I felt like I had become a real human being," Carlos says in Spanish.

After that, a voiceover lets us know that Carlos was fired in May, 2009 by Governor Fortuño. The narrator continues. "[Carlos was] one of the 30,000 victims of Law 7. Their jobs were taken away, while Fortuño's friends were given millions. Carlos still doesn't have a job."

The video is referring to Ley 7 (Law 7), which Fortuño enacted in May, 2009 and led to the slashing of 30,000 public sector jobs. At the time, Fortuño said that the passing of the law was a necessity because the island was broke, but three years later and with double-digit unemployment still hovering over the island, Fortuño's signing of the law is still seen as one of his biggest political mistakes. In addition, the Populares have been waging a campaign against Fortuño, claiming that his friends have indeed made money off of the privatization of many sectors on the island, including two of the island's busiest toll roads, which will now be run by a coalition that includes Goldman Sachs.

Nonetheless, the "Carlos" ad might be seen by many as taking politics a bit too far, and exploiting a person's disability to score points against Fortuño, even though García Padilla is still leading in pre-election polls. As for Fortuño? There are reports out of the island tonight that some of supporters are asking that he step down and not run for re-election, although Fortuño says that this is just the work of the Populares.

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