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Puerto Rico's Dance with Debt

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posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 08:14 PM
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On the way home from work this evening I was listen to "Stragety Session" with Antonio Gonzalez on KPFK (archive.kpfk.org...) Monday, June 22 2015 4:00pm the archive scrolls. It's a political policy show with a Latino Focus and reports on news from all the Latin American Countries. It also spends time on Local Los Angeles issues so I'm pleased whenever I get the opportunity to listen in.

They where talking about Puerto Rico's (a colony of the USA) various options to avoid or lessen the impact of a pending default on Bond payments. I'd not heard of this at all. Many solutions are being banded about including independence, bankruptcy, or even more austerity - they have raised their sales tax rate from 7.5% to 11.5% the highest in the USA, have closed some 200 schools, laid off hundreds of government workers already to no avail.

The situation is complex as Puerto Rico is a colony of the US under congressional control (I don't fully understand so don't ask) and her citizens (US citizens) don't have the same rights that other US citizens take for granted.

Since I know nothing about this, I looked on the internet. And found advertising directed at Bond Holders, various business news outlets and blogs telling investor what to do, etc.

I found one background article (not in the so-called lefty media) but at a good true left sight and I'll share it with you.

www.jacobinmag.com...:


According to the neoliberal narrative, the rapidly intensifying economic crisis is an open and shut case: Puerto Rico, legally an unincorporated territory of the US, is caught in a debtor’s trap of borrowing to pay for essential operations. And now the bill is coming due. Bloomberg Business likens it to a “consumer using one credit card to pay off another.”


Rather simplist don't you think? Well a lot of you won't - shame that people don't play chess anymore.


But the real story is more complicated, and more connected to Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the US. Over the years, the US has treated Puerto Rico as a laboratory for population control, conducted naval war games on the island nation for possible Middle East interventions, and used it as a pre-NAFTA staging ground for corporate megastores to develop consumer bases and exploit low-wage labor.



Designed to enrich US corporations, the economic approach momentarily produced a small middle–class, and throughout the Cold War the US showcased Puerto Rico as an anticommunist alternative to Cuba.

Yet because of its colonial status, Puerto Rico was never allowed to negotiate bilateral trade agreements and [color=yellow has had to adhere to fiscal policy directed by the US .

External control and extraction of profits stunted the country’s productive base, leading to an economic crisis that the pro-independence left had long predicted.


Centralized Control - where have I heard that before.

I will conclude with - the article goes on but this is key:


The debt crisis is also not making headlines in the mainstream and business press because the US’s colonial experiment is finally being recognized as an abject failure.


Should Puerto Rico take care of her people or wealthy forgein investor (who remember are well 'paid' for taking on risk of non-payment)?

It's a truly fracking mess - read the whole article - I can't explain it but he does a remarkable job of doing so.



edit on 22-6-2015 by FyreByrd because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: FyreByrd

OK, what will the arguments be when the defaulting parties are states like California or Illinois?



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 08:50 PM
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a reply to: FyreByrd

So this material is really a pro-leftist slant you provide and not a balance view?



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 10:35 PM
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a reply to: FyreByrd

Puerto Rico is not a US colony. They have congressional representation. They have the option of holding their own elections to keep the status quo, to become a state or to become an independent country. They have held those elections in the past, voting for the status quo.


You should do some research before making claims.

edit on 22-6-2015 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 10:42 PM
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So this material is really a pro-leftist slant you provide and not a balance view?


It's either true or not true. I see no reason to think any of his sources are false. If it doesn't agree with your ideology too bad.



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 11:03 PM
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This is so sad for the hard working people of Puerto Rico. My son/daughter-in-law are there right now. She's from San Juan, most of her family is still there but some plan to move to the states.

I believe the US controls their exports etc. I don't think they're allowed to market their coffee on the same scale as folgers/maxwell house etc. Imo Puerto Rican coffee is the absolute best hands down.

Unemployment is taking a toll, the crime rate is high. We had a great time, everyone went out of their way to please. We hope to go back next year.

They have so much to offer but I'm afraid they've been used/tossed aside. Several large pharmaceutical companies took hold there. My D-in-law says many are now leaving, abandoning workers who relocated there.

Some people want independence but they'd lose US benefits like social security etc. That would be hard for the people with their economy tanking, especially retirees.

She said the governor took it upon himself to approve medicinal marijuana to help ease the tax load on people. He's catching hell for it. They're rather conservative people, some are saying Puerto Rico has gone to hell because of it.

It makes me sick that a paradise with such diversity has been abandoned by their corporate overlords with no regard for the ruin left in its wake. I saw the same damn thing happen in Gary, IN with US Steel. We're economic refugees, lucky to escape that corporate raping. We saw how those people suffered. Workers with 20 years or less were laid off, 30,000 in one summer. Houses boarded up, biz firebombed.

Puerto Rico is going the same way as Gary, Detroit and all those throw away places so many Americans call home. It's getting so there's fewer places to run to. We found hole in the wall southern CO. Cattle/pot plants outnumber people down here.

This crap hits close to home for us and it's a long time coming. We left Gary 20 years ago and it seems to be spreading. We're so screwed.



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 11:34 PM
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originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: FyreByrd

So this material is really a pro-leftist slant you provide and not a balance view?


It is published in an admitedly Left publication. Generally, (which means 'not always') the left presents both sides of an argument by the way of anticipating other views and criticisms - it's called good writing. The right on the other hand only presents information (sound bites, talking points) from only their own point of view.



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 11:38 PM
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originally posted by: Xcathdra
a reply to: FyreByrd

Puerto Rico is not a US colony. They have congressional representation. They have the option of holding their own elections to keep the status quo, to become a state or to become an independent country. They have held those elections in the past, voting for the status quo.


You should do some research before making claims.


Call it what you will (without any reference):


Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States which according to the U.S. Supreme Court's Insular Cases is "a territory appurtenant and belonging to the United States, but not a part of the United States."[1][2]


from wikipedia

which for all intents and purposes is a colony. Yes they have a member of congress (so as to avoid that pesky 'taxation without representation' thingy). They are hardly self-determining - which if you took the time to read the article or other factual material on the subject would be clear.



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 11:41 PM
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originally posted by: Morningglory
This is so sad for the hard working people of Puerto Rico. My son/daughter-in-law are there right now. She's from San Juan, most of her family is still there but some plan to move to the states.

I believe the US controls their exports etc. I don't think they're allowed to market their coffee on the same scale as folgers/maxwell house etc. Imo Puerto Rican coffee is the absolute best hands down.

Unemployment is taking a toll, the crime rate is high. We had a great time, everyone went out of their way to please. We hope to go back next year.

They have so much to offer but I'm afraid they've been used/tossed aside. Several large pharmaceutical companies took hold there. My D-in-law says many are now leaving, abandoning workers who relocated there.

Some people want independence but they'd lose US benefits like social security etc. That would be hard for the people with their economy tanking, especially retirees.

She said the governor took it upon himself to approve medicinal marijuana to help ease the tax load on people. He's catching hell for it. They're rather conservative people, some are saying Puerto Rico has gone to hell because of it.

It makes me sick that a paradise with such diversity has been abandoned by their corporate overlords with no regard for the ruin left in its wake. I saw the same damn thing happen in Gary, IN with US Steel. We're economic refugees, lucky to escape that corporate raping. We saw how those people suffered. Workers with 20 years or less were laid off, 30,000 in one summer. Houses boarded up, biz firebombed.

Puerto Rico is going the same way as Gary, Detroit and all those throw away places so many Americans call home. It's getting so there's fewer places to run to. We found hole in the wall southern CO. Cattle/pot plants outnumber people down here.

This crap hits close to home for us and it's a long time coming. We left Gary 20 years ago and it seems to be spreading. We're so screwed.


Thank you for sharing with us some first hand knowledge. I'm ashamed I didn't know how bad it had become. My only Puerto Rican friends (left-coaster here) left decades ago and came to the states.



posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 11:51 PM
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a reply to: FyreByrd

They hold the status of US Commonwealth. They have the right to determine their own status without US approval. Their last election was in 2012 where they voted to change their status with the US, with statehood being the leading push. A third vote must occur because of the voting issues during the second required status vote, where a large chunk of voting forms had blank sections for future status.

The US has complied with UN resolutions with regards to Puerto Rico and the transfer of land back to the P. Rican government. President G.H.W. Bush ordered all executive agencies to interface with P. Rican agencies as if they were a state.

Puerto Rico is not a colony - its a commonwealth and P. Ricans have voted to maintain that relationship until 2012.

I'm not making this argument for arguments sake or to be difficult. If we are going to discuss the topic then everyone should be on the same page. Especially since colony and commonwealth are completely different terms.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 12:02 AM
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I fell in love with the people and the place. Puerto Rico should be a treasured gem, instead the usual corporate/military raping/pillaging ensued. Nothing's sacred, no one's exempt.

Can't wait to hear the news from my d-in-law when they get back not to mention the PR coffee she spoils me with. I think people are having a hard time all over. Lots of people are relocating to my neck of the woods. We've lived out here a long time and newcomers were once rare, not anymore.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 12:05 AM
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a reply to: Morningglory

Military pillaging and raping? where?
Pharmaceutical companies were the islands largest employer, at one time employing over 20k people. That number is down to about 9k and you have cities working with the commonwealth government to diversify into aerospace and other hitech sector.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 12:31 AM
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From what I understand the military left a huge mess on one of Puerto Rico's nearby islands. The place was unfit for human habitation for sometime.

According to my d-in-law pharmaceutical companies are laying off workers who relocated to PR to work for them. Now these people can't afford to leave and can't find jobs. She says they're becoming an additional drain on the economy. I know it's risky relocating for work but, if true, abandoning workers on an island is pretty low down.

There's hope that things will turn around. I think they were once wining/dining Disney cruises to develop an attraction at an old military site. If they could get a handle on the crime rate tourism might pull them through but just like Gary when the money/investors start leaving it's like rats off a sinking ship.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 12:36 AM
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originally posted by: FyreByrd
They are hardly self-determining - which if you took the time to read the article or other factual material on the subject would be clear.


Then the article is a load of pure crap. They get to vote on what they want. THEY choose. They most recently voted for statehood. They could have chosen to break all ties and become a separate nation.

Your article must be pure BS propaganda if you came away with any other belief.


The referendum had two parts. The first part asked whether the voter agreed with Puerto Rico's current status as a U.S. commonwealth, which was described on the ballot as Puerto Rico's "current territorial condition." By a 54 percent to 46 percent margin, the voters rejected Puerto Rico's current territorial condition, stating in effect that they would like to change their current status. The second part was entitled "Non-Territorial Options," and listed three options: (1) Statehood, (2) Sovereign Free Associated State, and (3) Independence.

www.huffingtonpost.com...



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 06:04 AM
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a reply to: Morningglory

The vieques island was used for qualifying us naval carrier forces among other things. Roosevelt roads was shut down and the navy ended their use of the island for training qualifications. From what I have seen there are 2 federal bases still in use with one being kept open do to the number of veterans requiring veteran services.

The second is a support base and both bases work in conjunction with the Puerto Rican national guard, which like state guard units answers to the governor and an adjutant general. The naval base was essentially shut down with a minor portion kept open for support operations for the army. The airstation portion was turned over to the local government and now operates as a civilian airport.

There is no rape pillage or plundering occurring and like I said the US is in compliance with UN resolutions on Puerto Rico.

The only area in conflict revolves around presidential elections. Our constitution allows citizens of US states to vote (and DC as its a federal district). Our constitution does not allow voting in federal elections by territories or commonwealths and that dates back to the birth of our nation, where the ONLY acception granted was for British subjects who wished to become new US citizens.

Personally speaking I would like to see Puerto Rico as a US state. With that said I completely respect their choice regardless of how the vote goes.

As for the post above mine I would clarify one part -
A free association would be like the US agreement with the Marshall Islands. They are a sovereign nation and have agreements with the us on national defense. Their citizens receive the exact same protection US citizens get and their territory receives the exact same protection a US state / territory / commonwealth would.
edit on 23-6-2015 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 06:55 AM
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originally posted by: Xcathdra
a reply to: FyreByrd

Puerto Rico is not a US colony. They have congressional representation. They have the option of holding their own elections to keep the status quo, to become a state or to become an independent country. They have held those elections in the past, voting for the status quo.


You should do some research before making claims.

Sorry, but Puerto Rico is a colony, we have no congressional representation like you people in the states have. There is only one guy representing us (Resident Commissioner) and the voting power is limited to none critical issues.
1. We puertoricans don't have the right to vote for president.
2. Since we cannot vote for the president, we don't have congressional representation (senators, legislators).
3. The US congress is all mighty respecting Puerto Rico's issues.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 07:02 AM
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originally posted by: Abednego
Sorry, but Puerto Rico is a colony...


A colony has zero self-determination and Puerto Rico has held numerous referenda on the manner in which it wants to interact with the United States which were explained in above posts.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 09:53 AM
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Not going to comment on the politics of the place but a huge mess was left on Vieques.

United States Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico


After the base was closed, Puerto Rico Governor Sila Calderon requested Vieques be placed on the U.S. National Priorities List list as a designated superfund clean-up site. As of 2014 the EPA has listed the following contaminants and ordnances at the western portion of the naval station: Unexploded ordnance UXO, Remnants of exploded ordnance, Mercury, Lead, Copper, Magnesium, Lithium, Napalm, Depleted uranium along with other unspecified materials. In addition to these, the eastern portion of the site "may also include" Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), Solvents and Pesticides. [5] Both US Navy and EPA are coordinating efforts to clean up Vieques.


That's what the Navy left behind not sure what kind of environmental impact drug companies have made. Not sure what contaminants they exude. Wonder what the unspecified materials are exactly?

I grew up with US Steel in my backyard, my mom grew up in a textile mill town in NC, while my dad, as a boy, played on mine tailings here in southern CO. Living in one of these places the filth isn't so easily overlooked or justified. The creek near my mom's childhood home turned colors depending on what dyes were used that day.

Vieques is a beautiful place this should never have been allowed to happen. PR gets enough rain to support a rain forest, there's mountains, so lots of run off. The bio-luminescent pools have been disrupted from time to time and they're not sure what's causing it.

In Gary my generation and the next older one, vietnam war era, got the short end of the stick with US steel. We didn't see them in the same light as our parents. We didn't enjoy the benefits US Steel provided generations before us. We were left with the layoffs/clean up. So I apologize if I'm somewhat jaded.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 10:07 AM
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originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus

originally posted by: Abednego
Sorry, but Puerto Rico is a colony...


A colony has zero self-determination and Puerto Rico has held numerous referenda on the manner in which it wants to interact with the United States which were explained in above posts.


Just for your knowledge:

William M. Treanor, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, United States Department of Justice, Testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee, October 4, 2000, p. 17. The terms of the Constitution do not contemplate an option other than sovereign nationhood, Statehood, or territorial status. Currently, despite the great degree of autonomy and self-government in local matters that Puerto Rico enjoys as a commonwealth, it is from a constitutional point of view governed under the Territories Clause. The Supreme Court’s 1980 decision in Harris v. Rosario makes that clear, and that is also the longstanding view of the Department of Justice.



Walter E. Dellinger, Professor of Constitutional Law, Duke University; House Natural Resources Committee Hearing, October 4, 2000. Congress has plenary authority under the Constitution to govern the territories of the United States and that is the basis upon which Puerto Rico is presently governed under a statutory framework. . . . As long as the area of Puerto Rico is neither a State nor an independent nation, then Congress has plenary authority to legislate as it will[.]



United National General Assembly, Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, as approved on June 18, 2013, pages 3 -5. Even after the establishment of a constitutional government of Puerto Rico in 1952, United States congressional authority over Puerto Rico remained unaltered. The United States Congress is vested with plenary power over Puerto Rico including defence, international relations, external trade, monetary and other matters, while the island is vested with local authority over designated areas. All laws concerning the Territory’s relationship with the rest of the United States remained in force through the Federal Relations Act[.]

In 1958, Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly requested changes to the Federal Relations Act, but they were not enacted. In 1959, three bills requesting changes in the political status of the Territory were submitted to the United States Congress, but no action was taken on any of them.

Prior to the submission of the official request (to the U.N. in 1953 to make Puerto Rico a “Commonwealth” in compliance with its “Commonwealth” constitution), the United States representative to the U.N. indicated orally that mutual consent would be needed to make changes in the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. That statement notwithstanding, the Department of Justice concluded in 1959 that Puerto Rico remained a territory and fully subject to the territorial clause of the United States Constitution.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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a reply to: Abednego

Thank you for posting links that support my statement.




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