Puerto Rico was in dire economic straits before Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit, and ongoing US-imposed restrictions will make recovery impossible, says labor leader Hector Figueroa
Now remember, these are our fellow citizens, who are suffering in the most egregious ways post-Maria, without any electricity, most without water, and food, medicines and emergency supplies are scarce….but haven’t been allowed into the one open port. Citizens have rallied, even a few airlines and a cruise ship, but there’s almost no way to distribute the needed ‘help’ around the island. Folks are dying slowly, including in hospitals. Yes, now if Puerto Rico were home to a military base, the ports and airports would have would have been opened and fixed, and aircraft carriers might have been dispatched to aid in a relief effort. From his quotes, it’s not even clear that Herr Tee knew where the fuck Puerto Rico is, curse him.
Now this section in the interview is murky:
HÉCTOR FIGUEROA:The Fiscal Oversight Board was created to try to figure out what fiscal adjustments Puerto Rico could do to pay the debt and move on with its economy, but the problem is austerity in the function of the IMF Bank doesn’t work in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is actually contracting. The population can easily move to the mainland, which has been happening in large numbers. What we see now is the decline of the economy, a decline of the population, and now with these hurricanes, it’s quite apparent that there is absolutely no way that Puerto Rico can service its debt and be able to be back on its feet.
Many of us are actually saying that the Fiscal Oversight Board should recognize this situation, should be honest with the bondholders, Wall Street hedge funds who have acquired the debt hoping that they will make enormous profits. They should cut their losses and we should figure out a way to restart the economy of Puerto Rico. We’re going to have a lost generation in Puerto Rico, but if we don’t start now, this is going to be even much worse. We have to find a means for the island to be able to invest in education, on its roads. The electrical grid again has been destroyed. Its schools have been devastated. That should be the priority now.
“This Bankrupt Island:” Debt and Disaster in Puerto Rico’ by Puerto Rico-born María del Pilar Blanco, counterpunch; she explains the evil ‘fiscal oversight board’ among other things.
“The specter of debt looms over the fragile landscape. On 30 June 2016, President Obama signed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) into law; the legislation aims to restructure Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt and ‘exercise federal oversight over the fiscal affairs of territories’. PROMESA is a response to bad financial management on the island, certainly, but that has been enabled by the colonial infrastructure in place since the US occupation in 1898.
‘Puerto Rican people still without aid a week after Hurricane Maria’, by Rafael Azul, wsws.org
“As part of its response to the disaster wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the Pentagon has announced that it is shifting to land-based operations on the island. In addition to sending 1,000 troops and 16 helicopters, the Defense Department plans to mobilize 5,000 active duty forces and 2,500 National Guard elements on the island.
The military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that the troops being sent to the US colonial territory “specialize in distribution of goods in hostile environments.” Some National Guard units, including from Iowa, have been sent with the specific mission of beefing up local security forces.
Undoubtedly there is another motive underlying this military response to the humanitarian crisis: the escalating social tension that is becoming evident every day. As Puerto Ricans regain their balance from the blows of Hurricane Maria, they begin to direct their anger against government inaction.
Puerto Rico is already under a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Increasingly, the question raised is whether the island will be placed under martial law.
While thousands of containers and planeloads of supplies have arrived in Puerto Rico in the last several days, they are still sitting in warehouses and in the Muñiz Air National Guard base. Agustín Arellano, an administrator of San Juan’s airport, reports that no one has picked them up.”
and yes, the fooking Jones Act has been waived by Orange Julius Cheezer….at fooking last, as in: today. John Kelly swears he/they waived it as soon as the Gov of Puerto Rico requested it. ‘We got rulez!!!’
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