Garcia-Padilla

nytimes.com
Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico’s Future
The impoverished island turned to hedge funds to stave off collapse. Now someone has to pay.
By Jonathan Mahler and Nicholas Confessore

The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country’s biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.

There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island’s Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees’ health care or teachers’ salaries.

But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico’s future.

4 Reasons Independence Is the Right Path for Puerto Rico

By Maru Gonzalez

Puerto Rico is in a state of emergency. Its public debt, which Governor Garcia Padilla recently declared unpayable, is $73 billion and counting. Unemployment is hovering at a dismal 14 percent and 46 percent of the island’s inhabitants are living below the poverty line, a rate higher than that of any state on the mainland.

Puerto Rico’s recent surge in out-migration is also cause for concern. Spurred largely by the economic crisis, a historic exodus of residents to the mainland translates to a shrinking tax base which, in turn, puts additional strain on an already weakened economy and burdens those remaining on the island with higher taxes and dwindling resources.

Although a variety of suggestions have been proposed to save the island from default, here are four reasons a clearly articulated, multi-year transition to independence is the only long-term viable solution for Puerto Rico.

1. Puerto Rico’s serious and worsening economy is largely rooted in its colonial status.

As a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico’s insolvent municipalities and public corporations cannot declare bankruptcy. And because Puerto Rico is not independent, it is prohibited from seeking help from international financial institutions, leaving it with few options in the face of what seems like inevitable default. Yet while the right to declare bankruptcy is important in helping the island restructure its mounting debt, it is only part of a short-term solution to a crisis that is, at its core, deeply structural.

Puerto Rico’s economy is both limited by and dependent on Washington. Constrained by U.S. federal laws and regulations, the island’s economy lacks the structural capacity to thrive on its own. Puerto Rico has no control over its monetary policy and little control of its fiscal policy. Issues related to immigration, foreign policy and trade are dictated by U.S. law and U.S. regulatory agencies.

Further, because Puerto Rico has no actual representation in Congress, decisions are made with little to no consideration for the needs and general welfare of the island’s residents. Indeed, Puerto Ricans must adhere to laws passed by a government in which they do not participate. Independence would grant Puerto Rico a platform to address the debt crisis on its own terms and afford the island’s 3.5 million inhabitants the right to self-determination.

2. Statehood is a pipe dream.

Economic and cultural arguments aside, statehood has never been a real option for Puerto Rico. Contrary to Alaska and Hawaii, which were deemed “incorporated” territories with the intention of moving toward annexation to the Union, the decision to keep Puerto Rico as “unincorporated” was a ploy to avoid statehood.

Indeed, Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated territory means that it “belongs to, but is not part of the U.S.” And that is unlikely to change. A Republican-controlled Congress would never admit Puerto Rico — with its massive debt and overwhelmingly Democratic (and non-white, Spanish-speaking) voting base — into the Union, even if such a determination is made by the island’s residents.

3. Other nations have proved that independence is possible.

For far too long, the people of Puerto Rico have chosen to accept the comfort of a familiar yet broken status quo over the uncertainty of real, revolutionary change. Indeed, many on the island and in the diaspora adhere to a colonized mentality, one that believes an independent Puerto Rico is economically unsustainable. But liberated nations across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America have demonstrated otherwise.

Singapore is a prime example. With a size 14 times smaller than Puerto Rico, less natural resources, and a significantly higher population density, Singapore has thrived socially and economically since gaining independence — even exceeding the per capita income of the United States.

4. An independent Puerto Rico would more readily protect the welfare and the rights of its people than the United States.

Since the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, Washington’s relationship with Puerto Rico has been one of exploitation and convenience. From the Ponce Massacre and government-sanctioned programs aimed at forcibly sterilizing working class Puerto Rican women to unethical testing and human radiation experiments on Puerto Rican prisoners, the U.S. government has a shameful track record of transgressions on the island.

And let’s not forget Vieques: for more than 60 years the U.S. Navy used the island of Vieques as target practice. Though the bombings stopped in 2003, the U.S.’ legacy on Vieques continues in the form of destroyed land (over half the island is uninhabitable), shattered livelihoods, and increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and illnesses — the result of contamination from years of continuous bombings.

Yet because Puerto Rico lacks any real autonomy or representation, these and other travesties — both social and economic — are largely ignored. Independence would hold accountable elected representatives at all levels of government and restore power to the people

The Puerto Rican debt crisis is having a staggering effect on migration

On Sunday, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank would default on roughly $389 million in payments to bondholders. The island has over $70 billion in total debt and a 12% unemployment rate. But the number of Puerto Ricans coming to the U.S. mainland every day may really make your jaw drop.

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#SDTG POV RANT POST Part 2. Stop complaining! Really pissed off

If you really want to have the movie on your own way, then CREATE YOUR OWN SDTG MOVIE - Buy it on Star Cinema and Ms. Bianca Bernardino then produce your own movie using your imagination - because you want Kenji to be the perfect gangster that you pictured in your imagination. Find your own artists that would give a damn justice on the characters of SDTG. Then find a sponsor, people who’ll watch your movie and who will support it. And make sure you can level your imagination with the works of the most prominent people in the industry, Ms. Cathy and Ms. Carmi.

Pardon if some of my statement seems to be rude of approach but I’ve really had enough. The management and the author of the book will not give this kind of trust to this project if they don’t believe in the people behind SDTG the movie.

fortune.com
Puerto Rico’s Governor Says the Island Will Default on Monday
Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank has a $422 million payment due to creditors that day.

Puerto Rican officials talked tough ahead of a major debt payment due on Monday, with the U.S. territory’s governor predicting default, and chances slipping for a restructuring deal with creditors.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said “there will be a default on Monday,” adding, “I don’t think there is a deal on the table that avoids a default.”

Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, the island’s primary fiscal agent, owes creditors $422 million on Monday, a payment Garcia Padilla has said the bank cannot afford. The looming default is part of a broader economic crisis in the Caribbean haven plagued by $70 billion in total debt, a shrinking population and a 45% poverty rate.