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Sat Sep 30, 2017, 05:35 PM

The Cruelest Storm: A Statement for Puerto Rico echoing larger sentiment of #PRScholars #PuertoRic

Worth a read.







Amanda Calderón Retweeted
Arlene Dávila‏ @arlenedavila1 6h6 hours ago

The Cruelest Storm: A Statement for Puerto Rico echoing larger sentiment of #PRScholars #PuertoRico


http://www.latinorebels.com/2017/09/30/the-cruelest-storm-a-statement-for-puerto-rico/





EDITOR’S NOTE: A collective of Puerto Rican intellectuals and their fellow supporters, mostly academics teaching in the U.S. and spearheaded by Aurea María Sotomayor (University of Pittsburgh), have put together a statement that they would like friends and associates in the U.S. media to publish, discuss, and disseminate. It is a declaration that, on the one hand, denounces the different legal, political, financial, and logistical predatory forces behind the current “second-class-citizenship” impasse that is increasing the risk and expendability of Puerto Rican lives after Maria’s catastrophic wake. On the other, it is an urgent call to politicians and policy makers to exempt Puerto Rico permanently from the Jones Act and repeal the PROMESA law and other measures and policies that are hampering recovery.

Statement for Puerto Rico


The destruction brought by Hurricane Maria has exposed the profound colonial condition of Puerto Rico, as millions of human beings are faced with a life or death situation. The financial crisis manufactured by American bankers, colonial laws such as PROMESA and the Jones Act that controls maritime space, are legal mechanisms that prevent Puerto Rico’s recovery, and even call into question the validity of American citizenship on that island. Given the severity of the situation, political action is necessary.


The State of Facts


Puerto Rico is experiencing a humanitarian crisis as a result of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island on Wednesday, September 20, as a Category Four hurricane. Immediately thereafter, Governor Rosselló declared a curfew from dawn to dusk for security reasons. Ten days after the event, hundreds of communities are still flooded, isolated without any food or drinking water, as highways and roads are blocked or destroyed, making communication between towns, neighborhoods and cities impossible. Telephone, internet, drinking water and electricity services have not been re-established in most communities. The weather radar was destroyed as well as the surveillance towers at the San Juan International Airport.

There is a public health crisis due to the precarious conditions in hospitals and the threat of epidemics stemming from contaminated water. Cities, towns and neighborhoods outside the metropolitan area have been abandoned, and efforts are concentrated in the San Juan metro area. The western part of the island, for example, lacks minimum services. The images shared with the world by visibly shaken journalists, television anchors, and meteorologists speak of the human drama caused by the disaster. What is missing from many of those reports is concrete information of plans and immediate, achievable initiatives to move the country ahead, as well as an ongoing plan. Explanations are necessary for why so many efforts to reach, house, feed and clothe many Puerto Ricans are unsuccessful. The people and the local government need the freedom to make and act on decisions quickly.

There is no sensible political analysis of the situation due to such dire absence of communication. The state of precariousness in which the entire population of the island finds itself forces individuals to concentrate all of their strength on survival. Many have already opted to leave the country as the re-opening of the Luis Muñoz Marín airport demonstrated in its first day of service after the hurricane. It is a cruel way of emptying Puerto Rico of its most valuable resource, its people; the potential silencing of any dissident voices in the process is unacceptable. This state of emergency could be used to promote new measures of austerity that will not benefit Puerto Rico, a country already devastated by the financial disaster of an unpayable debt.

The Caribbean has been pummeled by two major hurricanes in the month of September: Irma and Maria. The Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, Barbuda, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, and Puerto Rico are geopolitically precarious: physically as islands and politically for their colonial history and status. They were traditionally called “Overseas Provinces” because of their political and economic dependence on a metropolitan mainland. The world has found out in the past few days what our history has always stubbornly made visible to us......................................











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Reply The Cruelest Storm: A Statement for Puerto Rico echoing larger sentiment of #PRScholars #PuertoRic (Original post)
riversedge Sep 2017 OP
salin Sep 2017 #1
malaise Sep 2017 #2
BigmanPigman Sep 2017 #3
femmedem Sep 2017 #4

Response to riversedge (Original post)

Sat Sep 30, 2017, 05:46 PM

1. K & R

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Sat Sep 30, 2017, 05:47 PM

2. A MUST READ

Get thee to the greatest page

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Sat Sep 30, 2017, 06:08 PM

3. That one picture says a thousand words.

Little kids dragging fallen limbs and branches with their toy dump truck. It is more than the fake prez has done for 10 days.

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Sat Sep 30, 2017, 08:08 PM

4. Here's a good article from the Atlantic on the PROMESA Act:

The bill has been controversial for plenty of reasons, chief among which is that PROMESA gives sweeping power to a financial-oversight board, which has yet to be appointed. They will be in charge of doing things such as approving budgets and fiscal plans, they can veto debt issuances and determine which projects get funded and which don’t. And they don’t answer to Puerto Rico or its leaders. Instead, board members are appointed by the president for three-year terms and can only be removed by the president. As a result, some feel PROMESA gives the people of Puerto Rico and its elected officials virtually no agency in the island’s future. The island’s governor will serve only as an ex-officio member of the board and only one of the voting seats explicitly requires that the appointee reside or have a business in the territory. Many of these critics argue that the emergency measure is a cop out compared to bigger, more substantial changes, such as statehood or formal bankruptcy, options that many had hoped would provide longer-term solutions for the island’s ongoing problems.

All of these together makes many onlookers understandably concerned, especially since many of them believe that the island, and its residents, are often treated like colonies with second-class citizens. “It shows what complete imperial power there is in America,” a Puerto Rican student named Camila Sánchez told The New York Times.

Senator Bob Menendez, one of the bill’s most outspoken critics didn’t mince words when it comes to his thoughts about the usefulness of PROMESA back in May, “I'm afraid this bill provides little more than a Band-Aid on a bullet hole with regard to Puerto Rico's unsustainable debt," he said. "Mark my words—if we don't seize this opportunity to address this crisis in a meaningful way, we'll be right back here in a year from now picking up the pieces."
Menendez—and others—criticized PROMESA for what it didn’t promise, including: the provision of any federal tax dollars to chip away at existing debt, a path to statehood, or a special dispensation that would have allowed the territory to file for chapter 9 bankruptcy—the route that New York City and Detroit have considered to relieve themselves of burdensome, unpayable debt. Instead, the recently passed bill continues to treat Puerto Rico and its debt as an anomaly—neither state, nor municipality, which leaves it in a nebulous space when it comes to questions about how much of a markdown creditors will be asked to take on debt, and how future budgets and finances will be doled out to the island and its people.

More: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/puerto-rico-promesa-debt/489797/

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