[News] 21st Century Colony: US Picks Businessmen to Rule Puerto Rico

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 1 11:36:42 EDT 2016


  21st Century Colony: US Picks Businessmen to Rule Puerto Rico

August 31, 2016

The U.S. government on Thursday revealed the members of a federal board 
that will oversee the financial restructuring of Puerto Rico's debt, 
which is mostly composed of white businessmen who have a financial 
interest in pleasing the private sector rathern than the Puerto Rican 

Among the seven board members, six are men, four were selected by 
Republicans in Congress, and five worked for financial institutions in 
both the private and public sector:

The members of the new board that will rule Puerto Rico are:

- Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute 
with expertise in pensions and entitlements;

- Jose Carrion III, president of a company that in 2012 bought an 
insurance broker in San Juan;

- Carlos Garcia, a past president of Puerto Rico’s Government 
Development Bank, just like José Ramón González;

- David Skeel, a bankruptcy law professor;

- Arthur Gonzalez, a retired judge, and former chief judge of the U.S. 
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, who presided 
over major corporate bankruptcies;

- and the only female member, Ana Matosantos, a former director of the 
California Department of Finance.

The idea of a Republican-imposed fiscal control board, known 
colloquially as La Junta in Puerto Rico, is largely reviled on the island.

Opponents argue it will be oblivious to the social needs of Puerto Rico 
and impose harsh austerity measures, including severe cuts in public 
services and pension funds.

The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, also 
known as the PROMESA Bill 
was passed in Congress one day before Puerto Rico’s July 1 debt payment 

PROMESA proposed to hand control of Puerto Rico’s economy, including 
debt restructuring 
over to a Washington-appointed federal oversight board.

Protestors set up a longstanding camp 
outside of the U.S. district court house in Hato Rey, chanting “No to 
the board and no to the debt.”

“PROMESA is undemocratic and will ensure payments are made on 
'illegitimate' public debt while redirecting funds away from basic 
services such as health care, education and public transport,” Shelimar 
Velazquez, a spokesperson for the protesters, said at a press conference.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders called 
the PROMESA bill “both a political and economic disaster for the people 
of Puerto Rico” that “takes away their democratic rights and 
self-governance and will impose harsh austerity measures, which will 
make the poorest people in Puerto Rico even poorer.”

The bill has already compelled Puerto Rico's government to lower the 
minimum wage down to just US$4.25 per hour for workers under 25 years 
old. About 45 percent of Puerto Ricans live in poverty and 60 percent of 
adults are unemployed.

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