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