Luís Fortuño ruled over Puerto Rico like a miniature Ronald Reagan.
He fired 30,000 workers, reduced pension benefits, closed down schools, and raised consumer taxes.
He also campaigned aggressively against Barack Obama and for Mitt Romney, even after Romney’s infamous “let’s forget the 47%” fiasco.
Unfortunately, the 47% whom Romney was prepared to forget, included virtually the entire population of Puerto Rico.
Fortuño and Romney forget the 47%, and chase three voters in Puerto Rico
But Fortuño’s most destructive legacy, was the creation of a P3 mentality in Puerto Rico
What is a P3?
P3s are “public-private partnerships,” in which private corporations take over the infrastructure of Puerto Rico and run it on a for-profit basis, rather than a basic public service.
Who brought the P3s to Puerto Rico?
Fortuño did, during his one term as governor (2009-2013).
Within five months of taking office, in June 2009, Fortuño passed Public Act 29 – the “public-private partnership” law which created the Public-Private Partnership Authority of Puerto Rico.
Fortuño then created P3s for two highways (PR-5, PR-22); the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport; and a number of schools, energy projects, and ferry services.
Where is Fortuño now?
Fortuño was only a one-term-governor.
He fired 30,000 workers during that term (mostly members of the opposition party, the PPD) but for Fortuño, the governorship was a career stepping-stone.
Fortuño is currently drawing a million-dollar salary as a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Steptoe & Johnson where he “represents Fortune 500 companies in regulatory, financial, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate matters throughout Latin America.”
From this profitable perch, Fortuño also publishes editorials through US media channels, announcing that other P3 projects in Puerto Rico “may include ports, airports, roads, bridges, schools, penitentiaries, and other basic infrastructure facilities.”
In other words, Fortuño is now in Washington DC, recommending not only the privatizing of roads and bridges…but privatizing the schools and prisons in Puerto Rico.
I need to repeat this:
FORTUÑO WANTS TO TURN SCHOOLS AND PRISONS INTO A PROFIT-MAKING ACTIVITY IN PUERTO RICO.
Who are the P3s accountable to?
Instead of being accountable to the government or the voters of Puerto Rico, P3s are accountable to stockholders in the US, hedge fund owners in Wall Street, and a five-person Financial Control Board.
On a de facto basis, this “Financial Control Board” would be the government of Puerto Rico…especially since the US Congress has veto power over any law passed by the Puerto Rican legislature.
Even though it will become the shadow government of Puerto Rico, Fortuño repeatedly advocates for the creation of this “Financial Control Board.”
Mejor un patriota en Nueva York…
Fortuño has made quite a career for himself.
He sells off pieces of Puerto Rico through P3s, turns schools and prisons into sources of personal profit, campaigns for Mitt Romney, and “represents Fortune 500 companies” who strangle Puerto Rico through the Jones Act.
It is clear that Puerto Rico, and the people of Puerto Rico, are nothing but a personal piggy bank for Fortuño.
His entire career, and his personal fortune, are based on profiting from Puerto Rico, at the expense of the people who live there.
In honor of Luis Fortuño, I will amend my favorite phrase:
Mejor un patriota en Nueva York, que un vendepatria en Puerto Rico…o en Washington DC.