The 2016 election season is heating up in Puerto Rico. This week, Sen. Maria de Lourdes Santiago Negrón announced her candidacy and the incumbent, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, announced that he will not run. The PNP hopefuls – Pedro Pierluisi, Ricardo Rosselló, Luis Fortuño – are all jockeying for position.
But the 2016 election will be unique. The imposition of a U.S. “Financial Control Authority” as the actual government of Puerto Rico, creates a new dynamic for the election, and a new job description for the next governor.
PPD is Useless and Obsolete
The Commonwealth Party – the PPD – is utterly discredited by the arrival of the Financial Control Authority (FCA), because the FCA proves that Puerto Rico is not a “commonwealth,” but rather an outright colony.
In other words, due to the FCA, the PPD no longer has a reason to exist. It is as useless as an umbrella in a hurricane, or a car without an engine. It would be ridiculous to elect a “commonwealth” governor, when the entire island is being run by an FCA oligopoly. Around the world, Puerto Rico would become a political joke.
PNP will Encourage Corruption
The other major party, the PNP, would be a disaster for Puerto Rico during its FCA phase. The PNP would institutionalize corruption all over the island. The proof of this is very recent: the Luis Fortuño administration.
In 2011, while firing 30,000 government workers to “save money,” Fortuño tried to build a $450 million gasoline pipeline for which the largest contract, worth $9.6 million, went to Ray Engineers PSC.
Ray Engineers had no pipeline construction experience but it was owned by Fortuño’s childhood friend, Pedro Ray Chacón.
In addition, even before the pipeline project was announced, the Fortuño administration awarded about $27 million in private contracts – without public bids – for “preliminary studies.”
At the end of his governorship, the press reported on a “tsunami” of private contracts that Fortuño handed out from 2009 till 2013. The amount was shocking: over $9.3 billion in private contracts.
This included $2.6 billion for “orientation and training,” $1 billion for “publicity,” $849 million for “consulting fees,” and $414 million for “personal services.” Much of this “tsunami” of private contracts, was handed out to Fortuño’s friends, business associates, and campaign contributors.
This “private contract” network is still in place all over the island…and waiting for the FCA to arrive.
The Financial Control Authority: a GOP / PNP Cash Machine
It is no secret, that Puerto Rico’s PNP Party is currently aligned with the U.S. Republican Party. Fortuño endorsed Mitt Romney for the US presidency in 2012, and endorsed Rudy Giuliani in 2008. Fortuño was even considered as a vice-presidential possibility on the 2012 GOP ticket.
As a front for Wall Street, and for the hedge funds that it serves, the Financial Control Authority (FCA) will also have ties to the U.S. Republican Party. A circle of influence, also known as corruption, will soon develop between the GOP, the FCA, and Fortuño’s friends.
Given the enormous corruption of the Fortuño administration, which plunged the island $16 billion further into debt, the election of a PNP governor in 2016 would deepen this circle of corruption, between the governor’s office and the FCA.
Puerto Rico would have two foxes guarding the same henhouse: with disastrous results for working and middle-class Puerto Ricans. “Private contracts” would fly back and forth between the FCA and the PNP government, with no way to stop it.
Finally, as a practical matter, the “statehood status” which the PNP supposedly represents, is as fraudulent as the PPD “commonwealth” status. It is fraudulent because Puerto Rican statehood will not occur for a very long time, if ever at all.
For a complete analysis of why “U.S. statehood” is nearly impossible, see:
The PIP Provides a Safety Valve
Under these conditions, the Independence Party of Puerto Rico (PIP) will provide the only resistance to absentee capitalism and runaway corruption.
A PIP governor – or any governor – will have a weak hand against the FCA. But at least the PIP governor will not conspire with them. A PIP governor will ask uncomfortable questions, and report the answers to those questions.
A PIP governor – or any governor – will not be empowered to stop the FCA from favoring its business associates and “friendly” hedge funds. But a PIP governor will slow them down, and expose their dealings to the world, so that the case for Puerto Rico’s independence will grow stronger.
The PIP governor will create a public and international record, of Puerto Rico’s opposition to the thinly-disguised dictatorship of a “Financial Control Authority.”
In sum, the PIP governor will be a counterweight rather than a co-conspirator.
In a world of capitalism run amok, the only way to retain a thread of hope is to send a truly independent person to the governor’s mansion – who is not aiding and abetting, and personally profiting, from that same capitalist system.
In 2016, that person will be Senator Maria de Lourdes Santiago Negrón.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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