The New York Times: “Puerto Rico not prospering under United States rule. It was far better off when Spain governed it.”
This shocking news was reported by the New York Times on October 4, 1903. In other words, within five years of US occupation, the Times already realized how its own country was operating in Puerto Rico.
The article was thorough, lengthy and detailed. You can read it here:
The New York Times is not a “radical” or “leftist” publication…in fact, quite the opposite.
The Times is an establishment newspaper: a member of the US media elite, and a part of the US power structure.
And yet, even the New York Times felt compelled to report the abuses that were being heaped on the island, by the US capitalist system.
Here are some of the facts that the Times reported:
“The United States has been remiss in providing the most important of all things – a market for Porto Rican products.”
“Before the war Spain opened wide its doors to the products of the island. Spain paid 15 cents a pound for the same coffee that goes begging in American markets today at 8 or 9 cents.”
“Uncle Sam…has not taken Spain’s place as a buyer of Porto Rican products; he has not lent the financial aid to the island that Spain did.”
“One of the first acts of the United States upon taking possession of Porto Rico was to change the standard of money from a silver basis to a gold basis…Where formerly the per capita of circulation was approximately 4 pesos ($2.40), today it is less than $1. Commodities increased in value easily 50 percent. Rent jumped from 30 pesos to $30 (a 40 percent increase).”
“The shrinkage in the circulation, accompanied by the rise in price, nearly bankrupted the merchants.”
“It is impossible to borrow money at a rate less than 12 percent.”
The Times reported widespread corruption:
“There have been some shady transactions, such as the buying of public utilities from favored contractors.”
The Times also reported how Wall Street, and US carpetbaggers, were scooping up all of Puerto Rico’s farmland:
“American capital seeking remunerative investment has a great opportunity in Puerto Rico. Lands may be bought for a song. Properties worth $50 to $60 an acre can be had at from $10 to $15. The voice of the auctioneer is everywhere.”
In modern terms, buying something for $10 that is really worth $50 – a profit margin of 500 percent – is more profitable than selling cocaine.
The Times concluded with this:
“Such widespread suffering as there is in Porto Rico today was not known at any time during the 400 years during which Spain ruled the island.”
The New York Times said this, not me. I wasn’t even born then.
118 years later, things have not changed much. Hedge funds are buying Puerto Rican “debt” for pennies on the dollar, and insisting on a full dollar of repayment…plus interest.
Within a few months, the US Congress will send a “Financial Control Authority” to rule over the island’s economy. This “Authority” is nothing more than a collection agency for the hedge funds.
The New York Times had it right. Puerto Rico is not prospering under United States rule.