Now that the Financial Control Board has its teeth around the neck of Puerto Rico, it is time to study the book “Banquete Total” by journalist Jay Fonseca. It is an excellent book.
It reveals how every branch of Puerto Rico’s government – the governor, legislature, courts, and 78 mayors – all became completely corrupt. For several decades the island became a “complete banquet,” a bottomless buffet table for politicians…every one of whom should go to jail.
FORTUÑO’S PERSONAL CRIMINAL EMPIRE
The first one who should go to jail is Luís Fortuño…who converted Puerto Rico into his personal criminal empire.
He fired 30,000 workers, closed down schools, reduced pension benefits, raised the university tuition, and hiked gasoline and sales taxes. Then he took all those “savings” and spent Nine Billion Dollars mysteriously, without properly accounting for it. To this day, the people of Puerto Rico do not know where that $9 billion was spent.
Fortuño also campaigned aggressively against Barack Obama and for Mitt Romney, even after Romney’s infamous “let’s forget the 47%” fiasco.
Fortuño campaigning for Republican Mitt Romney
Unfortunately, the “47%” which Romney and Fortuño were prepared to forget, included nearly the entire population of Puerto Rico.
THE DRUG DEALER OF DEBT
Fortuño used debt, like a drug dealer uses cocaine.
He got the entire insular economy addicted to debt, then made a fortune for himself and his friends.
First was the amount of debt. In only four years, Fortuño forced Puerto Rico into debt, more than any other governor in Puerto Rican history.
He borrowed a staggering $16.55 billion from Wall Street, stuffed himself at the banquet table, and handed the bill to the taxpayers of Puerto Rico.
Thanks primarily to Luis Fortuño, the government of Puerto Rico now devotes 42% of its budget to repaying this outstanding debt.
WHAT FORTUÑO DID WITH ALL THIS MONEY
At the end of his four-year term, the press reported on a “tsunami” of private contracts that Fortuño handed out from 2009 till 2013. The amount was astounding: over $9.3 billion in private contracts.
Much of this “tsunami” of private contracts, was handed out to Fortuño’s friends and business associates.
Here is one example: 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.”
HYPOCRISY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Due to this orgy of borrowing and corrupt spending, when Fortuño left office in 2013, the public debt of Puerto Rico was already $70 billion.
He left the island in a fiscal shambles, to enjoy a million-dollar partnership at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Steptoe & Johnson.
He now has the gall to write “good government articles” such as this one, titled “Puerto Rico has a spending problem.”
$2.6 BILLION FOR “ORIENTATION” AND $1 BILLION FOR “PUBLICITY”
During his own “good government” years, Fortuño fired 30,000 public workers…and then handed out billions of dollars in private contracts to his own personal friends. This included:
MAFIOSO IN THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION
Fortuño’s government career is steeped in corruption, nepotism, brutality, and financial mismanagement.
He strangled every public union, and nearly eliminated the teachers’ union.
He injected debt deep into the veins of the Puerto Rican economy.
By stamping out unions, firing workers and eliminating pensions, he ensured that Puerto Ricans would desperately depend on this debt, and on his political party, for their own survival and well-being.
That is what Mafiosos, dictators and drug dealers do.
As the Mafioso of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño ruled over the island…like Tony Montana ruled over Miami in Scarface.
And now he’s doing it again, through his two cronies on the Financial Control Board, and “Governor” Ricky Rosello.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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