Lin-Manuel Miranda has been outspoken about Puerto Rico. But is he really helping?
On multiple platforms, Miranda has voiced his opinion on the debt crisis. He vigorously supported the passage of PROMESA, and the creation of a Financial Control Board…
MIRANDA’S MEDIA BLITZ
Miranda published this editorial in the New York Times:
He spoke in this Washington, D.C. press conference:
He performed on this segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
He wrote opinion editorials in support of the Financial Control Board:
All of this was well-intended – but Miranda’s support of a Financial Control Board as “the only solution” for Puerto Rico’s economic malaise, has drawn criticism and ridicule.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
I will not ridicule Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Throughout this crisis, I can’t name even one other Puerto Rican “celebrity” who has stepped up to the plate, on behalf of Puerto Rico. At least Lin-Manuel has tried to contribute, within the limits of his influence and understanding.
But these efforts can be counter-productive, if they unwittingly support schemes and agendas contrary to the best interests of Puerto Rico. The PROMESA bill and its Financial Control Board, are clear examples of this.
The Financial Control Board is nothing but a collection agency for dozens of hedge funds. It will gut the public infrastructure of Puerto Rico and infect it with “public-private partnerships” – 30-year renewable franchises – turning schools, prisons, highways, beaches, even the electrical grid and water supply, into Wall Street ATMs.
Things that are needed – an immediate elimination of the Jones Act (the law of cabotage), allowing Puerto Rico to engage in its own international trade agreements, agricultural revitalization, an indigenous shipping industry, and widespread energy projects (wind, sun, water) – are absent in PROMESA , because the law is solely and exclusively devoted to hedge fund repayment, not economic development.
CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE
And so, in the end, Miranda’s concern became counter-productive. This is one of the inherent dangers, in well-meaning but misguided celebrity.
But we need to recognize Miranda for taking on the fight, and attaching his celebrity – and personal credibility – to the complicated issues facing the island.
As of this moment, it is unclear if other Puerto Rican “celebrities” care about Puerto Rico and its people, or only about Puerto Rican dollars and adulation.
Lin-Manuel’s father, Luis Miranda, is a seasoned political veteran – and now, quite arguably, the most successful Broadway producer in U.S. history.
The father prepared the son for dealing with the real world, and for having a meaningful relationship with it – rather than living a vapid existence between the covers of People magazine.
And so…thank you to Lin-Manuel Miranda, for caring about our island.
Credit to father and son, for bringing their intelligence to politics and theatre – which in 2016, have become nearly synonymous.
That intelligence must now be sharpened: to develop better solutions for Puerto Rico, than a disastrous Financial Control Board.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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