Puerto Rico is the experimental laboratory of the US. They tested Agent Orange, contraceptive pills, and cancer drugs on the island, and used Vieques for target practice for 62 years.
In 2017, the US should try a new experiment: it should exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, as part of the PROMESA recovery program.
The issue has enormous attention and support. Within two days, the following video received over 4 million views:
Widespread corruption is not limited to Washington, D.C. The shipping industry in Puerto Rico, dominated by US corporations, is also worm-ridden with it…and the stench is island-wide.
Between 2008 and 2013, six shipping executives with major responsibilities in the Puerto Rico shipping industry were sentenced to federal prison. They committed multiple felonies: conspiring to fix shipping rates, and allocating cargoes amongst the three companies which employed them.
Also, the largest shipping companies – Crowley, Sea Star, and Horizon Lines – were all found as co-conspirators who “conspired to fix and maintain rates for Puerto Rico freight services, to share freight customers between and amongst themselves, and to rig bids submitted to customers of Puerto Rico freight services.”
In addition to these jailed executives, the three carriers – Sea Star, Crowley, and Horizon – all pleaded guilty to violating the Sherman Antitrust Act in numerous other areas during 2011 and 2012, and were fined a total of 46.2 million dollars.
The Jones Act protects these companies – even though they are breaking the law, and strangling the economy of Puerto Rico.
A BROAD SPECTRUM OF SUPPORT
There is a growing chorus for Jones Act reform…and outright repeal.
The World Economic Forum and the World Bank issued a joint report, which found the Jones act to be the most restrictive cabotage law in the entire world – and therefore should be repealed.
The US International Trade Commission (USITC) found that in 1996, the Jones Act cost the US economy an estimated $1.3 billion. A subsequent USITC study projected an annual $656 million benefit to the US, if the law were repealed.
Even the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in a 40-page report in 2012, found that the Jones Act is hurting Puerto Rico. Here are some of its findings:
The New York Times has gone on record, in support of Jones Act reform in Puerto Rico.
The Washington Post abhors the Jones Act, entirely.
TWO KEY POLITICIANS…AND A BATTLE PLAN
Republican Senator John McCain has repeatedly attempted to repeal the Jones Act.
Republican Congressman Gary Palmer tried to amend the PROMESA legislation, so that it would repeal the Jones Act in Puerto Rico. He accompanied this with a press release.
McCain and Palmer should file a joint bill to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, or to repeal the Jones Act entirely.
This should be accompanied by a massive public education campaign, and a “Jones Act March” from Orlando to Jacksonville, Fl.
The U.N., the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the World Bank, and other international organizations should be informed – aggressively and repeatedly – on the urgency of Jones Act repeal.
JUSTICE AND COMMON SENSE
All of the following will happen, if the Jones Act is removed from Puerto Rico:
If the U.S. is serious about helping Puerto Rico, it must remove the Jones Act from around its neck.
This is not rocket science. It is justice and common sense.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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