The PROMESA bill and its Financial Control Board are widely opposed in Puerto Rico. Over fifty organizations – including union leaders, university professors, community and environmental activists, artists, students and lawyers – formed an island-wide coalition against it.
Yet according to the Somos El Futuro conference, PROMESA is “the first step on the road to fiscal stabilization and eventual rebound for the island’s struggling economy.”
These exact words appear in the description of its closing day panel on November 13, 2016. The Somos El Futuro panel also promises to “present some of the best thinking on where our collective efforts can be directed.”
But what “thinking” can be expected, if Somos El Futuro has already decided that PROMESA offers “the road to fiscal stabilization and economic rebound” in Puerto Rico? What “collective efforts” can be directed, if the planning process has already been tainted in favor PROMESA?
As Judge Juan Torruella eloquently stated to the Colegio de Abogados (the Puerto Rican Bar Association), the Financial Control Board (FCB) is a collection agency for bondholders and Wall Street interests. Its mission has nothing to do with the “rebound” of Puerto Rico.
When Somos El Futuro positions the FCB as an agent “economic development,” then Somos begins to lose its own credibility with people on the island, and with the fifty organizations that view the FCB as a collection agent.
A CARIBBEAN DICTATORSHIP
If PROMESA were about “economic development” then it would have included a Jones Act exemption for Puerto Rico, which would have immediately created thousands of shipping jobs on the island (instead of Jacksonville, FL).
If it wanted to “re-vitalize” the economy of Puerto Ricans, it would not advocate for a $4.25 minimum wage.
If it wanted to “promote” industrial growth, it would have included tax incentives for small businesses owned by Puerto Ricans…not just 20-year tax give-aways to US billionaires like John Paulson and Nicholas Prouty.
Instead of any of these measures, the PROMESA Financial Control Board, in a short 30-minute meeting on September 30, declared its jurisdiction over the entire Puerto Rican economy.
Here is a partial list of the sectors which are now under FCB control:
(a) electricity and power (PREPA)
(b) water and aqueducts (PRASA)
(c) highway and transportation
(d) public housing
(e) port authority
(f) convention center
(g) public finance
(h) housing finance
(i) municipal finance
(j) Economic Development Bank
(k) Government Development Bank (GDB)
(l) Industrial Development Company
(m) Tourism Company
(n) Public Finance Corporation
(o) State Insurance Corporation
(p) Children’s Trust Fund
(q) Sales Tax Authority (COFINA)
(r) Public Private Partnership Authority
This is not an “economic development” model. It is a model for economic take-over and domination.
Nearly one hundred years ago, a writer declared that Puerto Rico had become “a factory worked by peons, fought over by lawyers, bossed by absent industrialists, and clerked by politicians.”
Now in 2016, nothing much has changed. Through its PROMESA legislation, and an alleged “debt” of $72 billion, the US is doing the exact same thing…all over again.
To call it “Promesa” is an insult to the intelligence.
To call it “the first step on the road to fiscal stabilization and eventual rebound,” as the Somos El Futuro conference did, is another insult to the intelligence.
It is also a betrayal.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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