Saturday, June 10, 2017

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico

[Beatriz] Rosselló and her supporters of the governing Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) hope to take that spirit of unification to the polling stations on Sunday when Puerto Rico holds its fifth plebiscite on statehood in 50 years. The ambition is to deliver such a resounding cry from the island’s 3.4 million citizens that Washington will be forced to take Puerto Rico on board as the 51st state of the United States.

A whole state of brown people? Never happen.
It is a forlorn hope, coming at a time of singular anguish for this Caribbean territory that has been an unincorporated US territory since the Spanish-American war of 1898. The island is struggling after a decade-long recession that has seen its unemployment rate reach 12.4%, compared with 4.7% in the US as a whole, and its overall debt burden and pensions shortfall rise to more than $120bn.
A POOR state of brown people. Never, never happen.
Last month, Beatriz Rosselló’s husband Ricardo hit the nuclear button and took Puerto Rico into a form of bankruptcy – the first time in history that any US state or territory had done so. That followed the imposition last year by the US Congress of a fiscal control board that exerts federal oversight of the island’s finances, imposing excruciating cuts to public services including education, health care and benefits.
Because even though austerity has not worked anywhere else in the world, it will work in Puerto Rico?
“The current status is shameful,” he says. “It is shameful to be a colonial territory in the 21st century, and for the United States to own one. The nation that is the standard bearer of freedom and democracy should not be in this position – it’s hard to go to Cuba and Venezuela and voice your support for democracy when you’re not doing it at home.”
Not hard at all. Hypocritical, maybe. But not hard.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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