FMPR Denuncia la Junta de Control Fiscal
PR Debt Crisis UPDATE
INDebt THE NEWS PR Crisis
by Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan President, National Lawyers Guild
List of recent information about the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico.
( ) http://www.noticel.com/noticia/189264/nacecoalicion-ciudadana-contra-la-junta-de-controlfiscal-video.html .
Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, FMPR en su pagina de Facebook: March 22, 2016: La FMPR esta tarde en la actividad contra la Junta de Control Fiscal. Esa Junta viene a garantizar el pago de la deuda de los bonistas y NO a garantizar los derechos y beneficios de la clase trabaja-
dora. Tal como en Detroit, miles de trabajadores hace dos años quedaron desprovistos de beneficios marginales, beneficios de leyes especiales, sus pensiones recibieron recortes draconianas y se eliminaron los sistemas de Retiro a otros trabajadores, sólo le resta a la clase obrera, organizarse para vencer.
Call To Action On Puerto Rico continued from previous page the context of providing the best service for paying the bondholders. It will be a Board with powers above those of the governor, the legislature and the courts of Puerto Rico. It will be mark a historic step backward for our country where we will return to the Puerto Rico of the 30’s. Because our political and economic subordination to the United States does not allow us as a people to control our natural resources, this Board will have the power to dispose of all of our natural resources, including our beaches, with the supposed intention of paying the $73 billion debt.
cial trade agreements with other nations in the Caribbean and around the world in order to develop our own economy. We can’t even control the food products which enter our country nor their prices because the US forces Puerto Rico to use its merchant marine which is the most expensive one in the world. It is for these reasons that we call for unity in order to fight not only against these diﬃcult moment in our homeland, but to seek a solution to our colonial situation. We believe that the only thing that can create the possibilities of a solution benefiting our country is independence. We know that not everyone agrees with this perspective but, brothers and sisters, the time has come to analyze, discuss and face our fear of assuming our historic and, above all, human right to be free.
This immoral and unpayable debt is the product of policies that are designed to maintain Puerto Rico in a state of increasing indebtedness and are geared towards privatizing services that are strategic to Puerto Rico’s national development such as education, health care, electricity and potable water among others. The colonial status of Puerto Rico does not allow our people to seek the necessary solutions to the crisis. Our co- Puerto Rican community in front of the midtown headquarters of John Paullonial status does son & Partners to denounce and demand an immediate end to the controvernot allow us to sial hedge fund manager’s predatory practices in Puerto Rico. enter into benefi- Photo: Marina Ortiz, August 2015.
Juracán Newsletter - April 2016 - A Call to Action on Puerto Rico
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Call To Action On Puerto Rico
A Call to Action on Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Day Parade of Newark, NJ Video Presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uwt0bnrHYg
By Lourdes B. García Call to Action on Puerto Rico In the summer of 2015, Wall Street was shaken by the biggest municipal bond default of the U.S. when Puerto Rico defaulted on a portion of the $73 billion it owes to bond holders. The governor of Puerto Rico stated that the debt was unpayable. On July 13, 2015 a call went out by long-time Puerto Rican activists in New York to other Puerto
ing the debt with the same credit agencies. Meanwhile, the credit agencies were and are stubbornly opposed to any process that renegotiates the debt and insist upon the implementation of austerity measures and strict compliance with the debt payments they established. That in the last 20 years alone, foreign corporations operating in Puerto Rico have reaped over 600 billion dollars in tax free
: By Angelo Falcón The NiLP Report (Updated March 15, 2015) (http://bit.ly/1qyJyZ1)
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/puerto-rico-government-default-bill-222104 $4.25 http://waragainstallpuertoricans. com/2016/04/15/minimum-wage-in-puerto-ricowill-be-lowered-to-4-25-per-hour/
Read more: http://www.politico.com/ story/2016/04/puerto-rico-bill-democrats-gop-222140#ixzz46KCqXkmZ
Protest at New York’s 26 Federal Plaza in solidarity with similar protests on the same day in Puerto Rico to denounce the proposed Financial Control Board and Colonialism. Photo: Marina Ortiz, March 22, 2016.
http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/politica/ nota/juntafederalprofundizaladiscriminacioncolonialhacialaisla-2189001/ “
( ) http://www.noticel.com/noticia/189202/juez-federal-advierte-la-promesa-cuca-una-reaccion-violenta-documento.html ’ http://waragainstallpuertoricans. com/2016/04/19/a-guided-tour-of-puerto-ricosfinancial-control-board/
Rican social and political activists to come together to respond to the current economic crisis aﬀecting the island and the attacks on working people by Wall Street financial institutions and wolves. A Call to Action on Puerto Rico emerged out of that initial meeting with a mandate to develop a plan of action and solidarity with our people. From the beginning we agreed: With the governor of Puerto Rico when he stated that Puerto Rico’s debt is unpayable. When faced with the current fiscal crisis, the government of Puerto Rico initially stated that the debt was unpayable only to later begin a patchwork process of renegotiat-
profits 10 per cent of which would suﬃce to pay the otherwise unpayable debt. For decades, Puerto Rico was presented as the showcase of the Caribbean, with a false economic development model, that created a fiscal paradise with tax exemptions to big North American corporations which annually generated billions of tax-free dollars in profits. The colonial government of Puerto Rico was able to maintain its façade of a model for the Caribbean region, as long as it could issue bonds and obtain loans, though with increasing interest rates and costly agreements imposed by the credit agencies.
If you have not been following the atrocity of what is happening in Puerto Rico, let me catch you up. Over the past few weeks, Congress has released several bills in response to the economic crisis. While they vary in the degree of federal control, breadth and scope of debt restructuring and extension of federal programs and policies to the island, there continue to be extremely troubling aspects that would further devastate the already impoverished island. But more than that - the version introduced by the House Republicans, called PROMESA, that continues to be debated, would deepen the colonial grip so much so that any eﬀorts at personal, communal or collective sovereignty in the form of human rights struggles, labor protections, anti-violence movements, and economic development would remain permanently out of reach. Why? Because the legislation would eliminate basic labor protections like federal minimum wage, require additional drastic cuts to public services and funding of critical programs (like education and healthcare) and infrastructure (like roads and hospitals), serve primarily to ensure repayment to creditors and still maintain corporate tax credits and “incentives.” All while being topped with the imposition of a federal oversight board composed of private sector (read creditors) interests who would retain ultimately control over all fiscal decisions and policies, in eﬀect undermining any pretense of democracy in the colony, and who would not be accountable to any elected oﬃcials, including the Governor and much less to the people of Puerto Rico. It would devastate what is left of the Puerto Rican economy, contributing to the massive forced migration, economic depression and resulting gentrification and privatization of the island. All legislation introduced includes fundamental flaws, such as the federal fiscal control board, and don’t address the the fact that the economic crisis is rooted in a political one - colonialism. The lack of sovereignty and self-determination inhibits Puerto Rico from enacting economic policies geared at sustainability, retaining island residents and even growing its economy for the benefit of those who live on the island, not investors, creditors or US policy makers. Colonialism is one of the most aggressive forms of violence at the nation state level, and can only happen with our complicity and silence.
continued on page 3 A Call to Action on Puerto Rico - Juracán Newsletter - April 2016
¿Quién le debe a quién? Por Don Rafael Cancel Miranda. Quiero hacer una pregunta que se cae de la mata, pero que de seguro caerá en un vacío. La pregunta es: ¿Qué hacen los supuestos líderes gubernamentales de la colonia de Puerto Rico que no le exigen al departa-
mento del Tesoro de Estados Unidos que pague la inmensa deuda que tiene con el pueblo de Puerto Rico? Desde el momento en que nos invadieron, el 25 de julio de 1898, los yanquis empezaron por devaluar nuestra moneda en un 40 por ciento, lo que llevó a la quiebra a muchos puertorriqueños y favoreció a los invasores. El mismo primer gobernador que le impusieron a Puerto Rico, Charles Herbert Allen, vio el potencial de hacer una fortuna convirtiendo la agricultura puertorriqueña en una de monocultivo del azúcar, y así Allen hizo una gran fortuna. Mientras en otros países el ejército estadounidense paga una fortuna por mantener bases militares en territorio extranjero, en Puerto Rico no paga-
ron un centavo por las bases que tuvieron en Culebra, Vieques y muchos otros pueblos de la Isla. Incluso alquilaban el uso de esas bases para los entrenamientos de las fuerzas militares de otros países. De la misma manera, no pagan nada por las instalaciones que aún mantienen en suelo puer-
torriqueño. ¿Cuándo nos van a pagar por la contaminación que dejaron en Vieques y Culebra, causa de una altísima incidencia de cáncer en esos municipios? ¿Cuándo nos van a pagar por el agua que se robaron para abastecer su base militar Roosevelt Roads y los miles de millones de dólares que se han robado bajo las Leyes de Cabotaje, millones que usan para sostener su marina mercante? ¿Cuándo nos van a pagar por la destrucción de nuestra economía, de la cual se llevan más de 60 mil millones de dólares anualmente, para favorecer la suya? A lo anterior podemos añadir el uso de nuestro territorio nacional para experimentar con el agente naranja, el uso de nuestras mujeres para experimentar con pastillas anticonceptivas, la esterilización Juracán (Hurricane) is the God of thunder that lives in El Yunque rainforest according to our ancestors, the native Taino.
Vol. 1, No. 1 - April 2016 Juracán is a newsletter that exposes the manifestations and the nature of US colonialisms on the people of Puerto Rico. Colonialism does not only have political implications it is evident in everyday life, work and thought. Colonialism is one of the most aggressive forms of violence at the nation state level. Juracán is the voice of the Puerto Rican independence and progressive movements
We call on Juracán, so that with the strength of its winds it will help us push the invaders out of our territory. Juracán is published and distributed by A Call to Action on Puerto Rico. Like Our Page on Facebook: “A Call to Action on Puerto Rico” Follow us on Twitter: @PRCalltoAction
Juracán Newsletter - April 2016 - A Call to Action on Puerto Rico
de miles de puertorriqueñas, el uso de soldados puertorriqueños y afronorteamericanos para experimentar con el gas mostaza, la inyección de células cancerosas en pacientes recluidos en el Hospital Presbiteriano por el infame Dr. Cornelius Rhoads, bajo los auspicios de la Fundación Rockefeller, y la emigración forzosa de miles de boricuas por la situación colonial. La lista es larga, pero, sobre todo, para mí vale más un puertorriqueño o una puertorriqueña que todos los buitres de Wall Street. ¿Cuántos puertorriqueños jóvenes han muerto en sus guerras de agresión contra otros pueblos? Esa deuda jamás la podrán pagar. En un tiempo, Wall Street promocionaba a Puerto Rico llamándole Puerto Rico, Profit Island, USA. Es tiempo ya de que no vayamos a Washington a limosnear, sino a exigir que nos paguen lo que nos deben. El gobierno estadounidense es la causa principal de la crisis financiera que vivimos y, por lo tanto, no tiene derecho a imponernos condiciones para que paguemos tal o cual deuda, y sí que debe cumplir con la obligación de pagar lo que le debe al pueblo puertorriqueño, que es muchas veces más de lo que le podamos deber a los buitres de Wall Street. ¡O nos ponemos de pie o moriremos de rodillas! 1 de abril de 2016 P.D. Respetuosamente le sugiero al Colegio de Abogadas y Abogados de Puerto Rico que presenten el reclamo del Pueblo de Puerto Rico ante los tribunales internacionales. La imposición de una “Junta de Control Fiscal” –una humillación más a nuestro pueblo– solo sirve el propósito de culpar a los boricuas por el descalabro fiscal del país y ocultar la responsabilidad primaria del gobierno de Estados Unidos.
Call To Action On Puerto Rico continued from page 1 That austerity measures aimed at eliminating the labor rights gained by our people such as reducing the work day, reducing or eliminating the minimum wage, dismantling the retirement system and other measures such as increasing the sales tax, reducing education and health services for our people, are a detriment to the quality of life of the people of Puerto Rico and to the strategic development of the country’s economy. Thus, these measures are not a solution. Today we see how Wall Street and the vulture funds seek to impose their inhumane demands, by utilizing their powerful influence within government structures, in the courts and in the mass media to guarantee payment of the immoral and odious debt, with no concern for the deterioration of our quality of life. We understand Puerto Rico’s political subordination as a colony of the United States cuts across the problem, in other words the situation which Puerto Rico is undergoing is more than a mere fiscal crisis. It is a crisis of the colonial model and of our political subordination to the U.S. Congress where we are seen as a territory or possession which belongs to but is not a part of the U.S. This colonial regime was imposed upon our country following the 1898 military invasion and occupation that Puerto Rico was subjected to by the United States army. We also understand that the root of the problem is the colonial status of Puerto Rico as echoed in the UN Decolonization committee resolution on Puerto Rico adopted on June 22, 2015 which states “the condition of political subordination prevents
Puerto Rico from taking sovereign decisions to attend to its serious economic and social problems including unemployment, marginalization and poverty.” In less than a year Call to Action has organized and participated in a series of protests, actions and activities to educate about and denounce our situation. We have created a FB page and a Twitter account where we post information daily about the crisis; we have organized protests in Wall Street, protests in front of the vulture funds, protests in front of the oﬃces of the Puerto Rico government and protests in front of the Federal Building in NY. We have been in constant communication with groups in Puerto Rico and here in the US and have coordinated protests and denounced events with them. We have sent solidarity messages to groups in Puerto Rico such as Playas Pa’l Pueblo and the FMPR when they have developed actions. We also alerted groups on the island that a Summit of investors and hedge funds was being held at the Convention Center of Puerto Rico this past February. We have given radio and newspaper interviews and published articles and press releases, as well as organized educational forums such as this one among a host of other activities we’ve organized. We are planning a Day of Solidarity with Puerto Rico on June 18 and are planning to make a presentation at the UN Decolonization hearings on June 20th. We are also contemplating the possibility of taking a delegation to Puerto Rico to meet with community groups, trade-unions and political organizations to discuss and document the eﬀects of the crisis on our people.
Puerto Rico’s ﬂag ﬂies high over Wall Street. Photo: Luis Cordero, December 2, 2015.
Now more than ever our people must unite in order to confront the Federal Fiscal board which seeks to take control of our homeland and which will make decisions that will affect everyone in Puerto Rico. The Federal Fiscal Board will be an entity with the power to determine the management of public funds, payments or non-payments under collective bargaining agreements and the assignment or the elimination of assigned funds to government agencies, all within
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Contact Us Editorial Board: Luis Cordero Santoni [email protected]
Manuel Melendez Lavandero [email protected]
Puerto Rico Fiscal Crisi panel discussion in New York’s El Barrio with panelists from left to right: Nelson Denis, author A War Against All Puerto Ricans; Mercede Martinez, President of the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico (FMPR); Lourdes Garcia and Manuel Melendez Lavandero, A Call to Action on Puerto Rico; Angel Jaramillo, President of the Electrical Workers Union of Puerto Rico (UTIER); and not pictured, Natasha Lycia Ora Banan, President of the National Lawyers Guild. Photo: Luis Cordero, January 26, 2016.
A Call to Action on Puerto Rico - Juracán Newsletter - April 2016