The $72 billion economic crisis in Puerto Rico has awaken several political parties to begin working in a united effort to seek independence from the U.S. failure to bail them out.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
June 17, 2016
New York, New York – On Friday, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the Mayor of San Juan in Puerto Rico along with Marco Antonio Rigau, the President of San Juan Municipality and Carlos Ávila Pacheco, the Vice-president of the San Municipality will present their petition for independence from the United States of America at the United Nations. The petition for independence would request decolonization from the U.S. as the initial first step and then would be recognized as the Associated Republic of Puerto Rico allowing the people of Puerto Rico to decide on what the United Nations accepts for recognizing Puerto Rico’s independence. Soto and the petitioners for Puerto Rico’s independence are members of the Popular Democratic Party and will most likely joined the Puerto Rico Independence Political Party in seeking independence from U.S. control. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a vote of 297-127, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economically Stability Act (PROMESA), which creates a federal financial control board with no oversight and accountability by Congress itself. The bill now goes before the U.S. Senate for approval. President Barack H. Obama wants the U.S. Senate to approve the PROMESA Act as soon as possible. The bill helps to protect the 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico from further reductions in critical public services while giving Puerto Rico the tools it needs to restructure its debt, according to Obama.
The Senate should act expeditiously to review and vote on this measure, so the President can sign the bill into law ahead of the critical July 1st debt payment deadline.
PR has until July 1 to make a $1.9 billion debt payment to the U.S. government. PR has a 45% poverty rate, high unemployment rate and schools around the island will begin closing due to the debt crisis. PR can’t file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy under a U.S. colony status.
Puerto Rico’s elected officials, the governor including local and municipal governments oppose the PROMESA Act because it creates a JUNTA of seven members to work with corporations that Puerto Rico is in debt with and the Puerto Rican officials have no authority to challenge any financial decision made by the JUNTA.
On Saturday, June 25, citizens from Puerto Rico will hold a mass gathering and rally against the PROMESA Act of JUNTA at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In November 2012, Puerto Rico in a two part non binding referendum asking if voters wanted change or status quo, 54% of Puerto Rican voted for change while 46% wanted to remain as status quo. About 61% of Puerto Ricans voted for statehood, while 33% voted for a Sovereign free association and 5% voted for independence.
The U.S. Congress would have to approve statehood for Puerto Rico making it the 51st state, but has not acted.
Congress in the past gave $700 billion to Wall Street for an economic bailout, but won’t approve a $72 billion bailout for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is going through an economic crisis and virtually most of its education and medical institutions are facing closures or have been shut down, Puerto Rican Police are not getting paid and the government has a huge debt.
Update: On Monday, June 20, the UN Committee for Decolonization approved a resolution for Puerto Rico’s right for independence or decolonization presented by Humbert Rivera Rosario, the Ambassador from Cuba with the co-sponsored by Bolivia, Edcuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria and Russia.
The Puerto Rico UN Decolonization resolution will go before the United Nations Organization General Assembly for approval.