The Financial Crisis of Puerto Rico & Direct Consequences

Compañeros lists the various organizations working with us to focus and resolve this crisis. You'll notice how each section there is further subdivided into a distinct webpage where posts or publications from each organization addresses this crisis from their respective contexts.  Our visitors and members of our site (and Chapter) gain the strategic advantage of a broad range of insight and depth as well as the contacts gained resulting from this unifying approach.

This page will be referencing different articles from nuestros compañeros which address this complex challenge.  The union of various organizations dedicated to resolving this issue is a work in progress. The problem which we confront is the result of a series of incidents that were not merely mistakes but intentional decisions of theft and abuse going as far back as Columbus himself.  It is easy to intuit how any sequence of events or decisions affect an individuals life; it is much harder to comprehend however, how a nation undergoes such events especially one as old as Puerto Rico (which from Columbus forward) is 500+ years old AND BEFORE Columbus as Borínquen/Boriken is, at least in one estimation from an expert, at least 3 - 6 thousand years older than that!  A history which comprises an extremely complex mix of peoples, and experiences.

This page is one place where the exploration of how this crisis came to be morphs into a process of intelligent focus and strategy for advancing what can be done now to address it.  Our first post on this page is from the NPRC.

Distinguishing hyperlinks from highlighted text:  Hyperlinks change color and appearance, or have an underline appear beneath a phrase in response to when your finger or your cursor passes or moves over that selection.  However text which is merely highlighted for emphasis, does not change.

Derick Centeno, Webmaster

The following video aired January 5, 2017.

January 17, 2017: Oscar Lopez Pardoned.  Download details here.

Received from the NACOPRW National Committee Chair on the Puerto Rican Crisis, Past NACOPRW National President Ada Lopez, please read below:


Washington D.C. - Today the National Puerto Rican Coalition Inc. (NPRC) expressed its strong opposition to H.R. 5278 given its Machiavellian control board and its lack of long term economic development frameworks necessary to assist the 3.5 million American citizens that live on the island of Puerto Rico. The bill called "PROMESA" is being marketed by Republicans, Democrats, and The White House as -- the best option given the political environment in Washington D.C.

"First let me begin by praising the incredible efforts by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi and his staff, that given their limited political power due to Puerto Rico's unequal footing in Congress, they have worked tirelessly to achieve the best deal possible for the American citizens they represent. We hope folks on the island recognize they need Pierluisi's experience, statesmanship, and intellectual acumen to continue to steer Puerto Rico out of its murky water. We also praise Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Robert Menendez, and Senator Dick Durbin for anchoring the demand to defend American democratic values," stated Rafael A. Fantauzzi the President & CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition.

"Knowing the ins and outs of DC, this bill is yet another shameful dismissal of the situation Puerto Rico has been in since 1898. In our assessment it is crystal clear that the aggressive financial control board crafted by Congress and supported by the Obama Administration is a Trojan horse that will set the island back to the times of the sugar cane barons. Congress, The White House, and political candidates cannot continue to bamboozle the American citizens of Puerto Rico by maintaining that self- determination is up to them and then invoking the territorial clause from the Constitution to justify the creation of a control board to support the corporate welfare of Wall Street Hedge Fund companies. American citizens understand financial hardship, they also understand that their representatives in Congress must do everything possible to improve their financial outlook. Congress is NOT the corporate headquarters of Hedge Funds firms. Any justification to accept such an imperial control board is not compromise, it is lack of courage to engage in truth to power," stated Fantauzzi.

Webmaster Note:  Click here to download the above NPRC announcement for your direct review and share it with friends.


In case you missed the program remembering the 50th Anniversary of the Division Street Riots, held on June 9, 2016 @ the San Lucas United Church of Christ, you can see the video produced by the Community Access Channel (CAN-TV) below.

The moderator of the programs Dr. Jacqueline Lazú, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul University. Speakers/panelist included Carlos Castro, a community organizer present at the 1966 riots and at the table during the ensuing negotiations with Mayor Richard J. Daley; Omar Lopez, community organizer in Humboldt Park during the riots and current Director of CALOR; Delia Ramirez, current Humboldt Park community leader and Deputy Director of Community Renewal Society.
Some members of the National Puerto Rican Agenda expressed an interest in knowing more about the United Nations Decolonization Committee Hearings on Puerto Rico. This is relevant to us because it gives us an idea on what may be the best way to work against to ensure that Promesa does usurp what we believe to be Puerto Rico's right to self-rule.
Below is a comment from the site of one  activist organization and the book War on Puerto Rico.
I am including a summary and links to website War on Puerto Ricans (inspired by book) below:
The claim that Puerto Rico had achieved self-government in 1952 has been refuted by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the US , the terms of the President and congressional actions . The executive and the judiciary US have said that PR is a territory in which the ultimate power resides in the US Congress . Congress in turn makes that power effective through legislation that imposes on the government a super  government PR Board. Undoubtedly , the US has accepted that PR does not have its own government or national sovereignty.
In conclusion , Puerto Rico is a colony as defined by international law or remains a Non-Self Governing Territory under Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter . Whether one or the other , the US government must accept the reconsideration by the General Assembly Resolution 748 of 1953 , in light of Resolution 1514 (XV ) of 1960 and the 35 resolutions of the Decolonization
 Original Comment " El reclamo de que Puerto Rico había alcanzado gobierno propio en 1952 ha sido refutado por las decisiones del Tribunal Supremo de EUA, las expresiones del Presidente y las acciones del Congreso. El poder ejecutivo y el poder judicial de EUA han expresado que PR es un territorio en el cual el poder último reside en el Congreso de EUA. El Congreso a su vez hace efectivo ese poder mediante una legislación que le impone al gobierno de PR una Junta supra gubernamental. Sin duda, EUA ha aceptado que PR no tiene gobierno propio ni soberanía nacional. En conclusión, Puerto Rico es una colonia como lo define el Derecho Internacional o sigue siendo un Territorio No Autónomo de conformidad con el Capítulo XI de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas. Sea uno o lo otro, el gobierno de EUA, de be aceptar la reconsideración por la Asamblea General de la Resolución 748 de 1953, a la luz de la Resolución 1514 (XV) de 1960 y las 35 resoluciones del Comité de Descolonización."
The link to view what transpired at the UN (and their decision on Puerto Rico) on June, 20, 2016 is available by clicking here.  Derick Centeno, Webmaster.
On June 22, 2016 an article appeared in the Sun Sentinel, "Let Puerto Rico Help Itself" by Jaime Estades.
Derick Centeno, Webmaster
June 16, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) delivered a speech today on the Senate floor in which he cautioned his colleagues against simply rubberstamping a bad House bill to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, and instead work to improve PROMESA to ensure it fulfills its promise.     

Full text of the Senator’s remarks:

“M. President, I rise today to be a voice for the 3.5 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico.

“I rise so their concerns for themselves, their families, and their livelihoods will be heard — to ask that we improve the House-passed legislation known as PROMESA.  “It means 'promise' in English, but the only thing the House bill promises the people of Puerto Rico is years of subjugation at the hands of an anti-democratic control board.

“All of us in this Senate are faced with an immediate and serious choice, one which will have profound consequences on the people of Puerto Rico for a generation. 
“I’ve said from the beginning that any solution needs a clear path to restructuring.  It needs an oversight board that represents the people of Puerto Rico — their needs, their concerns — and acknowledges and respects their democratic rights as Americans.

“But — sadly, M. President — the legislation passed by the House last week falls far short, far short of what we need on several fronts.  Instead of offering a clear path to restructuring, it creates more obstacles.

“It creates a supermajority, 5-2 vote by an unelected Control Board that could derail the island’s attempts to achieve sustainable debt payments.  Without any authority to restructure its debt, all this legislation will do is take away the democratic rights of 3.5 million Americans and leave the future to wishful thinking and a prayer that the crisis will somehow be resolved.

“But even if the Board allows restructuring, it will come at a steep price, and that price is the right of self-governance.

“In return for being able to rework its debts, the people of Puerto Rico will be forced to relinquish their fundamental right to govern themselves and make their own decisions.  The very same rights that we fought a revolution to secure 240 years ago.

“This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who read the House Natural Resources Committee report, which was unequivocal when describing the vast powers this Control Board will exercise.  In an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it states: ‘The board would have broad sovereign powers to effectively overrule decisions by Puerto Rico’s legislature, governor and other public authorities.’  “Let me repeat, ‘broad, sovereign powers, to effectively overrule decisions’ made by the elected government.

“CBO went on to say: the Board can ‘ … effectively nullify any new laws or policies adopted by Puerto Rico that did not conform to requirements specified in the bill.’  “So not only can the Control Board set budgets and fiscal policy, it also has the power to veto laws.  Essentially, this means that the Board combines the legislative powers of Congress with the veto powers of the Executive, to form an omnipotent entity, the powers of which are virtually unprecedented. 

“As the bill’s own author noted in the Committee Report: ‘ … the Oversight Board may impose mandatory cuts on Puerto Rico’s government and instrumentalities – a power far beyond that exercised by the Control Board established for the District of Columbia ... ’

“The fact that the Puerto Rican people will have absolutely no say over who is appointed or what action they decide to take is blatant neocolonialism.  Instead, their fate will be determined by seven unelected, unaccountable, members of a so-called ‘Oversight Board’ that will act as a virtual oligarchy and impose their unchecked will on the island.

“If the board uses the super powers in this bill to close more schools, shutter more hospitals, cut senior citizens’ pensions to the bone, if it decides to hold a fire sale and put Puerto Rican natural wonders on the auction block to the highest bidder, if it puts balanced budgets ahead of the health, safety and wellbeing of children and families similar to how the control board travesty that unfolded in Flint, there will be nothing the people of Puerto Rico or their elected representatives can do to stop it.
“And, of course, the bill doesn’t stop there.  It also provides an exception to the federal minimum wage for younger workers, and it exempts the island from recently finalized overtime protections.  At a time that we’re working to increase worker’s wage, PROMESA goes the opposite direction and actually cuts workers’ wages.  “It amazes me that the ‘solution’ to get Puerto Rico’s economy growing again is to ensure that workers make even less money.

“No, lowering people’s wages is not a pro-growth strategy.  It’s a pro-migration strategy.  All it would do is intensify out-migration to the mainland where Puerto Ricans are eligible for a higher minimum wage and common sense overtime protections.

“I’ll remind everyone that the people of Puerto Rico have fought on behalf of America from World War I to the War on Terror and if you ever looked at the names on the Vietnam Memorial, you’d find a disproportionately high number of Puerto Rican names etched in that solemn, black stone.

“These men and women who gave their lives — and still serve — so that we may remain the Land of the Free — will go back to a home where their freedom and the right to self-governance will be stripped.  These heroes deserve the same rights and respect as citizens in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Utah or any other state in the nation.  “But what this bill tells the people of Puerto Rico is that, though they may be good enough to wear the uniform of their country — good enough to fight and die to defend this country — they’re not good enough to make their own decisions, govern themselves, and have a voice in their own future.

“Now, I’m not advocating to completely remove all oversight powers.  To the contrary, I support helping Puerto Rico make informed, prudent decisions that put it on a path to economic growth and solvency.  But despite its name, the ‘Oversight’ Board envisioned by this bill doesn’t simply oversee — it directs, it commands.  It doesn’t assist, it controls.

“But, M. President, the Senate has an opportunity to change the situation; we have a chance to improve this bill situation and strike the right balance.

“I plan to offer a number of targeted, commonsense amendments to restore a proper balance and ensure the people of Puerto Rico have a say in their future, and to temper the powers of the Control Board and give the Puerto of Puerto Rico more of a say of who’s on the Board.

“M. President, I know — as all of us know — success is never guaranteed, but at the very least, the people of Puerto Rico deserve a thorough and thoughtful debate on the Senate floor.  I do not take lightly, nor should my colleagues, a decision to infringe upon the democratic rights of the people of Puerto Rico.

“The 3.5 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico, and their five million family members living in our states and in our districts, deserve more than the Senate holding its nose to approve an inferior solution.  And I’m pleased to say that this sentiment is bipartisan, as I just sent a letter with Senator Wicker to Senate leadership asking for a full and thorough debate.

“I take Majority Leader McConnell at his word when he said we ‘need to open up the legislative process in a way that allows more amendments from both sides’ and I’m hopeful he will honor his commitment.

“Like some of my colleagues, I was once a member of the House of Representatives and have enormous respect for that chamber.  But I didn’t get elected to the Senate to abdicate my responsibility and simply rubberstamp whatever bills come out of the House.

“I would hope that we immediately call this bill up for debate and do what we were elected to do, fix problems and make the lives of the American people better.

“With that, M. President, I yield the floor.”  
Ada N. Lopez
Strategic Alliance International
Chicago, IL
Bob Menendez's speech against PROMESA on behalf of Puerto Rico is immediately above.
Please view information below. and disseminate to all NACOPRW members, very Important.
Saludos y Abrazos y muchas Bendiciones.

National President, Wanda Gordils
Chicago Chapter Delegate
As you all have likely already heard, disappointing news from Washington, D.C. today as the Supreme Court for the second time in a week, rejected the government of Puerto Rico’s attempts to exercise its self-governing powers, nullifying the island’s legislative enactment of its own bankruptcy provisions to enable it to work its own way out of more than $20 billion in public debt.  The five-to-two ruling in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust  further limits Puerto Rico’s plenary powers by precluding the island from trying to unilaterally restructure the huge financial debt incurred by its public utilities. Today’s ruling leaves the island’s financial fate entirely in Congress’s hands, which as you likely know last week belatedly passed a  negotiated bi-partisan compromise that now awaits Senate action.

Last week in a separate case, Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle,  the Supreme Court in a 6-2 ruling affirmed a prior decision by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico that two defendants could not be prosecuted for illegal gun sales in a Puerto Rican court if they had already been charged in federal court given such prosecution would violate “double jeopardy” which protects defendants from being tried twice for the same crime. The court ruled that the commonwealth could not independently prosecute individuals after they had faced federal charges for the same crime, finding that the island was not a separate sovereign entity as are states for purposes of criminal prosecution. The court determined that "separate sovereigns" doctrine, which treats criminal law in the court systems of the 50 states and in the federal courts as separate because of the sovereign status of each, does not apply to Puerto Rico which derives its limited authority from Congress. The Court was not swayed by arguments that Puerto Rico should be treated as a sovereign because it functions as a sovereign, with a congressionally approved constitution and its own laws and government. It was also not swayed by arguments that the United States had inadvertently created sovereignty by declaring to the United Nations that Puerto Rico is a self-governing "commonwealth" in 1953.

Case Update: Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust

Message from the Editors:
The opinion in this case can be found here:

Opinion Analysis: Puerto Rico's debt woes left to Congress.

View Case.
You can download the entire document addressing the PROMESA crisis by clicking here.
Derick Centeno, Webmaster.
From: Ada Lopez

Dear All ,
Below is a letter regarding the bill PROMESA that usurps the powers of the democratically government of Puerto Rico. This was sent by Juan Cartagena, Executive Director of PRLDF- Latino Justice.  I will send the letter from Hispanic Federation in the next email ( see highlighted sentences)
Today the NHLA Subcommittee on Puerto Rico considered the following statement of principles regarding H.R. 5278, the PROMESA Bill, addressing the current fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico.  This is in line with the recommendations that we approved and shared with the NHLA board before. After deliberation the Subcommittee agreed to forward this statement to the full board.  The statement will put the NHLA on record as to what it deems to be the collective sense of our members on the critical issues in this legislative process.

In addition the Subcommittee recognizes that a number of amendments have been circulating among NHLA members and in particular a sign-on letter drafted by the Hispanic Federation – attached hereto – summarizes these  amendments that may work to significantly improve H.R. 5278.  We urge the individual members of the NHLA to review the amendments and, if you deem it appropriate, to make your respective organizational positions known to Congress and the White House as soon as possible.

In summary, we recommend that the NHLA adopt the Statement of Principles and we urge that the organizational members of the NHLA take additional steps regarding the proposed amendments as summarized by the Hispanic Federation. If you have any questions or suggestions please reply directly to me. Thank you
Juan Cartagena
  PROMESA: NHLA Statement of Principles
On July 16, 2015 the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda urged Congress and the President to take responsibility over the financial crisis besetting Puerto Rico and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens. We were clear that a path towards restructuring its debt was critically important.  We cited the painful budget-cutting and tax generating measures Puerto Rico had already taken and recognized that they were insufficient on their own to solve the crisis.  We noted that an equitable treatment of the Island’s participants in Medicare and Affordable Health Care programs was necessary to avoid the next economic catastrophe.  We proposed a number of additional steps that Congress and the Executive Branch could pursue all with the concomitant plea for urgency to address what was then, and is now, a humanitarian crisis that was preventable.
In May the House of Representatives finally proposed bi-partisan legislation, H.R. 5278, the PROMESA bill.  The bill is imperfect.  The bill includes the re-establishment of debt restructuring powers for the Commonwealth while creating a federally-appointed oversight board to ensure the island’s finances are in order moving forward. Unfortunately, this proposal also includes several troubling provisions that usurp the powers of local government and threaten to punish low-income earners.
 As veterans of many congressional deliberations in the Congress we fully appreciate the steps taken to date to initially address this crisis.  We applaud the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan to submit a bill for debate.  But we coalesce around the following principles in any legislation that purports to solve Puerto Rico’s current fiscal crisis:
1.       Restructuring:  Any legislation must provide the means for a fair, orderly, court supervised, restructuring of Puerto Rico’s public debt that address the claims of all of the islands creditors and prioritizes the funding of its pension systems;
2.       Austerity:  Puerto Rico has aggressively adopted significant austerity measures from the elimination of basic public services, to deferring contributions to its pension funds, to adopting the highest sales tax of any U.S. state or territory.  Further draconian austerity measures are not only unwarranted, they are counter-productive.
3.      Labor:  Any legislation must provide a modicum of basic labor protections and employee rights comparable to those enjoyed by all U.S. workers.  Eliminating protections for fair wages induces out-migration and reduces spending which creates an additional lag on the island’s slow-growing economy.
4.      Control Board:  This new element of the proposed legislation is a marked departure from Congress’ last imposition a similar financial control board for Washington, DC with respect to the role that affected residents play in its deliberations.  Any such control or oversight board must include representation of key economic sectors of Puerto Rican society.  Indeed, for this legislation to be successful, Puerto Ricans must be part of the solution.  Any fiscal control or oversight board must respect the autonomy and right to self-governance of the people of Puerto Rico.
5.      Health Financing Disparities:  Legislation must address the imbalance in health care reimbursements that exist in Puerto Rico as compared to the States even when Island residents pay the same Medicare taxes.  To ignore these disparities is to invite the next catastrophe that will surely impede economic recovery.
As we said in July 2015, from the perspective of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, what affects Puerto Rico affects all Latinos in the United States.  We urged immediate action back in July so as to prevent this burgeoning humanitarian crisis.
Congress and the President now have a legislative framework with which to take action.  They must do so consistent with the principles we have outlined herein.  Indeed, the NHLA will monitor the vote on this bill as part of its legislative scorecard efforts in this Congress.
The interests of American citizens, and indeed of all Americans, is now at stake.  We urge responsible action now.
Ada Nivia Lopez
Nacoprw, Committee for Puerto Rico
Chicago Chapter
From: Ada Lopez

Date: Wed, June 08, 2016 6:32 pm

Dear All,
Leaders from different sectors in  Puerto Rico announce a massive mobilization and call for civil disobedience in an effort to stop the federal government from establishing a fiscal control board with unprecedented powers . They would have the authority to veto decisions made democratically by the Puerto Rico's legislation, lower minimum wage, fire  public sector workers and more ...and yet they have made no provisions to create jobs.  Please read the article below to prepare for tomorrow evening. You can use google translate for English or go to today's El Nuevo Dia under " Locales".
Anuncian movilización en contra de junta de control
Cientos de organizaciones de diversos sectores se unen en contra de la medida congresional

Actualizado en: miércoles, 8 de junio de 2016 - 1:30 PM

POR  Alex Figueroa Cancel.
La concentración en contra del ente federal tendrá lugar en el Coliseo Roberto Clemente de San Juan. 25 de junio a la 1:00 de la tarde.
Cientos de organizaciones convocaron hoy a una movilización masiva y a la desobediencia civil para impedir la aprobación e implementación de la junta de control fiscal federal en Puerto Rico.
En conferencia de prensa, representantes de 200 entidades sindicales, ambientalistas, sin fines de lucro, religiosas, comunitarias y la diáspora puertorriqueña, así como la alcaldesa de San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, anunciaron que unirán sus esfuerzos a través de lo que denominaron como la “Concertación Puertorriqueña contra la Junta de Control Fiscal Federal”.
La abogada Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, una de las portavoces, indicó que las estrategias de movilización comenzarán con la celebración de la “Primera Asamblea del Pueblo en Contra de la Junta de Control Fiscal”.
La concentración tendrá lugar en el Coliseo Roberto Clemente de San Juan el próximo 25 de junio, a la 1:00 de la tarde.
“Esta concentración se conforma de todos los sectores de la sociedad puertorriqueña que han expresado su oposición a esta junta de cobro que quiere aprobar el Congreso”, sostuvo Rivera Lassén.
Además de entender que agravará la situación colonial de la Isla, la oposición a la junta se debe a que el contenido del proyecto congresional “va a implicar que se profundice la crisis económica del país porque contiene severas medidas de austeridad, según el también portavoz del grupo, José “Tato” Rivera Santana.

“Va a implicar la venta de activos públicos, de recursos naturales y potencial destrucción, que se reduzcan los beneficios de los retirados y va a implicar que haya despidos de empleadas y empleados públicos, lo que conllevará también el despido de empleados en el sector privado”, agregó.
Por su parte, Luisa Acevedo, quien también es portavoz de la Concertación, indicó que las estrategias de oposición consistirán en dos fases:

La primera será evitar el proyecto de la cámara federal 5278 se convierta en ley. A tales fines, dijo Acevedo, van a cabildear y enviar cartas a los grupos de interés y políticos en Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos. Además, realizarán actividades de llamadas y envíos de correos electrónicos en masa.
“También vamos a realizar protestas en lugares estratégicos”, señaló Acevedo.
Explicó que, de aprobarse la junta, concertarán acciones de desobediencia civil para impedir que entre en funciones.
“Vamos a luchar contra la implantación en nuestro país de esta junta de cobro perversa de los buitres”, mantuvo. “Las acciones irán dirigidas a impedir su funcionamiento. Para esto, realizaremos actos de desobediencia civil en Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos”.
De igual manera, exigieron a los políticos a unirse a las manifestaciones en contra de la Junta o exponerse a enfrentar expresiones de rechazo.
Mientras, Rivera Santana hizo un llamado para que los funcionarios no acaten las instrucciones de la junta.  
“La desobediencia no solo va a ser la que conocemos tradicionalmente, sino que va a implicar también desobedecer las instrucciones y las órdenes de estos siete procónsules que van a ser nombrados por el presidente de Estados Unidos”, añadió Rivera Santana.
En los próximos días comenzarán una campaña para el recogido de firmas de personas que estén dispuestas a participar de las actividades de desobediencia civil una vez la Concertación avise que se necesite su activación.
Durante la conferencia de prensa, la alcaldesa de San Juan firmó uno de los documentos de compromiso para participar en los actos de desobediencia civil.
 Las formas que uno lucha en contra de la junta es no acatando las decisiones injustas antidemocráticas y coloniales que esa junta imponga y que, en nuestro caso, toque a los gobiernos municipales”, dijo Cruz Soto, quien adelantó que también hará desobediencia civil “en la calle”.
“A nadie le gusta estar privado de su libertad”, comentó la funcionaria. “Pero nadie debe quedar cómodo en su casa. Nadie debe permitir que otro luche por ellos. Todos debemos asumir la responsabilidad”.
Agregó que también apoyará las gestiones y actividades en contra de la junta gracias a una resolución “tripartita” de la Asamblea Municipal que le autoriza a usar recursos del Municipio de San Juan para tales fines.
Según publicó hoy El Nuevo Día, se espera que la pieza legislativa vaya a votación en el pleno mañana, jueves, aunque el liderato de la Cámara buscaba votos para la medida en momentos en que representantes de sindicatos, sectores conservadores y firmas de inversión presionaban para evitar que sea aprobada.
Los influyentes grupos se oponen a la junta por el poder que tendría para reestructurar la deuda pública.  La legislación permite imponer una junta federal de siete personas designadas por el presidente de Estados Unidos –cuatro de ellas probablemente recomendadas por los líderes republicanos del Congreso-, que pudieran ir por encima de las decisiones fiscales, presupuestarias y de legislación general del Gobierno de Puerto Rico.
A cambio se le otorga a la junta poder para promover acuerdos voluntarios o por la vía judicial para reestructurar la deuda pública de la Isla, que ronda los $70,000 millones en el caso del Gobierno central y otros $44,000 millones en los sistemas de retiro gubernamentales.
Para permitir esa reestructuración, el proyecto impondría una moratoria en el cobro de deuda pública que se extendería hasta mediados de febrero, aunque pudiera ampliarse otros 75 días.

Ada Nivia Lopez
NACOPRW, Chair Committee for Puerto Rico
From:  Ada Lopez

Date: Wed, June 08, 2016 10:29 am

Competing Reactions to the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA)

Posted on May 27, 2016
On Wednesday, May 25th, the House Natural Resources Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Rob Bishop (D-UT), passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) with 29 votes in favor, 10 votes against, and 1 member voting present.
Since that vote was taken, a number of groups have come forward to recognize that while the bill would not have been their first choice for Puerto Rico, the legislation should progress. Others – from both sides of the political spectrum and from within and outside of Puerto Rico – have simply opposed.
Today, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) concluded, “we cannot forget that at the center of this crisis are the millions of families in Puerto Rico who are in urgent need of relief. They deserve our best efforts to give them the tools and resources to strengthen and stabilize their own economy. We remain hopeful that the House, the Senate, and the President together can craft and pass a bill that accomplishes just that.”
The HNBA noted in its statement that the organization supports the restructuring provisions in the legislation but would like to see additional changes, notably a reduction in the oversight board’s “seemingly endless powers over Puerto Rico affairs.” The HNBA emphasized that “any such mechanism, if ultimately adopted, must be respectful of the democratically elected officials of Puerto Rico, as well as its government institutions and the people who live and work in Puerto Rico.” The statement further explained that “the Board should include more participation from residents of Puerto Rico, either through appointment of a higher number of residents to the Board, or through a mechanism in which the Governor or the Legislature can recommend residents of Puerto Rico for appointment to the Board.” The HNBA also expressed concern about the provisions of the proposal requiring the Government of Puerto Rico to pay for the cost of the Board.
Many other prominent groups and elected officials have weighed in on the debate:

  • Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) voted in favor of the bill, calling it a “conservative solution.” He was quoted by El Nuevo Dia as saying that special interest groups fought against it in hopes of triggering a catastrophe in Puerto Rico which would force a taxpayer bailout of the territory. H.R. 5278, he said, will “restore stability and revive the economy of Puerto Rico” without any cost to U.S. taxpayers.

  • Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) opposes the bill, claiming that the oversight board reinforces a “colony-like” relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Sanders wants the Fed to buy Puerto Rico’s debt and free the territory from it, something government officials say they cannot legally do.

  • Congressman Charles Rangel (D-New York) countered Sanders by noting that “[a]s with so many other pressing matters, the senator is good at identifying a problem without providing a viable solution,” and that “[w]hat we have on the table is the best chance we have. There is no time for politicking. Too many have suffered already, and more will suffer if we fail to act.”

  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) press office curated a collection of quotes from a variety of leaders affirming that H.R. 5278 is not a bailout, and indeed will protect U.S. taxpayers from a bailout.

  • Congressman Doug Lamborn (R- Colorado) opposes the measure, explaining that “[u]nless the people and government of Puerto Rico change their free-spending ways, true economic revitalization will never take place.”

  • Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) is troubled by the degree of control granted the fiscal oversight board the bill will establish. “The priorities in this legislation simply do not match my priorities when it comes to honoring the people of Puerto Rico and trusting in their ability to rule themselves,” he said in a press conference.

  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva, (D-Arizona) said in a hearing that he shared some of the concerns his fellow legislators shared, but that he was still prepared to support the bill. “I wish this bill included a significant federal investment to stimulate the Commonwealth’s dying economy, but it does not. Calling this bill a bailout is a lie,” Grijalva said. “When measured against a perfect bill, this legislation is inadequate. When measured against the worsening crisis in Puerto Rico, this legislation is necessary.”

  • Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist for Vice President Biden and currently the Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities supports the bill, explaining that “[t]here’s no way any bill of this sort would pass this Congress without significant compromise and in a quid pro quo for the debt restructuring, the administration accepted the creation of an outside fiscal oversight board to implement the deal and monitor Puerto Rico’s fiscal and economic policy going forward. Given the extent to which the decades of fiscal mismanagement by the Puerto Rican government got them into this mess, the creation of this board is not de facto objectionable, a view accepted by various progressive supporters of debt restructuring.”

  • Peter Roff of U.S. News and World Report is calling PROMESA “typical Washington tripe.” Roff is calling for the “abolishment” of the minimum wage, collective bargaining, and public employee pensions.

  • Hillary Clinton says that she has “serious concerns” about the bill, including the minimum wage and pension factors as well as the oversight board itself.  She asks Congress to address those concerns as the bill moves forward.

  • The Center for a New Economy opposes the bill reluctantly, saying that it “imposes on Puerto Rico a very high cost in exchange for very uncertain benefits. It forces Puerto Rico to barter away its inherent power to make decisions about its own affairs in exchange for the opportunity of accessing a process which – after sorting more than 45 requirements, steps, and levels – may only allow us the possibility of having a court authorize us (or not) to restructure part of our debt.”

  • Twitter offers opinions ranging from “#PROMESA is a slap in the face to Puerto Rico” to “La #PROMESA de la prosperidad Americana.” It’s fair to say that there is no consensus in social media; some favor PROMESA, some oppose it on right-wing grounds (Puerto Rico doesn’t “deserve” it, for example, or it doesn’t support Wall Street sufficiently), and some oppose it on left-wing grounds (that it doesn’t support Puerto Rico’s workers, for example, or that the fiscal oversight board is undemocratic).

The wide disparity of opinions in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland may be a hallmark of the democratic process, but they may also presage a tough battle in Congress to get the bill passed. 

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From: Ada Lopez

Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2016 08:07:54 -0700

Dear All,

Below you will find a copy of an article which describes the reason Congressman Gutierrez and Menendez have amendments to  PROMESA.

Menendez, Gutiérrez Seek to Thwart House Puerto Rico Bill

Ryan Rainey   |   May 26, 2016
Two Hispanic Democratic lawmakers on Thursday said they will actively work to significantly change or sink a House bill to give Puerto Rico debt restructuring tools.
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois said at a joint press conference that the current legislation, H.R. 5278, does not provide for an orderly debt restructuring process and places too much power in the hands of a fiscal oversight board whose members are still unknown. That type of action continues neo-colonialist behavior that Gutiérrez said has been all too common throughout the mainland United States’ relationship with Puerto Rico.
Gutiérrez said he will “actively work” to defeat the current language in the bill, adding that he has met with officials such as Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, to muster opposition to the House legislation. Menendez also said a number of unnamed Democratic senators appeared interested in his reasons for opposing the bill at this week’s closed-door luncheon.
Menendez said there is no hurry to help passage of a bill in a short time, including before a July 1 payment is due. He believes that deadline is “about paying bondholders” nearly $1 billion.
“I don’t believe in being jammed for a bad bill. So our goal here is to wave our sabers early, and to see change,” he said.
Some of Gutiérrez’s comments also hinted at a dispute over the merits of the oversight board among politicians involved in the issue, depending on if they support Puerto Rican statehood, complete sovereignty for the island, or maintaining its current relationship with the mainland.
Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress, is a member of the island’s pro-statehood party and caucuses with Democrats, while Gutiérrez supports complete independence for the island. Another Puerto Rican party, to which Gov. Alejandro García Padilla (D) belongs, supports maintaining San Juan’s current arrangement with the mainland.
Gutiérrez chided Pierluisi for calling the current bill a precursor to statehood. Pierluisi is a supporter of statehood, and he has said the control board provisions in the debt restructuring bill could serve as “a bridge to a brighter future for Puerto Rico, a future that includes a 51st star being added to the American flag.”
“You think you’re going to have statehood [by] declaring Puerto Rico bankrupt?” Gutiérrez queried to reporters after the press conference. “I believe passionately in independence for Puerto Rico. I will not use this bill to promote my own personal position and ideological stance on the people of Puerto Rico.”

From Ada Lopez


Date: Tue, June 07, 2016 12:22 pm

I am also sharing another version of the legislation being put forward that will likely influence the negotiation process.
I am suggesting that we not only review PROMESA but the various versions that  have been developed.
Puerto Rico and the very fabric of its society is at stake we, as part of a diaspora that is 5 million strong can make a difference.
Here’s a link to the bill.

Let's  prepare for our meeting this Thursday night and send me your suggestions or questions.
Ada N. Lopez
NACOPRW , Chair Committee for Puerto Rico

Date: June 6,2016 at 6:26:41 PM EDT

You will find a summary of the PROMESA legislation responding to Washington's interest and the crisis in Puerto Rico.
We understand that large numbers of the  Puerto Rican people would welcome the oversight of fiscal matters but this PROMESA bill goes far beyond monitoring. This is sent to us by the NACOPRW National Chair of the Committee for Puerto Rico, Ada Lopez.
To prepare for the meeting that is going to take place this week,  Ada sent out a summary of PROMESA.   Melina Olma and Sarah Melendez of the  NACOPRW DC Metro chapter have been working to get us the most recent update.
Also, in lieu of an alternative bill, Ada has also included an article published by NILP where you can read the response of  labor organizations to PROMESA.
Please take some time to read and reflect on what the  implications are for the people of Puerto Rico and for Puerto Rico itself.
Webmaster Note:  Here is a list of other essential articles.

Ryan strikes Puerto Rico debt deal with Obama Administration


New Puerto Rico debt relief bill bolsters fiscal board power

Republicans Near Agreement with Treasury Department on Puerto Rico bill

New Puerto Rico debt bill to be unveiled in U.S. Congress

New Puerto Rico Debt Bill Comes as Timing for Action Slips

Puerto Rican debt crisis angers, saddens Nuyoricans and Boricuas

The White House and Paul Ryan Agreed to a Deal on the Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rican Youth Fight For Their Home As Congress Prepares To Act

Hacerse de la vista gorda ya no es una opción

Republicans' Refusal To Help Puerto Rico Could Cost Them The 2016 Election

Bill Clinton stumps for Hillary in ailing Puerto Rico, vows to push equal treatment

Making Lemonade from Lemons

Haciendo tripas de corazones por Lin Manual Miranda

What may be Puerto Rico's Best Hope

NY Times Editors back Puerto Rico Bill

The Puerto Rico Rescue we need

Addressing Liberal Worries

‘Bonistas del Patio’ reiteran respaldo a la junta de control fiscal

Saving Puerto Rico with a compromise debt plan is the only hope

Puerto Rico's Gubernatorial candidates offer competing visions on Debt

Dark money groups spending tops $714,000 against Puerto Rico debt relief bill

Puerto Rico's FIscal Health Worse Than All 50 U.S. States: Report

8 Questions and Answers about Puerto Rico

Bad deal bodes ill for Puerto RIco

Puerto Rico has already been "Berned" by Sanders' Policies

Public Pension Dominoes

More in debt than Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands Rejects Rescue

Puerto Rico DC Metro Chapter June 1, 2016 Meeting PROMESA Summary