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Program Information
 Building Bridges 
 Weekly Program
 Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg  
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Fighting the Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico
Antonio Carmona Reis, a social science professor at the University of Puerto Rico, a militant with the Association of University Professors and a pro-independence activist.

Puerto Rico has a poverty rate approaching 50 percent, and a public debt that amounts to over $20,000 dollars per inhabitant. With its poverty rate, more than double that of the United States poorest state Mississippi Puerto Rico had serious long-term economic problems that, like its current massive public debt, have been historically papered over. Most of the media attention on Puerto Ricos debt has focused on technical issues relating to the solvency of municipal bonds and austerity measures. Ignored is the history of how U.S. policies have resulted in more than three and a half million Puerto Ricans being affected by its colonial status. The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is the United States colony, that it decided to take by force 117 years ago, and has since treated like a resented orphan it has consistently undernourished politically and economically. Puerto Ricos current fiscal crisis is, in this sense, really a crisis of American colonial policies.

Meanwhile amidst the poverty and debt, the hedge fund vultures and Wall Street banks and lawyers are circling Puerto Rico. They, are, sensing a fiscal death spiral they can feed off and care little about the consequences for millions of residents as they manipulate a financial system devoid of any social conscience. The board appointed to oversee Puerto Ricos debt restructuring is turning the islands recession into a depression, of a magnitude seldom seen around the world. Unemployment, already at 12.4 percent, is soaring. The plan, which puts the creditors interests above those of the islands economy and people, has created a debt/death spiral and growing resistance to it by Puerto Ricans who are suffering under its yoke.
produced by Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash -
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