The Puerto Rican Financial Crisis, an American Crisis

After following some recent coverage on Democracy Now and a piece on Bloomberg entitled Here Are the Winners and Losers of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis(Spoiler Alert: Puerto Rican people lose. American corporations win.), I’ve been thinking about Puerto Rico.

Living in California, I don’t know too many Puerto Ricans. I grew up around a lot of beautiful families from Puerto Rico, impossible not to in back NY. I never really paid much attention to the politics. It’s sad how the US treats its commonwealth.

Map Puerto Rico

Greece’s financial crisis is in the news a lot right now. Their banks and ATMs have been closed and will remain closed at least a couple more days. Imagine that for a second?!

Meanwhile Puerto Rico is $72B in debt. They don’t seem to be getting much support from their colonizer, even though its debt is mostly owned by American hedge funds. All sorts of American corporations have setup shop in PR — e.g. they have more Walgreens per square mile than anywhere in the US and more Walmarts per square mile than any place in the world. In the world!?

As a colony/commonwealth, they can’t declare bankruptcy (like Detroit did in 2013). Not being a sovereign nation, they cannot renegotiate their government debts (like Greece can).

Oh yeah, what’s worse than a crumbling economy where the future is uncertain All that, plus guns! Puerto Rico tops all regions of world for firearms murders as a percentage of all homicides – 94.8%. It’s followed by Sierra Leone. PR doesn’t get the privileges of a US state, but that doesn’t stop National Riffle Association from recently setting up their 51st chapter.

There are so many generations of Puerto Ricans in the US. It’s a beautiful island I hope to visit one day with a rich culture that has shaped a lot of this country’s culture.

Ever since the US invaded PR in the Spanish American War, Puerto Rican problems are American problems.