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<nettime> Puerto Rico faces 'wholesale' colonial-style takeover to ease
nettime's_repo_man on Wed, 1 Jun 2016 19:56:56 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Puerto Rico faces 'wholesale' colonial-style takeover to ease $2B debt


[While the mandarins at the IMF are having second thoughts about the
effects of neo-liberalism, its policies are still very popular with
the moneyed elites. Actually, they are implemented in terms so harsh
it would be comical, if it wasn't actually devastating. Next up,
Puerto Rico. This must be a form of creditor's madness that Graeber
wrote about.]

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/27/a_colonial_takeover_proposed_puerto_rican

AMY GOODMAN: Thatâ??s called "Puerto Rico faces 'wholesale'
colonial-style takeover to ease $2B debt." Can you talk about this?

JUAN GONZÃ?LEZ: Yes. Well, as weâ??ve discussed here on the show
several times, theâ??Puerto Rico has been asking for nearly a year
now for Congress to give it legal authority to be able to restructure
about $72 billion in debt that the government of Puerto Rico has said
it cannot pay. So, finally, after months and months of wrangling
and negotiations between Democrats and Republicans and the Obama
administration, on Wednesday the House Natural Resources Committee, by
a vote of 29 to 10, a bipartisan vote, did finally pass a bill that
will now go to the full House, and then, if it passes there, to the
Senate.

And that bill does have a restructuring mechanism in it for Puerto
Rico, but itâ??s now really a poison pill, because in addition to
providing the restructuring that the government of Puerto Rico has
asked for, itâ??s also requiring the government of Puerto Rico to
submit to a virtual total takeover of its economy. It would require
a new oversight board of seven people, four of whom will be chosen
basically by the Republicans; even though they will be appointed by
the president, the president has to take them from lists provided by
Speaker Ryan and by the Senate majority leader. So itâ??s basically
going to be a Republican-dominated board. And most importantlyâ??this
is what rankles most people on the islandâ??is that only one of the
seven actually has to be a resident or have a primary business in
Puerto Rico. So youâ??re in essence creating a board, an oversightâ??a
control board that will be of nonresidents of the island running the
financial affairs of Puerto Rico for the next five, possibly 10 years.

AMY GOODMAN: Is the model for thisâ??I mean, is this similar to
Washington, D.C.?

JUAN GONZÃ?LEZ: Itâ??s similar, but much more tougher. In fact, there
was a memo that the Republican leadership provided to the hearing
on Wednesday that said that this wasâ??that boasted that if Puerto
Ricoâ??s government "fails to comply with the fiscal plan" that the
board approves, the board "may impose mandatory cuts ... a power far
beyond that exercised by the Control Board established [for] the
District of Columbia." So, the Republicans are boasting that this is
much tougher than the District of Columbiaâ??s control board. And,
more importantly, in the District of Columbia, all five residents
of the controlâ??all five members of the control board had to be
residents of the District of Columbia. This is an outside board
nowâ??and this outside board will control not only the finances. Any
new laws that are passed have to be approved by the control board. Any
capital investments on the island have to be approved by the control
board.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, it soundsâ??

JUAN GONZÃ?LEZ: Itâ??s a complete takeover of the islandâ??s economy.

<...>

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