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    Default What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    THIS IS FOR : TargeT .. HOPE ALL IS WELL. WE ARE ALL JUST AS VULNERABLE AS

    PUERTO RICO, BE PREPARED, REMEMBER SELF RELIANCE, INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY.

    What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico Who STILL Don’t Have Power

    04 Dec 2017 Posted by Daisy Luther

    http://www.thelastamericanvagabond.c...people-puerto-
    rico-still-dont-power/


    If you ever wondered what it would look like if the grid collapsed here on the
    mainland, the island of Puerto Rico is a tragic, real-life case study. These
    stories show us what life is like for more than a million people who STILL don’t
    have power and running water nearly 3 months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria
    devastated their communities.

    According to a website showing the status of utilities on the island, four
    months after two hurricanes wrought havoc, 32% of Puerto Ricans are still
    without power and nearly 10% are still without running water. However, even
    those who have running water must boil it.

    But statistics don’t tell the real story.
    At first, it was a war zone.

    In the first days after the grid went down, chaos ruled. I vetted as many of the
    stories as I could and concluded:

    …there is very little food, no fresh water, 97% are still without power, limited
    cell signals have stymied communications, and hospitals are struggling to keep
    people alive. There is no 911. Help is not on the way. If you have no cash, you
    can’t buy anything. As people get more desperate, violence increases. (source)

    A friend wrote this post about her family on Puerto Rico:

    “My family has lost everything. My uncle with stage 4 cancer is in so much pain
    and stuck in the hospital. However, conditions in the island are far worse than
    we imagined and my greatest fear has been made reality. The chaos has begun. The
    mosquitos have multiplied like the plague. Dead livestock are all over the
    island including in whatever fresh water supplies they have.

    My family has been robbed and have lost whatever little they had left. The gang
    members are robbing people at gunpoint and the island is in desperation. People
    are shooting each other at gas stations to get fuel.

    They’re telling us to rescue them and get them out of the island because they
    are scared for their lives. We’re talking about 3.5 million people on an island,
    with no food, no drinking water, no electricity, homes are gone. Family if you
    have the means to get your people out, do it. This is just the first week.
    Imagine the days and weeks to come. These are bad people doing bad things to our
    most vulnerable.

    Imagine a few weeks with no resources and the most vulnerable become desperate.
    What are you capable of doing if your children are sick and hungry? We have to
    help.” (source)


    Other outlets told the same stories. Jeffrey Holsman wrote a guest post for USA
    Today, sharing what he was witnessing:

    The sounds of automatic weapons firing were audible Tuesday evening in San Juan.
    We were told the National Guard had arrived, but I hadn’t personally seen a Jeep
    or uniform in the streets yet.

    Total darkness has swallowed Puerto Rico, as it has every night since the
    12-hour monster Hurricane Maria roared across the island with more than 20
    inches of rain and 155 mph winds. I’ve never experienced anything like it: wind
    and rain from every direction, pounding continuously.

    Now, a war zone best describes what’s left of what was once an emerald green gem
    in the Caribbean…

    …after Maria, we face hours upon hours of waiting in lines for gas that might
    not be there; hours waiting in bank and ATM lines for money that might not be
    there; hours waiting in grocery store lines for food that might not be there.
    (source)

    It only took a few days before people began to become ill from the tainted
    water. There were many injuries related to the storm, as well as the aftermath,
    and these crises were compounded by the lack of medical assistance.

    Only 11 of 69 hospitals on Puerto Rico have power or are running on generators,
    FEMA reports. That means there’s limited access to X-ray machines and other
    diagnostic and life-saving equipment. Few operating rooms are open, which is
    scary, considering an influx of patients with storm-related injuries. (source)

    People were unable to acquire essential medications and treatments like
    dialysis.

    And this was only the beginning.
    One month after the disaster…

    A month after Hurricane Maria, the situation was still very grim. Three million
    residents were still without electricity and one million were without running
    water. (source) Officials reported 54 deaths attributed to the hurricane but
    many said that the number was far higher. The mayor of San Juan said that the
    number of cremations had doubled and put the actual casualties at closer to 500
    people.

    She said: “It appears, for whatever reason, that the death toll is much higher
    than what has been reported. What we do know for sure is that people are being
    catalogued as dying…natural deaths”.

    She explained that some of the deaths relating to the hurricane were being
    reported as “natural causes” because the storm was the secondary factor in their
    death.

    For example, some people reportedly suffocated after their respirators stopped
    due to the power cut…

    …The bodies were cremated before the medical examiner could determine whether
    they should have been included in the official death toll.

    Accurate information about the figure is particularly important in the US
    because if a person dies in a natural disaster, their family has the right to
    claim federal aid. (source)

    Evelyn Milagros Rodriguez, a librarian at the University of Puerto Rico wrote a
    first-person account of the aftermath during the first month post-Maria. She
    reported that the books, computers, and furniture at the library were mostly
    ruined and that mold had invaded the building. Here’s an excerpt from her story:

    What outsiders are unable to see, perhaps, is that an entire culture has arisen
    around the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Maria – one with typically
    catastrophic traits: material scarcity, emotional trauma, economic catastrophe,
    environmental devastation.

    Puerto Ricans are now facing a dramatically different way of life, which means
    our relatives and friends in the diaspora are, too.

    Nothing about life resembles anything close to normal. An estimated 100,000
    homes and buildings were demolished in the storm, and 90 percent of the island’s
    infrastructure is damaged or destroyed. Not only are there shortages of water
    and electricity but also of food, highways, bridges, security forces and medical
    facilities.

    It’s dangerous to venture outside at night. An island-wide curfew was lifted
    last week, but without streetlights, stoplights or police, driving and walking
    are dangerous after dark.

    The official tally of missing people varies, with police tallies ranging from 60
    to 80 right now. Considering Puerto Rico’s hazardous conditions and limited
    health care services, that number is sure to rise. We are well aware that
    epidemic diseases, including leptospirosis and cholera, could come next. Health
    concerns are further stoked by the delays and disarray of the various federal
    agencies tasked with handling this emergency. (source)

    Leyla Santiago, a CNN journalist who had been born in Puerto Rico and still has
    family there, echoed the librarian’s story in her own report.

    Puerto Rico has also changed forever.

    The struggles are everywhere. And where there is help or supplies, there are
    lines, always lines.

    Some days, it would be people lining up for gas. And then for food at the
    supermarket. The longest lines were now to use the ATM.<

    I became numb to the lines quickly.

    When we passed another long one at the port, I didn’t think anything of it.
    Until it hit me.

    Thousands were lining up to leave Puerto Rico. I watched as an old man dragged
    an oxygen tank, while pleading with organizers to let him on that massive cruise
    ship now acting as a refugee transport. Another man lifted his shirt to show the
    scars from an operation, hoping it would convince the right people that he
    needed to get off the island. (source)

    Although unthinkable, it’s even worse in more remote areas of Puerto Rico.
    Despite their preparations, Rosana Aviles Marin’s elderly parents’ lives were
    devastated in their central mountain village.

    The winds of up to 155 miles per hour that roared across the island buckled the
    house’s walls and tore holes in the ceiling, letting in water that destroyed
    furniture, framed photos of Marin and her siblings, and brightly colored ceramic
    statues of Jesus.

    That wasn’t all it destroyed. The storm also downed power lines throughout the
    area, and Marin and her parents have been entirely without electricity for
    weeks. Much of their food went bad, they have no cellphone service, and local
    markets and restaurants remain closed. Her parents use a small diesel generator
    to power lights and, for a few hours per day, a small refrigerator. The rest of
    the time, she tells me during a recent trip to the area, “my parents live in
    darkness.” (source)

    The island’s major source of revenue has been tourism, and that has all but
    stopped since the hurricane. Considering how badly they were struggling
    economically before, that is just another blow to a place driven to its knees.

    The narrow blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan are deserted. Cigar shops
    are boarded up. Boutiques in bright colonial buildings are closed. ..

    …About a third of the hotels in Puerto Rico remain shuttered. Restaurants and
    shops are still without power. Beaches are closed for swimming because of
    possible water contamination.

    The high season begins in December, and tourism officials are hoping to lure
    some visitors, but that depends on when power is fully restored and how quickly
    hotels and attractions can repair the catastrophic damage. (source)

    It’s a Catch-22. Until the tourists return, many won’t be able to afford to
    restore their businesses. But until they restore their businesses, the tourists
    won’t return.
    Two months after…

    Two months to the date after Maria struck with a vengeance, only half of the
    residents of the island had power. The return of infrastructure began in the
    cities and wealthier areas. Those in poor or remote areas are still waiting.

    Billions of dollars were allocated by the government and millions has come in
    from private donors.

    Politicians have been in and out of the island and that has led to a spending
    law that provides $5 billion for Puerto Rico’s recovery and billions for
    government agencies providing disaster assistance. Projections are that a lot
    more will be needed.

    On top of that, millions has been raised and contributed by private groups and
    foundations and individuals.

    Cruz (the mayor of San Juan) said people from around the United States have been
    sending small donations, money orders, $50 or $10 attached to cards or pieces of
    paper. Some gave as much as $300 to $500.

    “We’re going to use it to rebuild homes, to make sure people have good drinking
    water, because even if it comes out of a faucet it has to be drinkable, to
    schools for children. Some of the schools have been in really bad shape.
    Twenty-five percent of what comes into the foundation goes to other towns
    outside of San Juan,” she said. (source)

    At two and a half months post-hurricane, PBS reported the following statistics:

    66 percent of power on the island has been restored
    93 percent of the island has access to water, but it remains on a boil
    advisory
    73 percent of cell sites are up and running
    982 survivors remain in 41 shelters across the island

    The island still looks like a war zone.

    Trash and debris from the storm remain a rampant problem. The U.S. Army Corps of
    Engineers reported it has removed more than 639,000 cubic yards of debris. But
    it is still tasked with removing at least 2.7 million remaining cubic yards.
    (source)

    Residents of the island are without resources and are at the mercy of FEMA…and
    government funding.

    Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren unveiled a bill that would
    provide $114 billion in aid to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands…

    [But] the package is unlikely to get a vote, analysts say

    Meanwhile, more than 200,000 people from Puerto Rico have arrived in Florida
    since Maria hit, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

    FEMA is now moving from response to recovery mode. FEMA is still providing daily
    food, fuel, and water to survivors of Maria, the longest such sustained
    distribution after a disaster in FEMA history. (source)

    You can get more details about the proposal here.
    And now, the return of electricity has been further delayed.

    Previously, Puerto Rican officials estimated that the island would have
    electricity again by December? It turns out they were wrong. Now it looks like
    everyone in Puerto Rico won’t have power until February… at the earliest.

    PREPA acting Director Justo Gonzalez cited “natural” and hurricane damage to the
    power grid that was initially unidentified as the reason for the delay of power
    generation.

    Others have said full power and other utilities will not be completely restored
    until March.(source)

    Between Puerto Rico’s economic problems and an aging grid, this isn’t a speedy
    process.

    Before the storm hit, I wrote an article predicting at least a 6-month wait
    before power was restored, and this was for a variety of reasons. I cited
    Philipe Schoene Roura, the editor of a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based newspaper,
    Caribbean Business, who wrote of the many reasons that it would take so long:

    “The lifespan of most of Prepa’s equipment has expired. There is a risk that in
    light of this dismal infrastructure situation, a large atmospheric event hitting
    Puerto Rico could wreak havoc because we are talking about a very vulnerable and
    fragile system at the moment,” Ramos added…

    …Francisco Guerrero (a fictitious name to protect his identity), a Prepa field
    worker for 23 years, said it would take months for Prepa to bring up Puerto
    Rico’s power system should a hurricane like Harvey strike the island.

    The lack of linemen and other technical personnel, as well as a lack of
    equipment—including replacement utility poles for powerlines and replacement
    parts—are the issues of greatest concern among public corporation employees, who
    say they risk their lives working with equipment in poor condition that provides
    them with little safety.

    Guerrero said that today only 580 linemen remain out of the 1,300 who were part
    of the workforce in previous years—and that’s not counting the upcoming
    retirement of another 90 linemen. Likewise, he said there are only 300
    electrical line testers to serve the entire island.

    The source also said that much of Prepa’s equipment dates back to the 1950s—and
    the more “modern” equipment that is still functional dates from the 1990s; in
    other words, it’s from the past century.

    “If a hurricane like this one [Harvey] hits us, the system is not going to come
    online, I’d say, in over six months. Right now, the warehouses don’t even have
    materials. I’m talking about utility poles and other stuff,” Guerrero explained.
    (source)

    It turns out that Rora was not exaggerating. But money and a dilapidated system
    aren’t the only problems. There is an issue of geography as well.

    Puerto Rico’s biggest power generators are on the south of the island, but most
    of its inhabitants live on the north side, primarily in San Juan. There are four
    high-capacity transmission lines that carry power from the south to the north,
    and they pass through the center part of the island, the region Marin calls
    home. The problem is that central Puerto Rico is mountainous, full of huge
    swaths of thick forest, and mainly reachable only by driving on terrifyingly
    narrow dirt roads.

    That makes it hard to reach those four vital lines even in the best of
    circumstances. In post-Maria Puerto Rico it’s even harder, because the center of
    the island was the region hardest hit by the hurricane. Since the government is
    trying to get power to San Juan first, that means those in the regions
    devastated most by the hurricane will be waiting the longest for power to be
    restored. Sánchez, the engineer, says workers would need to be flown in by
    helicopter to clear debris before repairs could even begin. (source)
    Would you be prepared for something like this?

    If you think something like this couldn’t happen to us on the mainland, you’re
    deluding yourself.

    Our grid isn’t in fantastic shape either. For years, people in the know have
    been warning that our electrical infrastructure is aging and unstable. It would
    cost us a mindboggling 5 trillion dollars to replace the decrepit system, and
    age isn’t the only threat. The possibility of an EMP strike could take it down
    permanently (and that threat seems more real every day as tensions with North
    Korea rise, due to the continuous provocations by the US government). If our
    grid was taken down by such an attack, it could kill 90% of Americans within the
    first year.

    We would lose

    Power.
    Refrigeration.
    Heating and cooling.
    Our economy.
    Fresh, running water.
    Medical care.

    The list could go on and on.

    Few people would be ready for an event that took out the entire infrastructure
    for an extended period of time. Learning from the real-life experience of others
    give us just a glimpse of what we could expect.
    Last edited by ramus; 5th December 2017 at 18:17.

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    I know of quite a few loggers and their trucks left northern Michigan to head to Puerto Rico via florida via ship. They were headed down to move and clean debris since they had pick booms on there trucks to load the piles of debris help the clean up operations.

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Not IF, but WHEN!! Thanks for the down-to-earth description of what is going on in Puerto Rico. I'm sure TargeT can "relate"! I'm still wondering if anyone has any clue as to the political "reason" for wiping out the island? There seem to be various "agendas" in play on this Earth right now. Thanks to Avalon one can inform oneself, up to a point!

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    HERE'S AN ARTICLE, FOXIE LOXIE, POSSIBLY A REASON RESIDES IN THE ARTICLE ,


    After a Century of American Citizenship, Puerto Ricans Have Little to Show for It

    https://www.thenation.com/article/af...o-show-for-it/

    MARCH 2017

    Puerto Rico has never been more than a profit center for the US. Now an unelected board governs the island as a de facto collection agency for hedge funds and Wall Street speculators.
    By Nelson Denis

    One hundred years ago today, on March 2, 1917, more than one million Puerto Ricans were granted United States citizenship. It wasn’t exactly a gift. Exactly one month later, on April 2, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany. The point of extending citizenship to Puerto Ricans was to get about 20,000 more bodies into the World War.

    The centennial of that dubious bestowal makes now a good time to kick the tires and see whether citizenship ended up being a vehicle for human development or a beat-up car that only benefited its dealer.

    After one hundred years of citizenship, US federal agencies control the island’s currency, banking system, international trade, foreign relations, shipping and maritime laws, TV, radio, postal system, immigration, Social Security, customs, transportation, military, import-export regulations, environmental controls, coastal operations, air space, civil and criminal appeals, and judicial code.

    After one hundred years of citizenship, the per capita income of Puerto Ricans is roughly $15,200—half that of Mississippi, the poorest state in the union. Yet in the last five years alone, the government raised the retirement age, increased worker contributions, and lowered public pensions and benefits. It also hiked the water rates by 60 percent, raised the gasoline and sales taxes (the latter to 11.5 percent), and allowed electricity rates to skyrocket. In 2013–14 alone, 105 different taxes were raised in Puerto Rico. But this was not enough.

    After one hundred years of citizenship, Puerto Ricans are prohibited from managing their own economy, negotiating their own trade relations, or setting their own consumer prices. Puerto Rico has been little more than a profit center for the United States: first as a naval coaling station, then as a sugar empire, a cheap labor supply, a tax haven, a captive market, and now as a a municipal bond debtor and target for privatization. It is an island of beggars and billionaires: fought over by lawyers, bossed by absentee landlords, and clerked by politicians.

    After one hundred years of citizenship, Puerto Ricans enjoy the media images of the American dream and the underside of the US Constitution. They are free to be poor, under-educated and unemployed; free to be invisible and unheard; free to lose their homes to Wall Street; free to flee the island in utter desperation, as hundreds of thousands have done in recent years.

    Sure, Puerto Ricans are free—free to be poor, under-educated, unemployed, invisible, unheard.

    After one hundred years of citizenship, Puerto Ricans know that that their homeland was invaded, its wealth exploited, its patriots persecuted and jailed. But they continue to suffer in solitude, their cause largely ignored even by those in the United States who generally pay attention to such suffering “abroad.” Separated by an ocean, a language, and a century of propaganda, they are more unnoticed than Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and more forgotten than Macondo, the town in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.

    For Puerto Rico, the legacy of the American Century is a schizophrenic existence. Puerto Ricans are both citizens and colonial subjects of the United States. They have a legislature whose will can be vetoed by Congress. They have been conscripted to take up arms and die on foreign shores for the United States, but they are not permitted to vote for its president. Now a board elected by nobody, either in the United States or in Puerto Rico, will govern the island as a de facto collection agency for hedge funds and Wall Street speculators.

    The 20th century opened with lavish promises for Puerto Ricans. On July 28, 1898, General Nelson Miles of the United States Army hoisted the Stars and Stripes atop the municipal flagpole in Ponce, on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, and told the island’s inhabitants that the United States had arrived “to bring you protection, not only to yourselves but to your property, to promote your prosperity…and to give…the advantages and blessings of enlightened civilization.”

    The words were magnificent, but their delivery depended upon the United States Congress, which has jurisdiction over the entire government and economy of Puerto Rico. In effect, Puerto Ricans are perpetually subject to the moods and whims of a few hundred politicians, over 1,500 miles away, in Washington, DC.

    The politicians were indeed whimsical. On the floor of the Senate, Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio insisted that Puerto Ricans “have no experience which would qualify them for the great work of government with all the bureaus and departments needed by the people of Porto Rico.” William B. Bate, a Democrat from Tennessee who had served as a major general in the Confederate Army, shared the most precise information. Puerto Ricans and Filipinos, he said, were “heterogeneous mass of mongrels…hostile to Christianity,” as well as “savages addicted to head-hunting and cannibalism.”

    From the very outset, then, a herd of misinformed senators viewed Puerto Ricans as too brown, dumb, and foreign to qualify as human beings, let alone United States citizens. This early de-humanization of an entire island was the precursor to a century and more of theft, usury, and deception.

    In a textbook illustration of Naomi Klein’s “shock doctrine,” Puerto Rico suffered an immediate barrage of economic hits. An 1899 hurricane leveled the island, destroying thousands of farms and an estimated $7 million worth of the year’s coffee crop. Rather than send relief, the United States government devalued the island’s currency by 40 percent. Overnight, by congressional whim, every Puerto Rican lost nearly half their net worth. In 1901, Congress imposed an unprecedented assortment of land and property taxes in order to pay for the “bureaus and departments” of Charles Herbert Allen, the island’s first US-appointed civil governor.

    Allen ruled for just over a year. Within weeks of sending his First Annual Report to President William McKinley, Allen resigned and rushed to Wall Street. As a vice president of two House of Morgan subsidiaries, he built the largest sugar syndicate in the world with a little help from his friends in Puerto Rico. By 1907, Allen’s company controlled 98 percent of the sugar refining capacity in the United States. Today his company is known as Domino Sugar.

    In short, Allen hard-wired the entire Puerto Rican economy for his own personal benefit, and injected over 600 US expatriates into the government of Puerto Rico. These expats then returned the favor, by delivering Allen a sugar kingdom.

    With crippled farms, higher taxes, and 40 percent less cash than they had before, Puerto Rican farmers soon lost their land. By 1928, 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s sugar cane farms were US-owned; four US-owned cane syndicates covered over half the island’s arable acreage. The insular railroad systems, trolleys, and the San Juan seaport were also US-owned, along with much of the island’s infrastructure.

    Thus, within one generation of the American occupation of the island, the promises to Puerto Rico regarding the protection of property, promotion of prosperity, and “blessings of enlightened civilization” were exposed as a complete sham.

    The financial control board is now the de facto government, banker, judge, jury, and executioner of Puerto Rico.

    The crony capitalism of the early 1900s was quickly institutionalized by the US Congress. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920—also called the Jones Act—required that all ships delivering goods to Puerto Rico had to be built in the United States and owned by United States citizens. The Jones Act is a de facto price-fixing scheme which enables US corporations to charge up to 20 percent more for all goods sold on the island. Due to this scheme, the same car costs $6,000 more in San Juan than on the mainland. The scheme has made this tiny island, smaller than Connecticut, a captive consumer market for US products. There are more Walmarts and Walgreens per square mile in Puerto Rico, than anywhere else on the planet, all selling US goods at a hyper-inflated profit.

    Until 2006, IRS code 936 provided US manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies in Puerto Rico with tax abatement deals. Now, in 2017, Acts 20 and 22 passed by the Puerto Rico legislature provide US corporations and wealthy investors with another tax abatement on all interest, dividend, and capital gains income. This tax haven status has enabled John Paulson—the hedge-fund billionaire, subprime mortgage speculator, and fervent supporter of Donald Trump—to buy the AIG building in Hato Rey, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, La Concha Renaissance Hotel, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, and the San Juan Beach Hotel. He has also invested in Banco Popular, the island’s largest bank.

    After the expiration of IRS 936 in 2006, municipal bonds became all the rage. Their triple tax-exempt status—from federal, state, or local taxes—offered a quick financial return with robust annual yields. Many of them violated Puerto Rico’s constitutional debt ceiling. Others were naked Ponzi schemes, issued as interest payments to well-connected bondholders. Still others were purchased for pennies on the dollar, by vulture funds that now insist on a full dollar’s profit. These financial instruments—as dubious as the “credit default swaps” and “collateralized debt obligations” of the subprime mortgage meltdown—have plunged Puerto Rico into a public debt of $72 billion, a daunting figure that amounts to almost three-quarters of the island’s gross domestic product.

    For over a century, one “economic development” scheme after another has been rolled down a red carpet stretching from Wall Street to San Juan. The latest caper is the Financial Control Board.

    Last year, through some celestial alchemy or Beltway coincidence, all three branches of the US federal government confirmed, on the very same day, that Puerto Rico is still a colony. On June 9, 2016, in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle, the US Supreme Court agreed with the Obama administration’s argument that Puerto Rico is a territorial possession of the United States, with no political or juridical sovereignty whatsoever. That same day, the House of Representatives passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) to create a financial control board empowered to manage the entire Puerto Rican economy.

    The financial control board is now the de facto government, banker, judge, jury, and executioner of Puerto Rico. It will supervise and approve the entire Commonwealth budget; reduce or eliminate public pensions; restructure the public workforce (meaning, fire government employees); preside over all leases, union contracts and collective bargaining agreements; and ensure the payment of debt obligations.

    The financial control board also has prosecutorial powers. It can hold hearings, demand evidence, secure government records, and subpoena witnesses—and anyone who fails to testify or appear can be held in contempt of court. This includes any public official in Puerto Rico, up to and including its governor.

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    Astoundingly, the financial control board can also receive gifts with no restriction on who gives them or in what amount. That this is an influence peddler’s dream apparently did not trouble the drafters of the PROMESA bill, or the 297 congressional representatives and 68 senators who voted for it. Equally astounding is that several members of the financial control board are the same bankers who helped to create, and profited from, the island’s current debt crisis.

    In their very first meeting, the financial control board announced its jurisdiction over the entire Commonwealth government and about two dozen state agencies, including the University of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Electrical and Power Authority, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, the central bank, the public retirement systems, the Housing Finance Authority, and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

    Under financial control board pressure, the Commonwealth has already announced the closure and sale of over 300 public school buildings and an impending cut of $300 million from the University of Puerto Rico budget. The financial control board has also requested a 10 percent cut in the government retirement system; an increase in tax collections and penalties; and cutbacks in health, education, and pension expenditures. A minimum wage cut to $4.25 for those between the ages of 20 and 24 is under discussion, and since Puerto Rico recently defaulted on bond payments of $312 million on February 1, 2017, a further wave of austerity demands is expected from the board.

    These cuts will still not be enough. The debt service alone on the island’s $72 billion debt will be nearly $6 billion annually: $4 billion on its general obligation bonds and $1.81 billion for the electric power authority and the aqueduct and sewer authority. With a population of more than 3.4 million, this means that every man, woman, and child in Puerto Rico will be paying more than $1,500 per year just to cover the interest on Puerto Rico’s public debt. Since per capita income barely exceeds $15,000, this would represents 10 percent of everyone’s personal income.

    With a shrinking tax base, Puerto Ricans are unable to meet this crushing debt burden. Eventually the FCB will convert any institutions burdened by unpaid debt into so-called P3s—public private partnerships—which should actually be called P5s: public-private partnerships for the plunder of Puerto Rico. One of these is already providing an outrageous return on investment to Goldman Sachs for the next 30-plus years, from tolls on the island’s busiest highways. By the time the FCB completes its mandate, the entire public infrastructure will likely be privatized, turning the island into one giant ATM in the Caribbean.

    Within six months of its creation, the extent of FCB power, jurisdiction, and willingness to inflict austerity have earned it a new and more intuitive name: Junta Colonial.

    On the island, opposition to the financial control board is vocal and widespread. As of June 2016 a campamento against the board, similar to the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park, has occupied the capitol grounds in San Juan. The campamento has grown continuously, spoken loudly, and is drawing international attention.

    Virtually every town in Puerto Rico—including San Juan, Fajardo, Ponce, Mayagüez, Arecibo, Aguadilla and the island of Vieques—has seen massive protests against the financial control board. Over 50 non-profit organizations and 18 labor unions have rallied and organized against it.
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    In a speech to the Puerto Rico Bar Association, Judge Juan Torruella—the longest-sitting federal judge in Puerto Rican history—thundered that “the main purpose of PROMESA is to establish a collection agency to collect the monies owed to the bondholders” and the imposition of a financial control board “represents the most disrespectful, anti-democratic, and colonial act that has ever been seen in the course of our relationship with the US.” Both statements received an equally thunderous standing ovation, from over 400 attorneys in attendance.

    During a rock concert in front of over 20,000 people last October, a man was arrested for replacing a United States flag with a Puerto Rican one, in protest against the FCB. As recently as February 23, thousands of demonstrators surrounded the capital building in San Juan to protest the FCB budget cuts to the University of Puerto Rico.

    In every corner of the island, public resentment is growing, and the strains of police containment along with it. It’s a flammable combination. The island is in turmoil, and with each new FCB austerity announcement, it comes closer to exploding.

    If it occurs, this explosion will be kindled by decades of frustration and a century of colonial solitude. After 100 years of citizenship, Puerto Ricans are being patronized to death. Exploited by bankers, deceived by politicians, ignored by journalists, they have nowhere left to turn.

    IT MAYBE THAT THEY DEFAULTED ON THERE DEBT, THIS WAS PAY-BACK ..
    Last edited by ramus; 5th December 2017 at 19:56.

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    @ramus

    "Billions of dollars were allocated by the government and millions has come in
    from private donors.

    Politicians have been in and out of the island and that has led to a spending
    law that provides $5 billion for Puerto Rico’s recovery and billions for
    government agencies providing disaster assistance. Projections are that a lot
    more will be needed.

    On top of that, millions has been raised and contributed by private groups and
    foundations and individuals"

    how much of the donated funds actually got to Puerto Rico/how much landed in private pockets?- shades of the Clinton Foundation in re: of the Haitian earthquake fund where only 5% of donated funds got to Haiti?

    my heart goes out to the Puerto Ricans- just wish I was able to help-

    Larry

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    UK Avalon Member Frenchy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    " After a Century of American Citizenship, Puerto Ricans Have Little to Show for It https://www.thenation.com/article/af...o-show-for-it/ MARCH 2017 "

    What an excellently-written article..................... except for the 1899 Hurricane ( Natural ? ) and the subsequent enslavement of the native people ;

    This article could describe Haiti , Syria , Yemen, - methods might be different - End-results the same ?
    Beware Ukraine, and others looking for a " helping-hand" from the murderous Cabal ( whether dressed in an E.U. flag or others ! !

    On this note; UKColumn.org had a fantastic exposé in their News yesterday [ Mon 4th December 2017 ] {Can find previous episodes on their website under SECTIONS>Video Archives > UKColumn News }

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    @Foxie

    "I'm still wondering if anyone has any clue as to the political "reason" for wiping out the island"

    you and me both-

    just complete speculation on my part: if my read sources are correct the headquaters of the IRS (NOT a US gov't institution!- all should view Aaron Russo's film "America: Freedom to Fascism" which begins by exposing the IRS and what it really is) is not in Philadelphia but in...

    Puerto Rico

    as there seems to be a quiet, behind the scenes purge in the US at the moment (according to read sources- am not sure if they're credible) I'm beginning to wonder if this man-made/not-natural hurricane was created to destroy 'evidence' in Puerto Rico-

    again, complete speculation on my part-

    be well!

    Larry

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    United States Avalon Member Foxie Loxie's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Whew!!! Thanks, ramus....guess I got my answer! Have they ever wanted to become a State? Never any "easy" answers, are there?!

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Frenchy : It's their play book ...... If you look at the book:[ the economic hit man ] you can see the techniques used to accomplish

    this.

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Larry....kind of like the OK City bombing & the records that wiped out, according to C.A. Fitts?!

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    The latest incarnation of the bankrupt United States Service Corporation aka US federal government is registered in Puerto Rico. That fact is verifiable. Might have a lil something to do with the current misery being imposed on the folks there.
    ISness is my business..

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    @Foxie @Basho

    exactly!

    please stay well-

    Larry

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Quote Posted by Cardillac (here)
    @ramus

    "Billions of dollars were allocated by the government and millions has come in
    from private donors.

    Politicians have been in and out of the island and that has led to a spending
    law that provides $5 billion for Puerto Rico’s recovery and billions for
    government agencies providing disaster assistance. Projections are that a lot
    more will be needed.

    On top of that, millions has been raised and contributed by private groups and
    foundations and individuals"

    how much of the donated funds actually got to Puerto Rico/how much landed in private pockets?- shades of the Clinton Foundation in re: of the Haitian earthquake fund where only 5% of donated funds got to Haiti?

    my heart goes out to the Puerto Ricans- just wish I was able to help-

    Larry
    That's exactly what I was noticing...Haiti patterns. Who gets the money? What do they do with it?

    We need some accountability.

    https://www.politico.com/agenda/stor...to-rico-000587

    Just like Haiti, a lot of money was donated, or allocated, but the people don't get the relief that these level of funds would suggest.

    And yes, we are not immune on the mainland. Just watch the trend for power outages. This is by design at some level. Common sense by following the money (particular defense contractors since 9/11) and the sorry results of contributions.

    Anyone with a conscience would not participate in theses schemes. Anyone with a brain can see what's happening.

    And those with hearts are helping without big funding. God bless them!

    MM💙🎅💙
    ~*~ "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Peter Drucker ~*~ “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson ~*~ "Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training." - Anna Freud ~*~

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Does anyone have any updates on Puerto Rico?

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    Default Re: What Life Is Like For A Million People In Puerto Rico

    Quote Posted by Foxie Loxie (here)
    Does anyone have any updates on Puerto Rico?

    Did you ever have a sibling that would over dramatize situations for attention?

    That's Puerto Rico... they are bitching about "colonialism" out of one side of their mouth and demanding federal money from the other... its sad but it looks like greed and graft rule that island.

    They dug themselves a giant hole and now are angry that they are at the bottom of it.

    Same situation exists here (Debt and damage, though our wind damage was probably worse); we don't even have a hospital on our island anymore (structure was severely damaged) and power is still not restored to much of the island (hospital included, generators make up for the lack generally). And yet no dramatic headlines are seen from this island, just people who are super grateful to see the 700 outside linemen at work every day of the week working to restore power.

    They (P.R.) are spinning "end of the world" tales, reality is a bit different.. .it's HIGHLY INCONVENIENT to live with out power, but not life ending; even diabetics (and there's a lot here) are still able to source insulin, just not as easily as before.
    Last edited by TargeT; 11th December 2017 at 15:35.
    Hard times create strong men, Strong men create good times, Good times create weak men, Weak men create hard times.
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