Trump didn’t visit the island until three weeks after the storm hit, and once he was there, he downplayed the severity of the storm and accused Puerto Rico of costing the government too much money. For example, the estimated 1.2 million Puerto Ricans who live in Florida are an important voting bloc in a super-competitive state. ....of which was squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again. In April, tourists booked at least 185,788 hotel rooms and other accommodations, a 31 percent increase from April 2018. Under Puerto Rico’s constitution, the secretary of state is next in the line of succession, but that office has been vacated, too. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution. We speak with Democracy Now! First, the so-called PROMESA Act of 2016, the anti-democratic austerity measure signed by Democratic President Barack Obama to oversee Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, basically dictates what … On Monday, the Puerto Rican Senate sued to block the appointment of Pedro Pierluisi as the new governor following Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation last week. These are some of the leaked chat messages at the center of Puerto Rico's political crisis. Rosselló couldn’t get government employees back to work and had no plan to get food and water to Puerto Rican families trapped on remote parts of the island. Me reitero, no tengo interés en ocupar el puesto de Gobernadora. because you trust that when we're reporting on the pandemic or the uprisings against police brutality—or the climate crisis—our coverage is not brought to you by the fossil fuel, insurance or weapons industries or Big Pharma. Es un dictamen Constitucional. We’ve answered some of the questions on your mind. The law did not exempt Puerto Rico, even though it’s an island in the Caribbean and can’t get anything trucked in. We count on YOU to make our work possible. Not only can millions of Puerto Ricans who live on the island vote in the primaries, but there are also millions who live on the US mainland who can vote during the general election. In the Republican primary that year, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won all 23 delegates. Juan, if you can explain the latest and what this means, new governor in Puerto Rico? But two recent scandals sent them over the edge. AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. The law makes it harder for Puerto Ricans to buy food, gas, and basic consumer goods from the mainland — and for US companies to operate there. It’s unlikely Democrats will try to pass the statehood bill without a referendum vote that meets federal standards. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today, from as little as $3. But in the meantime, virtually few legal scholars or the media are recognizing Pierluisi as the governor, and you have this situation where the Senate does not recognize him as the governor. For more than a week, hundreds of thousands of protesters stormed the streets, demanding that the governor of Puerto Rico step down. The political crisis in Puerto Rico continues as its Senate has sued against the appointment of Pedro Pierluisi as the new governor following Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation last week. President Donald Trump likes to remind everyone that Puerto Rico was already a mess before Hurricane Maria. Obama said “defund the police” is a bad slogan. The 3,500-square-mile island in the Caribbean looks tiny on a map, but the population is dense — more Americans live in Puerto Rico than in Nevada, Montana, or Maine. Demanding Rosselló’s resignation was, in a sense, a demand for respect and ethical government. Rosselló is still in charge, but not for long. Australia released a report on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. And he never misses a chance to let Puerto Ricans know he’s still upset about it. Rosselló said earlier this year that he was open to organizing another referendum. So they’re claiming that he’s not officially the governor, and they have now gone to court, to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, which has told both sides to come in with their legal briefs by noon today, so that the Supreme Court will then look at the briefs and supposedly make a decision within the next few days. A smaller number favor full independence from the US. There were no questions about the US territory’s debt crisis. The storm inflicted about 94 billion in damage on the island, shuttering some businesses for good and temporarily wrecking its valuable tourism industry. “It is a Constitutional dictate.”. That’s partly because there is no defined process for statehood. Help keep Vox free for all by making a contribution today. But the corruption and political chaos could end up damaging the trust of the New Progressive Party beyond repair, leading it to lose the governor’s mansion (a.k.a. A financial contribution to Vox will help us continue providing free explanatory journalism to the millions who are relying on us. We do not accept funding from advertising, underwriting or government agencies. But its political crisis is far from over. The territory’s constitution also allows Puerto Rico to balance it… Rosselló’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party and its rival, the anti-statehood Popular Democratic Party, both bear much blame for driving the US territory’s economy into the ground while doing little to ease widespread poverty. Before 1898, the people of Puerto Rico had Spanish citizenship; after Puerto Rico stopped being part of Spain, the people of Puerto Rico had neither independent nor colonial citizenship. India says its new laws will modernize agriculture. By Ray Sanchez, CNN. A Massacre in Lagos: Nigerian Military Forced to Admit It Fired Live Rounds at Peaceful Protesters, Ethnic Cleansing Feared as Ethiopia Wages War on Tigray Region Amid Communication Blackout, Indian Farmers Lead Historic Strike & Protests Against Narendra Modi, Neoliberalism & Inequality, New Malcolm X Biography Offers Insight into His Split with Nation of Islam & Assassination, Where Are the Progressives? The electric utility company took nearly a year to reconnect everyone to the power grid. Is he legally able to hold office? That move, which coincided with the Great Recession, collapsed the territory’s tax base and led the Puerto Rican government to issue even more bonds and rack up massive debt to pay its bills. And that, of course, raises a constitutional crisis in Puerto Rico without precedent, because: Is this named governor the real governor? That turned out to be false, with academic research later suggesting that 3,000 to 4,000 people died as a result of the storm. But the political crisis in Puerto Rico is not limited to narrowing options for political and economic projects for the Popular Democratic Party. Puerto Rico: How a series of leaked text messages sparked a political crisis. This is viewer supported news. A spokesperson told me last week that nothing about the plan has changed as a result of the political drama. “I reiterate, I have no interest in occupying the position of governor,” Vázquez said Sunday on Twitter. He is promoting the position of being the 51th State in the United States of America… but without the positive or negative decision of the American Congress.From an economic point of view, Puerto Rico is another State that suffers the consequences of the austerity policy. We talked to Massol-Deyá, a 2019 Grist 50 Fixer, about his latest project, why energy independence means political power, and how Puerto Rico is … So who’s in charge of Puerto Rico right now? Democracy Now! How bad is your state’s Covid-19 outbreak? But only the House, the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, voted by one vote, by a one-vote majority, to approve Pierluisi. So voters who live on the island send a fair amount of delegates to the Democratic National Convention during primary season. Congress also made it more expensive to live and do business in Puerto Rico for most of its history as a US territory. Puerto Rico is facing an existential crisis of sorts, but the way islanders have responded to that crisis is nothing short of remarkable. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans had blocked the main avenues in San Juan, calling for Rosselló to step down after a series of corruption and social media scandals rocked the administration. That would do more damage to the statehood movement than anything else. But he argues that he is in the line of succession for governor after being nominated as secretary of state by Rosselló last week. Puerto Rican residents and businesses must comply with federal laws, with few exceptions, which is why the FBI has jurisdiction on the island. With the exception of Castro and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’ve made campaign stops in San Juan, the Democratic candidates vying for the White House have made minimal efforts to address the issues that Puerto Ricans care about. The United States then refused to pay the colony's creditors, asserting they held odious debt. Religious conservatives have won a revolutionary victory in the Supreme Court. Washington lawmakers have introduced more than 130 bills to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status, and none has gone anywhere. Why Assassination of Top Iranian Nuclear Scientist Could Tie Biden’s Hands in Future Talks. The island’s political status is closely tied to Puerto Rican identity and has divided Puerto Ricans for decades. Rosselló’s administration held a referendum vote to resolve that question in June 2017, but the wording on the ballot did not meet federal standards (Rosselló’s party did not want to give voters the option to remain a so-called “colony”). JUST WATCHED So what does this all mean? It’s all understandably confusing. Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico in … The Senate then met on Monday and did not vote. Beginning with Christopher Columbus's arrival on the island in 1493, Spain colonized Puerto Rico. “Political parties have centered their programs on status preferences and not on developing an economic and sustainability plan for Puerto Rico. In April 1900, President William McKinley signed the Espero que el señor Gobernador identifique y someta un candidato para el puesto de Secretario/a de Estado antes del 2 de agosto y así se lo he manifestado. Countless government leaders have pleaded guilty to charges accusing them of accepting bribes and giving government contracts to businesses they favor. By Ed Morales The 3 million Americans who live on the island, which is a United States territory, are going through a lot: a lingering economic crisis, a government bankruptcy, the aftermath of a deadly hurricane, and now a major political scandal. The electoral outcomes Telegramgate, also known as Chatgate, or RickyLeaks, was a political scandal involving Ricardo Rosselló, then Governor of Puerto Rico, which began on July 8, 2019, with the leak of hundreds of pages of a group chat on the messaging application Telegram between Rosselló and members of his staff from his term. The corruption scandal, which involves mismanaged government contracts, has more to do with Hurricane Maria than the chat message one. Over the years, Congress has ceded small amounts of autonomy to Puerto Rico, which now operates as a quasi-state. Briahna Joy Gray on Neera Tanden & Other Biden Picks for Economic Team. Why tens of thousands of farmers are blocking roads into India’s capital city. Right now, the Puerto Rico Admission Act only has 58 co-sponsors (32 Democrats, 26 Republicans) who support Puerto Rico’s bid to become the 51st US state by 2021. The education secretary, for example, was accused of giving charter school contracts to businesses she favored, even though they had less experience than other businesses that bid on the contract. Several others have ruled themselves out until Puerto Rico holds elections in 2020. More importantly, he blames Puerto Ricans for the negative media coverage he received in the hurricane’s wake, which often compared his administration’s reaction to George W. Bush’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. While Puerto Ricans have been fighting about their political status for decades, Congress has shown little interest in changing anything. You turn to Democracy Now! The outcry has brought the island to a crossroads. SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rico judge issued search warrants for the cellphones of government officials involved in a crude and offensive online chat whose leak has set off a political crisis that threatens to bring down the U.S. territory’s governor. They may not be able to vote in the general election, but they will certainly have a say in the primary race. No questions about the island’s high poverty rate. A Puerto Rico judge issued search warrants for the cellphones of government officials involved in a crude online chat whose leak has set off a political crisis … The reaction from the Trump administration was painful to watch. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Pierluisi, interestingly enough, is — was the resident commissioner for many years. newsletter. 9 questions about Puerto Rico’s political crisis you were too embarrassed to ask, How millennials became the burnout generation. These problems have existed for years but came into sharp focus after Hurricane Maria’s Category 4 winds pummeled the island in September 2017. I’m very proud to be Puerto Rican!! His resignation represents a historic moment for Puerto Rico — it’s the first time that a governor has been pushed out of office without an election. He also made a cruel comment about hurricane victims when someone in the group chat asked about the budget for forensic pathologists. Puerto Rico’s estimated 59 delegates outnumber those in more than half of US states. It has an independent elected local government but not all the power and benefits of being a state — including a lack of real representation in Congress. During the first Democratic presidential primary debates earlier this month in Miami, moderators and Democrats on the stage basically ignored Puerto Rico. In the chat message scandal, Rosselló and his allies were mostly insulting Puerto Rican politicians and celebrities, such as San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and pop icon Ricky Martin. All the corruption allegations are taking a toll on the public too. To see all our coverage of Puerto Rico, visit democracynow.org. The original content of this program is licensed under a. Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Company and drug makers Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries were among the many companies that closed Puerto Rican factories after the tax incentive was repealed. The solution of the crisis of Puerto Rico is very complicated.From a political point of view, Governor Roselló brokered a referendum about the legal relationship with United States that remains unsettled. Experts say the island’s economic crisis is rooted in[PDF] twentieth century legislation that encouraged Puerto Rico’s reliance on debt to fill federal funding gaps. The island ended up pledging 37 delegates to Hillary Clinton and 23 to Bernie Sanders. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we end today’s show looking at the political crisis in Puerto Rico. In these times of COVID-19, climate chaos and elections, independent news is more important than ever. The federal government has treated disaster victims in Puerto Rico far differently than other US disaster victims, even though federal law views Puerto Rico as a US state in the event of a natural disaster. Sobrino Vega, the former chief financial officer, joked about shooting Yulín Cruz, who is a critic of Rosselló’s administration. They’re bearing the burden of Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy, the lingering economic recession, and the botched response to Hurricane Maria. This is more than twice the amount given to Texas & Florida combined. Puerto Rico is worse off than any US state. That’s largely a result of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, which requires companies to hire US-based shipping crews to transport goods between US ports instead of letting them hire crews who offer the best price. “La Fortaleza”) and local congressional seats in the 2020 election. Please do your part today. While those contracts do not involve hurricane relief aid, the arrests raise questions about whether or not the Puerto Rican government can be trusted with billions of dollars in federal hurricane recovery grants. But they can vote in the presidential primaries like any state. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, some say they do. For days, the hashtags #RickyRenuncia (#RickyResign) were trending on Twitter, then #RickyRenunció (#RickyResigned) was soon trending too. The Puerto Rican flag is seen outside the Governor's residence as Puerto Ricans vote in the general election in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 03, 2020. SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rico judge issued search warrants for the cellphones of government officials involved in a crude online chat whose leak has set off a political crisis that threatens to bring down the U.S. territory’s governor. So we’re going to have to wait and see what happens. The million people who marched to kick out Rosselló are US citizens. Luis Rivera Marín resigned his post last week for his role in the leaked chat scandal. So he’s got all kinds of conflicts that make him unlikely to be supported by the majority of people to remain as interim governor. That could help resolve the issue for once and for all. The government of Puerto Rico was unprepared too. He said he is stepping down Friday, and no one knows who will replace him. China trolled Australia on Twitter about it — and Canberra took the bait. Taking the job is “political suicide”, says Carla Minet, the chief editor of the CPI . Absolutely. But there still appears to be no consensus. It did this by giving bond investors higher returns and loosening borrowing limits. What in the world is happening in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico has been a US territory since 1898, when it was annexed at the end of the Spanish-American War. The secretary of justice is the next in line, but Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez says she’s not interested. The statehood movement has been building support since Hurricane Maria, but it’s not like Congress was about to admit Puerto Rico into the union. Vox answers your most important questions and gives you clear information to help make sense of an increasingly chaotic world. But over the weekend, the woman in line to replace him, Justice Department Secretary Wanda Vázquez, said she doesn’t want the position. Politico ran a good piece that sums up the different reactions. It all started on July 8th, when an unsourced leak revealed Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello, along with about a dozen other government officials, used inappropriate language within a Telegram group chat. The anti-government protests in San Juan inspired similar protests in New York and Orlando, both of which have large Puerto Rican communities. The officials, former Education Secretary Julia Keleher and Ángela Ávila-Marrero (former chief of Puerto Rico’s Health Insurance Administration), are accused of funneling the government contracts to businesses they had personal ties to. They basically said —. Our Daily Digest brings Democracy Now! She’s filed her own lawsuit against Pierluisi being named. Author Anne Helen Petersen on why millennials have internalized the worst parts of their condition. It was all by the power of people. South Korea just changed a longstanding military law for the sake of BTS. The current administration of Gov. From a purely political perspective, ignoring Puerto Rico is a big mistake. And while Puerto Rico’s leaders deserve rightful blame for the island’s corruption and financial woes, so do lawmakers in Washington. Trump administration to place new restrictions on billions in aid for Puerto Rico amid island’s political crisis President Trump and Gov. Roman Catholic Diocese v. Cuomo is one of the most significant religion cases in the past 30 years. And today a generous supporter will double your donation to Democracy Now!, meaning your gift will go twice as far. How Puerto Rico's financial crisis erupted: Population loss. But much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind! AMY GOODMAN: They have to approve the governor? Pierluisi was sworn in despite not having been confirmed by the Puerto Rican Senate. There is tremendous power in understanding. We’ve got some answers. Puerto Ricans take to the streets as leaked chats among top officials show dysfunction amid Hurricane María They do pay payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare. The political crisis in Puerto Rico continues as its Senate has sued against the appointment of Pedro Pierluisi as the new governor following Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation last week. The past 24 hours in Trump’s legal issues and pardon news, explained. Hurricane Maria’s Category 4 winds flattened homes across Puerto Rico and left everyone without power, causing the largest blackout in US history. The agency delayed crucial reconstruction aid to Puerto Rico and hired inexperienced contractors to send much-needed supplies, including one company that failed to deliver thousands of meals. Also, despite what Trump says in his tweet, the US has not given $92 billion in hurricane relief to Puerto Rico. is a 501(c)3 non-profit news organization. The recent protests show that young Puerto Ricans are politically engaged, and they’ll likely pay close attention to which 2020 presidential candidates address their concerns. Farmers say it will cause their ruin. Then, three days later, investigative reporters on the island published leaked Telegram app messages that showed Rosselló and his inner circle joking about casualties from Hurricane Maria and ridiculing political rivals with violent, homophobic, and sexist language. Since 1917, lenders to Puerto Rico have been exempt from local, state, and federal taxes—the so-called triple tax exemption—effectively boosting their profits and making the island a more attractive investment. The governor at the time, Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, was arrested too (though he was acquitted during trial). Get our newsletter in your inbox twice a week. This is a rush transcript. Updated 1:59 PM ET, Wed July 17, 2019 . Both are party insiders who were reportedly weighing a primary run against Rosselló in 2020. The biggest political crisis in the history of the island of Puerto Rico is in full effect. The island gets limited funding for Medicaid and food stamps. All this points to one fact: No one knows if the chaos will help or hurt the statehood movement in the long run. As a state, Americans citizens living on the island would have the same rights — and pay higher taxes — as those who live on the US mainland. AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll continue to follow this and talk about it tomorrow on Democracy Now! Right now, it doesn’t. While members of both parties have long vowed to support whatever Puerto Ricans want, it’s still unclear whether a majority wants statehood. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz also sued after his swearing-in. Lawsuit over Misuse of Inaugural Funds, Labor Group Accuses Google of Firing Workers for Protesting Company, Union Organizing, Workers Slam Trump Move to Freeze Federal Pay Amid Raging Pandemic, U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Reaches Settlement in Dispute over Unequal Working Conditions, Eddie Benton-Banai, Native Activist Who Co-Founded the American Indian Movement, Dies at 89, The Lame-Duck Executioner: Trump Prepares to Execute Five Prisoners in Closing Days of Presidency, Trump Races to Kill Lisa Montgomery in First Federal Execution of a Woman in Almost 70 Years, Firing Squads, Poison Gas, Electric Chair: Trump Moves to Expand Ways to Kill Prisoners, A Trap? So even though 97 percent of voters chose statehood, fewer than a quarter of registered voters turned out to the polls, part of a boycott from the anti-statehood political groups, including a small number who favor full independence from the US. Sign up for the Well, Pierluisi spent the whole weekend meeting with agency heads and other government officials but did not make any public appearances. Instead of acknowledging the deaths, Trump is angry that Puerto Ricans have criticized him. It will likely include more unpopular austerity measures, such as cuts to pensions and benefits for public-sector workers, and more budget cuts to public education. Please do your part today. An independent bankruptcy-like court operating under the Promesa Act has been helping Puerto Rico restructure its debt, and board members asked Rosselló to come up with a new, post-hurricane fiscal proposal. One possibility is that the new pro-statehood administration will focus on government ethics reform and organize another referendum vote on the statehood issue before the 2020 election. Unemployment is at 7.7 percent, nearly double the national rate, and 44 percent of residents live in poverty. President Trump is still really upset that Puerto Ricans haven’t shown him the respect he thinks he deserves after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. At the end of the Spanish–American War in 1898, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States. #RickyRenunció pic.twitter.com/mF8OHjPFEY. America’s failures have led to a new daily record in Covid-19 deaths, A new Georgia poll suggests that Republican lies about “voter fraud” are hurting the GOP. So far, Democrats have blown opportunities to do so. When he finally announced his decision, the streets erupted into cheers. There's power in understanding. Rosselló is still in charge, but not for long. And just before that, he named a successor. There are at least two reasons Puerto Rico’s political problems persist. Other political forces face similar pressures. Stay safe, wear a mask and thank you so much.-Amy Goodman. I know the people of Puerto Rico well, and they are great. The incidents triggered the largest government protests in modern Puerto Rican history, surfacing decades of pent-up public anger at the island’s two main political parties. Puerto Rico has a new governor — sort of. It’s a huge deal. BTS’s success has won the male K-pop idols a reprieve from South Korea’s mandatory military assignment. We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work.
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