Thursday, June 9, 2016

Puerto Rico Not For Sale, What Happened To $72B?

Thousands of Puerto Ricans including Luis Guzmán, a movie actor are asking what happened to $72B, which the U.S. Congress is claiming that Puerto Rico owes.

By H. Nelson Goodson 
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

June 9, 2016

San Juan, Puerto Rico - The U.S. Congress has confirmed that Puerto Rico owes the U.S. government at least $72,000,000,000 but the Puerto Rican government and the U.S. can't explained where the money was spent or what happened to it. In response, Luis Guzmán, 59, a popular Puerto Rican actor has joined thousands of other Puerto Ricans in asking what happened to the money. No one including Puerto Rican elected officials, members of the U.S. Congress or a Congressional fiscal budget provided an explanation about what actually happened to the $72 billion. 
Guzmán says in a personal Facebook account video going viral, "Puerto Rico is not for sale."

Luis Guzmán video: Puerto Rico is not for sale

The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economically Stability Act (PROMESA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 297-127, which creates a federal financial control board with no oversight and accountability by Congress itself. The bill now goes before the U.S. Senate for approval.
On Thursday, U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) opposed the PROMESA Bill, which creates a federal financial control board (Junta) of seven people to oversee the future of Puerto Rico with broad powers that can meet in close session and won't be accountable to the government of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Congress. Gutiérrez offered ten amendments in the Rules Committee and none were discussed or taken up for debate on the floor of the House.
One of Gutiérrez' amendments would have provided for the U.S. government to allocate $370M to fund the Junta operating cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office and not be the fiscal responsibility of Puerto Rico (PR), which already has a $72B debt. Another amendment would allow PR to ratify approval of the federal Junta.
PR has until July 1 to make a $1.9B debt payment to the U.S. government. PR has a 45% poverty rate, high unemployment rate and schools around the island will begin closing due to the debt crisis.
The House did approve under the PROMESA Act that federal taxpayer investments would be protected. But many public, health care (hospitals) and police services will be virtually affected and cease service to the population. PR workers are expected to be paid less than the minimum wage under the bill, which adds no protection for a living wage.
The PROMESA Act failed to address the debt crisis, provide oversight and accountability by Congress, according to Congressman Gutiérrez who opposed the Act. The Governor of PR and the island legislature opposed the PROMESA Act as well.
PR can't file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy under a U.S. colony status.

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