These rough notes and links are in preparation for my interview with Puerto Rico resident Stephanie.
Excellent podcasts by Congressional Dish
These podcasts by Jen Briney give an excellent history of how Puerto Rico became a colony and how its people have been generally abused by the United States for nearly a century. This has culminated in the current PROMESA Board, that completely invalidates the decisions of the elected government, and whose goal is assisting private corporations increase profits.
Puerto Rico’s citizens and prisoners were likely experimented on with radiation. Finally, it describes how FDR is a major figure in setting Puerto Rico up for a century of failure. This is a serious blemish on someone who is otherwise one of the most important progressive figures in American history.
Since Maria, maintaining electricity has been a struggle for much of he island. Only last week,more than 800,000 had their power knocked out by a single tree. Yet, mainland American companies are given no taxes and free electricity. This includes bitcoin millionaires, which by definition requires an inordinate amount of electricity to generate the coinage.
Nearly a third of all schools are being shuttered. According to Stephanie, many other public schools are scaling back hours. This means that parents must now figure out how to take care of their children during the additional off hours, or find the money to send them to for-profit private schools.
Most governmental agencies are being entirely shut down, including the island’s statistics agency, (allowing future injustices to go unnoticed) and the island’s electricity generator, PREPA (making energy for-profit, and therefore green energy much less likely).
The United States imposed an impossible burden of debt onto the island, and now demands that all this debt be paid back before control of the government will be once again returned to the people. Specifically (as mentioned in the “Electrifying Puerto Rico” episode of Congressional Dish), the PROMESA board will not allow the government to be returned to the people until there is four years of balanced budgets. Knowing Modern Monetary Theory, a four years of a balanced budget means four years of crushing austerity for the people.
Further, once again, knowing Modern Monetary Theory, the federal government, which is a fiat currency and can create money out of thin air (by allocating it into a bill and voting it into existence) could permanently remove the burden from Puerto Rico in the stroke of a pen. The only negative consequences would be to the profit of some ultra-wealthy individuals. Until we get money out of politics, this is exactly why the millions of Puerto Rican citizens will continue to suffer.