Boricuas comparten sus reclamos con Sanders
El autor presentó esta ponencia en persona ante el senador Bernie Sanders en una mesa redonda celebrada el pasado 17 de abril en la ciudad de Nueva York.
Good afternoon everybody:
I will be talking about the Puerto Rican debt crisis, its causes, the federal government responsibility, the federal control board and why at this juncture Senator Bernie Sanders is a hope for the people of Puerto Rico.
For purposes of this activity that is going on today I will summarize its topics. However, the complete lecture was delivered to the Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
- A history of the public debt shows how it increased 195% starting from the year 2000. In the year 2000 it amounted to $24 billion, from that date until December 2014 it increased to $48 billion increase reaching $72 billion which is the unpayable debt we have today and the cause of the crisis in Puerto Rico. In turn the cause of the debt has been the colonial control and abandonment of the colony by the federal government.
- This coincides with the removal by Congress and President Bill Clinton of the tax exemption of 936 companies under the Federal Internal Revenue Code from 1996 to 2006, which was the economic engine of the economy of Puerto Rico. For more than 20 years that was the heart of the economy of Puerto Rico. $15 billion dollars erased from the banks of Puerto Rico with the end of the 936 companies. Said move was like taking away oxygen to a patient in a coma or food to a prisoner. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has been denied sovereign powers to generate and protect its wealth.
- Neither Congress nor former President Bill Clinton offered Puerto Rico alternatives for their economic development. This period after 1996 has been one of complete abandonment of the territorial colony of Puerto Rico by the federal government and the federal government has not assumed its share of responsibility for the debt and the crisis in Puerto Rico.
- The solution of the Federal Control Board now under fast track discusion before the Congress is not a thoughtful neither an honest solution. It is a solution to punish the victim. The Republican right in Congress cannot argue that the causes of the debt crisis in Puerto Rico have been corruption, laziness and lack of transparency by the puertorricans. Admittedly, there was corruption and mismanagement before 2000 both in Puerto Rico and in the US but the debt was payable at that year and there was no crisis. Therefore, the unpayable debt and the crisis are not due to the reasons given by the right in Congress.
- The creditors and Wall Street are also responsible for the debt crisis due to their negligence to extend loans under these conditions to a United States colony which is under the complete control and sole sovereingty of the metropolis.
- Therefore it should be the victimizers, that is the U.S.Congress and government and the Wall Street creditors, who should be placed under a Supervisory Board and be held liable. We believe that the honest neutral Supervisory Board to the guilty parties should be the movement of change that Senator Bernie Sanders presides.
- Puerto Rico was a war conquer after the Hipanoamerican War of 1898. The Crown of Spain and the United States government signed the Treaty of Paris in 1899 without any consultation whatsoever to the people of Puerto Rico who had obtained sovereign powers through the Autonomic Chartes granted by Spain in 1898. Therefore such Treaty was void for lack of consent by the Puerto Rican nation.
Puerto Rico is a Latin American nation that have evolved like no other nation in history during the past 117 years of colonial ruling. That is why now we have a nationhood of 8.5 million people, 3.5 millions living in our Spanish speaking homeland and 5 millions living in the United States with English as second or main language. But all of us feel and think like Boricuas, a one proud undestructive nation.
Puerto Rico was ruled by a military government from 1898 to 1900, and there after through three federal Organic Acts until the present. The Foraker Act in 1900, Jones Act of 1917, which imposed North American citizenship causing the military service and lost of thousands of lives of our citizens in all wars and coflicts fought by the United Stated during almost 100 years, and Law 600 of 1950 until today which is the source of the federal power approved under the territorial clause of the Federal Constitution.
That Puerto Rico is a colony is a shining true like the sun. Senator Bernie Sanders is an honorable man that through out his entire life has been committed to the truth. Truth is an inescapable principle. Whomever bases his actions on falsify will someday fall.General Collin Power has ashamedly recognized that the excuse used by President George Bush to invade Irak was a lie which caused crimes to humankind. It is also a lie that on 1952 Puerto Rico obtained self determination by the order under federal Law 600 to create the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Today everybody in this world knows and says that Puerto Rico is a territorial colony under the absolute power of Congress through the territorial clause of the Federal Constitution. Even the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico ruled that doctrine in 2015 in the case of Pueblo v Sánchez Vázquez. And during the 2012 plebiscite the people of Puerto Rico decided by a majority of the votes that they did not want to continue under a colonial territorial status.
- Senator Bernie Sanders’ movement of renovation is new and we are looking its evolution and have decided to give it a critical support. We are not giving a blank signed check. We want to see how this movement deals in a decent and honest way with puertorricans. At this moment we are starting to discover how other members that comprise the governing structure of this movement will be able to follow the same path of decency of Bernie Sanders or if they are aspiring only to power and privilege. For the Puerto Rican Independence movement and our people as whole it is very important a continuance of the legacy of decency and ideals of his main leader. We have great hopes that the same path continues and that unethical ambitions does not deviate this movement of hope. The ethical movement as envissioned by Mr Bernie Sanderd is very important for improvement of the poor people of the United States, our nation and for the Puerto Rican nation struggle for decolonization. For the broad decolonization movement of Puerto Rico it is of the ulmost strategic importance to unite with the progressive forces of the working and middle clases that march alongside Bernie Sanders’ present ethical honest movement.
- Therefore, at this critical juncture as we have assessed it until today, it is a matter of great tactical importance that the independence movement, the people of Puerto Rico of all ideologies, its diaspora and the people of the United States vote in the primaries for Bernie Sanders.
- Bernie Sanders and its actual ethical movement is our best and most consistent ally and vital for Puerto Rico to face the current crisis.
- Along those colloraries, we recently formed our group of “Independence Supporters for Bernie Sanders”, which has had a huge impact on the people of Puerto Rico. We have been inviting artists, workers, students, communities and groups of all sorts to pass resolutions, create support committees, and participate as school officials and to vote and protect the vote in favor of Bernie Sanders in the upcoming primaries to be held in Puerto Rico on June 5, 2016. It has been amazing the response. Innumerable Internet pages and grass roots groups have been formed. We are also calling all boricuas, the diaspora from New York, and latino community to move and vote for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming New York primary for the Democratic Party to be held next Tuesday. Move boricuas, move latinos to vote on Tuesday for Bernie Sanders!
- We respectfully suggest several points for Senator Bernie Sanders to incorporate into his program:
- To declare that Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States and to express his will to support a true and serious decolonization process for Puerto Rico.
- To propose a period of economic transition once the people of Puerto Rico democratically express its status preference through the mechanism of a constitutional assembly on status or a voting process that complies with international law.
- To propose that Senator Bernie Sanders commits to respect the vested rights acquired by Puerto Ricans such as American citizenship, social security, medicare and veterans’ pensions, and others, fertilized through blood and deaths in wars, and hard work by the people of Puerto Rico.
- As for the public debt and the financial crisis we urge Senator Bernie Sanders to recognize the greater share of responsibility of the federal government and reject the Federal Control Board. To propose a citizenship audit and a moratorium on debt repayment while negotiations are made with creditors in order to restructure the public debt. To promote the inclusion of Puerto Rico under the protection of the Federal Bankruptcy Code including during decolonizing negotiations and a transition period. In addition, the creation of a trust fund with federal funds to initiate expropriation processes under the US Constitution of the vulture creditors and other credits.
- We urge Senator Bernie Sanders to publicly express as soon as possible, quite ahead prior to the democratic convention, that he will not be dismantling the mass movement which has been developed independently from the Democratic Party, because that movement, of which we have been considering our allies, is a guarantee to maintain his legacy, to change the composition of Congress and to support his program for progressive change. We urge him not to do as Obama who was swallowed by the Democratic Party machinery.
- We suggest Senator Sanders to manifest in favor of the release of our political prisoners Oscar López and Ana Belén Montes, and help to clarify the murders of heroes and martyrs killed by death squads, i.e., independence fighters of the 70s and 80s such as Angel Charbonier, Santiago Chagui Mari Pesquera (eldest son of historic leader Juan MariBras),Carlos Muñiz Varela, Arnaldo Darío Rosado, Carlos Soto Arriví, AngelRodriguez Cristobal and Julio Pinto Gandía .
- Finally I bring the message to Senator Bernie Sanders to continue strenghtening his program for Puerto Rico along the suggested areas so that when he visits Puerto Rico we will be awaiting him to give him the great welcome that a fighter and a great friend like him deserves.