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Sun Jun 5, 2016, 08:47 PM

Puerto Rico's Democratic primary reflects debt crisis engulfing island

As the territory faces austerity cuts, polling stations have been cut to a third of what was planned – but residents hope election will send message to Washington.

‘Bernie Sanders is right. We don’t want a bailout’

To some voters, the decision comes down to the candidates’ stance on a controversial proposed rescue package currently before the US Congress that would, among other measures, appoint a federal oversight board to control the handling of the giant public debt. In May, the island’s government defaulted on a $422m loan repayment.

Clinton said she had concerns but backed the bill while Sanders, in a speech at San Juan’s University of Puerto Rico, said it was “morally wrong” to hand control of decisions that affected millions on the island to a Washington-appointed unelected body that was “accountable to nobody”. He used the same address to suggest the hedge fund owners of the majority of the territory’s debt needed “a massive haircut”.

“Bernie Sanders is right,” said taxi driver Armando Raigozo. “We don’t want a bailout but we need help to get on our feet again without giving up control. People want to work and we also have thousands of prisoners that we’re paying to sit in cells that could be out repairing roads and working in the fields.”

Another growing worry is the advance of the Zika virus. The number of reported cases grew by almost 200 to 1,072 in the week to 1 June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The impact on tourism is being felt.

“It has hurt the island tremendously,” Prats said. “Tourism is an isolated sector of the economy that was reflecting a positive growth.

“Conventions were being held here, hotels being built, Major League baseball games scheduled and all of a sudden those things start to fall apart because a tourist or athlete fears coming to Puerto Rico would expose them to Zika, as if it was any different than the Zika in Florida, or Texas, or Brazil.”

Continued at "The Guardian:"

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Reply Puerto Rico's Democratic primary reflects debt crisis engulfing island (Original post)
KoKo Jun 2016 OP
hrmjustin Jun 2016 #1
KoKo Jun 2016 #2
Octafish Jun 2016 #3

Response to KoKo (Original post)

Sun Jun 5, 2016, 08:49 PM

1. Msnbc is reporting Sanders asked PR to have less polling places.


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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 6, 2016, 08:08 AM

2. No....he wanted Polling Monitors who were Certified....

But, you know that already. The reason there were less polling places is because of Puerto Rico's financial crisis.

Bernie is for "fair elections" and he knew he wasn't going to win Puerto Rico but wanted the polling places to at least have Certified Election monitors.

BTW: Hillary beat then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in PR in 2008 with nearly 68 percent of the vote

Sunday, June 5, 2016, 10:03 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hillary Clinton overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico's Democratic presidential primary on Sunday, putting her within striking distance of capturing her party's nomination.
The results were slow to arrive on Sunday, as officials counted ballots by hand and focused first on releasing results tied to the island's local primary elections, said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico's former Democratic National Committeeman.

As the results from Puerto Rico trickled in, Clinton maintained a steady 2-to-1 lead over Sanders.
Though Clinton did not spend much time campaigning in Puerto Rico, the victory is fraught with symbolism for her campaign. Eight years ago, with the presidential nomination slipping from her grasp, she rolled through the streets of San Juan on the back of a flat-bed truck, wooing voters to a soundtrack of blasting Latin music.

She beat then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama with nearly 68 percent of the vote.

Clinton has 1,807 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses; Sanders has 1,516.


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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Mon Jun 6, 2016, 09:05 AM

3. You know who the ''solution'' will help...

Republicans Demand Flint-Like Solution To Puerto Rico Debt

by Dave Johnson
Campaign for America's Future Blog, May 25, 2016


Republican Solution

After much negotiation (and interference from Wall Street hedge funds) Congress has put together a bill called the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) (“Promesa” is Spanish for “promise”).

The legislation sets up an oversight board to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt. The oversight board is empowered to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt, which can include requiring creditors to accept less than 100 percent of what they are owed. This board will not be subject to any Puerto Rican authority. PROMESA requires its decisions to be the interests of Puerto Rico’s creditors.

Puerto Rico has already been through rounds of austerity, cutting human services and laying off public workers, closing schools, increasing the sales tax, and other measures.

But the bill will require more of this. PROMESA lowers the current $7.25-an-hour minimum wage to $4.25 an hour for workers 25 years and younger. Puerto Rico will be exempt from the new overtime rule raising the salary above which people can be made to work more than 40 hours with no extra pay from $23,660 to $47,476. The bill specifically protects creditors before pensions. Measures like this force the people of Puerto Rico to become poorer.

David Dayen writes at Salon, in “Bernie says bail out Puerto Rico: Sanders details how the feds should rescue the territory as they did big banks,” explains:

The oversight board would be able to institute more cuts, supersede local laws, lower the island’s minimum wage, and as a last resort institute a court-approved debt restructuring, as long as it is “in the best interest of creditors.”

It’s hard to see this as anything but a colonization of Puerto Rico. Even supporters of the bill acknowledge that. They see it as the only opportunity for Puerto Rico to avoid disaster by obtaining the ability to restructure its debt, given the makeup of this Congress. Hillary Clinton, who expressed “serious concerns” about the plan, nonetheless said Friday, “we must move forward with the legislation.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a speech on the subject, saying,

“In the midst of this massive human suffering, it is morally repugnant that billionaire hedge fund managers on Wall Street are demanding that Puerto Rico fire teachers, close schools, cut pensions, and abolish the minimum wage so that they can reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the children and the people of Puerto Rico. We cannot allow that to happen”

Sanders called for hedge funds that hold Puerto Rico’s debt to take “a massive haircut,” meaning accept much less than 100 percent of the amounts. He also asked the Federal Reserve “to use its emergency authority under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act,” saying, “If the Federal Reserve could bail out Wall Street, it can help the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico improve its economy and lift its children out of poverty.”



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