The House National Resources Committee has spoken. Led by House Speaker Paul Ryan it is supposed to bring to Puerto Rico a much “anticipated” and “needed” solution to its financial woes. The PROMESA 2.0 (or by its new bill number H.R. 5278) brought several changes that seemed like a “win” for the Democrats and, as such, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, expressed that she believed this new PROMESA “attained a restructuring process that works.” Also Rep. Grajalva, one of Puerto Rico’s staunchest defenders in the Committee, seemed to accept it, as well as two of the Puerto Rican House representatives – Nydia Velazquez and Jose Serrano. But, where does that leave Puerto Rico?
It leaves Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans across the world, with the realization that the island, is, and has always been, a colony in the eyes of Congress. If there was any doubt, in the first part of the 148-page document it stated plainly for all to read:
“—The Congress enacts this Act pursuant to article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the United States, which provides for Congress the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations for territories.”
Although in the bill Puerto Rico is referred as the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” – there is no insular government that can supersede the power of the Fiscal Board (or of Congress). So it’s plain to see that Puerto Rico, although given an insular government in the 1950’s it was never considered by the US anything else than a territory where Congress has the ultimate power.
With this decision, and if the bill gets passed by Congress, Puerto Ricans – especially the ones living in the island – should realize that “Big Brother Sam” is much more than they thought. The question then arises: Will Puerto Ricans fight this decision? Will they be complacent? Isn’t it time the veil is removed from the eyes of 3.4 million US citizens about the conditions of their “slavery”? Do Puerto Ricans even realize that such “gifts” like US citizenship (read this comprehensive paper by the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies from the Univ. of CT), parts of Vieques (US Fish and Wildlife Service) , or even El Yunque (US Department of Agriculture Forest Service) are not theirs?
Yes, Puerto Rico, since the moment the United States arrived through Guanica in 1898 the Isla del Encanto has not been your island. Don’t get us wrong, it wasn’t your island either under Spanish rule – but they were, definitely, more absentee landlords, than the US.
The next question arises then: Now that Congress has unveiled their imperial powers for all the world to see, what will they do next with Puerto Rico? After all the military bases are gone, the 936 tax incentives taken away, and after the President frees Oscar Lopez Rivera – what else is left for Congress to exploit?
Nothing, mis hermanos, nothing. The last thing they need to do is be sure that Puerto Rico repays the 72 billion (with interest) debt to the US creditors and then, possibly (almost surely) Congress in all its “imperial” benevolence will let Puerto Rico be free. Who wants to be seen as a dictatorial power in a world filled with them? Isn’t the US the example of democracy to be followed by all?
It’s not if but when the US will “give” Puerto Rico its “self-determination” to be an independent nation. If they give independence will they keep – like Guantanamo – the beloved El Yunque, which happens to be the only rain forest under US jurisdiction, or maybe they will still keep part of Vieques. Who knows. By that time the American billionaires will have enough real estate of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans will only be the workers in their own island.
One thing is for sure, unchartered waters are in the horizon for Puerto Rico.