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THIS BOARD MUST BE DEFEATED*
Escrito el 25 de mayo de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook


Dignity does not tolerate middle roads; the dignity of a People is not negotiable.

The bill that creates the federal control board must be defeated. Those who say that it is the only solution, that it’s inevitable, or that we must accept what they give us, are only the reflection of what motivates this legislation: a crude colonial mentality. Some have that mentality to execute it and others to accept it.

It is not about recognizing or denying that we are under the plenary powers of Congress and that we are being treated as a mere colony, because one thing is to recognize that legal reality and another is to welcome the colonial ruling. For many years slavery was legal and masters had the right to whip slaves, but that did not mean applauding the exercise of that abusive and immoral power. If slavery was abolished, it was because many fought to denounce and eradicate what was legal.

Creating the board does not solve our problems or address the issue of our public debt, which we know is unpayable. When a citizen, a business, a city or a country goes bankrupt, it does so not only because they can’t pay the bank its loans, but because they cannot pay all that they owe to ALL their creditors, which also include the water and power companies, rent, and other suppliers of goods, services and employee’s salaries and benefits. In the case of governments, the list also includes pensioners. In a fair process of bankruptcy, ALL the creditors negotiate, EVERYONE’S interests are put on a scale and a priority order is set. That’s what happened in Detroit, where the rights of the bondholders were balanced with the rights of the city, its pensioners and other creditors.

However, the project that creates the federal board is written so that only the vulture funds can get paid. The other creditors of the government, who are Puerto Rican, have no say in the matter, not the driver or the therapist of the Department of Education who hasn’t been paid for their services, nor the landlord who hasn’t been paid rent in six months, nor the one who provides fumigation services, nor the one awaiting his tax refund. For this board, the only ones entitled to collect are the bondholders.

It is a board designed to meet the interests of the vulture funds with total immunity on what it does, and will not only be able to order budget cuts to ensure payment to the bondholders, but to achieve this goal, may sell land and properties of the Puerto Rican people without having to follow our laws and regulations. This board could even approve projects like Fortuño’s gas pipeline without having to comply with our laws and environmental regulations. If to pay a bondholder they decide to sell the Ecological Corridor, then sold it is, and neither you nor I have anything to say.

This project must be defeated in Washington because there is no such thing as something inevitable. Except death, nothing is inevitable. With will and determination, it can be defeated. But if it becomes law, our elected officials must challenge it. In the June 5th primaries (PNP, PPD, Democrat), Puerto Ricans must deny the vote to any candidate who has been ambivalent on this issue or who has supported this affront. And in the elections of November 8, whoever runs to work with this board, must also be defeated.

Aníbal Acevedo Vilá

English translation from an op-ed published on May 25, in El Nuevo Día in spanish, titled “Esa junta hay que colgarla” http://www.elnuevodia.com/opinion/columnas/esajuntahayquecolgarla-columna-2202594/. Translated by Gabriela Acevedo Gándara.

LLEGÓ LA JUNTA; ¿Y AHORA QUÉ?
Escrito el 29 de marzo de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

Este fin de semana me tomé el tiempo de hacer la primera lectura del borrador de proyecto de ley preparado por la Comisión de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara federal y el liderato republicano. Admito que es mucho peor que lo que pensé y peor inclusive que las muy buenas reseñas que han escrito periodistas y columnistas. Para que tengan una idea, esta Junta que se nos pretende imponer, cuyo verdadero nombre debe ser Junta Omnipresente, Dictatorial y Colonial (JODC), por la cual los puertorriqueños no vamos a votar ni vamos a tener nada que decir sobre su nombramiento y peor aún sobre su desempeño, tendrá, entre otros, los siguientes poderes omnipresentes e ilimitados:

1. Decirle al Gobernador y la Asamblea Legislativa qué Plan Fiscal de 5 años deben aprobar y si no aprueban el que ellos quieren, pues la Junta lo aprobará unilateralmente y será mandato de ley;

2. Decirle al Gobernador y la Asamblea Legislativa qué presupuesto deben aprobar para cumplir con el Plan Fiscal y si no lo aprueban como la JODC quiere, pues entonces ellos unilateralmente lo aprueban y es mandato de ley;

3El poder de ordenar cortes al presupuesto si hay un déficit durante un año fiscal, que no puede incluir cortes al servicio de la deuda;

4. El poder de vetar cualquier ley válidamente aprobada por la Asamblea Legislativa y el Gobernador;

5. El poder de derogar cualquier reglamento debidamente aprobado por una agencia del gobierno de Puerto Rico o de adoptar dictatorialmente cualquier reglamento que le corresponda a cualquier agencia del Gobierno de Puerto Rico;

6. El poder de nombrar una especie de síndico para que administre cualquier agencia o corporación pública;

7. El poder de aprobar cualquier contrato de más de $1 millón legal y legítimamente otorgado por el gobierno;

8. El poder de otorgar cualquier contrato súper-millonario de energía o de infraestructura, sin subasta y sin tener que cumplir con reglas ambientales y otras regulaciones;

9. El poder de revisar y revocar cualquier acuerdo de “tax waiver”. Aunque no define que es “tax waiver” parece ser que se refiere a todos los mecanismos de acuerdos y decretos de exención contributiva que otorga el gobierno de Puerto Rico;

10. El poder de decidir cuánto ellos necesitan de presupuesto, el cual vamos a pagar nosotros, y si no se lo damos “voluntariamente” lo que ellos pidan, pues ellos lo toman de los impuestos que nosotros pagamos.

Eso es una lista a la ligera y no exhaustiva de los poderes de JODC. Pero hay más. En lo que se refiere a la posible re-estructuración de la deuda, muchos están celebrando que el borrador del proyecto la autoriza. Pero hay que leer bien y entender.

El borrador de proyecto de ley le quita a Puerto Rico lo más esencial en cualquier proceso de quiebra o reestructuración de deuda: el derecho a ser el deudor. Sí, es cierto que hay una autorización a usar un proceso similar al de quiebra. Pero quien decide cuándo y cómo se usa, son ellos, la JODC. Nosotros somos los deudores, pero ellos deciden cuándo es que de verdad podemos usar el mecanismo de quiebra. En otras palabras, si hay que decidir entre botar empleados públicos, subir los peajes o dejar de pagarle a los fondos buitres, son ellos, no los puertorriqueños electos por los puertorriqueños, quienes lo van a decidir. Luego de eso, si hay que ir al proceso de quiebra, son ellos los que están en la silla del conductor. Nosotros ni estamos en el carro.

Si alguien hubiese propuesto que estos poderes se le dieran al gobernador electo por los puertorriqueños para poder salir de la crisis, la prensa, los comentaristas, todo el mundo, estaría diciendo que iríamos camino a la dictadura y que se estaría violando nuestra Constitución y el esquema de separación de poderes.

Lo que está propuesto es peor que la Ley Foraker de 1900. En esencia, estamos volviendo al gobierno militar, pero sus poderes ejercidos por civiles. Algo similar a lo que Estados Unidos hizo en Irak luego de la guerra. Me explico.

Bajo la ley Foraker y luego la Ley Jones, el gobernador nombrado por el Presidente, NO podía aprobar un presupuesto unilateralmente, NO podía adoptar reglamentos unilateralmente y NO podía dar contratos al margen de los requisitos de ley. Inclusive, si vetaba una ley, había un proceso para tratar de ir por encima de su veto. Y bajo esos regímenes claramente coloniales y antidemocráticos, las leyes que aprobaba la Asamblea Legislativa de Puerto Rico podían ser derogadas por el Congreso o por el Presidente, pero al menos ellos eran electos por alguien. Aquí ese poder lo tiene la JODC que no es electa por nadie y por ende no le responde a nadie.

En la historia constitucional de los Estados Unidos, no recuerdo ningún organismo al cual el gobierno federal le otorgue estos poderes, ejecutivos y legislativos, a la misma vez omnipresente y prepotente, sin ningún peso o contrapeso.

El momento es crucial. Se trata de si creemos en la democracia o si abrimos el camino a un sistema anti-democrático. Ese siempre es el primer paso hacia las dictaduras. Bajo Franco, Trujillo, Pinochet, Batista y luego Fidel, todos los que los defendían decían, “no es lo mejor, pero es necesario”, “hace falta alguien que haga lo que hay que hacer no importa lo que quiera la gente”. Exactamente los mismos argumentos que hoy arguyen los que abogan por esta junta.

Ahora mismo Estados Unidos está pasando por uno de sus momentos políticos más difíciles, con un Congreso politizado, dividido, lleno de prejuicios y obstruccionista. Hay candidatos a Presidente que dan miedo y ya son una vergüenza internacional. Se a impuesto un discurso de odio, intolerancia, racismo y sexismo. Pero nadie propone quitarle el derecho a la gente de escoger sus congresistas o su presidente. Nadie propone acabar con la democracia americana, pero eso es precisamente lo que proponen para Puerto Rico. Lo he dicho antes y lo repito: a los problemas de la democracia se responde con más democracia.

¿Y ahora qué?

Muchos dicen que esto es un borrador y que hay que seguir esperando. Para mí, el solo hecho de que esto lo presenta el presidente de la comisión congresional que tiene jurisdicción sobre Puerto Rico y que tiene el respaldo del liderato republicano del Congreso, es suficiente. Y no me digan que la Administración Obama está libre de culpa. Quien fue al Tribunal Supremo en enero a decir que el Congreso puede hacer con Puerto Rico lo que quiera fue la Administración Obama. Quien primero propuso una Junta para “supervisar” a Puerto Rico fue el Departamento del Tesoro de Obama. Quien dijo precisamente ante esa Comisión del Congreso que ellos, el Congreso, podían ir unilateralmente por encima de la Constitución de Puerto Rico, fue el Departamento del Tesoro de Obama.

En inglés dicen “the writing is on the wall”. No es hora de seguir esperando, es de hablar claro y poner los acentos donde hay que ponerlos.

Si este borrador es lo que piensan en Washington sobre Puerto Rico, exijámosles que dejen de ser hipócritas: si de verdad creen que no nos podemos gobernar suspendan la aplicación de la Constitución del Estado Libre Asociado, con ello suspendan las elecciones y otórguenle abiertamente a esa JODC todos los poderes que hoy tienen las ramas ejecutivas y legislativas (a la rama judicial el borrador técnicamente la torna inoperante e inconsecuente, porque todas las decisiones de la JODC, si se impugnan, irán a las cortes federales). Es una crueldad con el pueblo de Puerto Rico pedirle que salgan a votar por un gobernador y una legislatura, cuando las decisiones fundamentales sobre el futuro del país no las podrán tomar ellos, sino cinco burócratas que no estarán en la papeleta del 8 de noviembre.

Como obviamente el Congreso no va a tener valentía de hablar con claridad, propongo una agenda patriótica de 5 puntos:

1. Aprobar inmediatamente una Resolución Conjunta de la Asamblea Legislativa con la firma del Gobernador, que establezca claramente qué es lo que Puerto Rico está dispuesto a aceptar del Congreso. La aprobación ayer por el Senado de Puerto Rico, es un paso en la ruta correcta. Pero no nos debemos limitar a oponernos a lo propuesto. No podemos seguir siendo reactivos. La resolución debe decir que si se propone una Junta Federal, debe ser aprobada en las urnas por el pueblo de Puerto Rico para entrar en vigor. Si van a trastocar con nuestra Constitución, lo menos que pueden hacer es seguir un mecanismo similar al que ellos dispusieron cuando aprobamos (nosotros y ellos) nuestra Constitución en 1952. Pongamos nuestras cartas sobre la mesa ya. Esa resolución debemos aspirar a que sea aprobada por unanimidad.

2. Aprobar anticipadamente por nuestra Asamblea Legislativa cuál será el proceder del Gobierno de Puerto Rico si llega el 1 de mayo o el 1 de julio y no hay los recursos para pagar el servicio de la deuda. Para no afectar las negociaciones en curso, con los bonistas y el Congreso, la ley para atender el impago debe decir que ésta sólo entrará en vigor si no se llega a un acuerdo con los bonistas antes de cierta fecha o si el Congreso no otorga una moratoria antes de cierta fecha. Debemos decirle al país, al Congreso y a los acreedores cómo vamos a actuar si ellos no actúan de buena fe ahora. Se trata de legislar ya lo que David Bernier a descrito como "un sistema de pago coordinado de la deuda pública", mediante el cual, si no hay acuerdo, se legisle para por cinco años sólo pagar los intereses sobre la deuda. Esperar al 30 de abril o al 30 de junio para entonces legislar será demasiado tarde.

3. Iniciar el proceso de enmendar nuestra Constitución para cambiar el orden de prelación de pagos en caso de insolvencia. Si ya el Congreso ha asumido la posición de que ellos pueden enmendar nuestra Constitución unilateralmente, defendamos nuestra dignidad y hagámoslo nosotros usando nuestros poderes democráticos y constitucionales.

4. Un compromiso firme del actual gobernador y de TODOS los candidatos a la gobernación que si este proyecto o uno similar se aprueba, van a desobedecerlo. No se trata de solamente ir a los tribunales (lo que hay que hacer). La democracia no se vindica en los tribunales. Se vindica en las acciones de día a día. Si David, Pedro, Ricky, María de Lourdes, Rafael, Manuel o Alexandra quieren ser gobernador para que otros no electos gobiernen, que lo digan ahora. No tengo dudas que si el Gobernador y todos los candidatos dicen hoy, firme y claramente, que no van a obedecer una ley como esta, el país estará con ellos y el Congreso tendrá que escuchar. La invitación que Alejandro a cursado a todos los candidatos para reunirse y hablar sobre este tema, presenta un escenario ideal. Cómo dijo una vez un gobernador con el cual he tenido y tengo serias diferencias el mensaje a Washington debe ser claro: “don’t push it”.

5. El Gobierno de Puerto Rico tiene que ir a las Naciones Unidas a denunciar esta acción y solicitar formalmente que el caso de Puerto Rico vuelva a la Asamblea General para su discusión plena. Inclusive, se le debe pedir al Comité de Descolonización asesoría para ver la posibilidad de acudir ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia para denunciar a los Estados Unidos por crasamente incumplir con su compromiso con Puerto Rico y con la comunidad internacional.

La mejor defensa siempre es tomar la ofensiva. Llegó el momento como país de dejar de reaccionar “a lo inevitable” y actuar con firmeza hacia lo que queremos.

Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
29 de marzo de 2016

THE BOARD IS HERE; AND NOW WHAT? (translated from the original Spanish version)
Escrito el 29 de marzo de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook


This weekend I took the time to do a first reading of the draft bill prepared by the House Natural Resources Committee and the Republican leadership. I admit that it’s much worse than I thought and even worse than the very good stories written by reporters and columnists. To give you an idea, this board that they intend to impose on us, whose real name should be Omnipresent, Dictatorial and Colonial Board, which Puerto Ricans will not vote for nor will they have any say about its appointments and even worse over how it’s carried out, will have, among others, the following omnipresent and unlimited powers:
1. Tell the Governor and the Legislature the 5 years Fiscal Plan they must approve and if they don’t approve the plan the Board wants, then they will unilaterally approve it and will be law;
2. Tell the Governor and the Legislature what budget they must approve to meet the fiscal plan, and if not approved as the Board wants, then they will unilaterally approve it and it becomes law;
3. The power to order budget cuts if there is a deficit during the fiscal year, which may not include cuts to the debt service;
4. The power to veto any law validly approved by the Legislature and the Governor;
5. The power to repeal any regulation duly approved by any agency of the government of Puerto Rico or to dictatorially adopt any regulation that applies to any agency of the government of Puerto Rico;
6. The power to appoint a kind of trustee to administer any agency or public corporation;
7. The power to approve any contract of more than $1 million legally and legitimately granted by the government;
8. The power to grant any multi-million energy or infrastructure contract, without an auction and without having to comply with environmental regulations and other regulations;
9. The power to review and revoke any “tax waiver” agreement. Although it does not define “tax waiver” it appears to refer to all mechanisms of agreements and tax exemption decrees granted by the government of Puerto Rico under the law.
10. The power to decide what budget they need, which we will pay and if we will not “voluntarily” give what they ask for, then they will take it from the taxes we pay.

This is just a quick list and not exhaustive of the powers of the Board. But there is more. In regards to the possible restructuring of the debt, many are celebrating that the draft authorizes it. But you have to read carefully and understand.

The draft bill takes from Puerto Rico the most essential part in the process of bankruptcy or debt restructuring: the right to be the debtor. Yes, it is true that there is an authorization to use a process similar to bankruptcy. But it is the Board, not us, who decide when and how to use it. We are the debtors, but they decide when we can truly use the mechanism of bankruptcy. In other words, if we have to decide between lying off government employees, raising tolls or stopping payment to the vulture funds, it is not the Puerto Ricans elected by the Puerto Rican who will get to decide. After that, if we do go through the bankruptcy process, it is them who are in the driver’s seat. We’re not even in the car.

If anyone had proposed that these powers be given to the governor elected by the Puerto Ricans in order to overcome the crisis, the press, the commentators, everyone, would be saying that we’re on our way to a dictatorship and that it would violate our Constitution and the scheme of separation of powers.

What is being proposed is worse than the Foraker Act of 1900. In essence, we are returning to the military government, but with its powers exercised by civilians. Something similar to what the United States did in Iraq after the war. I’ll explain.

Under the Foraker Act and later the Jones Act, the governor appointed by the President, could NOT approve a budget unilaterally, could NOT unilaterally adopt regulations and could NOT give contracts outside the requirements of law. Even if he vetoed a law, there was a process to override that veto. And under these clearly colonial and antidemocratic Acts, laws passed by the Legislature of Puerto Rico could be repealed by Congress or by the President, but at least they were elected by someone. Here those same power are granted to this Board, that is not elected by anyone and therefore does not answer to anyone.

In the constitutional history of the United States, I do not remember any body to which the federal government granted these executive and legislative powers, omnipresent and high-handed, without any check or balance.

This moment is crucial. It is about whether we believe in democracy or whether we open the way to an anti-democratic regime. That is always the first step towards dictatorships. Under Franco, Trujillo, Pinochet, Batista and later Fidel, everyone who defended them said, “it’s not the best, but it is necessary”, “we need someone to do what needs to be done no matter what the people want”. Exactly the same arguments used today to advocate for this board.

Right now the United States is going through one of its most difficult political moments, with a politicized gridlock Congress, divided, full of prejudices and obstructionists. There are candidates for President that are scary and are already an international embarrassment. They have inflicted a discourse of hate, intolerance, racism and sexism. But no one proposes taking away the right of the people to chose their congressmen or the President. No one proposes ending American democracy, yet that is precisely what they propose for Puerto Rico. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it: the problems of democracy should be met with more democracy.

And now, what?

A lot of people say that this is only a draft and we need to keep waiting. For me, the mere fact that this is presented by the Chairman of the congressional committee that has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico and has the support of the Republican leadership in the House is enough. And don’t tell me that the Obama administration is blameless. It was the Obama administration that went to the Supreme Court in January to say that Congress has the power to do as they wished with Puerto Rico. It was Obama’s Treasury Department who first proposed a Board to “supervise” Puerto Rico. It was Obama’s Treasury Department who went before the House Resources Committee and said that they, Congress, could unilaterally go over the Constitution of Puerto Rico.

As they say, “the writing is on the wall”. It is not the time to wait, it’s time to speak clearly and put accents where we have to put them.

If this draft is what they think in Washington about Puerto Rico, lets demand that they stop being hypocrites: if they truly believe that we can’t govern ourselves then suspend the application of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, thereby suspending elections and openly grant this board all the powers today held by the executive and legislative branches (the draft technically renders the judicial branch inoperable and inconsequential, because all the decision made by the Board, if challenged, would go to the federal courts). It is cruel to ask the people of Puerto Rico to go vote for a Governor and a legislature, when the key decisions concerning the future of our country won’t be made by them, but by five bureaucrats who won’t be on November 8th ballot.

Since Congress obviously won’t have the courage to speak clearly, I propose a patriotic agenda of 5 points.
1. Immediately approve a Joint Resolution of the Legislature with the Governor’s signature, which establishes clearly what Puerto Rico is willing to accept from Congress. The approval yesterday of a resolution by the Senate of Puerto Rico, is a step in the right direction. But we shouldn’t limit ourselves to oppose the Board’s proposal. We cannot remain reactive. The resolution must say that if a Federal Board is proposed, it must be approve at the polls by the people of Puerto Rico. If they are going to override our Constitution, the least they can do is follow a mechanism similar to the one they employed when we passed (us and them) our Constitution in 1952. Let’s put our cards on the table. That resolution should aspire to be approved unanimously.
2. To approve in advance by our Legislature legislation establishing how the government of Puerto Rico should proceed if May 1 or July 1 arrive and there are no resources to pay the debt. In order not to affect the ongoing negotiations with bondholders and with Congress, the bill must say that it will only enter into effect if an agreement with bondholders is not reached before a certain date or if Congress does not grant a restructuring process before a certain date. We must tell the country, Congress and the creditors what actions we will take if they do not act on good faith now. What I’m proposing is to legislate now what David Bernier has described as “a coordinated payment system of the public debt”. Waiting until April 30 or June 30 to legislate will be too late.
3. Start the process to amend our Constitution to change the order of priority of payments on case of insolvency. If Congress has already assumed the position that they can unilaterally amend our constitution, lets defend our dignity and do it ourselves using our democratic and constitutional powers.
4. A firm commitment from our current Governor and from EVERY candidate for Governor that if this bill or a similar one is approved, they will disobey it. It is not only about going to court (which must be done). Democracy is not vindicated at court. It is vindicated in the day-to-day actions. If David, Pedro, Ricky, María de Lourdes, Rafael, Manuel o Alexandra want to be governor and then allow for those not elected to govern, let them say it now. I have no doubt that if the Governor and all the candidates say today, firmly and clearly, that they will disobey a law like this one, the country will be on their side and Congress will have to listen. The invitation that Alejandro has made to meet with all the candidates for governor presents and adequate scenario. As said one time by a governor which whom I’ve had and continue to have differences with: “don’t push it”.
5. The Government of Puerto Rico has to go to the United Nations to denounce this action and to formally request that the case of Puerto Rico return to the General Assembly for full discussion. We should even ask the Committee on Decolonization advice to see the possibility of going before the International Court of Justice to denounce the United States for grossly violating its commitment with Puerto Rico and the international community.

The best defense is always to take the offensive. It is time as a country to stop reacting to “the inevitable” and act with firmness toward what we want.


Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
March 29, 2016

Video de la presentación del ex Gobernador Acevedo Vila en el Congreso federal
Escrito el 25 de febrero de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

COLUMNA DEL EX GOBERNADOR ACEVEDO VILA PUBLICADA EN PERIÓDICO THE HILL
Escrito el 24 de febrero de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/270433-puerto-rico-crisis-can-only-be-solved-when-congress

Puerto Rico crisis can only be solved when Congress accepts its plenary responsibility

This Thursday two House committees will hold two hearings on the financial and economic crisis of Puerto Rico. Congress needs to understand this is not simply a local crisis. There is a shared responsibility and the consequences of inaction or inadequate actions might have legal implications upon the U.S. With great powers come great responsibilities; with plenary powers come plenary responsibilities.

The most recent report from the government of Puerto Rico says our more than $70 billion debt is unpayable and we are very close to insolvency. So far, Congress has been resistant to restoring the pre-1984 legal status that gave us the same access as the states to Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code and to fix the unfair treatment under Medicaid, where we have to comply with the standards established by Congress, but that same Congress denies us the funding the fifty states receive. Even worse, the “solutions” that have been discussed are to partially revoke the self-government powers that Puerto Rico obtained in 1952 by creating some sort of non-elected financial board to rule the Island. If there is a problem with democracy, the answer has to be more democracy. But the route being considered by Congress is the opposite, the bold and extreme use of their colonial powers under the territorial clause of the Constitution.

If the official position of Congress and the Executive Branch is that Puerto Rico is still today under the plenary powers of Congress, that nothing legally changed by the enactment of the Commonwealth Constitution in 1952, and if the power of Puerto Rico to impose taxes and to issue bonds comes from a federal law of 1917 and those bonds were marketed under a federal provision granting them triple tax exemption, then, who is legally ultimately responsible for that debt? If the official position of the U.S. Government is that Congress cannot irrevocably cede sovereignty to Puerto Rico while it remains a U.S. territory it is an oxymoron to argue at the same time that they can “cede” their responsibility over the actions taken by a territory.

In 2007, in the case of Limtiaco v. Camacho, a dispute regarding a bond issuance and whether it was an infringement of a debt limitation provision included in the federal Organic Act of Guam, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that “the potential consequences of territorial insolvency… is not a matter of purely local concern.” If “not a matter of purely local interest”, they are obviously, a matter of national interest. That’s how I come to the conclusion with plenary powers comes plenary responsibility.

So far, the discussion in Washington has been framed as “Puerto Rico is in trouble, and is asking for help.” The tone of the discussion needs to change. If Congress and the executive Bbranch are restating that Puerto Rico is a territory totally dependent of the will of Congress, then the U.S. bears full responsibility for the consequences of what happens in Puerto Rico. We are not begging for anything. If Puerto Rico has been denied by Congress the economic tools to deal with this crisis and to foster economic development, then what we are demanding is for the U.S. to answer for the consequences of their actions and lack of actions. But the answer cannot be to limit and deprive Puerto Rico of the self-government powers we have. The answer cannot be to diminish our democracy. Grant us more powers, not less; grant us more democracy, not less; grant us the tools to move forward because I can assure you Puerto Rico will move forward. We did it in the past; we will do it again.

Vilá was governor of Puerto Rico (2005-08) and resident commissioner of Puerto Rico in Congress (2001-04). This article is based on a essay submitted for publication by the author to the University of Puerto Rico Law Review, available on line, as a draft, here http://www.revistajuridicaupr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/BORRADOR-PLENARY-POWER-.pdf


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THIS BOARD MUST BE DEFEATED*

LLEGÓ LA JUNTA; ¿Y AHORA QUÉ?

THE BOARD IS HERE; AND NOW WHAT? (translated from the original Spanish version)

Video de la presentación del ex Gobernador Acevedo Vila en el Congreso federal

COLUMNA DEL EX GOBERNADOR ACEVEDO VILA PUBLICADA EN PERIÓDICO THE HILL

“With plenary powers comes plenary responsability; Puerto Rico’s economic and fiscal crisis and the United States”: participación del ex gobernador Acevedo Vilá en el simposio “La deuda pública y el porvernir de Puerto Rico.

Análisis sobre la visita del Secretario del Tesoro de Estados Unidos

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