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And these seven?
Escrito el 20 de septiembre de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

If some skeptics believed that the seven from the board “were coming to put the house in order”, to “end the politicking”, to “not be influenced by anyone”, well they’ve had a sad awakening. Viewed as a whole, with some exceptions, there are no big stars in these seven. Most of us who follow these issues had to go to use Google to find out who they were and their merits, and the balance is frightening, particularly over those who are Republican, who are the majority with the power to decide our future. Furthermore, in just 24 hours Wall street analysts have concluded that this board is pro-bondholders.

The best known one is the biggest surprise: Carlos Garcia. For those who wanted a “fresh start” (or “clean slate”) his name is bad news. He is the first president that the Government Development Bank had under Luis Fortuño, the architect of the fateful Law 7 that left thousands of public employees out of work and accelerated the economic crisis. This Garcia is who administrated more than 6 billion in ARRA funds that Obama sent to Puerto Rico, who to this day, does not know what they were used for. This Garcia or Caco, as his friends call him, was who raised the CONFINA debt of $6 billion to $14 billion and changed its use to finance operational deficits; and, even worse, was the one who, at Fortuño’s request indebted the BGF Bank for $4 billion, with a bond issue to be paid in this quadrennium. This is the debt that precipitated the bankruptcy of the BGF, but if this was not enough to disqualify him, he has a grave conflict because, how can he tell the bondholders that he won’t pay them, when it was he who approved these issuances? How will he audit the prudence of these issuances (issue bonds?) if he was the one who designed them?

The next one that jumps up at you is José Carrión III, a successful insurance agent, but without any expertise in the financial challenges we face. He is pro-statehood, Republican. PNP and Pierluisi’s brother-in-law. None of that disqualifies him, but it also doesn’t make him qualified, and I must say that one quick Google search was all it took to end the illusion that the board is coming to put an end to political influences. I have no doubt that José Carrión is one of the seven because he donated thousands of dollars to Republicans here and in the US. The website ‘Open Secrets’ reveals that in recent years he has made, among others, the following donations: $20,000 to Jeb Bush’s super pac, $3,000 to Marco Rubio, $7,000 to the Republican National Party; $2,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; $2,000 to Marco Rubio, $4,000 to Luis Fortuño, $4,500 to his brother-in-law Pierluisi, $1,000 to Labrador and $2,700 to Jennifer González.

The others we will get to know along the way, but it stands out that the other two republicans are ultra conservatives, of those who understand you have to pay at any cost (or by any means). Andrew Biggs belongs to the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank that is known for advocating for reducing the salaries of public employees. David Skeel is a university professor, a bankruptcy expert, but on the issues that concern us, his position has been that bankruptcy laws are bad for creditors. From these four republicans it’s easy to anticipate what awaits us and to make matters worst, disappointedly, they were validated and appointed by Obama.

On the side of the democrats there is some little hope. Arthur González is a reputable former bankruptcy judge. Ana Matosantos comes with vast experience in budgetary matters from the state of California, who has managed them under republican and democrat governors, and last is the banker José Ramón González, known and respected in the financial world. He was president of the BGF during the second administration of Rafael Hernández Colón, which doesn’t present a conflict of interest because there are no transactions from that time on the table.

On balance, the hopes of Puerto Rico are only to fight against this board.

LA PRISA PASÓ, LA CRISIS SE QUEDÓ
Escrito el 20 de septiembre de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

Con la intervención directa del presidente Obama, del secretario del Tesoro Jack Lew y de los dos funcionarios electos de más alto rango en Puerto Rico, PROMESA se aprobó sin ninguna enmienda significativa antes del 1 de julio ante la expectativa de que, si ello no ocurría, el cielo se iba a caer. Sin embargo, ya han pasado varios días y las preguntas siguen siendo los mismas: ¿Se acabó la crisis? ¿Se detuvieron las demandas? ¿Hay certeza de lo que va a pasar en Puerto Rico? ¿Llegaron los reintegros? ¿Se le está pagando a los suplidores? ¿Regresó el optimismo?

La respuesta a todas esas preguntas es, no, porque lo único que ha logrado PROMESA hasta ahora es asestarle un golpe muy fuerte a la autoestima de los puertorriqueños y justificar para Estados Unidos la necesidad de un régimen colonial en Puerto Rico.

No tengo ninguna duda de que la aprobación de esta ley a toda prisa va a tener consecuencias negativas para Puerto Rico y para Estados Unidos.

Los dos senadores responsables de los temas de Puerto Rico en el Senado, uno republicano y otro demócrata, le votaron en contra, mala señal para los que dicen que este es el primer paso de un diseño para resolver el problema colonial de Puerto Rico. En menos de 24 horas, el poderoso presidente de la Comisión de Finanzas del Senado, Orrin Hatch, envió sendas cartas señalando posibles violaciones de ley y contubernios entre el Departamento del Tesoro federal y el gobierno de Puerto Rico, lo que de por sí pone en mal augurios la posibilidad de lograr medidas de desarrollo económico en el futuro cercano.

Según pasen los días, el país irá descubriendo que PROMESA no resuelve nuestra crisis, solamente atiende la de ellos. Curiosamente, al otro día de aprobarse la medida casi todas las compañías que aseguran bonos de Puerto Rico aumentaron su valor en el mercado. Y Obama y Lew ya dejaron de hablar de nosotros porque, como era su estrategia, la posibilidad de que demanden a Estados Unidos por el impago del pasado viernes se redujo, significativamente.

Pero con el problema de falta de liquidez de nuestro gobierno, PROMESA no hace nada. El impago a los suplidores continúa de mes a mes y PROMESA no lo resuelve. PROMESA tampoco atiende el déficit del Centro Médico, de la tarjeta de salud ni en los servicios de educación especial, entre muchas otras circunstancias apremiantes que enfrenta Puerto Rico. De hecho, estos problemas se van a agravar. Según el texto de la ley, si a mitad de año la junta detenta un déficit, puede ordenar cortes presupuestarios en todas las áreas menos en las de servicio al pago de la deuda de los bonistas. En otras palabras, si hay que escoger entre cortarle fondos al Centro Médico, al Departamento de Educación o a los bonistas, la ley, específicamente, prohíbe que se les corte a los bonistas.

Pero lo más dramático es lo que se validó en los estados financieros del gobierno, publicados luego de la aprobación de la ley: es muy probable que el gobierno se quede sin dinero en los próximos meses. Los estados financieros confirman que el problema no se resuelve con más recortes de gastos porque ello implicará que muchas áreas fundamentales del gobierno quedarían inoperantes.

Ya se han publicado varios reportajes sobre cómo en las crisis de Washington D.C. y Nueva York, que se nos han tratado de presentar como modelos salvadores, al pasar del tiempo, los problemas fiscales de ambas jurisdicciones tuvieron que regresar al Congreso porque sin recursos económicos y garantías de acceso a los mercados no se solucionaba la crisis. La prisa es amiga de la desinformación y ahora, aunque aparenta ser que ya no hay prisa, tampoco hay solución.

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Publicado originalmente en El Nuevo Día Interactivo el 7 de julio de 2016

Declaraciones del exgobernador Acevedo Vilá y su esposa ante el fallecimiento de la madre del gobernador García Padilla
Escrito el 15 de agosto de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

Mi esposa Piti y yo seamos expresar nuestra más profunda tristeza por el fallecimiento de María de los Ángeles Padilla Passalacqua, madre del gobernador Alejandro García Padilla. Confiamos y oramos a nuestro señor para que el gobernador, sus hijos, sus hermanos y el resto de su familia y amigos tengan la fortaleza para sobrellevar este momento de dolor. Nos consta el vínculo tan especial y muy fuerte que tenía el gobernador con su señora madre y sabemos que fue una de las personas más importantes e influyentes en su vida. Nuestro más sentido pésame y un abrazo solidario para él y la primera dama, Wilma Pastrana.

A Sovereign Commonwealth (ELA Soberano) is possible
Escrito el 11 de agosto de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook

After the positions of the federal executive branch and of Congress reaffirming their plenary powers over Puerto Rico, the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court and the approval of PROMESA, for the vast majority of Puerto Ricans who want and believe in a dignifying and not colonial association with the United States, that preserves our national identity, several questions arise: Is it possible to have a Commonwealth (ELA) outside of the scope of the territorial clause, a Sovereign Commonwealth (ELA Soberano)? Is it possible to have a dignified, non colonial, non territorial association relationship with the United States that maintains the common bonds of currency, defense and market, plus the American citizenship? My answer is yes, but we need to teach and educate ourselves and end the fears and myths here and over there.

Today is very different from 1952. Trade barriers have fallen and the free flow of people and goods between countries is becoming more common every day. Let’s look at the reality of these four pillars I mentioned in terms of today.

Common currency / Although with periods of fluctuation, the US dollar continues to be the dominant currency in the world. In fact, there is no United States law that prevents another country from using the dollar as their domestic currency; it’s what’s known in the international community as the “dollarization” of an economy. Countries such as Ecuador and El Salvador have the dollar as their official currency and others, like Panama, whose economy growth has been extraordinary is the past 15 years, use the dollar in place of its currency. So, it’s obvious that in any relationship of dignified association with the United States, there is no impediment to maintain the dollar as the common currency.

Common market / If anything in the world has changed dramatically since 1952 it’s in the creation of large trade blocs that allow the free market of goods and services. The United States was one of the last markets to enter this current, but since the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, the trend has been to increase its common market agreements. In the case of Puerto Rico, it would not be to promote a change in the existing trade rules, but to maintain and perfect them under the new globalized world. And let’s not forget that Puerto Rico continues to be one of the main markets for American goods, which guarantees that the US corporate sector will ensure that the common market is maintained.

Common defense / The United States has mutual defense agreements with more countries than anyone else. The economic and strategic interests that the United States has in Puerto Rico guarantee that what we have today remains under a dignified relationship of ELA Soberano.

Common citizenship / This is really a topic full of myths and lies, and although I will elaborate a at a later date, today it’s enough to say that it is constitutionally guaranteed that Puerto Ricans cannot be deprived of our American citizenship, even in the extreme case of independence. Under ELA Soberano, maintaining the American citizenship of Puerto Ricans by birth is a matter of mutual benefit and of political will. Professor Samuel Issacharoff in the study he made last year by request of the PPD, concluded that in a relationship of dignified association anything can be agreed on “including the grant of continued rights to U.S. citizenship to any person born in Puerto Rico and full entitlement to American social benefits.” It is a matter of political will.

For all this reasons I affirm that there should be no doubt that we can renegotiate a relationship of dignified association with the United States that preserves the binding values that Puerto Ricans want to maintain, what we must do is begin to work on it without fear.
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Published originally in spanish by El Nuevo Día on August 11, 2016
Translated by Gabriela Acevedo Gándara

United States and its right to self-determination
Escrito el 4 de agosto de 2016 - Comenta usando tu cuenta de Facebook


Statehood for Puerto Rico constitutes an exercise in self-determination for the United States. This is not a case of adding one more state to the union or one more star to the flag, but a transformation from what the US has been throughout its history, a nation-state, into a multi-national state.

World history has various examples of sovereign states that are composed of more than one nation. Unlike a multicultural and multiethnic state, where different racial, religious, and/or linguistics majorities and minorities live in the same territory, but are all part of one historical and sociological nation, (like the US); in a multinational state different nations share their territory, history and culture, which distinguish one from the other, but are united in one state under political arrangements.

When my generation went to school, we were taught about the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Under communist and totalitarian regimes, those states survived with a unitary state despite having different nations coexisting within the same state. In the Soviet Union 15 nations co-existed, in Czechoslovakia two, and in Yugoslavia six. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, these nations that throbbed silently within these antidemocratic regimes reclaimed their space and joined the community of nations with their own rights, and today none of the three exists.

But multinational states don’t exist solely under totalitarian regimes. At this very moment, the world is observing what is happening in Great Britain with Scotland and in Spain with Catalonia. The United Kingdom of Great Britain is a democratic state that is made up of four nations with their own territories and history: England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, each with different levels of autonomy as agreed with the central government. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom since 1707, but today, more than 300 years after the start of that union, the friction between Scotland and the rest of Great Britain is evident, with a strong independence movement that, although lost a recent referendum by a small margin, has regained strength after the triumph of Brexit , and at the moment, the autonomous government of Scotland is in the hands of the pro-independence party.

Spain is living with a similar situation, where, although it has never clearly recognized that it’s a multinational state, its linguistic and cultural reality support it is. Catalonia has been part of what we know today as Spain since the fifteenth century. But during that period, with its ups and its downs, under repressive regimes like Franco or under models of greater autonomy, Catalonia has preserved its national identity, its language and its own idiosyncrasy. Today, large sectors of the catalan society claim their independence and the local government is in the hands of the independence movement.

The United States is nothing like the previous two examples. Although it is a nation of immigrants and different minorities live in it, its objective since its beginnings has been that they all incorporate into one nation, what is known as the ‘melting pot’. Since its inception, the American nation has had in its official seal the following motto : “e pluribus unum”, which in Latin means, “from the many, one”.

Nobody in their right mind can doubt that Puerto Rico, sociologically, is a nation. We have our own territory, history, language and culture. Unless we suffer a rapid racial, linguistic and cultural assimilation that destroys our nationality- something that hasn’t happened in the more than 116 years of our relationship with the United States- statehood for Puerto Rico would mean that the United States would integrate into their federation a distinct nation. It would mean going from “e pluribus unum” to “e pluribus duo”. There is no doubt that this decision equates to an act of self-determination that in its day the American people will have to make.
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Originally published by El Nuevo Día.
Translated by Gabriela Acevedo Gándara


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Escritos Adicionales

And these seven?

LA PRISA PASÓ, LA CRISIS SE QUEDÓ

Declaraciones del exgobernador Acevedo Vilá y su esposa ante el fallecimiento de la madre del gobernador García Padilla

A Sovereign Commonwealth (ELA Soberano) is possible

United States and its right to self-determination

HABLEMOS SOBRE LA ESTADIDAD

The myth of the economic miracle of statehood

THE HURRY IS OVER, THE CRISIS REMAINS

TESTIMONIO DEL EXGOBERNADOR DE PUERTO RICO ANÍBAL ACEVEDO VILÁ ANTE EL COMITÉ DE DESCOLONIZACIÓN DE LA ORGANIZACIÓN DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS, 20 DE JUNIO 2016

TESTIMONY OF THE FORMER GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO ANÍBAL ACEVEDO VILÁ BEFORE THE UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COMMITTE ON DECOLONIZATION, JUNE 20, 2016

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