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” Translated by Gabriela Acevedo Gándara.