Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you so much. Thank you. I want to thank Luis Garden Acosta for his extraordinary leadership. I’ve known Luis now a quarter century –

Luis Garden Acosta: At least. 

Mayor: – and you are one of the great progressive activists in this city. Let’s thank Luis for all he is doing. 


We have come here today as Americans, we have come here today as New Yorkers to stand up for Puerto Rico, to stand up for our brothers and sisters – people who we care about so deeply because we feel such a strong personal tie, all of us, to the island of Puerto Rico and its people. 

We know that three-and-a-half million of our fellow citizens are right now threatened by a crisis – a crisis largely created by mistakes of federal policy that now has to be corrected by federal action. If the federal government doesn’t step in, it will be abandoning three-and-a-half million Americans who are only asking for fairness at this moment.

They are saddled with a debt they cannot pay. They are unable – by law, unable to file for bankruptcy. And they are at the mercy of their creditors. This is an unacceptable situation. It’s a catch-22 if we’ve ever seen one. 

And I have the honor of representing many hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans here in this city, a city that would not be as great as it is were it not for the contributions of the Puerto Rican community, and a city that feels our connection to Puerto Rico as part of our everyday life – the depth of the connection just can’t be fully expressed. 

So we see our brothers and sisters in trouble, and it’s our job to speak out and not leave them to fend for themselves. 

There are more Puerto Ricans living in this city than any other single place in this nation outside of Puerto Rico itself, so it’s my obligation to stand up for them – and I know my colleagues here feel the exact same thing. 

You have leaders here – elected officials, labor leaders, faith leaders, community leaders – all agreeing, all in common cause that we have to give Puerto Rico the tools it needs to weather this storm – and only the federal government can do that. 

I want to thank all who are here. I want thank Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has stood up early and often and powerfully on this issue. I want to thank Scott Stringer, our comptroller; Tish James, our public advocate. There’s absolute singularity of purpose among us to stand up for Puerto Rico. 

I want to thank Bronx Democratic leader and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Carmen Arroyo. 

I want to thank the activists – people who really worked to make sure that this issue gets to the forefront and stays there. 

I want to thank Frankie Miranda of the Hispanic Federation.

I want to thank my special advisor, another friend of a quarter-century, Arnie Segarra for his good work. 

And labor is represented – I particularly want to thank George Miranda, the president of the Teamsters, for joining us. 

A lot of people care and we will not stop until the federal government acts. 

Now, let’s be clear – it’s the federal government’s obligation to act, because they can’t stand idly by and watch Puerto Rico fail, especially because its circumstance has so much to do with decisions previously made by the federal government. 

There is a path to resolution. 

Pass HR-870, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act. 

It simply allows Puerto Rico to restructure its debt to do what so many other governments and so many corporations have done in their times of trouble. 

If we don’t do it, Puerto Rico simply can’t get back on its feet.

We’re obligated because we as Americans believe we’re supposed to help our fellow Americans in times of trouble – and this is a time a trouble if ever there was one for Puerto Rico. It’s no different than a natural disaster. We must be there for the people of Puerto Rico. 

It’s a tradition that we believe in as Americans. It’s certainly a tradition we believe in as New Yorkers. And we know that if Puerto Rico is allowed to fail, it will hurt this entire nation and be a tremendous injustice to the people of Puerto Rico. 

So we stand together in solidarity today and we will keep making our voices heard to all our federal officials until there is fairness and action for Puerto Rico. 

Very quickly in Spanish –

Puerto Rico está enfrentando un problema financiero muy serio. No podemos dejar a la comunidad boricua abandonada en un mar de indiferencia. Como alcalde de la ciudad con la población de boricuas más grande fuera de la isla, le pido al Congreso que apruebe una ley que permita a Puerto Rico reestructurar su deuda. Puerto Rico tiene un lugar importante en los Estados Unidos, y merece la ayuda y apoyo del gobierno federal.

We’ll keep fighting until that is achieved. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hedge Fund Vulture Get out of Puerto Rico


My name is Maria Maisonette. I was born in Manatí, Puerto Rico. When I was 9 years old my family moved to New York in search of a better life. Now, I live in East New York, Brooklyn.

When I heard that billionaire hedge fund managers have bought up large chunks of Puerto Rican debt at discounts, pushed the island to borrow more and are now pushing for devastating austerity measures, I was furious.

These Hedge Fund "vultures" are knowingly pushing Puerto Rico off a cliff into economic despair.  But we can stop them.  Click here to tell greedy hedge funds to stop pushing austerity measures in Puerto Rico.

While people face despairing levels of poverty, Hedge Funds are swooping in to exploit this crisis for a profit. Instead of letting Puerto Rico restructure its debt, hedge funds called Puerto Rico to lay-off teachers and close schools. [1]

Today, NYCC members stood alongside our City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and dozens of concerned citizens to call on our Federal Government to save the people of Puerto Rico, not hedge fund managers. [2]

Click here to stand against austerity measures Hedge Funds are pushing in Puerto Rico.

Austerity measures and budget cuts hurt real people. People like my cousin who had to wait 14 hours to see a doctor because of cuts to Medicaid. Puerto Ricans are already facing depression-levels of unemployment, mass emigration and sky-rocketing food and electricity prices.

We cannot let opportunistic speculative investors like hedge funds push the island into an economic catastrophe. After decades of suffering through economic hardship, the last thing Puerto Ricans need is more austerity. You can keep up the pressure by letting them know that New Yorkers are watching their every move. 

Puerto Rico needs you more than ever. Sign the petition to tell New York's billionaire hedge funders:  No austerity for Puerto Rico!

In solidarity,

Maria Maisonette,
Member of New York Communities for Change
East NY Chapter

Friday, July 17, 2015

News AOL

Mexico admits US made critical plea for 'El Chapo'

Mexico's government confirmed on Friday that the United States filed an extradition request for the drug lord shortly before his prison break.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mexico Prison Break by ‘El Chapo’ Is a Blow to President Peña Nieto JULY 13, 2015

MEXICO CITY — To plot his escape from the most secure prison in Mexico, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug kingpin known as El Chapo, is believed to have relied on countless little birds to whisper information into his ear and help whisk him to freedom.
Now, it appears that at least one of them was an actual bird.
Government officials visiting Mr. Guzmán’s cell after his breakout discovered the body of a small bird sitting in his trash can. The bird, they believe, was used to test the air quality of the tunnel through which Mr. Guzmán vanished — like coal miners who used canaries — according to an official helping to coordinate the manhunt. Officials are calling the bird “Chapito.”
It was one of many marvels of the kingpin’s escape. The architects of his tunnel gave it lighting, a motorcycle on rails to transport the displaced earth and oxygen tanks. It was built high enough so that Mr. Guzmán, whose nickname means “Shorty,” could stand.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ISIS Confused by Trump's Hotel Analogies

Donald Trump. (photo: Christopher Gregory/Getty)
Donald Trump. (photo: Christopher Gregory/Getty)

ISIS Confused by Trump's Hotel Analogies

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
11 July 15
The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, "The Borowitz Report."

spokesman for ISIS said on Tuesday that its leaders were “genuinely confused” by the abundant hotel analogies in Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s announcement speech, acknowledging that they were having a difficult time understanding how his colorful anecdotes about running a hotel empire translated into a strategy to defeat the terror group.
In a prepared statement, the ISIS spokesman said that Trump’s pronouncements about such hotel-industry concerns as air-conditioning and renting the proper-sized ballroom were creating confusion within ISIS, as the group’s leaders struggled to determine how any of the examples applied to them.
“We’re having a very hard time making sense of the speech,” the ISIS spokesman said. “He talked about defeating us, but it seemed like what he was saying was pretty specific to hotels.”
Minutes after the statement was released, Trump responded that the fact that he had confused ISIS “means I’m already winning the war against it.”
“In every one of my hotels, you’ve got elevators,” Trump said. “Some of them go up, some of them go down. ISIS is going down.”

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Repudiation of $73 Billion of Odious Debt in Puerto Rico


Given the serious and grave crisis in the colonial system imposed by force by the occupying power of our country, the United States, the National Sovereign State of Borinken demands the immediate withdrawal of all military and administrative forces of the government from our national territory. The U.S. government is the main cause of our misfortunes, having subjected our people to a colonial domination unprecedented in history. This colonial domination has served in the past and present to privilege American economic interests at the total expense of the Puerto Rican national interests. That is the main cause of the crisis in the colony called Puerto Rico.

Under the laws of war, all colonial puppet government actions by the so-called Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are attributed to the occupying power, so that the public debt of $ 73 billion is the unique and sole responsibility of the United States.    For the Provisional Government of ESNB, the Krueger report is not acceptable.  Mrs. Krueger is a Yankee neoconservative. Her report attempts to impose upon the Puerto Rican People the Reagan administrations infamous “supply side” economics that were long-ago discredited by Reagan’s first Budget Director David Stockman.  That report’s only intention is to reduce our people to colonial slavery by applying the genocidal “shock doctrine” that the I.M.F. has imposed on other countries. If the Krueger report is accepted by the current colonial administration, we will finally be reduced to slaves in our own land.

Before the irredeemable and detestable debt, the choices that the colonial government proposes are making further cuts and the adoption of structural measures involving genocidal sacrifices for the people - particularly for the middle and working class - and the destruction of our very lives.

To this end, Dr. Ramón Nenadich, President of the National Sovereign State of Borinken, proposes the following steps:

1. That the Puerto Rican people fully assume their sovereignty, which is illegally displaced by the government of the United States,

2. We hereby repudiate this Odious Debt of more than $73 billion!  It must be assumed entirely by the government of the United States under the laws of war, as this is the occupying power of our country from its illegal invasion 1898.

3. The immediate renunciation of all senior officials of the colonial government for its proven inability to solve the major problems facing our people,

4. The immediate withdrawal of all agencies and repressive forces of the United States from Borinken, so that the Provisional Government of National Sovereign State of Borinken can fully assume the government of the country,

5. Initiate a reorganization of our economy through the establishment of international treaties which will be of benefit to all of our people and allow us to access other credit in the world market which are much cheaper than the terms of the bondholders on Wall Street,

6. The implementation of measures to promote the establishment and development of a solidarity-based economy by strengthening workers' owned business and cooperatives, and targeting of the economy at community level and the creation of a national market protected by our own laws,

7. The establishment of a national imports substitution industry that would allow us to generate an internal policy for the consolidation of our food sovereignty,

8.  To establish administrative policies to protect the Puerto Rican businesses against aggressive and unfair foreign competition.

9. To raise the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour in four years,

10. To keep the fringe benefits of the working class including the Christmas bonus untouched, removing all the Yankee neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies of privatization of public assets and the nationalization of those already privatized,

11. The National Sovereign State of Borinken will produce our own Economic Plan designed to secure the prosperity of the Puerto Rican People free from continued Yankee depredation and exploitation by August 30.

“With these measures, concluded Dr. Ramon Nenadich, we will begin to effectively and permanently solve the serious crisis that affects us. Otherwise, they will only be patching up the colony by trying to perfume it a little bit more and that is unsustainable. The colony has come to an end and what remains is to bury it forever, so that we can fully assume our sovereign powers and be a free people in every sense of the word. While our people continue to live under a colonial regime there will be no solution to the crisis.”

Dr. Ramón Nenadich
National Sovereign State of Borinken

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Rehearsals for the new Spanish-language production of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, directed by Luis Salgado, winner of the Best Director Award at the Thespis and Venus/Adonis Festivals for Song of Solomon and Zuccotti Park, respectively, started today in New York City.  The production will arrive at Corralón de San José in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a limited run August 13th through 16th, 2015.
(L-R) Eric-Dominique Pérez, Emmanuelle Bordas and Javier E. Gómez in the new Spanish language production of "Speed-the-Plow".  Photo by Gustavo Mirabile.
"After spending the last three months learning from a wonderful creative team of On Your Feet, I can't wait to play and apply my experiences to a brand-new staging of Mamet's contemporary classic.  There are many wonderful things that I've learn working with Jerry Mitchell... in conversations with Alexander Delinaris... and working hard for Sergio Trujillo. All the discipline, passion and focus that I bring from the recent experience with On Your Feet in Chicago, will inspire the developing process that I'm about to undergo with my 3 wonderful actors in this play", said Salgado, who has been seen on Broadway in In the Heights, Rocky and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

The production is titled "Jala-la-Pala", a Spanish-language spin on the phrase "God's Speed the Plough" (which inspired Mamet's original title), and a common local Caribbean Spanish slang that means "Use-Your-Connections".    

"In certain Caribbean and Latin American countries, a pala or palanca is often meant to describe a confidential and influential contact who has the power to make things happen.  The way in which Mamet's brilliant script and characters come to life in Spanish, with a multicultural cast, and a two-centuries' old open-air theater, makes for an explosive and fascinating re-creation of the show unlike we have never seen it before", Salgado added.   

"Jala-la-Pala" will play four performances only, August 13-16, 8:30pm, at Corralón de San José, 109 San José Street, Old San Juan.  The New York-based cast features Emmanuelle Bordas as Karen, Javier E. Gómez as Gould and Éric-Dominique Pérez as Fox.  Rehearsals are taking place at Pregones Theatre/PRTT.

Luis Salgado
Last March, Salgado won the Best Director Award at the Venus/Adonis Festival for Zuccotti Park The Musical.  In August 2014 he work the Best Director Award at Thespis Festival for Song of Solomon.  Other directing credits include Amigo Duende, The Musical (music and lyrics by Joshua Henry, book by Henry, Salgado and Heather Hogan), and Candela Fuerza y Pasión (In Lima, Peru).  

Salgado will return to Broadway in Gloria and Emilio Estefan's On Your Feet, directed by Jerry Mitchell. Previews begin on October 5th at the Marquis Theatre.  The show finished out-of-town tryouts last Sunday, July 5th, at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago.

One of the oldest working theaters still operating in the Americas, Corralón de San José is a courtyard-style theater built at the end of the 18th Century.  The San Juan production of "Speed-The-Plow" is produced by High Pitch, Inc. and Dead Jíbaros Productions, in partnership with Amigos del Corralón (Josean Ortiz, Artistic Director), Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Salgado Productions and Tony L. D'Anzica, with support by Pregones Theatre/PRTT.

Admission is free to the public as part of Corralón de San José's Theater Access and Cultural Collaborations Initiative.

For more information, the public can visit

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dominican Plan to Expel Thousands of Haitians Tests Ties

A government plan that could deport thousands of people of Haitian descent from the Dominican Republic has started to tear at the unity that once bound the country.

She has no documentation, though not for lack of trying. She obtained an affidavit with seven witnesses testifying that she was born in the Dominican Republic. Two days before the government’s registration deadline last month, the family received a letter stating that the paperwork was insufficient.
“Imagine if your wife was born here but faces deportation to a country she knows nothing about,” said Roberto, who spoke on the condition that his family not be identified by last name. “She would be taken away, and our marriage and lives would be torn apart.”

Saturday, July 4, 2015

In Greece and Puerto Rico, rot has similar stench

Both debt crises show striking parallels in their causes and devastating effects -- should bankruptcy be an option?

By Bob Hennelly

By scale alone, the financial crises rattling Greece and Puerto Rico seemingly have little in common. Greece, which late Tuesday defaulted on its loan to the International Monetary Fund, has about $263 billion in outstanding debt, while the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has just $72 billion on the books. Yet their plights reveal striking parallels both in what led to the present turmoil and in the debilitating effects.
Certainly the two are united in one way: The slow-burning decline in their respective economic well-being has long been readily apparent to anyone paying attention. Similarly, the powers that be worsened the slide by continuing to pile on more debt even as conditions in Greece and Puerto Rico deteriorated, while legal restraints narrowed the range of possible remedies.
The outcomes, too, show a remarkable -- and devastating -- similarity. Some 44 percent of Greeks live below the poverty line today; in Puerto Rico the figure is 45 percent. In both bases, the backdrop is a battered labor market that leaves little opportunity for younger people.
Labor force participation -- the share of the working-age population either in a job or looking for work -- in both regions is alarmingly low, with the World Bank reporting just 53 percent of Greece's potential workforce on the job, while in Puerto Rico is only 43 percent.
That compares with just under 63 percent in the U.S., where economists express concern about the sharply lower participation rate since the Great Recession. For broader geopolitical context, consider that workforce participation in war-torn Afghanistan is 48 percent.
The diminished opportunity in Greece and Puerto Rico is causing an exodus of young people, with hundreds of thousands moving abroad in hopes of finding work so they can send money home to their families. That has further eroded the tax base of both jurisdictions, undermining economic growth and making it harder to service government debt.
The mass departure of young Greeks and Puerto Ricans also has left a greater percentage of older residents more likely to require public assistance, swelling the debt load.
But economic misery is not all that Greece and Puerto Rico share. Possible ways to alleviate that misery are also similarly limited. Unlike a municipality like Detroit, neither government can take refuge in bankruptcy protection to help stop the downward spiral.
James Henry, a senior fellow at Columbia University's Center on Sustainable Investment, said that bankruptcy could help get Greece and Puerto Rico off the debt treadmill and on the path to recovery.
"We have bankruptcy proceedings for people and corporations, but not for sovereign nations like Greece or territories like Puerto Rico," he said. "The eye of the bankruptcy court is on what works. If we put people in debtors' prison, they can't pay off their debts. We give them a clean slate so they can become productive again."
Henry thinks European central bankers and officials, who have offered only minor concessions in the months-long bailout talks with Athens, are determined to make an example of Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras. The leader of Greece's left-wing Syriza party, who took office in April vowing to resist the deep government spending cuts and tax hikes that have hurt growth in Greece, on Saturday surprised eurozone finance ministers by ordering a July 5 referendum on the terms of the latest bailout offer.
"They are forgetting their history," Henry said of European leaders. "The world saw what happened when we saddled Germany after World War I with massive debts it could not pay. It led to fascism."
Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., tells CBS Moneywatch that Puerto Rico should be able to seek bankruptcy protection, and he plans to introduce legislation along those lines. "For close to 50 years I have been advocating for the people of Puerto Rico to be treated truly like real American citizens," he said.
Nearly four decades ago, Rangel was the principal author of the so-called 936 program, which provided federal tax incentives to American multinationals, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector, to set up production plants in Puerto Rico. "I saw that, when we had that in place, we started to see the building of a middle class with good paying jobs," he said.
The incentive program, first on the books in 1976, exempted corporations from paying federal taxes on the profits generated by their Puerto Rico-based subsidiaries. Congress ended the program in 1996, but provided a 10-year extension for U.S. companies already on the island. Once the program ended, however, big companies largely left the island and unemployment spiked.
Rangel believes the crisis in Puerto Rico requires President Obama to intervene, noting what he sees as a long-festering injustice in the commonwealth arrangement.
"In battle after battle generations of Puerto Ricans have distinguished themselves in combat defending the United States," he said. "You shouldn't have citizens that can die for your country but not able to vote for the country's President. The only thing good out of this economic disaster is that somebody is going to have to start paying attention."

Puerto Rico on the Brink of Financial Collapse Economist James Henry breakdowns the hedge funds, bond holders, and wealthy individuals who have benefited from Puerto Rico's triple tax exempt status - July 2, 2015

Have you been hearing this that PR is near bankruptcy?

Puerto Rico on the Brink of Financial Collapse


James S. Henry is a leading economist, attorney and investigative journalist who has written extensively about global issues. James served as Chief Economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co and as an investigative journalist his work has appeared in numerous publications like Forbes, The Nation, and the The New York Times. He was the lead researcher of the recently released report titled 'The Price of Offshore Revisited.'


Puerto Rico on the Brink of Financial CollapseJESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: 
Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.Puerto Rico has avoided default for now, at least. The Caribbean U.S. territory still has more than $70 billion in outstanding debt to go. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has said that the country won't be able to pay that all back. In an interview with the New York Times, the Puerto Rico governor said, quote: The debt is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics. This is math.Now joining us to help us break down the numbers and the history behind Puerto Rico's debt is our guest James Henry. James is a leading economist, attorney, and investigative journalist who writes extensively about global issues. Thanks for joining us, James.JAMES HENRY, SENIOR ECONOMIST, TAX JUSTICE NETWORK: You're very welcome.DESVARIEUX: So James, there's really a lot at stake here. I mean, Puerto Rico's unemployment is more than twice the U.S. national rate. The poverty level is nearly double that of the poorest U.S. state. Like I said, a lot at stake. So let's have our viewers understand, how did Puerto Rico even get here and who does it actually owe money to?HENRY: Well, Puerto Rico has been borrowing to pay its bills, its tax base has lingered. There's a lot of tax evasion going on, especially of sales tax. Maybe $800 million a year. But they've accumulated not only a $72-73 billion debt, but they also have about $50 billion of semi-funded pension liabilities, and that's consuming 40 percent of their government budget.So they've come to a situation where they can no longer afford to pay this, these huge obligations. And raising taxes might have been an option a while ago, but they've really suffered I think from the combination of being far too reliant on debt at a time when growth has slowed and there was a big recession. The population on the island has been shrinking about 1 percent a year. It's about 3.6 million. So they've ended up with a per capita debt burden here just slightly less than Greece. In fact if you add in the pension debt it's greater than Greece, $40,000 per capita.DESVARIEUX: What about municipal bonds, what role does that play?HENRY: Yeah, the difference with Greece is that you know, in this case, Puerto Rico was funding its borrowing by issuing municipal bonds that were basically Puerto Rico Commonwealth bonds, that are, have been granted triple tax-free status. They don't pay--if you receive interest on these relatively high-yield bonds you don't pay federal, state, or local taxes. So that was very attractive, especially to the Wall Streeters who were able to talk Puerto Rico into issuing more and more of these things.And if you look at who owns these bonds, more than $11 billion of them are owned by U.S. bond funds. Big names like Franklin Templeton and Oppenheimer have gone deeply into Puerto Rican bonds. And also a lot of individual investors have been buying up these bonds.So collectively this is a big deal for the sake of those who have been investing in Puerto Rican muni bonds. So unlike the Greek situation where there's almost no U.S. exposure, in this case we have a substantial amount of exposure. And it all adds up to a bankruptcy, potentially, on about four times the size of Detroit's, which was the largest U.S. municipality.DESVARIEUX: But right now Puerto Rico isn't eligible to claim bankruptcy. Is that right, James?HENRY: That's right. It's a commonwealth and not a municipality or--so it's not allowed to go into Chapter 9, which is what Detroit was able to get a federal judge to allow it to do. That means that if there's no bankruptcy here then Puerto Rico's really in the kind of Greek situation where the creditors are not going to have to share the losses and there's going to be a big burden placed on Puerto Rico if it wants to borrow any more. It's running about a 5 percent GDP deficit every year so it needs that borrowing. It's going to have to, you know, cut spending, which [would be] very painful. Or try to find new sources of tax revenue, like a new form of sales tax.So this is--you know, bankruptcy would be the preferred option. But as we've seen in the case of Greece and many other sovereign entities, and Puerto Rico is still in that category, unlike private companies or individuals there is no orderly procedure for a lot of these sovereign entities. And Puerto Rico is now going to Congress and asking for permission to be allowed to file bankruptcy.DESVARIEUX: As people are following this story do you anticipate certain developments? For example, you mentioned Detroit being similar to Puerto Rico. Should we be looking out for privatization of some of these public assets in Puerto Rico?HENRY: Well I mean, Puerto Rico's going to have to scamper to find ways of paying off its creditors. One of the options here in addition to raising taxes from, or improving tax enforcement, would be to sell off private assets, privatize government assets. And that's one of the first things that a bankruptcy court would look at. It would try to have an adjustment plan prepared by Puerto Rico, but also have the creditors share part of the burden. And that's what the Congress is going to have to decide here, whether it really wants to help Puerto Rico out of this situation, allow it to enter a bankruptcy court and have this orderly procedure.Right now the Congress is spending about $22 billion a year in aid and, federal aid in Puerto Rico. So it's a big factor in the Puerto Rican economy. It's about 20-25% of GDP. There's also a lot of remittances that are being sent to Puerto Rico by folks working here. So there's a lot of connectivity between the U.S. economy and Puerto Rico that doesn't allow us to just turn our backs.DESVARIEUX: All right. James Henry, joining us from New York. Thank you so much for being with us.HENRY: You're quite welcome.DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
Recent activity a day ago

Puerto Rico's Debt Is Not Financial, It's Colonial: The Political Imprisonment of Oscar Lopez Rivera

Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here Audio I've made my way to my

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hispanic leaders say Republican Party must condemn Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hispanic leaders are warning of harm to Republican White House hopes unless the party's presidential contenders do more to condemn Donald Trump, a businessman turned presidential candidate who's refusing to apologize for calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers.
Trump's comments, delivered in his announcement speech last month, have haunted the GOP for much of the last two weeks and dominated Spanish-language media. It's bad timing for a Republican Party that has invested significantly in Hispanic outreach in recent years, given the surging influence of the minority vote.
Yet several Republican candidates have avoided the issue altogether, while those who have weighed in have declined to criticize Trump as strongly as many Hispanic leaders would like.
"The time has come for the candidates to distance themselves from Trump and call his comments what they are: ludicrous, baseless and insulting," said Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican who leads the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership. "Sadly, it hurts the party with Hispanic voters. It's a level of idiocy I haven't seen in a long time."
The political and practical Trump-related fallout has intensified in recent days.
The leading Hispanic television network, Univision, has backed out of televising the Miss USA pageant, a joint venture between Trump and NBC, which also cut ties with Trump. On Wednesday, the Macy's department store chain, which carried a Donald Trump menswear line, said it was ending its relationship with him. Other retailers are facing pressure to follow suit.
The reaction from Republican presidential candidates, however, has often been far less aggressive.
In a recent interview on Fox News, conservative firebrand Ted Cruz insisted that Trump should not apologize.
"I like Donald Trump," said Cruz, a Texas senator who is Hispanic. "I think he's terrific. I think he's brash. I think he speaks the truth. And I think that NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said simply that Trump is "wrong."
"Maybe we'll have a chance to have an honest discussion about it on stage," Bush said last weekend while campaigning in Nevada.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who often talks about his re-election margins with Latino voters, called Trump's comments "wholly inappropriate" during a news conference. In a subsequent radio interview, Christie described Trump as "a really wonderful guy (who's) always been a good friend."
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, silent on the issue for more than two weeks, took a more pointed tone in a statement Thursday evening. "Trump's comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive," said Rubio, a Hispanic. "Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together — not someone who continues to divide."
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday: "I don't think Donald Trump's remarks reflect the Republican Party."
Among others, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have been silent.
"We're listening very, very closely, not just what candidates say but what they don't say — the sins of commission and the sins of omission," said Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who called Trump's comments "xenophobic rhetoric."
Trump is showing no sign of backing down.
"My statements have been contorted to seem racist and discriminatory," he wrote in a message to supporters on Thursday. "What I want is for legal immigrants to not be unfairly punished because others are coming into America illegally, flooding the labor market and not paying taxes."
"You can count on me to keep fighting," he continued.
In his announcement speech, Trump said Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Such rhetoric resonates with some of the Republican Party's most passionate voters, who have long viewed illegal immigration as one of the nation's most pressing problems. Yet GOP leaders have urged conservatives to adopt a more welcoming tone in recent years as Hispanic voters increasingly sided with Democrats.
Not since the 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush has a Republican presidential candidate earned as much as 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Mitt Romney got a dismal 27 percent in the 2012 contest against President Barack Obama.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton cast Trump's remarks as "emblematic" of a larger perception within the Republican Party.
"A recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexican immigrants," she said in an interview last month. "Everyone should stand up and say that's not acceptable."
Meanwhile, the attention has helped Trump sell some books. "Trump: The Art of the Deal," first published in 1987, and a release from 2007, "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life," were both in the top 2,000 on's best-seller list as of midday Thursday. "Think Big," co-written by Bill Zanker, was Amazon's top seller for personal finance.
Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington, Hillel Italie in New York and Jill Colvin in Ashland, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

See this gallery of Trump over the years: