[ View the story "Puerto Rico: Broke or broken?" on Storify] Puerto Rico: Broke or broken? With major social and economic crises, what does the future hold for this US territory?
The Stream· Mon, Jul 06 2015 17:44:47
While the world has been counting Greece's debt, another economic crisis has unfolded in the US territory of Puerto Rico.
"This is not politics, this is math", Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico,
after announcing the island's more than $70 billion debt was "not payable". With a population of nearly 3.6 million, and an average annual
of about $20,000, the Caribbean island is sinking in debt.
@AJStream the current debt is at almost $15K per capita in an island where the poverty level is at 40%+... PR is the U.S.' next DetroitSandra Alvarado
As a US territory, Puerto Rico cannot declare
, which would otherwise provide a legal framework to deal with the debt. Puerto Rico's constitution also guarantees that general obligation bondholders would be paid first before payroll and pensioners. The White House
it clear the federal government is not going to bail out Puerto Rico, either.
This video helps explain the situation in Puerto Rico:
AJ+ - Puerto Rico Owes $73B in Debt | FacebookFacebook
The crisis is felt on the ground. Puerto Rico has
its sales taxes from 7 to 11.5 per cent, making it the highest in the United States. But for many, that's hard to afford. Unemployment has
14 per cent, twice the mainland's average.
Continuous austerity and few options have pushed Puerto Ricans to
the island in record numbers. Each year, around 70,000 people
to the mainland, while only 20,000 choose the Caribbean island as their new home.
@AJStream I left PR to attend grad school in the US. Dreamed of returning and help out. But, very few prospects for jobs+nepotismDr. Davo Semi-Colon
@AJStream I left because Puerto Ricans themselves are totally unwilling to change things. No fight, no trying out new political parties...George Rafael
The territory has been in a recession since 2006, but the latest crisis has renewed debate about its political status. In 2012, Puerto Ricans
in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum. The Stream asked its community what they think the solution is now.
@DeemaAlpha We become an Inc Territory or State, that the 2 options we have. Independence and Free Association are rejected by popular vote.Josué Rivera
@DeemaAlpha @AJStream US policies and statehood/colonial politicians created the present crisis. Sovereignty is the only viable option.SoberanistasPR.com
@AJStream PR should be given the same opportunities as a state. I hate that the Commonwealth is treated as a second class citizen.Brian Sizemore
Puerto Ricans, who are US citizens deprived of mainland voting rights, pay most federal taxes, including for social security and healthcare services, but receive less governmental aid.
@AJStream Puerto Rico has a rights crisis that precedes and supersedes its debt crisisHector Luis Alamo
@AJStream Not in the COLONY of Puerto Rico, we are NOT treated equal.Mari
@MarilynC72 @AJStream exactly! And it applies to the 320 million US citizens, once they set foot in PR. @paganedwinGuido F ✡ ن
@MarilynC72 @AJStream so, it is NOT an Puerto Rican issue, it's an AMERICAN issue! @paganedwinGuido F ✡ ن
While the island's inhabitants
vote for president or have a say in the US congress, the votes of some five million Puerto Ricans on the mainland are up for grabs, making Puerto Rico a topic of
for many presidential candidates.
Puerto Rico's debt crisis is not theirs alone. For PR's economy to grow & their people to thrive, they need real tools & real support. -HHillary Clinton
Others say the Puerto Rico's crisis is not a US problem:
It's a Puerto Rican problem, it doesn't have anything to do with the American government.
@DeemaAlpha @JoeAmericandude @AJStream es problema de los puertorriqueños . nada tiene que ver el gobierno Americano.hector
@SchweizerGeld @MarkTOByrne As Long As #puertorico Corrupt #politicians Handle The Economy The Result Will Be The same = #debt #defaultBIOnicMATADOR
@AJStream PR was corrupt since inception of governance. Beautiful place. Needs a fresh start. #supportBryan Margaca
Should the US help Puerto Rico and its people cope with the debt? How and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.