Governors use the NGA to create awareness about the P.R. crisis.

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Honorable Governors:

As you may have read or seen in the newspapers and social media, Puerto Rico is going through precarious times. Part of the problem is that since Puerto Rico was transferred from Spain to the United States it has never been allowed to be solvent and since then, its rights to be an independent country were cut short. Today there are over 5 million Puerto Ricans is USA (1), and there are over one million Puerto Ricans in Florida alone. (2) We need our elected officials to take Puerto Rico's situation seriously. It is irrelevant if you are for their independence, statehood or ELA status. You must act in support of stopping the ongoing humanitarian crisis that is taking place there as a direct result of Promesa Law and the Financial Oversight and Management Board imposed by the US Congress on Puerto Rico.  (3 & 4) You must also push and support for the remotion of Puerto Rico from the Jones Act. A law that has devastating consequences for those living in the Islands.

After over 500 years of colonialism, Puerto Rico is at a breaking point, and it is the responsibility of USA to take care of the debt. Why? In part, because of the Paris Agreement of 1898 that gave Puerto Rico to the USA after the Hispanic-American War. In that agreement, Cuba was granted its independence, in part, because the USA reputed Cuba's debt as Spain's debt. It was stipulated then, that the imperial ruler had to take care of the colony's financial burdens and this was one of the reasons why Spain let go of Cuba and USA didn't acquire it, this is now called the Odious Debt. (5)  Furthermore, there are historical records that show President McKinley was in favor of that ruling: "The American negotiators telegraphed President McKinley to ask his opinion. He responded by making it clear that the United States would not agree to take on any Cuban debt and would not encourage Cuba to agree to do so." (6 & 7)  If the USA does not want to pay, it needs to then, audit the debt and remove the illegally disbursed funds and illegally approved loans from the amount of Puerto Rico’s national debt.

What can local and state US elected officials do? What can local and state US elected officials do? REVOKE PROMESA, REMOVE P.R. FROM THE JONES ACT BY PASSING BILL S.1894, APPROVE THE MARSHAL PLAN BILL S. 2165, AUDIT THE DEBT, RECOGNIZE THE HIGH NUMBER OF DEATHS CAUSED BY HURRICANE MARIA. Move these requests into action and help your constituents by helping their families in Puerto Rico. Local and state elected officials can call unto their national elected representatives' counterparts and raise awareness about the precarious situation. Use your membership in the National Governors Association to bring awareness to this issue and request the same from your colleagues.

(a)  As a way of clarification, here are the Islands that are part of Puerto Rico: Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Monito, Desecheo, Caja de Muertos and other cays, islets, and atolls that are natural reserves. It is also important to recognize that those natural reserves must be taken care of and not polluted, which has not been the case with Vieques and Culebra. These are spaces that the US Navy used as target practice and left them contaminated after they left. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Puerto_Rico)

(1) http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/15/hispanics-of-puerto-rican-origin-in-the-united-states-2013/

(2) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/30/in-a-shift-away-from-new-york-more-puerto-ricans-head-to-florida/

(3) https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2328

(4) https://juntasupervision.pr.gov/index.php/en/home/

(5) https://www.brookings.edu/articles/odious-debt-when-dictators-borrow-who-repays-the-loan/ 

(6) https://www.brookings.edu/research/odious-debt/ 

(7) http://www.cadtm.org/The-USA-s-repudiation-of-the-debt

Respectfully,

The Puerto Rican diaspora community of Florida and all of those who stand in solidarity with us.



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