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Topics in the News: Puerto Rico


Julian Castro on Environment : Jun 26, 2019
Executives must deal with disasters in sustainable way

My first visit after I announced my candidacy wasn't to Iowa or New Hampshire. It was to San Juan, Puerto Rico. When I was mayor of San Antonio, we moved our local public utility, we began to shift it from coal-fired plants to solar and other renewables, and also created more than 800 jobs doing that. When I was HUD secretary, we worked on the National Disaster Resilience Competition to invest in communities that were trying to rebuild from natural disasters in a sustainable way.
Click for Julian Castro on other issues.   Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami)

Andrew Yang on Government Reform : Apr 14, 2019
Supports statehood for DC & Puerto Rico

I'm 100 percent for D.C. statehood. You should have been a state a long time ago. And I am also for Puerto Rican statehood, which is also long overdue. It's like a statement I make is that if Puerto Ricans looked like Swedes, they would have been Americans a long time ago.
Click for Andrew Yang on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls

Mike Gravel on Foreign Policy : Apr 9, 2019
Referendum on Puerto Rico statehood

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Although its inhabitants are citizens and have the freedom of movement throughout the rest of the country, they do not have a vote in Congress, and no say in presidential politics. This is a denial of political rights. Puerto Rico should be allowed to host a legitimate, formal, binding referendum on statehood, and be eligible to participate in presidential and congressional elections.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeGravel.com

Andrew Yang on Foreign Policy : Mar 29, 2019
Puerto Rican statehood is overdue step toward equality

Puerto Rico should be a state--they function as one right now without the political rights and bankruptcy protection. If Puerto Ricans looked like Swedes they'd be a state already. We must not only offer them political equality but help them rebuild their economy and infrastructure--it will take time but that's what Americans do.
Click for Andrew Yang on other issues.   Source: 2020 presidential campaign website Yang2020.com

Jay Inslee on Civil Rights : Mar 1, 2019
Statehood for DC & Puerto Rico; they deserve representation

I've always supported statehood for Puerto Rico and DC. People have got to have representation-- 700,000 people in the District of Columbia is as large as Wyoming.
Click for Jay Inslee on other issues.   Source: David Roberts, Vox.com, on 2020 Democratic primary

Pete Buttigieg on Civil Rights : Feb 20, 2019
Calls for redistricting reform; questions Electoral College

Buttigieg endorsed redistricting reforms and other changes that would allow for greater representation of the public interest. "Bold changes and reforms are needed," Buttigieg said, including "things that might require constitutional action. Things like questioning whether it really makes sense to have an electoral college, which twice in my lifetime has overruled the American people. And whether it makes sense to continue with places like D.C. and Puerto Rico denied full political representation."
Click for Pete Buttigieg on other issues.   Source: Common Dreams e-zine on 2020 Democratic primary

Andrew Yang on Government Reform : Feb 6, 2019
Make Puerto Rico a state

Yang wants to make the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico an official state.
Click for Andrew Yang on other issues.   Source: Townhall.com: 2020 Democratic primary "Candidate profiles"

Bernie Sanders on Budget & Economy : Nov 1, 2018
Restructure debt so Puerto Rico can rebuild

Right now in Puerto Rico, the government is struggling with an unsustainable amount of debt. Rather than restructuring that debt in a way that protects the people of Puerto Rico, a small group of hedge fund billionaires are demanding extreme austerity policies that would decimate public services, including the firing of teachers and the closing of schools. It is unacceptable that these Wall Street investors will reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the Puerto Rican people. These creditors must be forced to negotiate a debt repayment plan that is fair to both sides--the people of Puerto Rico deserve nothing less.

When people are suffering and hurting [in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Maria], you don't continue to squeeze them. We cannot allow Puerto Rico's budget to be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable people--working families, veterans, the elderly, children and the poor. It is not only morally wrong, it is also economically unsustainable."

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2018 Vermont Senate campaign website BernieSanders.com

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Nov 1, 2018
Binding referendum on Puerto Rico statehood vs. independence

Empowering the People of Puerto Rico to Decide Their Own Destiny: There must be a U.S. congressionally-sanctioned and binding referendum where the Puerto Rican people would be able to decide on whether to become a state, an independent country, or to reform the current Commonwealth agreement. This is an issue that should be decided by the Puerto Rican people.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2018 Vermont Senate campaign website BernieSanders.com

Bernie Sanders on Welfare & Poverty : Oct 27, 2017
Puerto Rico nearly bankrupt after Great Recession

Since 2006, Puerto Rico had lost 20% of its jobs, and about 60% of Puerto Rico's adult population were unemployed. In other words, Puerto Rico remained in the midst of a major and prolonged depression.

As a result of its economic crisis, the Puerto Rican government was deep in debt and heading toward bankruptcy. Wall Street institutions, sensing the opportunity to make a killing at the expense of a weak and impoverished territory, were there to "help." They lent the government money at usurious interest rates.

In 2015, Puerto Rico owed over $70 billion and was paying, in some cases, a 34% interest rate on tax-exempt bonds that vulture capitalists purchased at 29 cents on the dollar. The people of Puerto Rico should not be forced to suffer even more in order that a handful of wealthy investors could make outrageous profits. I called on those investors to take a major "haircut" and understand that they could not make huge profits off a deeply impoverished and suffering island.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p.112-3

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Mar 9, 2016
Give Puerto Rico authority to restructure their debt

Q: Will you help Puerto Rico restructure its debt in 1st 100 days?

SANDERS: When you get to Puerto Rico, there's an issue that we have not talked about. That island is $73 billion in debt and the government is paying interest rates of up to 11 percent. Many of the bonds they are paying off were purchased by vulture capitalists for 30 cents on the dollar. What I have said in talking to the leaders of Puerto Rico, we've got to bring people together. Some of these vulture capitalists are going to have to lose money in this process.

CLINTON: Absolutely. I have been calling for months that the Congress must give authority to Puerto Rico to restructure its debts. Just like it has enabled states and cities to restructure their debt. It's a grave injustice for the Congress to refuse to enact that opportunity within the bankruptcy law. They deserve to be treated as citizens and to be given the opportunity to get back on their feet economically.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Mar 9, 2016
Vulture capitalists responsible for Puerto Rican debt

Q: Will you help Puerto Rico restructure its debt in 1st 100 days?

CLINTON: Absolutely. I have been calling for months that the Congress must give authority to Puerto Rico to restructure its debts. Just like it has enabled states and cities to restructure their debt. It's a grave injustice for the Congress to refuse to enact that opportunity within the bankruptcy law. They deserve to be treated as citizens and to be given the opportunity to get back on their feet economically.

SANDERS: When you get to Puerto Rico, there's an issue that we have not talked about. That island is $73 billion in debt and the government is paying interest rates of up to 11 percent. Mmany of the bonds they are paying off were purchased by vulture capitalists for 30 cents on the dollar. What I have said in talking to the leaders of Puerto Rico, we've got to bring people together. Some of these vulture capitalists are going to have to lose money in this process.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami

Mike Gravel on War & Peace : May 2, 2008
Iraq war was propagandized like 1898 “Remember the Maine!”

The military-industrial partnership [in the late 1800s] needed a war to launch America’s overseas empire. The spark came after the suspicious sinking of the US battleship Maine in Havana in 1898. It was blamed, without proof, on Spain. The three-month conflict with the decrepit Spanish Empire left the US with the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

In the end 4,324 Americans were lost, as well as between 600,000 and 1 million Filipinos--eerily familiar numbers today. Also disturbingly alike were Congressional hearings that revealed US troops used water torture against Filipinos. The Philippine occupation and resulting insurgency was essentially repeated in Vietnam and Iraq. The aims were the same: to expand US power and economic interests against competing nations under the phony banner of Christianity or democracy. All three invasions were driven by money and power as ends in themselves--or as a means to more money and power.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p. 95-96

  • Additional quotations related to Puerto Rico issues can be found under Foreign Policy.
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2020 Presidential primary contenders:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)

Gov.Larry Hogan (D-MD)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (L-MD)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)
2016 Presidential contenders:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Secy.Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Sen.Tim Kaine (D-VA,VP)
Gov.Gary Johnson (L-NM)
Dr.Jill Stein (G-MA)
Ajamu Baraka (G-VP)
Evan McMullin (I-UT)
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Page last updated: Jul 09, 2019