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Program Information
 Building Bridges 
 Weekly Program
 Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg  
 See Notes.
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Vulture Hedge Funds Circle on Higher Ground as Puerto Rico Drowns in Debt
University of Puerto Rico Prof. Rafael Bernabe Riefkohl, Working People's Party spokesperson and candidate for the Governor of Puerto Rico, and noted co-author of Puerto Rico in the American
Century A History since 1898

Puerto Rico s fiscal perils are currently in the news. It is an island with a poverty rate approaching 50 percent, a public debt that amounts to over $20,000 per inhabitant (more than its median income of $19,518). While most of the attention in Puerto Rico s case focuses on technical issues relating to the solvency of municipal bonds and austerity measures, the history of U.S. policies have resulted in more than three and a half million Puerto Ricans being treated as second class citizens. With a poverty rate of more than 45 percent (more than double that of Mississippi), Puerto Rico has had serious long-term economic problems that, like its current massive public debt, have been historically papered over. Meanwhile, the
hedge fund vultures and Wall Street banks and lawyers charging over $1.4 billion in a seven-year period for charges like swap termination fees are circling Puerto Rico. They are sensing a fiscal death spiral they can feed off and caring little about the consequences for nearly four million residents as they manipulate a financial system which is largely devoid of any social conscience. The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is the United States largest colony that it decided to take by force 117 years ago and has since treated like a resented orphan it has consistently undernourished politically & economically. Puerto Rico s current fiscal crisis is, in this sense, really a crisis of American colonial policies and will the United States accept responsibility for the negative consequences of its imperialist past? Prof. Barnabe Riefkohl, candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico talks about this and approaches for the Island s recovery and more long term solutions for Puerto Rico s fiscal problems.
Produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
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