San Juan Senator ‘Confident’ That Puerto Rico Will Solve Economic Problems

Last night on Latino Rebels Radio, we spoke with Sen. Ramón Luis Nieves, a member of Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party (PPD) who represents San Juan, Guaynabo and Aguas Buenas. The PPD and its leader, Gov. Alejandro García, is currently the party leading the island’s government during an economic crisis getting more national attention from U.S. media even though much of that attention is filled with faulty generalizations and stereotypes (West Side Story references, really?). We invited Nieves to the show so he could explain in more detail how Puerto Rico wound up in this current crisis.

A few takeaways from Nieves’ appearance:

  • According to Nieves, he feels “confident” that the current administration will solve this crisis, and he also thinks that the island’s public electric utility company (PREPA) is on the right course for restructuring.
  • Even though the White House and Congress are offering very little support to help Puerto Rico, Nieves also said that no one is expecting the United States to write a $72b check for the island.
  • The balance between austerity measures and providing essential government services to the island is critical.
  • Nieves did acknowledge that part of this crisis was a result of bad planning and vision by the island’s politicians—decisions that were made as early as the 1970s.
  • It would be nice to get rid of that Jones Act.

One more thing: many thanks to Gretchen Sierra Zorita of @PuertoRicoSerio for calling in and talking about the possibility of a financial control board.