The Wall Street Guy Who Wrote Forbes Piece About Puerto Rico Still Clueless About Puerto Rico

Jan 7, 2014
12:33 PM

Little did we expect that hedge fund and now Puerto Rico expert Larry McDonald would actually respond to some of our critiques that he wrote in a Forbes opinion/business pitch that has gone viral and led to a bizarre and telling Twitter convo between McDonald and Eduardo Bhatia, the president of Puerto Rico’s Senate and defender of all that is colonial.


In that piece, we argued that the fault for Puerto Rico’s current economic crisis is a perfect storm of bad policies on the island, mediocre politicians that have ignored the problem for decades, a U.S. populace that really doesn’t care about Puerto Rico and a Wall Street culture that comes across as an Imperial Savior after they were quick to give money away during the good times. The Twitter conversation between McDonald and Bhatia aptly summarized how sad the relationship is between the mainland and the island colony. Our goal of the piece was to be more nuanced about it, stating that McDonald takes it a bit too far with his extreme overgeneralizations of Puerto Ricans and that Bhatia was defending a system that is no longer working.

As is our custom, we shared our piece with both McDonald and Bhatia. Bhatia didn’t respond, but McDonald did. And what started as a promising exchange led to what we kind of knew about McDondald: he really has no deep knowledge of Puerto Rico’s history and its relationship with the U.S.

Here is the thread:

Our point is a simple one: Do Larry McDonald and others who are now pushing for short-term profits off of the island’s crisis actually care enough to demand Puerto Rico’s current system get eliminated and a final political solution is reached? From what we can gather, we doubt it, because McDondald just walked away from the tweets, unlike his exchange with Bhatia, where he made sure to express his Wall Street Awesomeness to the world. Remember: his Forbes post made some excellent points, but in the end, McDonald clearly states that he is trying to make money off the situation.

If people like McDonald really want to help Puerto Rico, they should use the power of the new-found viral popularity to demand that the United States put an end to 115 years of a failed colonial system and respect the voices of Puerto Ricans who want change. McDonald and Wall Street helped to create this mess as well: the right thing to do is to help correct it with the right intentions in place.

But don’t take our word. This individual said it as well:

This is about shared responsibility, everyone. Most Puerto Ricans we know are ready to change. They are ready to put aside years of political infighting to put Puerto Rico first. Just like us.

Will the United States do the same? That’s the question here.