If you are an observer of mediocre journalism and rumors (or better stated: if you follow Puerto Rican social media), you might have heard the shocking “news” last week that Congress was considering an independence bill for Puerto Rico. The “news,” reported first by a local morning show host without any corroboration or confirmation, became wild speculation throughout online Puerto Rico. Our Congressional sources in DC quickly said the so-called document was just a lobbyist who had drafted the “bill” and that there was no real federal discussion at all (AT ALL) about independence for the U.S. territory. Our founder also tweeted with confirmation that allegations of the “bill” being generated by the office of Rep. Luis Gutiérrez were false. But hey, who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory when it serves the fear-mongering political agenda of people, right?
Our group has always suspected that this “independence bill” was a false flag being shared by an unnamed lobbyist who may or may not have an agenda. And now, an editorial in Caribbean Business confirms what we already knew:
One lobbyist on Capitol Hill with ties to the GOP told this newspaper that the bill is in direct response to action being contemplated by creditors in the monoline bond insurance and hedge-fund camp who reportedly intend to hold the United States accountable for part of Puerto Rico’s debt based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sánchez Valle vs. the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
In a 6-2 decision, the Supremes determined that Puerto Rico does not have the sovereignty to prosecute someone for the same crime that has been charged in federal court. The decision bolstered the claim being made in some creditor camps that a Puerto Rico that is not sovereign should not be on the hook for its debt.
So, the draft legislation to cut our umbilical cord is reportedly a pre-emptive move to establish Puerto Rico’s sovereignty once and for all. At this writing, there are representatives on both sides of the aisle who would reportedly back a bill such as this. We don’t buy it.
We don’t buy it either and to be honest, the argument that making Puerto Rico independent so that it pays off its debts is illogical. The colony of Puerto Rico will be on the hook for its debts because Congress essentially owns it, and it is laughable to think that the United States will suddenly change course. This notion of an “independence bill” was just fantasy to begin with, but in the world of Puerto Rico, where social media rumor morphs itself quickly into “real news,” it’s just par for the course.
When will Puerto Rican journalists and Twitter profiles start acting more responsibly? In fact, maybe if people and their Twitter handles on the island get more serious about their situation, stop with the chisme, respect all boricua voices and take it upon themselves to accurately inform the public, only then will the world take Puerto Rico seriously. Because, to be honest, it is still amateur hour for the island’s mainstream press and Puerto Rican Twitter, and we’re still waiting for the pros actually to show up and do more serious and much-needed journalism.
Here’s another thing alot of people seem to forget, the 114th Congress is done at the end of this month (9/30 is their last day) … and they want to get out of Washington ASAP to start campaigning for November. They already have their hands full with Zika funding, the budget bill, etc. They are not going to waste time on a Puerto Rico independence bill. Furthermore, IMO if there was serious support for forcing Puerto Rico to become independent it would have been included in the PROMESA bill. My best guess is that if this bill is real (and I doubt it) it’s support does not extend beyond the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus types and/or racist Southern Republicans. Lastly, there is NO WAY the House GOP leadership is going to enact a bill to force Puerto Rico to become independent against the wishes of 95% of the island’s population and further increase Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning Florida and Pennsylvania – two critical swing states with significant Puerto Rican populations. The “Stupid Party” is stupid, but they are not that stupid.