Though it’s largely slipped from the front page, more than a third of Puerto Rico remains without electricity, tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave, struggling schools and hospitals are still in the crosshairs of targeted “austerity” programs, and workers are facing cuts to their pensions and their jobs, even as they try to dig themselves out from under the effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Meanwhile, the New York Times describes the banks and hedge funds that are preying on the situation—scooping up the homes of people unable to pay mortgage, for example—as “bargain hunters.” Different people have very different visions of the way forward for Puerto Rico—depending, to put it simply, on whether you think servicing debt matters more than human beings. It is, as a report from the activist group Hedge Clippers describes it, a story of “pain and profit”—and an important cautionary tale with meaning far beyond the island.
Julio Lopez Varona works with Hedge Clippers; he’s also the founding organizer with Make the Road Connecticut. We’ll talk with Julio Lopez Varona about those seeking profit in Puerto Rico’s pain, and how we can change that story.
First, Janine Jackson takes a look at recent press hyping Trump’s economy, defending his Jerusalem move and using him to whitewash 70 years of US foreign policy.