Russia? What about US interference in Puerto Rico elections?

Highlights

  • There is broadening concern in the US as more evidence on interference of Russia in the November 8, 2016 presidential elections is revealed.
  • On the same day, elections for Governor were held in Puerto Rico. One of the candidates, Dr. Ricardo Rossello of the pro-statehood party (PNP) run on the platform that all outstanding debts (>$70,000,000,000) could be paid off.
  • Just months before the elections, the local federal prosecutor started a highly publicized and televised process against Anaudi Hernandez, a well-connected fundraiser for the sitting party (PPD), as a guilty witness in a pay-for-play scheme with various high-ranking politicians, leading to several convictions. (http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/tribunales/nota/juradoencuentraculpablealosamigosdeanaudi-2248826/)
  • The recently appointed Federal Control Board that currently controls all financial matters in Puerto Rico, has several members associated with a previous PNP government, one member even in the role as Chairman of the Board of the Puerto Rican Government Development Bank, and directly  involved in accumulating debts leading to the crisis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_M._Garc%C3%ADa).
  • High financial stakes from Wall Street contributors want to avoid at all costs that the debt will be audited in order to determine whether the debts aree legal or not (http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Commentary%3A-The-%2470-billion-Puerto-Rico-bond-fraud-34032.html).
  • Bond emissions above 15% of the average annual revenue of the preceding two years (maximum per PR constitution) could well become worthless. Other banking schemes in which generous banking fees were paid could as well found to be illegal. Notably, two of the members of the Federal Control Board, were high-ranking executives at Banco Santander, involved in several high-value transactions (http://periodismoinvestigativo.com/2016/12/bajo-la-lupa-dos-integrantes-de-la-junta-de-control-fiscal-por-su-pasado-en-banco-santander/).
  • Rosello won the elections with 42% of the vote (less than Trump in the US), after a controlled media-campaign, among others with the main newspaper El Nuevo Dia that also strongly favored the Federal Control Board (they still call it the “supervision” board), likely because of significant financial interests of its owners, the Ferre-Rangel group.
  • Rossello was favored by the bondholders and currently works in unison with all orders from the Federal Control Board to implement a severe austerity plan.

Comments:

While the US media, and the not Trump-related politicians are dignified by likely interference of Russia in the presidential elections, the interference of the US in Puerto Rican elections is ignored. Surely the decision to have public hearings of the pay-for-play scandal within the PDP party exploding right before the elections has damaged their candidate, that lost by ~2%. The plea-deal for testimony with the main culprit, and the timing of the trial can be considered suspect. It is not unlikely that just before the upcoming status plebiscite in June 2017, further suspects, among whom the previous PPD President of the House of Representatives Jaime Perello, will be prosecuted to again divert the media attention.

The interests of Wall Street are to take out us much of their investments as possible, even those taken on as high-risk junk bonds. In addition, some vulture funds have bought existing bonds for pennies to the dollar, while expecting full returns. Through their access (read: campaign donations) to the US congress  they convinced even deficit hawk its Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, to implement the Federal Government Board in Puerto Rico to grab as much as possible from the bankrupt Puerto Rican Government. Although the legality of at least 30% of these loans is highly doubtful, Rosello, likely after directions by the Federal Control Board, dismissed a Committee that was established to audit the debts. However, just today, in a legal court procedure this Committee  was ordered to be reconstituted (http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/tribunales/nota/restituyenamiembrosdelacomisioncreadaparaauditarladeuda-2308478/).

Conclusion:

The interference of the US in the Puerto Rico elections was clearly directed to benefit Governor Rossello as a willing accomplish of the Federal Control Board to serve the Wall Street interests.

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