Sunday, August 20, 2017

[EDITORIAL] A New World Disorder

By on November 11, 2016

The inconceivable has happened—Donald Trump has been elected to the U.S. presidency and life will be all the more difficult for Dr. Ricardo Rosselló, the governor-elect of Puerto Rico, who already has tough sledding ahead because he must obtain the Promesa Good Housekeeping seal of approval from a territorial oversight board on all things he proposes over the next four years.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (John Moore/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Rosselló believes in trying to obtain parity in Medicaid and Medicare for Puerto Rico, which is among the proposals for the island’s economic development plan submitted to the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability Act (Promesa) task force. He should not bet a quarter that a U.S. Congress in the times of President Donald Trump, who intends to blow Obamacare to smithereens, would promote parity.

Rosselló’s plan to obtain statehood for Puerto Rico—nanka. It is a new world disorder and perhaps it is just as well that they cut us free because we are better than all of that. Algun día te diré mi desengaño. We Puerto Ricans are more compassionate people, more tolerant. But get ready, here comes a U.S. Supreme Court that will not have moderate Merrick Garland on the bench, but rather the second coming of Antonin Scalia.

Sadly, in what seems like an exercise steeped in cynicism, Puerto Rico went to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and elected the pro-statehood New Progressive Party’s Rosselló as the governor of Puerto Rico, and now he has to deal with President Donald Trump on top of the Promesa control board.

Is Rosselló’s election a good thing? Depends on who you ask. Many of those in the creditor camp feel that Rosselló said the right things in the right conclaves. He was piped in via live streaming in Technicolor during the Puerto Rico Revitalization Conference hosted by the Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers for all to see. The general impression of those in the audience was one of intrigue at whether someone inexperienced could deliver on the complexities of restructuring without further choking the economy.

This newspaper requested an interview to discuss the exact routes to restructuring—whether the Washington, D.C. model or the Judge Steven Rhodes rules of bankruptcy crammed down in Detroit. We look forward to that discussion in the coming days because the people of Puerto Rico deserve to know what awaits us in the coming years.

Optimistically, Rosselló believes he can restructure at least two credits that can provide some $800 million in short-term liquidity. He should tell us how.

Many members of the creditor community have told this newspaper that they trust Rosselló will follow a doctrine of transparency; implicit in those declarations is a mistrust in the actual commonwealth government as a rudderless ship guided by crosscurrents set in motion long ago. There is a shared responsibility across administrations—in these Mambo Tropics and those Imperial Halls, people whisper usurious atrocities, but fail to heed. Take Promesa as Exhibit A.

Trump will, in all likelihood, leave the control board to deal with the irksome issue of Puerto Rico. One of Trump’s Hispanic supporters warned this newspaper that Trump would be the next president of the United States because more Americans than not would just as soon ring fence Hispanics from the general population. What more should we expect from people who chant, “build that wall?”

We feel terribly for newly elected Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González. Given Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric against women and Latinos, how would he approach a meeting with her? He will probably send his ex-wife Ivanka to meet with our nonvoting member of Congress. González has her work cut out for her. Qué triste.

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