Missing Back Story on Puerto Rico’s May Day Default

If you were depending on Telemundo or Univision for your news as Puerto Rico careened toward its largest default yet on May Day 2016, you would have to be forgiven for having absolutely no idea about the real causes behind the territory’s massive default, including a public sector apparatus that has remained pathetically addicted to unsustainable spending at all levels.

As May 1 dawned, Telemundo zeroed in on Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family on the island. Prior to that, the last time Telemundo reported on the island’s debt crisis was on April 5, when they focused on how the crisis might affect the environment in Puerto Rico. At least they didn’t blame Puerto Rico’s debt crisis on global warming.

NEIDA SANDOVAL, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: The fiscal crisis that Puerto Rico faces could cost its largest treasure: its natural resources. One of the clauses in the proposal for financial help before Congress would allow thousands of acres of protected lands in the island to be opened up to development by private enterprise.

Univision’s coverage of Puerto Rico’s infamous May Day default included joint demonstrations in San Juan by far-left pro-independence groups and public sector labor unions – with some protesters proudly wearing red shirts with the communist hammer and sickle on them.

The protesters, including the President of the State Insurance Fund (CFSE) union, a public corporation that is infamous for the exorbitant salaries and benefits of many of its employees, were strongly against the proposed federal Financial Oversight Board included in congressional proposals to put the island back on course to getting its finances in order.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: They [protesters] demand that if Congress decides to help the island get out of its crisis, it can’t impose a fiscal oversight board.

PROTESTERS: [Chanting] This struggle will continue, at all costs!

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: What are you demanding?

FRANCISCO REYES MARQUEZ, PRESIDENT, PUERTO RICO STATE INSURANCE FUND (CFSE) UNION: Well, we’re demanding here that the financial oversight board is not imposed on the people of Puerto Rico because we understand that the results of it are disastrous for workers, and the people of Puerto Rico in general.

There you have it – the public sector workers have banded together, accompanied by the hammer and sickle of all symbols, to stop the assault on the gravy train that is the Government of Puerto Rico, the largest employer in the island.

The late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said that the bad thing about socialism is that you always run out of other people’s money.

The media can report all day about how the crisis in Puerto Rico impacts the environment, or redirect the conversation to something else. But here’s one critical point missing from all the coverage: if Puerto Rico’s runaway government leviathan can’t be tamed along with its unsustainable addiction to debt, any help at all that is extended to Puerto Rico will be for naught.

The United States’ largest territory is clearly in need, as the nation’s capital and Detroit also were in need before it, of a strong financial oversight board, along with a thorough-going implementation of free market and entrepreneurial policies that alone are capable of generating the economic growth Puerto Rico so badly needs. Sadly, we have yet to see the reality behind Puerto Rico’s embarrassing May Day default on either Univision or Telemundo.

Below you can find the transcripts of the relevant cited reports on Noticiero Univision: Fin de Semana aired on May 1, and Un Nuevo Dia aired on April 5:

NOTICIERO UNIVISION: FIN DE SEMANA

5/1/16

6:40:25 PM - 6:43:27 PM | 3 MIN 2 SEC

FELIX DE BEDOUT, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Puerto Rico was declared insolvent, and the governor of the island Alejandro García Padilla announces that it will not pay the multimillion-dollar debt to the island with its creditors. Unions joined in a march against the fiscal control board and demanded that Puerto Ricans services are maintained. Jorge Viera is in San Juan, and presents the picture of the economic crisis in the island.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: I tell you that here in Puerto Rico, many demonstrations across the island have been held. Among other things, they require the government of the United States that it is very important for them to help Puerto Rico in this financial crisis, before the situation worsens.

ALEJANDRO GARCIA PADILLA, GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO: The decision not to pay has been a very difficult decision, which frankly, would rather not take.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: So the main unions of Puerto Rico rallied in the streets of Old San Juan. They demand that if Congress decides to help the island get out of its crisis, it can’t impose a fiscal oversight board.

PROTESTERS: This struggle continues! At all costs!

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: What are you demanding?

FRANCISCO REYES MARQUEZ, CHAIRMAN OF PUBLIC SECTOR UNION AT STATE INSURANCE FUND CORPORATION: Well, we’re demanding here that the financial oversight board is not imposed on the people of Puerto Rico because we understand that the results of it are disastrous for workers, and the people of Puerto Rico in general.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: While all this happens, only steps away in La Perla, one of the most marginalized neighborhoods of the island, where Univision News entered the neighborhood in an exclusive to tell us that the crisis helped them to reinvent themselves.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: How the crisis has affected you?

ANGEL MARCANO, COMMUNITY LEADER IN LA PERLA: Look, we have been in the doldrums, many people see the crisis as bad, but here in the community I have tried to teach people that the crisis is a springboard, it forces us to do things that sometimes we can do. Many people are now selling things, many people sell their limbers, their bacalaitos, which are fritters from here in Puerto Rico.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: Angel Marcano also tells us that he has hopes for the future. What is most important thing that people should know that you have done?

ANGEL MARCANO, COMMUNITY LEADER IN LA PERLA: For many years, indeed, we have lived with a stigma, that we are here all bad, we're all drug dealers. And that is not like that. There are good people, hardworking people, people who struggle every day to push their children forward.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: Senator Angel Rojas says there is no financial ability to pay this or future payments.

ANGEL ROSA, STATE SENATOR OF PUERTO RICO, PPD: The government has decided that in circumstances such as these, lacking the resources, it is more important to continue to operate, continue to provide services, to continue serving the Puerto Rican citizenry.

JORGE VIERA, REPORTER, UNIVISION: Another important point is that Puerto Rico is crossed by another crisis: emigration. It is estimated that more people have migrated in this period of crisis in the 50s, when thousands of Puerto Ricans went to the city of New York.

Tell the Truth 2016

UN NUEVO DIA (TELEMUNDO)

4/5/16

7:31:50 AM - 7:32:21 AM EST | 31 SEC

NEIDA SANDOVAL, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: The fiscal crisis that Puerto Rico faces could cost its largest treasure: its natural resources. One of the clauses in the proposal for financial help before Congress would allow thousands of acres of protected lands in the island to be opened up to development by private enterprise. Experts say that this will not lead to the economic recovery of the island, and on the contrary, would be catastrophic for tourism, which is its main industry.

NB Daily MRC Latino Economy Banking/Finance Recession Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Foreign/Non-English Media Hispanic Media Telemundo Univision Journalistic Issues

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