We are supporting the Unity March for Puerto Rico to stand in solidarity - ONE people - ONE voice - against unjust laws that have been systematically oppressive and crippling to the people of Puerto Rico and the socio-economic growth and sustainability of the island. We must create forceful, sustained political pressure on our leaders until they act on behalf of their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. We support a commitment to sustainable rebuilding efforts, transparency and accountability in the delivery of aid, and the elimination of Jones Act and the cancellation of Puerto Rico’s debt which are crippling Puerto Rico’s recovery.
1. That Puerto Ricans receive the same treatment as our fellow Americans.
The federal government’s inadequate response and neglect continues to cause further fatalities and damage to the island of Puerto Rico. In the richest, most powerful country in the world, it is inexcusable that millions of its citizens must languish without access to food, clean water, stable communication, electricity, and proper medical care. Compare the federal government’s response to the destruction of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to that of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the mainland United States. The difference is substantial and morally indefensible.
2. Rebuilding a stronger, safer, more sustainable infrastructure.
The rebuilding of Puerto Rico must focus on forward-thinking solutions, including renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and ocean wave energy. We cannot prevent storms like Maria from occurring, but we can and must build a more reliable, durable infrastructure to ease recovery in the future.
3. Ensuring that resources are delivered where they are needed most.
In the wake of disasters, the generosity of governments, businesses, non-profits, and everyday people around the world brings hope to those affected. However, too often, there is little accountability to ensure that goods and funds actually reach their intended targets. In Puerto Rico, the government and the organizations that are the sources of assistance must implement stringent monitoring and reporting mechanisms to guarantee that their resources are delivered to the people and communities for whom they are meant.
4. Elimination of the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is an outdated law that puts an unfair economic burden on Puerto Rico. It is a holdover from a time when the U.S. was less powerful in international trade, and was meant to protect American interests by requiring that goods being shipped between U.S. ports be carried on American ships, crewed by Americans. The effect of the law is disproportionately high prices on goods in Puerto Rico, an economic imbalance that has created the island’s debt crisis. Unless the Jones Act is permanently eliminated, Puerto Rico’s recovery will be anemic.
5. Forgiving Puerto Rico’s debt.
Because of unjust laws like the Jones Act, Puerto Rico had faced undue economic burdens for generations. Today, it holds a $73 billion debt that, without relief, will make it impossible to rebuild the island’s roads, bridges, and power structure effectively. The government must either cover the debt, or pressure financial firms to write it off. Only then can Puerto Rico get back on its feet, eventually prospering enough to repay its creditors.