Congress has done it again! Wait… no, they haven’t done sh*t… again. That’s right, they’re most likely going to miss another deadline on Puerto Rico’s dire economic crisis, which will only make a sh*t situation, even sh*ttier.
May 1 is the latest deadline for Congress to pass legislation to help the U.S. commonwealth with their mounting debt. A vote was supposed to take place last week, but the bill is still being drafted and Congress, which the Republicans control, was missing committee votes.
“I’m not sure that on May 2 Armageddon takes place, but clearly I think it will illustrate that there is a significant problem,” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said to the Associated Press. “There are still some people out there saying there’s not a problem… No, there is a problem, they will default on some portion.”
On May 1st, Puerto Rico is due to pay $422 million worth of general obligation bonds. On July 1, they’re due to pay another $780 million. That’s a lot of money for a small country of 3.5 million residents where jobs and investments have been forced out by the new U.S. tax policies. There’s high rate of unemployment and schools are even closing.
“Puerto Rico is a crisis and [Congress] not responding,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) told the Associated Press.
Read more about Puerto Rico’s economic situation here
A sneaker shop in Germany is selling some of the most iconic Nike sneakers created, the Air Force 1 “Puerto Rico.” The sneakers will be sold at a shop in Germany and fans cannot wait to get their hands on these sneakers.
German sneaker fans have a chance to get their hands on a pair of Nike Air Force 1 “Puerto Rico.”
On June 2, the shoes will be available at the shop, and fans can’t wait. The shoe is one way for every Puerto Rican to show their pride in where they come from. The shoes were originally released in 2005 and this release is something exciting.
However, U.S. sneakerheads will be left out.
The store, which is located in central Germany in the city of Fulda won’t be able to shop these to other countries. That being said, only Germans will likely get their hands on these shoes because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel is restricted so it seems likely that you will be able to hop on a plane to get these shoes.
Those lucky enough to get their hands on these shoes can expect to spend 130€ ($142) on them.
These shoes are not the only way for Puerto Rican fans of Nike shoes to show their cultural pride. The shoe company has other options for the Caribbean people to wear their pride on some sneakers.
The man difference in these shoes from the original is the work on the upper shoe. The upper shoe is a tonal midfoot Swoosh and a navy sockliner. The Puerto Rican flag is embroidered on the tongue and heel fo the shoe to really drive home the Caribbean pride.
Nike has released multiple Puerto Rican-influenced sneakers and they sell quickly.
The sold out Air Max 1 Puerto Rico sold for $140. These were created to celebrate New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. The sneakers have the words “Pa’lante Mi Gente” on the inside of the tongue giving a special message to all Puerto Ricans. The sneakers are meant to celebrate not just the culture but the strength of the Puerto Rican people to keep moving forward.
Puerto Rican’s are no stranger to referendums. Since 1967, they’ve had five chances to make their opinions known on U.S. statehood and each and every time, their voice hasn’t been listened to. Congress has failed to take up the issue after each referendum and local leaders are often guilty of using the referendum simply to drudge up support for their candidates.
But this upcoming referendum is different in that it comes at a crossroads for Puerto Rican politics. The island has been plagued by natural disasters, political scandals, and unprecedented hate crimes. Even Bad Bunny is letting his thoughts out on the referendum and many others have lots to say on the issue.
For the first time in the island’s history, the referendum will ask a single question: Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted as a U.S. state?
On Saturday, Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood Republican governor, Wanda Vázquez, announced yet another vote on the question (the sixth since 1967 and the third since 2012). It’s a move that comes amid growing frustration with the island’s territorial government and its relationship with the mainland.
However, it’s a question that also outraged the island’s independence supporters and members of the main opposition Popular Democratic Party – which supports the status quo.
But it’s a gamble that members of the governor’s pro-statehood party are confident will pay off given that Puerto Rico has struggled to obtain federal funds for hurricanes Irma and Maria, a string of recent strong earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic amid growing complaints that the island does not receive fair and equal treatment.
“Our people will have the opportunity once and for all to define our future,” Vázquez said. “It’s never too late to be treated as equals.”
The upcoming referendum is just the recent in a long line of previously failed ones.
In the past, voters have been asked more than one question and presented with various options, including independence or continuing with the current territorial status – but none of them have ever been as direct as the upcoming one scheduled for the November 3 general election.
However, many on the island see the referendum as little more than a political move by the governor’s New Progressive Party to get voters out on Nov 3 – to boost her party’s candidates.
The New Progressive Party has been rattled with scandal after scandal and many are ready for change.
The past few years have not been good for the party – or the island for that matter. A string of devastating hurricanes, a severe debt crisis, ongoing corruption scandals that even forced a pro-statehood governor to resign, earthquakes, and now a global pandemic – have all led to challenging times in Puerto Rico. To some observers, the idea seems to be: Let’s dangle the illusion of a yes or no statehood referendum (nonbinding) that is already dead on arrival?
Many also feel that Gov. Vasquez is not truly authorized to make such a decision since she was never actually elected to the office. Instead, she became governor after Ricardo Rosselló was forced to resign following massive protests.
Meanwhile, the Republican government on the island doesn’t even have the support of the Republican-led federal government. The Trump administration’s blunt response was basically, “The first priority for all Puerto Rico leaders should be getting their financial house in order.”
Statehood would award Puerto Rico two senators and five representatives, but it’s unlikely a Republican-controlled Congress would acknowledge the referendum because Puerto Rico tends to favor Democrats.
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections. And while the island is exempt from the U.S. federal income tax, it still pays Social Security and Medicare and local taxes and receives less federal funding than U.S. states. Many believe the island’s territorial status has contributed to its struggle to recover from the hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as worsened its economic crisis, largely caused by decades of heavy borrowing and the elimination of federal tax incentives.
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