Things That Matter

The Final Vote To Determine Puerto Rico’s Future Is Coming And Trump’s Administration Wants To Sabotage It

For the better part of the last 10 years, Puerto Rico has gone through one of the worst economic crises the island has ever seen. As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico does not have the same financial protections as American states and cities, which means it is sinking into a debt hole for which there is no bottom. The island’s debt currently sits at about $72 billion.

Normally, a U.S. state, city or other municipality in the same financial situation could declare bankruptcy and begin the process of halting the debt and figure out how to get out of it. In 2013, the city of Detroit filed chapter 9 bankruptcy and was allowed to shed $7 billion of their debt and begin the process of bringing back services and spend 1.7 billion in order to do so. Another way to address the debt would be with a bailout, the way the U.S. did for the banking industry and then the auto industry back in the late 2000’s.

According to an article out by NPR, Monday was the last day for a deal to be made before creditors began filing lawsuits. No deal was made, and as of Tuesday May 2nd, the lawsuits began to pour in. On Wednesday, Governor Ricardo Rosselló, petitioned for relief under Title III of a new federal law, but it’s a law that has never been used and requires approval from a judge, which has yet to happen. Either way, it’s a sticky situation.

And it doesn’t seem like President Donald Trump’s administration plans to do anything about Puerto Rico.

During his presidential campaign in 2016, Donald Trump made it sound like he and his business friends saw Puerto Rico’s debt crisis as a great opportunity to be cashed in on.

Credit: CNN

“I’m the king of debt, I love debt.” It sounds like he had no plans then to help Puerto Rico directly, and it seems like he still has no plan now.

Recently Trump tweeted about what he thinks is going on in Puerto Rico.

Apparently to scare tax-payers into thinking they were on the hook.

Former mayor of Puerto Rico Hernán Padilla responded to Trump directly.

This has been a typical Trump tactic, using the fear that foreigners, outsiders or “others” are taking tax dollars from the American public. He’s counting on people who still don’t know that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. or that Puerto Ricans are born citizens, to rally sentiments against doing what is right, which would be to help the Island of Puerto Rico.

A proposed referendum that could have helped Puerto Rico was nixed when Attorney General Jeff Sessions denied the island the $2.5 million needed for it.

The referendum could have been a major turning point, as the U.S. currently has the Fiscal Control Board (or “la junta” as it’s known) in place overseeing all major financial decisions on the island.

With the referendum to decide Puerto Rico’s independence de-funded, a financial board many feel doesn’t represent the people and a president who is inciting fears, students have taken to the streets.

According to The Nation, since taking over in January, the Fiscal Control Board has cut $512 million in funding from the University of Puerto Rico through 2025, which students feel puts the university in serious jeopardy. According to the article, a first year law student named María de Lourdes Vaello, said it best while protesting last week: “The purpose of the university is to provide a high-quality education to the middle and lower classes, but now we’re facing cuts that threaten the very existence of the institution.”

A change is still possible though.

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Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

Fierce

Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

She’s back! After an almost five-year hiatus, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez made her big return to competition at Saturday’s 2021 Winter Cup meet with moves to remember — set to some pretty unforgettable music, too.

The 20-year-old gold and silver medalist hit the mat with a “Hamilton”-inspired floor routine.

Laurie Hernandez just gave a stunning floor routine at the 2021 Winter Cup.

Please welcome Laurie Hernandez back to the floor! After a four-and-a-half-year hiatus, the 20-year-old Olympian showed off her strength, proving, like Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, she is inimitable and an original.

“My first priority [at Winter Cup] is to go in and hit clean routines and show that I can be consistent,” Hernandez told NBC News. “But my next one is to enjoy myself.” It sure looks like she accomplished her goal, with nonstop energy and a smile on her face throughout her entire choreography.

As “The Room Where It Happens” played in the background, Hernandez flipped and danced her way to a 12.05 score in the event, good for an 11th-place finish in the floor exercise.

And after the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup in Indianapolis wrapped up, the noted theater fan shared her routine on Twitter and asked for feedback from “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel Miranda and actor Leslie Odom Jr. — who sang “The Room Where It Happens” as Aaron Burr in the original cast.

This weekend’s performance was her first since stealing hearts during the 2016 Rio games.

Hernandez was part of the Team USA “Final Five” squad that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But following those games she took a step back from competition, later revealing that former coach Maggie Haney was emotionally and verbally abusive toward her. The gymnast dealt with depression and eating disorders as a result.

Hernandez said it wasn’t until years later that she realized her love of the sport could be separated from the trauma she experienced. “I thought I hated gymnastics, and it wasn’t until mid-2018 I realized that it was the people that made the experience bad, not the sport itself,” she explained on Instagram.

Though she already has a gold medal from the team all-around and a silver medal from her 2016 individual performance on the beam, Hernandez is now ramping up for more challenging competitions over the next several months with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics this summer. But with a crowded field vying against her for just four roster spots, securing a bid to Tokyo will undoubtedly be an uphill battle.

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Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Entertainment

Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Prediction: You will want to check out Walter Mercado’s house in Puerto Rico, and maybe even buy it up and call it home. And what perfect timing, because the stars have aligned to bring you his Puerto Rico pad at an unbeatable price.

That’s right! Walter Mercado’s home in San Juan is up for sale!

Located in an “exclusive area” of San Juan, according to the property listing, the six-bedroom, five-bathroom estate is on sale for just $395,000.

Since you likely won’t fly to San Juan right now (thanks, COVID), you can check out the flamboyant cape aficionados sweet, two story tropical oasis on Realtor.com.

The listing photos show the home’s vibrant interior, which appears in the documentary, with yellow, red and green walls. The first floor boasts a large living room, kitchen and dining room. Tile-work leads up the stairs to the second level, where there’s yet another living room, dining room and a smaller kitchen — plus two balconies.

Outside, there’s a pool area with a gazebo and a patio, as well as a covered carport for at least four cars.

The home seems to be having trouble finding a buyer.

The estate originally hit the market for $495,000 in September 2020 but with no buyer in the cards, it then had its price slashed to $430,000 in December, according to Realtor.com. It’s now asking just $395,000.

Mercado already sold his Miami property in 2017 to cover financial difficulties.

While in Miami, Mercado maintained an apartment at The Grand in downtown for many years until 2017 when he decamped part time to New York.

Many in his family had hoped to turn his Puerto Rico home into a museum to the late icon, but due to zoning issues the family decided the best step forward was to list the home for sale. Regarding Mercado’s belongings that were contained within the home (so many of which we came to see in the Netflix documentary), one of his nieces told Pledge Times, that though family members have each kept some items, many were given to the Miami History Museum, and some items will go to Mexico. However, his cape with the Puerto Rican flag is being sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

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