Green Party endorses Day in Solidarity with the Independence of Puerto Rico on June 17

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Green Party of the United States has endorsed the Day in Solidarity with the Independence of Puerto Rico, a program for which will take place at Local 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East in New York City on Friday, June 17, 2016 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. ( ).

“The Green Party has endorsed the Day in Solidarity because we support the right of self-determination for all people and especially for those suffering foreign rule and economic exploitation,” said Bahram Zandi, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and the party’s International Committee.

“Wall Street will make a killing by raiding the economy while the Puerto Rican people suffer. The economic takeover reproduces Puerto Rico’s subordinate status as a colony of the U.S., with hardship forced on the Puerto Rican people and plundering of their resources. Puerto Rico is under the rule of Congress as a territory of the U.S. and now faces a takeover by a Federal Fiscal Board with the power to impose austerity,” said Dr. Zandi.

The movement for independence in Puerto Rico has gained traction in the wake of austerity measures forced on the island’s population to pay for debt and satisfy Wall Street creditors during the current fiscal crisis. Under austerity, labor rights and the minimum wage will be eliminated or reduced, sales taxes raised, the retirement system dismantled, public assets privatized, and essential services like education and health care slashed.

The Federal Fiscal Board will have the power to seize control of Puerto Rico’s public services and natural resources, including beaches, to pay off $73 billion in debt. The board’s powers will supersede those of the governor, legislature, and courts of Puerto Rico.

Green Party leaders noted that Puerto Rico’s colonial status, ever since the U.S. invasion in 1898, has enabled U.S. and other foreign corporations to take advantage of a “fiscal paradise” that enables them to reap billions in tax-free profits.

Puerto Rico’s debt crisis has been exacerbated by loans from Wall Street that the island can’t pay back. Goldman Sachs tripled its ownership of Puerto Rican securities to $1.3 billion in 2014 after a $351 million deal. Goldman Sachs’ Strategic Income Fund loans, which invests in global bonds and uses derivatives to bet that asset prices will fall, place Puerto Rico in perpetual hock to the firm.

“The current takeover of Puerto Rico parallels other recent attempts to impose austerity and structural adjustment, most dramatically in Greece. These policies render the middle-class, working people, and the poor helpless in order to further enrich wealthy elites. Similar policies were enacted in the U.S. in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown, when debt caused by the crisis was shifted to the American people and Wall Street received a massive bailout,” said Paul Pipkin, co-chair of the Green Party.

“The Green Party supports a popular uprising against economic strangulation by the One Percent — in Puerto Rico, in the U.S., and throughout the world,” said Mr. Pipkin.

From the Green Party’s national platform: “Greens support the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence in conformity with United Nations Resolution 1514(XV) of 1960, the release of all Puerto Rican political prisoners being held in U.S. prisons, and call for the appropriate environmental clean-up and sustainable development of Vieques and Culebra, islands that were used as firing ranges by the U.S. military. We oppose recruitment of the youth of Puerto Rico into the U.S. armed forces and their deployment to U.S. wars abroad.” ( )

The Green Party’s National Committee has passed a platform plank calling for the end of austerity and neoliberal measures and confirming the party’s support for Puerto Rico’s right to independence.

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