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Author: William-Jose Velez

In Puerto Rico, it is already 2016

While in the national sphere many have begun speculating about the 2016 presidential, the fact is they are already behind Puerto Rico’s politicians, especially those from the New Progressive Party. In the 3.7 million people archipelago, the race for 2016 has already begun, not a full year after the 2012 elections which removed the New Progressive Party from power, leaving only Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi standing. Pierluisi in fact, is in the middle of a public relations battle with Ricardo Rossello, son of former governor Pedro Rossello, as both are often mentioned as possible candidates to presumably face Alejandro...

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Fortaleza doesn’t like it when you translate their tweets

Reuters columnist Cate Long found herself in the crosshairs of Puerto Rico’s executive Mansion when she published a post about Fortaleza’s bizarre tweets explicitly referencing the possibility of bankruptcy of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico and the downgrade of its bonds. She happened to have translated the tweets from Spanish to English. The Director of Digital Strategy at the Executive Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Alfaro tweeted that Long’s translations of the tweets from Fortaleza where not officially sanctioned. The translation published by @cate_long on her blog in @Reuters was not written nor authorized by @fortalezapr. — Ricardo Alfaro (@ralfaro) June 22, 2013 Long later said to have used Google Translate to obtain the English version of the tweets, and replied asking if the substance of the tweets was true in the translated tweets. Alfaro responded by saying that they “…don’t have a problem with the substance because it is the truth. Yet the translation may be misleading.” When asked what may have been misleading from the translated tweets, Alfaro did not respond. Long also invited him to provide an official translation in the comments of her post, but as of press time, no translations had been provided. @cate_long @Reuters @fortalezapr we don't have a problem with the substance because it is the truth. Yet the translation may be misleading. — Ricardo Alfaro (@ralfaro) June...

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Government of Puerto Rico illegally lobbying Congress

Yesterday an illegal lobbying scheme was uncovered by soyPATRIA, in which the Government of Puerto Rico is using public funds to promote their discredited view of the 2012 Plebiscite results. Using an unconstitutional resolution approved in the territorial legislature, the results of the past plebiscite are being misrepresented to the members of Congress who received a letter from the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration with the resolution. Carta de @juaneugeniohm a las oficinas congresionales. @soy_patria @hernanpadilla51 @latinorebels pic.twitter.com/9qSUfoOwvX — Dexter (@dexter_pol) June 13, 2013 The scheme, one many had predicted would happen, was uncovered when the letter arrived at the offices of each congressional member. Previous actions by the PRFAA, including the hiring of conservative lobbyist Charlie Black had prompted sharp rebukes from the president of New Progressive Party and current Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who had warned that if the administration of Alejandro Garcia Padilla engaged in this type of behavior using public funds they would resort to legal action. As of yet, Pierluisi has not reacted to the letters. The issue with the actions of the territorial administration lies in the conflict they entail with both the Constitution of Puerto Rico and electoral law. Beginning with the interpretation contained in the resolution and often espoused by members of the pro status quo Popular Democratic Party, there is a problem with the law. Courts in both the mainland...

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Mr. Garcia Padilla goes to Washington

Despite the postponement of the 2012 Plebiscite results Senate hearing originally to be held in June, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is headed to Washington, DC to meet with several federal officials. The territory’s El Nuevo Dia newspaper reports that Garcia Padilla is expected to meet with cabinet officials such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan and with the Attorney General Eric Holder. The governor’s mansion bare bones website did not contain the schedule or the purpose for these meetings, although they are likely to concern the federal government’s efforts regarding drug trafficking in Puerto Rico, and the Department of Education’s funding for the state agency, which has been struggling for years, and has recently been involved in a scandal concerning funds used for students’ transportation services. Garcia Padilla also took part in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade held in New York City. His participation in the event has garnered criticism, ranging from accusation to Garcia Padilla of abandoning his post in the middle of the economic crisis Puerto Rico faces, to rhetorical questions of how he will be celebrating Puerto Rican culture in a state when his party commonly says statehood implies the loss of Puerto Rico’s...

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The Government of Puerto Rico knows best

At the same time as Puerto Rico is receiving stark news of impending financial troubles from economists and wall street advisers across the board, the Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce Alberto Baco is dismissing their warnings, since according to him “economists only focus on the negative.” Metro has the full report on the expressions of the territorial government’s secretary during the Puerto Rico Tech Summit, where he also dismissed the opinions of business owners who oppose Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla‘s plans to implement a business to business tax, that many fear will result in a net tax increase for consumers, stifling the already disappearing economic recovery, while not meeting the revenue projections necessary to avoid further financial troubles. This report comes on the same day Caribbean Business reported that Alexandra Lebenthal, CEO of Lebenthal and Company, advised municipal bond investors to stay away from Puerto Rico’s bond due to the high level of debt and near-certain possibility of a credit rating downgrade to junk status. The statement by the secretary falls in line with what some see as the general disposition of the current territorial administration of carelessness when it comes to the financial situation of Puerto Rico and its credit rating, which currently stands just one notch above junk status. Several weeks ago, Governor Padilla expressed how he did not care what opinion the accrediting...

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