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Exclusive: Puerto Rico’s Debt Default “100% Caused By CORRUPTION”
With Puerto Rico officially defaulting today on a $422 Million payment to creditors, The Doc flew in to San Juan for a boots-on-the-ground view on the island’s debt crisis from the locals’ perspective.
What we heard repeatedly today in San Juan’s financial district as to the true cause of the fiscal crisis might shock most financial pundits, and can be summed up in a single word: CORRUPTION…
Sunday evening, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla informed Puerto Ricans of Monday’s planned bond default in a televised speech,
“Faced with the inability to meet the demands of our creditors and the needs of our people, I had to make a choice. I decided that essential services for the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico came first.”
The impression we received Monday from Puerto Ricans as a whole is that life goes on.
It’s the rainy season here in northern Puerto Rico, one moment its 85 and Sunny, the next its a torrential downpour. Repeat.
And No, we didn’t think to bring an umbrella- we’re Docs, not rocket scientists!
The morning rush hour commute into San Juan from Dorado’s business district was congested- but it’s a polite congestion in San Juan vs your average rush hour commute stateside.
Parking was reminiscent of Boston due to the lack thereof. For such a small island, there is an astonishing number of vehicles here. Cars parked sticking out into the street. On the main road leaving the Airport. Cars double parked. On the actual calle. (that’s street en espanol)
San Juan’s financial disctrict was abuzz with activity. We witnessed massive lines at Banco Popular– the island’s largest bank (and largest company) with over $33 Billion in assets – but rather than concerned citizens rushing to empty their bank accounts after the recent failure of Doral Bank, the lines were filled with businessmen, lawyers, and bankers waiting patiently to curb their appetites with $5 authentic tacos in the bank’s atrium.
Not too unlike most stateside Americans, most of the ordinary Puerto Rican citizens are concerned about the debt crisis and Monday’s default, but they don’t really think it will affect them that drastically.
Public services have not been cut yet whatsoever– as evidenced by the small army of Policia (50-60 in a group) surrounding a single vehicle on the expressway outside of San Juan.
Speaking with lawyers, attorneys, and businessmen all day in San Juan’s financial district however, a distinct pattern was voiced with the locals who were knowledgeable of what is really going on in Puerto Rico– Government Corruption.
Miguel Castellanos (name changed to protect his identity), a young attorney who has inside knowledge of how business and politics really works on the island thanks to his father’s high level connections in the health care industry, shared his thoughts on the cause of the debt crisis:
“I love my island. I will never leave my island. There’s nothing wrong with the government structure we have in place, it’s just all the politicians acting in their own self-interest. It’s just Corruption. 100%. It’s all corruption, and nobody has the balls…nobody has the fuc*ing balls to do anything about it. “
Stay tuned, we’ll have more interviews, coverage, and videos from Puerto Rico over the next few days.