By Franklin D. López
Former United Press International and The Associated Press writer
www.FranklinDelanoLopez.com @trueblue51 Medium
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Natalie Jaresko, the former minister of Finance of the Ukraine has been appointed Executive Director of the Federal Supervisory Fiscal Board with a salary of $625,000 a year, security detail, 1 trip a month to the Ukraine and other benefits in economic crisis stricken Puerto Rico. The Consortium News, a non-profit journalist organization conducted an intensive investigation of her performance in the Ukraine. She became a multi-millionaire paying herself millions of dollars in bonuses from a $150 million dollar fund approved by the U.S. Government to assist the Ukraine and Moldova. Will she do the same in Puerto Rico?
Last Friday, Ms. Jaresko proposed a plan to reduce the work schedule of 175,000 public employees by 10% and pensions of 160,000 by 5% to 25%. Her proposal was approved by the Federal Supervisory Fiscal Board unanimously. The seven member Board has not complied with the requirements of the Federal Ethics laws that required full and detailed disclosures of their financial statements. They were supposed to release their financial statements 323 days ago.
The Fiscal Board has also approved $7 billions of dollars in budget cuts and is proposing to Congress the elimination of the food stamp, section 8 rental subsidies and assistance to needy family and using the funding to create a tax credit for the creation of jobs. Presently Puerto Rico has the highest tax base, electricity and water rates of any jurisdiction in the United States.
A member of the Fiscal Board who voted for all these austerity measures, Mr. Carlos García, former president of Santander Bank is responsible for $16 billions of the $72 billions of public debt.
Including some questionable and fraudulent bond issues. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are conducting extensive investigations of the fraudulent bond issues.
Tax revenues have fallen! The banking service industry has lost 10 of 16 banks on the Island since 2001. The construction industry is non-existent. The mortgage business has lost 80% of their business. The Fiscal Board is punishing the people of Puerto Rico instead of investigating those investment bankers, banker and lawyers lured by hundreds of millions in fees from bond issues that they knew Puerto Rico was not going to be able to pay. The only mistake made by the people of Puerto Rico was to give their trust to corrupt politicians also responsible for the crisis, who stole hundreds of millions of dollars and that are enjoying their loot with total impunity.
The Chairman of the Board, Mr. José Carrión approved the law firm of his brother in law, former Resident Commissioner in Washington, Pedro R. Pierluisi. The Fiscal Board has spent $52.4 million dollars in law firms and refuses to detail the amounts already paid. Mr. Pierluisi and his wife were the subject of an investigative report by the New York Times. The New York Times wrote:
“WASHINGTON — As Puerto Rico has spiraled toward possible bankruptcy, the island’s sole representative in Congress has seen his family wealth swell, thanks in part to Wall Street companies that have sought to capitalize on the island’s financial crisis and have hired his wife to advise them.
The dual roles — those of a lawmaker and a spouse who are both involved in the financial affairs of their community — are hardly unusual in Washington, a city where power couples are increasingly common and, at times, celebrated.
But legislation that Pedro R. Pierluisi, a Democrat and the resident commissioner to Congress from Puerto Rico, has introduced would benefit at least two of the companies that have hired his wife, María Elena Carrión, for financial advice.
Ms. Carrión set up her own Puerto Rico-based financial advisory firm just 20 days after Mr. Pierluisi, 56, was elected to Congress in 2008, records show. Its value has climbed to more than $1 million since, and the couple’s average net worth has increased 27-fold since that election.
And as Ms. Carrión, 51, has done her work for these firms, Mr. Pierluisi’s office has been lobbied by two of her clients, Fundamental Advisors and Och-Ziff Capital Management, documents provided by the resident commissioner’s office show.” April 12, 2016. (See full story at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/us/politics/puerto-ricos-prosperous-dc-power-couple.html ).
New York City, Washington D.C. and Detroit received Federal funds, guarantees and assistance when they defaulted on their public debt. In fact, Barack Obama created a special task force at The White House to assist Detroit. American citizens in the territory are being discriminated and segregated by the Republican Congress. According to the Board’s Chair, Mr. Carrion “every time I come to Washington and meet with Congressional staffers (Paul Ryan’s staff) they say ‘don’t come here to ask for Federal funds or bail outs until you solve the debt crisis’.”
In the meantime, the comatose economy of Puerto Rico, promoted by the hard austerity measures of the Fiscal Board, will dramatically increase the massive population exodus. Puerto Rico is presently suffering with a real estate value deflation with prices losing between 40% to 60% creating an inventory of 320,000 empty housing units. In the last two years more than 220,000 Puerto Ricans have been forced to move to Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania because of the dire economic conditions on the U.S. territorial archipelago. It is important to understand that the residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens by birth. Coercive economic and austerity measures imposed on a population is considered by the International Criminal Court as a crime against humanity. The measures adopted by the Board and the policies of the U.S. Congress and The White House are dismembering the social foundations of the people of Puerto Rico. The massive population exodus will have consequences in the United States; 1) It cost 2.7 times more to serve the citizens that migrates to the Union and 2) It will change the political DNA of battleground states in the presidential event of 2020. The time to correct this mistaken approach is now or Puerto Rico will be lost in the Caribbean sea like a ghost ship!
Please review the list of stories published as a result of the investigative reporting by Consortium News:
|How Ukraine’s Finance Chief Got Rich – Consortiumnews
Nov 10, 2015 … Exclusive: Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko collected at least $1.77 million in bonuses from a U.S.-taxpayer-funded investment …
|Carpetbagging ‘Crony Capitalism’ in Ukraine – Consortiumnews
Nov 13, 2015 … Exclusive: Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and other key officials were given overnight Ukrainian citizenship — with the law …
|US Tax Dollars and Ukraine’s Finance Minister – Consortiumnews
Oct 3, 2015 … Special Report: Though touted as the face of reform inside Ukraine’s post-coup regime, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko enriched herself at the …
|Ukraine Finance Minister’s American ‘Values’ – Consortiumnews
Feb 18, 2015 … Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who has become the face of reform for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev and will be a key figure …
|Ukraine’s Made-in-USA Finance Minister – Consortiumnews
Dec 5, 2014 … Exclusive: A top problem of Ukraine has been corruption and cronyism, so it may raise eyebrows that new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, an …
|Natalie Jaresko – Consortiumnews
Exclusive: Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and other key officials were given overnight Ukrainian citizenship — with the law requiring them to …
|Reality Peeks Through in Ukraine – Consortiumnews
Jan 6, 2016 … Yet, Jaresko is hardly a paragon of reform. Prior to getting instant Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister in December 2014, she …
|Phony ‘Corruption’ Excuse for Ukraine Coup – Consortiumnews
Nov 2, 2016 … Yet, Jaresko was hardly a paragon of reform. Prior to getting instant Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister in December 2014, …
|Ukraine’s Oligarchs Turn on Each Other – Consortiumnews
Mar 24, 2015 … Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who received overnight Ukrainian citizenship in December to become Finance Minister, had been in charge of …
|‘Corruption’ as a Propaganda Weapon – Consortiumnews
Apr 4, 2016 … One stark example of these double standards is the see-no-evil attitude toward the corruption of Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, …