Last night I was watching Quirke, a gloomy Irish mini-series starring the gloomy and Irish Gabriel Byrne, while the Republican debate raged on. After last night’s Quirke episode ended (in a pool of despair, of course), I switched channels and caught the last few minutes of the Republican debate, when Maria Celeste Arraras asked Marco Rubio about Puerto Rico’s debt,
“You oppose granting Puerto Rico that bankruptcy protection,” the Telemundo reporter observed, going on to ask “How do you explain this very strong stance to the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans that vote across the U.S., and particularly in your state of Florida?”
Rubio gave the correct answer:
I think the leadership on the island has to show their willingness to get their house in order and put in place measures allow the economy there to grow again. If the economy of Puerto Rico does not grow they will never generate the revenue to pay this debt, or the billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities that they have on their books of promises they’ve made to future generations to make payments.
So, yes, if they do all of those things then we can explore the use of bankruptcy protection, but not as the first resort, which is what they’re asking for, because it will not solve the problems on the island
I was born of and raised by Puerto Rican parents in Puerto Rico, where I lived the first nineteen years of my life, and I approve of Rubio’s message.
But that little exchange encapsulated why I don’t watch debates. The premise is that Arraras, a Latina, must question a position of another Latino in terms of ethnicity/place of origin, rather than on economic terms – even when the issue itself is economic, because of what other Latinos may like. As Pete mentioned,
It’s as if CNN and Telemundo came in with preconceived impressions of what a latino journalist was supposed to be and she happily went along.
Behind Arraras’s question lies the assumption that all Puerto Ricans are universally in favor of a bailout, because we must remain dependent.
In fact, there are millions of Puerto Ricans who think otherwise.
And we vote. [Disclosure: I support Ted Cruz]
As for the rest of the debate (you can read the transcript here), I’ll concur with the opinion of another Irish (but not gloomy), guy,
What a flaming zoo #cnndebate These ‘debates’ are an insult to democracy. Car crash TV, corrosive, demeaning of all involved.
— Declan Ganley (@declanganley) February 26, 2016
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.