Towards the Creation of a National Puerto Rican Agenda Philadelphia, July 24 & 25, 2016

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Puerto Rico is facing a serious fiscal and humanitarian crisis. The Puerto Rican Diaspora must act by holding the US government responsible for addressing this unprecedented catastrophe. The 8.5 million Puerto Ricans who are US citizens must call for immediate Presidential and congressional action. The Puerto Rican National Agenda will meet in Philadelphia to discuss the following: 1. The $72 billion debt the Puerto Rican government faces which it cannot pay; 2. Coordinate efforts to address the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico and hold the US government responsible; 3. Intensify the offensive to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera; 4. Promote and unify efforts for a Puerto Rican centered, voter registration and education campaign; 5. Discussion on coordination of inside/outside efforts at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia during July 25-28. Congress should undertake the the following actions: First, Congress must provide Puerto Rico with an orderly restructuring regime to comprehensively address its financial liabilities by restructuring its debts. Second, Congress needs to reform the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program and ensure that the program provides better access to healthcare services. Third, Congress should provide Puerto Rico with access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a proven tool that has bipartisan support for rewarding work and supporting growth. If Congress and the President do not act soon this fiscal and unfolding humanitarian crisis will become unmanageable. These proposed actions are not the final solution; that will take the sustained and concerted effort of different stakeholders, but they can help mitigate this terrible crisis while other initiatives unfold. Puerto Ricans have fought in every American war since World War I even though they do not vote for their commander in chief. The 5.1 million Puerto Ricans who live in the 50 states contribute to the life of the country every day, are actively engaged in support of Puerto Rico and will vote come Election Day. Additionally, across the entire of Puerto Rican political thought, there is unanimity around the demand for Pres. Obama to free Oscar López Rivera whose nearly 35 years of imprisonment makes him the longest held politcial prisoner in the history of US Latin America relationship. Against the above backdrop, in the next few months, mobilizing activities will take place in major centers of Puerto Rican concentration: Chicago, New York, Newark, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Orlando as well as in many other locations. The purpose of these activities is to work on the development of the articulation of a draft agenda that will be adopted at a national summit of the Puerto Rican Disapora to be held in Philadelphia to coincide with the Democratic National Convention.

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