Dear Honorable Judge Taylor Swain,
Just a few years ago I started my Public Health education, but in that short time I was able to see how policies and laws can adversely affect the health and well being of our communities.
I know that is not the goal of policy makers and our legal system.
Growing up in the United States was a privilege that gave me opportunities I would not have had in Puerto Rico due to the nature of it’s status, and the corruption found in the political administrations of the island. I’ve been informed on the recent agreement that will soon be reaching your desk for approval.
It is my sincere hope that you will rule against it for a number of reasons:- The debt has not been audited, and may very well contain illegal debts. If we hold a high regard for laws, then we should ensure that laws do not further exacerbate the adversities affecting these communities.
— Without a doubt, we know austerity measures bring down debt. But they also destroy any chance of recovery for the Puerto Rican people, who have been affected by the worst Natural Disaster in US history. Measures beside austerity have also been shown to bring down debt and should be considered as well. For a great article on the alternatives to austerity you should read this:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/24/austerity-lie-deep-cuts-economy-portugal-socialist
— Cuts to Public Services will lead to downstream health conditions in the Puerto Rican population. Without access to essential programs and public services we are quite literally sending people to their deaths. We would be looking at the collapse of this society.
Myself and many other Puerto Ricans are looking to you to instead issue a fair renegotiation of the agreement. After all, the people themselves did not create the debt, and do not yet know if it is legal. They have a right to know. Instead we request due process be followed in an audit of the debt, and then, putting the population first, a strategic plan to grow the economy and pay off the debt.
I know you must make tough decisions every day, but debt should not stand in the way of our humanity. There are always viable ways to pay debt and ensure the health and well being of the children, women and men of this island.
Please do what is right and rule against this agreement on January 16th’s 2019 hearing.
Debbie Perez, MPH
New York, NY