Political Unrest in Puerto Rico
June 29, 2011 11:29 AM Subscribe
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Al Jazeera English investigates political unrest in Puerto Rico
with this episode of Fault Lines. This interesting look at the American commonwealth includes interviews with members of the Puerto Rican independence movement, people affected by high levels of unemployment, and centers around students involved in recent protests at the university.
Dozens of university students are arrested for demonstrating against a tuition hike. But Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno remains steadfast in charging students more to help close a $3.2 billion budget gap. The students' fight is representative of a larger debate in Puerto Rico, and in the US, about how to solve a severe budget crisis -- and at what cost. Gov. Fortuno, a hawkish fiscal conservative, laid off 20,000 government workers in 2009, and suspended all labor negotiations, just like governors on the US mainland are doing today.
But two years later Puerto Rico's labor unions are still scrambling to reorganize a largely unemployed population -- nearly 17 percent. Puerto Rico is in its fifth year of recession, and expected to be the world's slowest growing economy if its situation doesn't improve. At question is the degree of economic and social responsibility the US has to its commonwealth state.
Fault Lines travels to Puerto Rico to investigate America's legacy as the Island's ruler, and the harsh economic policies that are being imposed on the people who live there.
This episode of Fault Lines, "Puerto Rico: The Fiscal Experiment" first aired June 27, 2011 on Al Jazeera English.