he US colony of Puerto Rico has suffered a series of shocks in recent years. In 2006, tax breaks intended to lure manufacturers to the island expired, prompting widespread capital flight. Then, the financial crisis hit, and the island’s government borrowed huge sums of money.
The resulting debt crisis was followed by widespread public sector layoffs. Since then, the federal PROMESA law created an unelected financial oversight and management board, or Junta, which has moved to impose yet more austerity on the island. And that was before Hurricane Maria hit.
More than three hundred schools have already been closed and huge numbers have left the island. Puerto Ricans are profoundly traumatized — which is precisely what successful shock doctrines depend on.
That’s what Naomi Klein’s new book The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists is all about. Daniel Denvir recently spoke with Klein and Mercedes Martinez, the president of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation.
Read the full transcript from Jacobin here.