The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, just explained why the nation should care about Puerto Rico and its ongoing economic crisis with a heartfelt rap.
Despite being part of the United States, the southern territory has always been more akin to the proverbial redheaded stepchild. Even now, when the region is facing devastating economical struggles, it is barely getting the attention it deserves. Congress is still working to come up with a plan while hedge funds are clamoring for their money from the government, which has already defaulted on bond payments.
Fortunately, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” picked up the issue in its latest episode, where host John Oliver broke down the crisis to explain how Puerto Rico, an island with poverty rate of nearly 45 percent, is facing nearly $70 billion in debt and, due to a constitutional loophole, has no access to bankruptcy protection.
The worsening economic situation could even shut down schools and hospitals, which could be a huge disaster considering the island is still battling the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
“The good news here is, Congress is now considering a bipartisan bill that would give Puerto Rico some breathing room to negotiate with creditors,” Oliver explained somberly. “This could be a real help to Puerto Rico.”
He also noted that 3.5 million Americans need relief from the debt.
“We have to start treating [Puerto Rico] like an island of American citizens whose fate is interwoven with ours,” the host added.
To drive his point across, Oliver invited Miranda, the son of Puerto Rican parents, to perform and exquisite Hamilton-style rap (posted above) to defend the island and highlight its struggles.
“We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands,” said the Hamilton star, offering members of Congress tickets to his incessantly sold-out show, if that would persuade them to act. “We face a financial crisis that triples anything you’ve experienced in the United States. It is a solvable, fixable crisis, and what we really need is help from Congress. What we need is the ability to restructure and get Puerto Rico out of the hole it’s in,” he added.
Watch the complete “Last Week Tonight” segment in the video below:
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Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok