Puerto Rico flag Arnold Drapkin/ZumaPress

Porto Rico en crise

WASHINGTON, DC – Porto Rico était censé être le joyau des Caraïbes. Ce n'est pas le cas. Le tourisme a stagné pendant des décennies, alors même que les voyageurs ont afflué vers d'autres destinations des Caraïbes. Les entreprises européennes faisant des affaires en Amérique du Nord et du Sud implantent leur siège social à Miami, à Panama City et ailleurs, mais quasiment aucune ne choisit Porto Rico. Aujourd'hui l'économie de l'île, après une décennie de torpeur, diminue à un taux croissant et sa population part vers le continent des États-Unis. La dette publique a grimpé en flèche et le gouvernement déclare ne plus être ne mesure de payer.

À la différence de la Grèce, le Porto Rico n'est pas un pays (ce qui signifie qu'il n'est pas éligible à un financement du Fonds Monétaire International). Il n'est pas non plus un État des États-Unis. Il dispose pourtant des caractéristiques de ces deux entités : bien qu'il possède sa propre constitution, c'est un territoire des États-Unis, les Portoricains sont des citoyens américains et l'île est sous réserve de la loi fédérale des États-Unis, sauf indication expresse du contraire.

Les avantages de ce statut hybride comprennent la sécurité et la prévisibilité de l'état de droit américain, l'éligibilité pour les paiements de transfert fédéraux et un régime fiscal avantageux. Les Portoricains qui ne sont pas des employés du gouvernement américain ne paient pas d'impôts sur le revenu fédéral et les obligations de l'île ont « une triple exonération d'impôts » (sans impôts fédéraux, étatiques et locaux).

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