Puerto Rico flag Arnold Drapkin/ZumaPress

Puerto Rico en crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – Puerto Rico tendría que ser la joya del Caribe, pero no lo es. Por décadas el turismo ha estado estancado, a pesar de que los viajeros visitan en masa otros destinos de la región. Las empresas europeas que hacen negocios en América del Norte y del Sur tienen sus casas matrices en Miami, Ciudad de Panamá u otros lugares, y casi ninguna escoge a Puerto Rico. Y ahora, tras una década de letargo, la economía de la isla está decreciendo cada vez más rápidamente a medida que la gente se marcha al continente estadounidense. La deuda pública se ha ido a las nubes y el gobierno dice que no puede pagarla.

A diferencia de Grecia, Puerto Rico no es un país (lo que significa que no puede ser candidato a recibir financiación del Fondo Monetario Internacional). Tampoco es un estado de EE.UU. Y, sin embargo, tiene rasgos de ambos: si bien tiene su propia constitución, es un territorio de Estados Unidos, los portorriqueños son ciudadanos estadounidenses y en la isla rige la ley federal, a menos que se estipule lo contrario.

Algunas de las ventajas de este estatus híbrido es la seguridad y la predictibilidad de la ley estadounidense, la posibilidad de recibir pagos de transferencias federales y un trato fiscal favorable. Los portorriqueños que no son empleados estatales de EE.UU. no pagan el impuesto federal a la renta y los bonos de la isla tienen una “triple exención fiscal” (libres de impuestos federales, estatales y locales).

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