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Sanders Visit to Puerto Rico Brings Out the Left’s Hypocrisy

By: Nelson Albino Jr. - May 18, 2016, 4:30 pm
Sanders prometió rescates a Puerto Rico que la legislación de EE.UU. le impedirá cumplir. (Metro)
Sanders promised a bailout for Puerto Rico that Congress will not approve. (Metro)

EspañolSocialist senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited Puerto Rico this week, making a stop at the island to campaign for the upcoming Democratic presidential primaries on June 5, where 60 Puerto Rican delegates are be at stake.

But most importantly, Sanders’ visit served to expose the hypocrisy of the champions of “social justice” in Puerto Rico.

The Sanders campaign team held a political rally in the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico, the public university of the island, where the senator sold an image of solidarity with the territory’s economic crisis. He was accompanied by leaders of the Popular Democratic Party who advocate the status quo, leaders of the leftist Party of the Working People, (who blame the United States for the crisis) and supporters of independence.

As expected, Sanders wasted no time blaming Wall Street for not letting Puerto Rico solve its own debt crisis, but of course did not go into details about how the island got into the crisis in the first place, or why it borrowed so much money over the years. Having done so would have revealed that the same social democratic policies he seeks to implement in the United States are the policies that led Puerto Rico to ruin.

Sanders is a champion of “social justice” and under that slogan, there is excessive public spending, lack of economic freedom, corruption, lack of production, lack of employment, crime, poverty and massive dependence on state social programs. Are not those the problems that Puerto Ricans struggle with every day?

Bernie promotes a government-run healthcare system. Is not Puerto Rico the US jurisdiction with the closest thing to a universal health care system? What has it accomplished?

Thanks to excessive state intervention in healthcare, more and more people depend on government health insurance. Hospitals no longer receive revenues from services provided, forcing them to lay off employees. Thousands of doctors leave the island due to lack of income, creating a shortage of doctors.

The left in Puerto Rico blame insurers for the health crisis without mentioning the fact that insurance companies aren’t self-regulated. Social Democrats respond by saying the government don’t regulate enough, which is what caused the rise in price premiums.

The irony of Sanders’s visit is not the big economic ignorance of people who follow him, because if a quarter of the population understood what he proposed when he asked the Federal Reserve to bailout Puerto Rico, it’s highly unlikely anyone would vote in the Democratic primary.

Thousands of young people applauded the mere fact that Sanders mentioned the Fed. In Puerto Rico every day you can listen to lawyers who call themselves “analysts” asking the Fed and the federal government for bailouts without knowing the significance of such a request.

With that passionate argument, it’s clear that these “analysts” are simply phony people who believe they are all intellectuals because people listen to them on television and radio. Don’t blame the common citizen applauding populist discourse, because the man who looks for knowledge is not the one applauding the first thing a politician says.

Sanders’s visit showed that for the Puerto Rican left, the real enemy is not the United States; capitalism, the private sector and civil liberties — those are the real enemies of the Puerto Rican left.

Who could have imagined that a handful of socialist students at the University of Puerto Rico who for decades have been characterized as marching against imperialism, colonialism and Americans would fill to capacity an auditorium to go to the speech of an American politician with the flag of the “empire” behind him?

Sanders’ visit served to reveal their false patriotism. Both nationalist and annexationist students who were there demonstrated that freedom is not important for them; they only care about their ideology.

They demonstrate that if you live in a completely socialist colony with an out-of-control welfare state with a socialized and centralized economy, colonialism will not be a problem. The funny thing is is that’s precisely the system that Puerto Rico has today. It seems all they want is an even more radical system, possibly something like the Socialism of the 21st Century that has Venezuela and Argentina in misery.

Nelson Albino Jr. Nelson Albino Jr.

Nelson Albino Jr is a translation specialist with PanAm Post, a Puerto Rican who is also a writer and blogger. Follow him on Twitter @nalbinojr.