Rene Perez, aka Residente, co-founder and lead singer of Puerto Rican band Calle 13, has slammed the United States for being one of the most “racist” countries on the planet.
“[US president Donald] Trump helped identifying the racists, you can see them with the little cap,” Residente said this month, alluding to the red “Make America Great Again” headwear that is popular with Trump supporters.
He emphasised that racism has always existed in the US, but during former President Barack Obama’s administration society believed “everything was fine” even though “it was actually the same country”.
On the issue of Puerto Rico, Residente branded it “ridiculous” that the Caribbean island “remains a colony” of the US, unable to elect its own president.
His comments come as Puerto Rico’s US-appointed oversight board approved on March 13 a revised version of a fiscal plan proposed by Governor Ricardo Rossello to tackle the island’s debt crisis. It will ramp up punishing austerity measures through more cuts to public spending.
Puerto Rico’s status as a US colony forbids it from making any independent decisions about its economy, particularly regarding debt.
This status denies it the legal right to file for bankruptcy and means it cannot negotiate new debt terms, which would allow the protection of public assets and pay for essential services.
Puerto Rico has been a US territory since 1898 when the US usurped it from the Spanish Empire.
There is a new push for the territory to become a US state. But Residente insists that full independence is key to Puerto Rico managing its own resources and breaking free from Washington’s colonial rule.
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]