SAN JUAN/WASHINGTON DC (BBN) – Donald J. Trump’s harnessing of CEO intervention, the US military and exploiting the White House bully pulpit to resurrect of Puerto Rico to its former glory following the devastation by Hurricane Maria will undoubtedly be the high point of his presidential legacy.
[President Donald J. Trump arrival on Air Force One filmed by Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at Muniz National Air Guard Base in Puerto Rico. President Trump and First Lady Melania was met by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello and wife. October 3, 2017]
To many in Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria is a blessing in disguise as the enclave was facing an even more devastating slow death under USD 70bn of unsustainable debt to Wall Street banks and asset managers.
President Trump effectively talked down Puerto Rico bond prices from about 60 cents on the dollar pre-Hurricane Maria to about 30-35 cents following a choreographed impromptu interview with Fox News anchor and Puerto Rican native, Geraldo Rivera during during his visit on October 3, 2017 . The USD 9bn in bond debt owed by PREPA will be zeroed out as Hurricane Maria wiped out the utility.
Major CEOs such as Pfizer, Inc (NYSE: PFE) CEO Ian C. Read can do more than any Federal or local government official by keeping their factories open and ensuring that infrastructure investment Is not squandered by politicians and unsavory mainland business interests.
[Pfizer Inc. Chairman and CEO Ian C. Read speaks to Capitol Intelligence/CI Africa using CI Glass on outlook for the African pharmaceutical markets at National Press Club of Washington, DC. March 23, 2017]
For many Puerto Ricans, Pfizer Inc is a bellwether of the success or failure of the island’s leadership to keep and attract manufacturing jobs.
Elizabeth Plaza, the founder and Chairwoman of Dorado, Puerto Rico-based Pharma-Bio Serv, said in an interview with Capitol Intelligence that restarting Puerto Rico’s pharmaceutical industry is also a crisis for mainland United States as Pfizer and others provide critical lifesaving drugs and this urgent issue has been raised by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. MD.
On Friday, FDA Commissioner Gottlieb issued an official statement noting that Puetro Rico-based pharmaceutical manufacturers produce 10% of all drugs consumer in the United States and that the FDA is closely monitoring some 40 pharmaceutical and biological drugs produced produced in the PR “could have substantial impact on the public health.” Gottlielb had visited Puerto Rico a week beforehand.
Ian Read’s upbringing in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and international experience makes him the ideal CEO to work alongside FDA Commissioner Gottlieb to ensure that PR pharmaceutical supply chain is not left left uninterrupted.
The abolition of Puerto Rico’s special tax status under Section 936 under President Bill Clinton and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) trade agreements allowed big Pharma CEOs such as Ian C. Read to shift production to foreign tax friendly geographies such as Ireland or Mexico notwithstanding a superior Puerto Rican work force.
[Pharma-Bio Serve Founder and Chairwoman Elizabeth Plaza speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass following panel on Hurricane Maria at Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. October 5, 2017]
The abolition of the Section 936 — which allowed for US and foreign corporations to avoid paying burdensome US worldwide corporate tax – also dramatically shifted the balance of power in Puerto Rico from local business owners and Fortune 500 CEOs to corrupt and inept local politicians on the lines of former Puerto Rico governor and DC lobbyist Luis Fortuno.
The reinstatement of Section 936 can will find unusual common ground between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Democratic and Republican members of the US House Ways and Means Committee.
The White House and Congressional efforts on Puerto Rico can also replace the largely absentee and deeply unpopular Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Stability Act (PROMESA) oversight board consisting of largely unknown lawyers, consultants and businessmen.
Hurricane Maria should really be named Hurricane PREPA as the Category 4-5 hurricane seemed to target Puerto Rico’s horribly inefficient and basically third world utility, said President of Puerto Rico Manufacturers, Rodrigo Masses Artze.
With PREPA’s Wall Street bond holders wiped out, President Trump and Puerto Rico’s pro-privatization Governor Ricardo Rossello can now have Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and Rome-based ENEL join forces to build the best-in-its-class utility in Puerto Rico operating natural gas plants along with cost efficient wind power and solar energy.
Exelon CEO Chris Crane already has experience taking over badly managed locally owned utilities such as Washington, DC’s PEPCO while Italy’s state-owned ENEL is best in its class in operating utilities in difficult foreign markets (Russia, Chile) and at the same time is owner of America’s largest renewable company, Enel Americas (NYSE:ENIA.)
[Exelon President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher M. Crane speaks with Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass about Entergy, STEM schools and ENEL at the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber Annual Meeting at BWI Marriott, May 11, 2016]
The current independent power producer working with PREPA — the secretive Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) — will ultimately be excluded from the estimated USD 5bn-USD 9bn privatization on US national security grounds due to the company’s controlling mainland Chinese shareholders such as the Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC).
Puerto Rico is already serving as example for President Trump proposed USD 1 trln infrastructure fund as the United States only fully privatized airport, San Juan’s Luis Munez International Airport operated by Mexico’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) is working at near full capacity.
The recovery of Puerto Rico, unlike New Orleans after Katrina or the disgrace of Haiti, will serve as a model for the United States and the world thanks to defacto takeover of the disaster relief efforts by the US military and the truly heroic efforts by the citizens of Puerto Ricans.
US Armed Service members including the US Army Corps of Engineers, commanded by US Army North Lt. General Jeffery S. Buchanan, are effectively filling the vacuum derived from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) inexperience in dealing with a non-mainland disaster and typical grandstanding by The American Red Cross (as opposed to effective and on the ground relief provided by the Salvation Army).
[Hollywood Legend and Civil Rights icon Rita Moreno filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass speaking with USAF Reservist Nestride Yumga following interview by The Carlyle Group Co-Founder David Rubenstein at Kennedy Center, April 29, 2017.]
“This is a walk in the park for all of us as we have worked in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said a USAF major. “The people in Puerto Rico know exactly needs to be done and how to do it right.”
By PK Semler in San Juan and Barceloneta Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. Edited by Ted Knutson.
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