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La Batalla Por el Paraíso: Puerto…
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La Batalla Por el Paraíso: Puerto Rico y el Capitalismo Del… (udgave 2018)

af Naomi Klein (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1145181,327 (4.12)3
"We are in a fight for our lives. Hurricanes Irma and María unmasked the colonialism we face in Puerto Rico, and the inequality it fosters, creating a fierce humanitarian crisis. Now we must find a path forward to equality and sustainability, a path driven by communities, not investors. And this book explains, with careful and unbiased reporting, only the efforts of our community activists can answer the paramount question: What type of society do we want to become and who is Puerto Rico for?"--Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan In the rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans and ultrarich "Puertopians" are locked in a pitched struggle over how to remake the island. In this vital and startling investigation, bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein uncovers how the forces of shock politics and disaster capitalism seek to undermine the nation's radical, resilient vision for a "just recovery." All royalties from the sale of this book in English and Spanish go directly to JunteGente, a gathering of Puerto Rican organizations resisting disaster capitalism and advancing a fair and healthy recovery for their island. For more information, visit http://juntegente.org/. Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, documentary filmmaker and author of the international bestsellers No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, and No Is Not Enough.… (mere)
Medlem:EFitzpatrick
Titel:La Batalla Por el Paraíso: Puerto Rico y el Capitalismo Del Desastre (Spanish Edition)
Forfattere:Naomi Klein (Forfatter)
Info:Haymarket Books (2018), 112 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists af Naomi Klein

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We knew that the real disaster was not the hurricane but the terrible vulnerability imposed by Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship to the United States, as well as the forced privatization of health and other services; massive layoffs; huge numbers of school closures; reductions in social rights and in investments for collective well-being; abandonment of social and physical infrastructure; and high levels of government corruption and ineptitude. This vulnerability was aggravated by Washington’s imposition of the Financial Oversight and Management Board, an unelected body pushing for the privatization of electricity and schools, increased costs of basic services, massive cuts in public education, pensions, vacation time, and other rights—all in order to pay bondholders a $73 billion debt that was patently unpayable, illegal, and illegitimate. The net result was to leave the majority of people in Puerto Rico without a hopeful future, and that was all before Hurricane Maria hit our shores.

There are few persons alive today who has the voice, breadth, and prosaic succinctness that Klein has. Her ability to paint a picture, to show what's wrong, and how we can get to a better place, is like a breath of fresh air, a younger version of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. I'm glad to know she is alive and kicking today.

And kicking she is. Puerto Rico has been smashed by neoliberal powers prior to Hurricane Maria, that left the island devastated.

Researchers at Harvard recently revealed the death toll from Hurricane Maria may be a staggering 70 times higher than the official count. The official death toll still stands at 64, but the new study estimates a death toll of at least 4,645, with some projections topping 5,700. The Harvard study found that “interruption of medical care was the primary cause of sustained high mortality rates in the months after the hurricane, a finding consistent with the widely reported disruption of health systems. Healthcare disruption is now a growing contributor to both morbidity and mortality in natural disasters.”

As noted, part of Klein's strength as a writer is to show how human beings are prone to help each other, and how; where corporations and kleptocracies fail us, we get by:

Several Puerto Ricans I spoke with casually referred to Maria as “our teacher.” Because amid the storm’s convulsions, people didn’t just discover what didn’t work (pretty much everything). They also learned very quickly about a few things that worked surprisingly well. Up in Adjuntas, it was solar power. Elsewhere, it was small organic farms that used traditional farming methods that were better able to stand up to the floods and wind. And in every case, deep community relationships, as well as strong ties to the Puerto Rican diaspora, successfully delivered lifesaving aid when the government failed and failed again.

It's interesting to see how Puerto Rico is basically being used as a sieve for the wealthy who seek to avoid paying their taxes. Here's a telling sign from the book:

Earlier this month, in San Juan’s ornate Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, the dream of Puerto Rico as a for-profit utopia was on full display. From March 14 to 16, the hotel played host to Puerto Crypto, a three-day “immersive” pitch for blockchain and cryptocurrencies with a special focus on why Puerto Rico will “be the epicenter of this multitrillion-dollar market.” Among the speakers was Yaron Brook, chair of the Ayn Rand Institute, who presented on “How Deregulation and Blockchain Can Make Puerto Rico the Hong Kong of the Caribbean.” Last year, Brook announced that he had personally relocated from California to Puerto Rico, where he claims he went from paying 55 percent of his income in taxes to less than 4 percent. Elsewhere on the island, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans were still living by flashlight, many were still dependent on FEMA for food aid, and the island’s main mental health hotline was still overwhelmed with callers. But inside the sold-out Vanderbilt conference, there was little space for that kind of downer news. Instead, the 800 attendees—fresh from a choice between “sunrise yoga and meditation” and “morning surf”—heard from top officials like Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy Rivera about all the things Puerto Rico is doing to turn itself into the ultimate playground for newly minted cryptocurrency millionaires and billionaires.

The official slogan of this new Puerto Rico? “Paradise Performs.” To underscore the point, conference attendees were invited to a “Cryptocurrency Honey Party,” with pollen-themed drinks and snacks, and a chance to hang out with Ingrid Suarez, Miss Teen Panama 2013 and upcoming contestant on “Caribbean’s Next Top Model.”

But make no mistake—the true religion here is tax avoidance. As one young crypto-trader recently told his YouTube audience, before moving to Puerto Rico in time to make the tax-filing deadline, “I had to actually look it up on the map.” (He subsequently admitted to some “culture shock” upon learning that Puerto Ricans spoke Spanish, but instructed viewers thinking of following his lead to put a “Google translator app on your phone and you’re good to go.”)

In early 2018, Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced the privatisation of PREPA, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. "Two days later, the slick, TV-friendly young governor unveiled his long-awaited “fiscal plan,” which included closing more than 300 schools and shutting down more than two-thirds of the island government’s executive-branch entities, going from a total of 115 to just 35."

The major preamble to his statement? Check this:

Broke and desperate, the Puerto Rican government turned to borrowing, in part by using its special tax status to issue municipal bonds that were exempt from city, state, and federal taxes. It also purchased high-risk capital appreciation bonds, which will eventually rack up interest rates ranging from 785 to 1,000 percent. Thanks in large part to these kinds of predatory financial instruments, borrowed under conditions that many experts argue were illegal under the Puerto Rican Constitution, the island’s debt exploded. According to data compiled by lawyer Armando Pintado, debt-service payments, including interest and other profits paid to the banking industry, increased fivefold between 2001 and 2014, with a particularly marked spike in 2008. Yet another shock to the island’s economy.

No matter what the outcome of this is, it is vital that we all not only react, but act.

With books like this, we can make haste. ( )
  pivic | Mar 23, 2020 |
Unlike most of Klein's lengthy investigative journalism, this book is very short—almost more of an pamphlet. It is front-line reporting following hurricane Maria.

Following a classic format, the book describes two sides—the elites and the common folk—and pits them against each other. I find the war analogy unfortunate, as it is likely not fighting that will bring Puerto Ricans to the other side of this disaster (although there certainly me be strikes and other forms of organizing).

That said, I think she's right to call attention to places like Puerto Rico following the storm, as these scenarios will become increasingly commonplace. What is the alternative to Disaster Capitalism? We start to see the hints of it in this book, but it needs a name and a movement. ( )
  willszal | Oct 18, 2018 |
Two forces are contesting for control of the reconstruction of Puerto Rico—one with a vision of the island as a low-tax playground for the rich (a utopia apparently pronounced poor-topia, appropriately enough) and one with a vision of community gardens, energy generation, education, and other aspects of thriving civic life. Which one will win? The one we feed. ( )
  rivkat | Aug 31, 2018 |
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017.

And despite Puerto Rico’s status as a territory of the United States, the US government has done embarrassingly little to assist the American citizens of this beautiful island.

While the absence of US assistance has been bad enough, there is a more malicious contingent at work. Naomi Klein takes aim at them – disaster capitalists – in her new book, The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists. In it, Klein makes a strong argument for fighting against selfish outside influences trying to make a buck on the backs of traumatized local Puerto Rican communities.

Does this situation sound familiar? It should because it is essentially another colonization of Puerto Rico by the US.

In this 96-page book, Naomi Klein gives her reader a short history lesson as well as reasons why Puerto Ricans would (and should!) be skeptical of outside actors (pp. 25-32). While lifelong Puerto Rican residents dig out from under the wreck of Maria, the governor and other self-interested players court the rich from the mainland US by offering major tax breaks to move there – tax breaks that residents do not get to take advantage of (pp. 18-19).

Often referred to as “Puertopians,” these wealthy libertarians seek to live tax- (and care-) free in Puerto Rico, all the while seeing themselves as saviors of the embattled island and its residents (pp. 15-25). As Klein explains, “In February 2018, [the governor of Puerto Rico] told a business audience in New York that Maria had created a ‘blank canvas’ on which investors could paint their very own dream world” (p. 25); never mind the over three million people who already call it home.

Klein explains how Puerto Rico was in such a vulnerable position, even before Hurricane Maria hit, with importing a staggering amount of fossil fuels (pp. 5-7) and food (pp. 32-37) while also incurring an enormous debt after the global economic downturn of 2008 (47-51). These deficiencies are in large part due to the legacy of colonialism and the plantation economy.

In addition, situations and events in Puerto Rico over the last twelve years have made it particularly vulnerable to “shock doctrine” tactics. According to Klein, the phenomenon of the shock doctrine is the “deliberate exploitation of states of emergency to push through a radical pro-corporate agenda” (p. 45). Klein lays out how Puerto Rico is the most distinct example of this since Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 (pp. 43-53).

But Klein is also intentional in giving inspirational examples of how some local residents are harnessing collaborative partnerships, renewable energies (pp. 8-11), and innovative agricultural practices (pp. 37-43) to challenge existing inequities, untenable structures, and malignant outside influences.

It is this entrepreneurial spirit that Klein encourages in Puerto Rico as this is an opportunity for them to transform their home into the sustainable paradise that they themselves envision (p. 12). Through organization and strength, they will be able to overcome the “Puertopians” who seek to resettle the island (pp. 30-32).

While Klein’s book explores only one facet of the effects of Maria on Puerto Rico – disaster capitalists setting their sights on Puerto Rico in its vulnerable post-Maria state – it is an imperative issue to address. Only a brief (although necessary) introduction, the book offers a firm foundation to understanding disaster capitalism, the shock doctrine phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico was susceptible to more than just hurricane damage when Maria struck.

This is a quick and worthwhile read for anyone interested in Puerto Rico, the effects of colonialism and/or natural disasters, or the empowerment of local Puerto Ricans to lead the efforts of rebuilding how they see fit. It’s accessible information to most anyone, even those with no knowledge on any of these topics or the history of Puerto Rico. ( )
  karlajstrand | Aug 15, 2018 |
A quick book about the two forces gathering to try to determine what happens next in Puerto Rico after the Hurricane and a series of other issues. I'm rooting for the people over the neoliberal capitalists. ( )
  JanesList | Jun 20, 2018 |
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"We are in a fight for our lives. Hurricanes Irma and María unmasked the colonialism we face in Puerto Rico, and the inequality it fosters, creating a fierce humanitarian crisis. Now we must find a path forward to equality and sustainability, a path driven by communities, not investors. And this book explains, with careful and unbiased reporting, only the efforts of our community activists can answer the paramount question: What type of society do we want to become and who is Puerto Rico for?"--Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan In the rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans and ultrarich "Puertopians" are locked in a pitched struggle over how to remake the island. In this vital and startling investigation, bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein uncovers how the forces of shock politics and disaster capitalism seek to undermine the nation's radical, resilient vision for a "just recovery." All royalties from the sale of this book in English and Spanish go directly to JunteGente, a gathering of Puerto Rican organizations resisting disaster capitalism and advancing a fair and healthy recovery for their island. For more information, visit http://juntegente.org/. Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, documentary filmmaker and author of the international bestsellers No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, and No Is Not Enough.

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