‘Like a Good Neighbor’ – Being there for Puerto Rico

Go Lean Commentary

‘Just like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there’ – Advertising tagline

What a nice thought: having a neighbor that is there for you in your times of need. State Farm is an insurance company that underwrites the risks of casualties (mishaps, disasters, man-made and acts of God). The people of the Caribbean needs Good Neighbors. We have many incidences and disasters to contend with, some times natural, some times man-made… some times, even economic.

The need for a Good Neighbor got special recognition in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. It opens with a quotation of the song lyrics “Lean On Me” by recording artist Bill Withers, with these words:

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load
If you just call me

- Being there - Photo 1

The US Territory of Puerto Rico needs a Good Neighbor right now. They do not need State Farm; they need the US Government – see Appendix – to change the laws to allow them to re-structure their heavy debt “load”. In effect, this community is in crisis, facing disaster and needs a helping hand. See the story in these VIDEOs here:

VIDEO 1: Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda on his mission to help Puerto Rico – http://www.today.com/video/-hamilton-star-lin-manuel-miranda-on-his-mission-to-help-puerto-rico-680630339894 

NBC News – The Today Show – Posted May 6, 2016; retrieved May 8, 2016


VIDEO 2: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Puerto Rico (HBO) – https://youtu.be/Tt-mpuR_QHQ

Published on Apr 24, 2016 – Puerto Rico is suffering a massive debt crisis. Lin-Manuel Miranda joins John Oliver to call for relief.
Pardon the Adult Language

This is serious…

The book Go Lean … Caribbean identified the grave disposition of Puerto Rico, calling them the “Greece of the Caribbean” (Page 18), a tongue-in-check swipe to this advertising tagline used for many islands in the region: “the Gem of the Caribbean“. The book’s motive is to elevate the entire Caribbean, by focusing on the societal engines of economics, security and governance. All of these facets are in peril in Puerto Rico today, even though the current disaster is an economic one. It would be a nice thought if Puerto Rico’s neighbors could come to it’s aid. This is the quest of the Go Lean movement: to consolidate, integrate and streamline Caribbean member-states so as to be prepared for disasters in the region, including the economic ones. The book declares that Puerto Rico – and all of the Caribbean – is in crisis, but that a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.

Puerto Rico’s crisis is $70 Billion in municipal debt! Holy Crap, the vultures are now circling!

This episode is an example of the incidents prepared for in the Go Lean book, especially within the subtitle, “Crap Happens”. The book was referring to situations where a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ can imperil everyday life for the everyday man. This is the case in the US Territory of Puerto Rico. Despite the economic nature of the $70 Billion debt-load, this crisis is affecting security and government deliveries. According to the foregoing VIDEOs, the communities on the island of Puerto Rico cannot deliver on their Social Contract obligations because they have inadequate resources and their legal first priority must be debt-servicing. The end result: people’s needs – in the Social Contract – are not met and so they … flee – see photo above.

Puerto Rico needs an intervention; a bail-out of some sort. They are specifically asking for provisions of the US Bankruptcy laws (Chapter 9) to apply to the Territory. (Normally Chapter 9 only refers to American municipal governments and not State governments nor Territories). There are proponents of this quest – like Lin-Manuel Miranda in the foregoing – and opponents, like the active creditors. The movement behind the Go Lean movement wants a resolution, but focuses more on the underlying societal foundation; like the flaws that have made this community a parasite of the US mainland, rather than a protégé.

This assertion in the Go Lean book is that bad things (and bad actors) will always emerge to disrupt the peace and harmony in communities. All Caribbean member-states, like US Territories Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, need to be on guard and prepared for this possibility. The book (Page 23) prepares for many modes of “bad things/actors”. It defines them as industrial mishaps, natural disasters, “acts of God”, and yes, economic distress. The book relates that these happenings are historical facts – considering the 2008 Global Recession and the constant threats of hurricanes – that are bound to be repeated, again and again. The book’s goal is to prepare the region for the eventuality of bad things happening to the good people, so as to minimize the constant human flight and brain drain.

The Go Lean book posits that the Caribbean region is the “greatest address on the planet”, that people should be “beating down the doors” to get in, rather than the status quo of people “beating down the doors” to get out.

We must plan for all disasters, natural and man-made. “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail”. We need Good Neighbors, literally and figuratively. The book contends that the 30 member-states in the Caribbean region should prepare themselves as neighbors to aid themselves, primarily. This point is pronounced early in the book with these Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12):

i.     Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

ii.    Whereas the natural formation of the landmass for our lands constitutes some extreme seismic activity, it is our responsibility and ours alone to provide, protect and promote our society to coexist, prepare and recover from the realities of nature’s occurrences.

x.   Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiii. Whereas many countries in our region are dependent OverseasTerritory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

xxv. Whereas the legacy of international democracies had been imperiled due to a global financial crisis, the structure of the Federation must allow for financial stability and assurance of the Federation’s institutions. To mandate the economic vibrancy of the region, monetary and fiscal controls and policies must be incorporated as proactive and reactive measures. These measures must address threats against the financial integrity of the Federation and of the member-states.

So the Go Lean book relates that the Caribbean must appoint “new guards” to ensure public safety and to include many strategies, tactics and implementations considered “best-practices” for economic stewardship and Emergency Management (Preparation and Response). We must be on a constant vigil against all “bad actors”, man-made or natural. This indicates being pro-active in monitoring, mitigating and managing risks. Then when “crap” does happen, as it always will, the region’s “new guards” must be prepared for any “Clear and Present” danger.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU would structure the appropriate governmental and non-governmental agencies in the region into one initiative, providing a Unified Command and Control for Emergency operations to share, leverage and collaborate their practice across the whole region. The roadmap has a focus of optimizing Caribbean society through economics, homeland security and governance; as stated within the prime directives (3):

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and the Caribbean homeland.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines, including Bankruptcy processing at the regional level.

The Caribbean is the “greatest address on the planet”, but there are risks associated with living deep in this tropical zone. With the reality of natural disasters (perhaps even more due to Climate Change), we must not be caught unprepared if we do not want our citizens to continue to flee their homeland; we want them to prosper here, where they may be planted. So as a community, we must provide assurances that we can count on our Good Neighbors to provide aid for any of the region’s stakeholders.

The Go Lean book details the series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to provide the proactive and reactive protections in the Caribbean region:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in Future Page 21
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederating to form a Single Market Economy Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Climate Change Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – How to Grow the Economy – Economic Bubbles Recovery Page 69
Tactical – How to Grow the Economy – Recover from Disasters Page 70
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Securities Exchange Regulatory Agency Page 74
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Department Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Agency Page 76
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Meteorological and Geological Service Page 79
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Exclusive Federal Bankruptcy Courts Page 90
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Start-up Homeland Security Initiatives Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Better Manage Debt Page 114
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – #3: Consolidated Homeland Security Pact Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Puerto Rico’s near Status Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy – Disaster Recoveries Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Wall Street – Optimize Security Markets Page 200
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories – Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Page 244

Other subjects related to Good Neighbor responses to crises (Economic Disruptions, Emergency Management, and Homeland Security) in the region and the required governmental responses have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentaries, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7327 Zika – An Epidemiology Crisis – Facing the Caribbean region
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7235 Flint, Michigan – A Cautionary Tale
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6893 A Meteorologist’s View On Climate Change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6563 Lessons from Iceland – Model of Recovery
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6531 Economic Crisis: Learning from the Exigency of 2008
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6189 A Lesson in History – Hurricane ‘Katrina’ is helping today’s crises
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6103 Sum of All Fears – ‘On Guard’ Against Deadly Threats
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5002 Managing a ‘Clear and Present Danger’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4741 Vanuatu and Tuvalu Cyclone – Inadequate response to human suffering
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4360 Dreading the ‘Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2614 The ‘Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill / Planning / Preparations
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1817 Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought

The island territory of Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean as a whole, has found itself on the losing side of the changes impacting the global economy; the Go Lean book identified one of the Agents of Change as globalization. According to the foregoing VIDEOs, they have been contending with a recession for nearly a decade. This has meant life-and-death for the community; death in terms of people abandoning the island. This commentary has frequently addressed these challenges – and solutions – for Puerto Rico; see sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6693 Ten Puerto Rico Police Accused of Criminal Network
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6531 Economic Disaster: Learning from the Exigency of 2008
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6260 Puerto Rico Bondholders Coalition Launches Ad Campaign
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4551 US Territories – Between a ‘rock and a hard place’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1325 Puerto Rico Governor Signs Bill on SME’s
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=599 Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes

These previous commentaries reflect the enduring crisis for the Caribbean; every member-state (island & mainland states) experience societal abandonment. The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that this “Agent of Change” is too big for just any one member-state, like Puerto Rico, to tackle alone, that there must be a regional solution; and presents this roadmap as the salve.

The people and institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap; this plan is conceivable, believable and achievable. We can make Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean as a whole, a better place to live, work and play.:-)

Download Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – America’s Good Neighbor policy

The Good Neighbor policy was the foreign policy of the administration of United States President Franklin Roosevelt towards Latin America. Although the policy was implemented by the Roosevelt administration, 19th-century politician Henry Clay paved the way for it and coined the term “Good Neighbor”.

The policy’s main principle was that of non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Latin America. It also reinforced the idea that the United States would be a “good neighbor” and engage in reciprocal exchanges with Latin American countries.[1] Overall, the Roosevelt administration expected that this new policy would create new economic opportunities in the form of reciprocal trade agreements and reassert the influence of the United States in Latin America; however, many Latin American governments were not convinced.[2]

- Being there - Photo 2

Carmen Miranda became the muse of the Good Neighbor policy.

The Good Neighbor Policy terminated the U.S. Marines occupation of Nicaragua in 1933 and occupation of Haiti in 1934, led to the annulment of the Platt Amendment by the Treaty of Relations with Cuba in 1934, and the negotiation of compensation for Mexico’s nationalization of foreign-owned oil assets in 1938.

The era of the Good Neighbor Policy ended with the ramp-up of the Cold War in 1945, as the United States felt there was a greater need to protect the western hemisphere from Soviet influence. These changes conflicted with the Good Neighbor Policy’s fundamental principle of non-intervention and led to a new wave of US involvement in Latin American affairs.[2] Until the end of the Cold War the United States directly or indirectly attacked all suspected socialist or nationalist movements in the hope of ending the spread of Soviet influence. U.S. interventions in this era included the CIA overthrow of Guatemala’s President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, the unsuccessful CIA-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba in 1961, CIA subversion of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1970–73, and CIA subversion of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government from about 1981 to 1990.[2]

After World War II, the US began to shift its focus to aid and rebuilding efforts in Europe and Japan. These U.S. efforts largely neglected the Latin American countries, though U.S. investors and business men did have some stake in the nations to the South.

See the entire encyclopedic reference here (retrieved May 9, 2016): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Neighbor_policy.

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