October 29, 2017

Puerto Rico being hit with disaster capitalism

Common Dreams - Following news that the Montana-based company Whitefish Energy was rewarded a "shady" $300 million contract to restore Puerto Rico's crippled electrical grid and as U.S. officials look to install an emergency manager to direct the island's hurricane relief efforts, advocacy groups are urgently warning that authority is being stripped from local elected officials and placed in the hands of "disaster capitalists" looking to profit from the territory's recovery at the expense of the Puerto Rican people.

"We saw how taking control away from accountable local officials worked out in Flint." —Wenonah Hauter, Food and Water Watch

As The Intercept's Kate Aronoff reported Thursday, Noel Zamot has been chosen for the emergency manager role and placed in charge of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, the island's lone power utility. Zamot has a long record of supporting efforts to privatize PREPA. As Aronoff observes, Zamot was initially brought on to Puerto Rico's financial oversight board with an eye toward "privatiz[ing] the Electric Power Authority as soon as possible."

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