For a painful eight years, Puerto Rico has been enduring a major economic recession. But now the island is contemplating more than a hundred different proposals that suggest ways to jumpstart the economy.
The most intriguing, and controversial of these proposals, is the idea to legalize and regular both prostitution and marijuana use.
Unemployment in Puerto Rico is at a staggering 15%, with 45% of the total population living in poverty.
Facing a $70 billion debt, legalizing prostitution and marijuana, are starting to sound pretty good to the government committee in charge of considering the proposals.
“We are studying all alternatives and all possibilities,” Sen. Maria Teresa Gonzalez said about the proposal, to the Associated Press. “Change always brings inconvenience. I’m convinced that before we talk about something as dramatic and disastrous as layoffs, we have to consider other ideas.”
This proposal has the support of Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who claims that such a move would save $500 million a year in prosecuting and imprisoning criminalized citizens of the island. But others like Rep. Ricardo Llerandi Cruz, have not been so keen on the idea.
“Puerto Rico is facing the worst fiscal crisis in all of its history,” Cruz said to the Associated Press. “We need to refocus or revisit governmental priorities to face these problems.”
All of this comes as 450,000 Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland United States.
“It is very difficult to change the inertia of this island,” attorney Manuel Lugo said. “There has been no economic plan for decades. What they do here is repair and patch holes. That’s not how you run a country.”
(Article by M.B. David)