December 11, 2009

With Puerto Rico's unemployment rate now at 16.5 percent, the Chairman and President of the National Puerto Rican Coalition today urged the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status to develop "a government-wide 'Marshall Plan' to rebuild the economy of Puerto Rico," just as the federal government did in the Post-War years in restoring the economies of Western Europe.

"In calling together the Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status, President Obama recognized both the need to move forward on the question of Puerto Rico's status and to respond to what is an emerging economic crisis in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico," said Chairperson Miguel Lausell.

"The White House has brought together representatives of each and every cabinet department and agency," added President and CEO Rafael A. Fantauzzi. "With a crushing unemployment rate of 16.5 percent - higher, even, than the nation experienced during 1931, two years into the Great Depression - the Task Force must recognize that Puerto Rico is in crisis."

"While status issues divide us, economic storm clouds are gathering, and the Task Force must now focus on what unite us - the need for jobs and economic growth," Lausell recommended.

"Each and every participant in the President's Task Force should realize that Puerto Rico is in crisis. No stone should be unturned in an effort to find out what every Agency and Department can do to help," he added.

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