?? >> buenos d?as y bienvenidos. good morning. welcome once again to "tiempo." i'm joe torres. despite the recent economic reforms in cuba and re-established relations with the united states, the island is far om tourist destination. so we'll give you some important tips you should know about before planning your trip to the beautiful island of cuba. that's coming up in just a few minutes. now, though, we focus our attention once again on puerto rico and the financial crisis plaguing the island and its 3.5 million u.s. citizens. recently, president obama signed into law the promesa bill. the bill will establish a federally appointed control board to run puerto rico's
commonwealth's $72 billion debt. despite this legislative action, puerto rico was not able to honor all of its debt obligations -- has defaulted now for a fourth time. many critics of the bill say it still won't be enough to save the island. and here to talk more about this this morning, lydia valencia, c.e.o. and president of the puerto rican congress of new jersey, and franklyn p?rez from the national puerto rican agenda. promesa. ?le gusto o no? >> it's -- it's necessary -- >> it's far from perfect. >> it's very far from perfect. >> yes, i think we'll all agree on that. >> i think that that is something that we can all agree on. >> what are the, in a nutshell, some of the issues that you have with it immediately, off the top of your head? >> i don't have so much of a problem with an oversight board. >> yes. >> i do have a problem when it's a control board. >> okay. >> and, also, the fact that it doesn't have any guarantees that
i think that that would play a very large role in its implementation. >> franklyn, same question. >> i am totally against the board. >> totally against it. >> totally against the board. i shouldn't say "totally against the board." i'm totally against the promesa act because of the many deficiencies which it contains. the first and most important one is that it does not provide for an economic development plan to replace the section 936 tax-exempt arrangement which existed prior to 1996 and which was phased out between '96 and 2002, which is what led to the economic crisis which we have in puerto rico now. >> mm-hmm. "promesa" stands for puerto rico oversight management and economic stability act. if you had it your way -- and i don't think anyone would have been 100% pleased with whatever the outcome might have been -- what changes would you have made if you were in the position? franklyn, you first. >> there would be no need for a board, or there would be no need
exempted from chapter 9, or from the bankruptcy code, in 1983. there is absolutely no explanation for why, when they made amendments to the bankruptcy code back in the '80s, the excluded puerto rico from that, which prior to that, we had the ability to file for bankruptcy and reorganization. >> just the way the 50 states can do. >> exactly. >> what changes would you have made had you been in the position to say, "here's what i'd like to see in the bill," or, "here's what's necessary to stability on the island, you have to have economic development, you have to have job creation, all of which are not in the bill. really, the way -- if you look at the bill as it stands now, talks more of a collection agency type situation to pay the debt, and at the cost of what is the question. >> the people on the other side
>> the solution would be the job creation and economic development of the island. and i know that -- >> with more specifics on that, though. how do you create jobs? >> well, as franklyn said, the 936 -- the taking away of the 936, i think, was key at this whole domino effect that has happened on the island. >> but that's more than 10 years ago, right? >> well, it was phased out in -- the act -- the action taken by 20 years ago. >> it was phased out over a period of six years until 2002. but nothing replaced it. there was no replacement of incentives to bring manufacturing jobs to puerto rico. >> mm-hmm. >> and there was no plan for addressing way back the problem of overspending by the government of puerto rico, which later on, in between 2008 and
violation of the constitutional provision that you cannot sell more than comes in. you cannot sell more general obligation bonds than tax money comes in to meet those obligations. >> yeah, i don't think there's any doubt that there's a lot of blame to go around for why puerto rico's in the position that it's in, but the things that you're asking for, could they have been done before july 1st, earlier this month? >> well, there's a number of things that could've been done to avoid the need for promesa and to act in such a short, irrational period. if you listen to former governor an?bal acevedo vil?, he says that he predicted this problem would have arisen more than two years ago. there was a problem with the borrowing in 2014 of $3.5 billion in bonds, when puerto rico, at that point, had been downgraded to almost junk status. >> yes. >> and we borrowed another $3.5 billion to pay off prior
which was unconstitutional. >> sit tight. there are some puerto ricans who, i wouldn't say, like the deal but went along with the deal. we'll talk about them, and i'll propose to you and present to you what they had to say and get your thoughts on that. when we come back, more on the promesa bill and its impact on puerto rico's financial crisis. still ahead on "tiempo," many americans can now legally travel to cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. we have some useful tips for you that you should know before you plan your trip to the island. sit tight.
...she says. you hear that, what runs through your mind? franklyn, you first. >> i think that there's a lot of questions with respect to that statement. there are some questions about whether or not the united states government would be held responsible for the debt of puerto rico, given that we are subject to the territorial clause. and there is a guam case, which acevedo vil?, the governor, basically -- the supreme court held basically that the obligations with respect to the bonds can be both of the people of guam as well as the people of the united states because of our territorial relationship. >> you're getting a little deep. i see you shaking your head. why do you -- >> that's something that i had thought of. you know, if you have a child, and they are running credit, you're responsible, to put it in very simple terms. >> please do.
responsibility for the debt that occurred. and i'm sure that we have a legal case. >> well, let me get to what i think you're going to because her argument and part of that presentation -- in the release, she says, "we hit a fork in the road, and the fork in the road was pass promesa, or we end up in court. and if we end up in court, we're gonna lose to people with a lot of money, and it's gonna drag on for years. and the result will be, hospitals don't get paid, politicians -- uh, police don't get paid, firefighters don't get paid. so it had b that's her argument. why does that not hold water? >> because the main argument is the fear of litigation, that everybody was gonna run to the courthouse and that the courthouse would then start imposing injunctions and freezing assets and things of that nature. that's very far down the line. bob menendez was arguing about the need to have more time to debate the question and look for a bill that would be much more protective of the interests of the 3.5 million u.s. citizens in puerto rico. >> but the argument was, you're out of time. there was no time.
time. it was just -- i think we jumped the gun. i mean, when you settle for what is being offered, i think you jump the gun. and i think -- we hadn't made the other payments. not to make one other payment really wasn't going to have a vast problem at the end of the day on july 1st. >> there are those who would disagree with you, and we'll leave that conversation for continuing. but is there a lesson to be learned out of this in, shall we reactively? >> in the area of the health crisis... >> well, it's a health crisis for sure. we're heading that way. >> ...i think we need to look at that proactively. i mean, we can't wait to do what we've done with promesa, which is wait until the wolf is at the door and then try and just scare it away. >> yeah. >> so, we need to act proactively and look at the solutions and raising that cap from the federal government.
give me something to sink my teeth into. >> i think the diaspora has a large role to play. i mean, it's congress that's going to decide what rules in puerto rico. >> mm-hmm. >> so it's congress that we need to talk to. >> there are very specific -- >> we've got 30 seconds, so... >> there are very specific things that could be done. the cabotage law, the 1917 jones act -- eliminate that. why do we have to bring every product that's imported into puerto rico to jacksonville, florida, exchange it to an american flagship to ship to puerto rico and increase the expenses? the medicaid parities --he medicaid parities -- >> very quickly 'cause i know you wanted to mention it -- we've got about 15 seconds -- a summit coming up at the end of the month. >> we have two things coming up at the end of the month -- july 24th -- that will be in camden, new jersey, and lydia is responsible in part for organizing that -- is the constituents assembly of the national puerto rican agenda, where an agenda will be set forth both for the organization and for the diaspora in the united states and for puerto rico. >> okay. >> and then on the 25th of july at the national democratic
invited everyone to come down and protest at the democratic convention because of the way puerto rico's being treated on parity issues and everything else. >> we're out of time. we'll be talking about this for sure, especially as the end of the month approaches. un placer. thank you both for being here very, very much. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up next on "tiempo," many americans can now legally travel to cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. we have some useful tips you should know about before you plan your trip to the island. sit tight. that's coming up next. i know you! [laughs] welcome! hi! we're your neighbors. we live across the street. thanks for this. i see you've got time warner cable like the rest of the hood. genius. yeah, they offer tons of free hd channels. and you can record six shows at the same time.
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>> the caribbean island of cuba is an amazing travel destination that for decades has really been off the radar for travels due to complex politics, if you will. but renewed diplomatic relations, the easing of travel restrictions, plus re-established flights to and from the island has all resulted in major interest for those hoping to visit the island. however, before you book your some important tips you should know about, the ins and outs of traveling to beautiful cuba. here to shed some light for us, our good friend vito echevarria, consultant from travelucion.com, and steve marshall, c.e.o. and director from cuba ventures corporation. welcome to you both. good to have you back, my friend. >> pleasure. >> thank you. >> you come armed with tips, do you not? >> of course, of course. >> because -- because you're seeing a lot more people going, right? i mean, it's just taken off, hasn't it? >> it's been picking up. i mean, one of the factors, of
have been coming out about the celebrities going there. you have a situation with vin diesel in particular filming the new "fast and furious" film out there recently. michael bay from "transformers" -- he's gonna be doing his film out there shortly. >> right. >> and then you also have the chanel fashion show which was done, you know, in may. you know, so, that's been a huge factor, the whole celebrity buzz, if you will, that's making cuba a "bucket list" destination, if you will. >> so, people see that, steve, and say, "i want to be like vin diesel"? >> exactly. [ laughter ] >> i want to get to the list good, practical information for all of you to keep in mind if you're thinking of heading to cuba. all right, here we go. hiring a driver is advisable... >> yes. >> ...instead of what? instead of you driving? >> yeah, because there's an issue with -- if you get into a car accident out there, you could be stuck out there. the authorities will prevent you from leaving the island until the case is resolved in the courts. >> wow. >> so we advise people -- you know, you can rent a car, but you still should get a driver to, you know, get you around
especially in the major cities... >> yeah. all right. >> ...which is havana. >> and we should point out -- steve knows what he's talking because you lived on the island? >> exactly, for 12 years. yeah, exactly, yeah. >> you hablas espa?ol? >> i have three cuban daughters. s?, hablo espa?ol perfectamente. >> [ laughs ] >> it sounds good to me. i'll let you tackle the next one -- watch out for pickpockets. >> exactly, yeah. in some of the major cities, especially in havana -- old havana specifically -- you want to just make sure your bag is closed and just keep your eye out. >> no, i was gonna say -- i mean, i wanted to stress, like, cuba's still the safest country anywhere in latin america, you know, but still you should use your new york sense, if you will, new york street sense to make sure nothing happens when you're out there. >> well, they're as much aware as anyone that people are coming and people coming in big numbers. and because of the next tip that you're going to put out here -- bring lots of cash. usually pickpockets like to go where there's cash. >> i mean, there's an issue,
debit cards don't work in cuba right now. >> ah, okay. >> so americans do need to take enough cash for their stay while they're in cuba. >> yeah. >> there's still, you know, some legalities that have to be worked out between the american and cuban banking systems, you know, so that's real reason why right now american credit cards and debit cards are still no good out there, even though we have this diplomatic opening between the two countries, if you will. >> so, you're literally using cash to pay for your hotel? >> everything. >> a cab, your meals, everything? >> yes. >> all right. bring lots of cash. trip. are you talking medications for -- >> everything from pharmaceuticals to, you know, shampoos, you know -- >> band-aids. everything. >> yeah, everyday stuff. >> well, why -- >> it's just tough to find it in cuba. the essentials that you'd easily find here, you will have difficulty finding there. >> and they're very pricey. when you do find them, they're very pricey. i mean, in the past, for example, my friends were asking for such items as, you know, blond hair coloring, you know, things like that. >> well, sunscreen is a big deal.
>> yes. >> well, your skin tone -- perfect for the caribbean. >> thank you. [ laughter ] >> but finding a bottle of shampoo can be a challenge? >> yeah, a bit of a challenge because, i mean, the retail sector in cuba is very limited, and the selection's not that great, you know, especially for american standards. we're really spoiled here because here in new york, in particular, every other corner has a duane reade or a cvs drugstore. >> right. >> you don't have that in cuba. >> there's no rite aids. there's no walgreens. >> no, definitely not. yeah. >> steve, plan ahead for must-go events, events like what? >> cigar festival. you have the cinema festival in cuba, too. and there are also quite a lot of concerts taking place now in cuba. >> okay. >> you know, obviously -- major lazer was just there, for example, right? >> yeah. >> and you've got some big groups playing in cuba, so plan ahead for that. >> now, when you say "plan ahead," take it a step further. "a," how far ahead? and, "b," what are you planning? >> well, yeah, for example, if you're gonna be doing travel, say, this coming september or december, you should do a little
coming up. i mean, a perfect example is what happened last march with the rolling stones concert out there. i mean, who would have thought that the rolling stones, of all people, would be doing a gig out there? >> it shows you that there's interest there. all right, sit tight. we're gonna take a break. we'll pick this up when we come back. more on travel tips to cuba when we come right back on "tiempo."
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thank you both for being here. one of the things i wanted to ask you -- and, steve, this is more for you. let's start here -- hotels. >> yeah. >> vito and i have been here before. we've discussed that occupancy in the hotels can be a challenge, that they fill up quickly. enlighten me on the difference between hotels perhaps at the shore and hotels inland, perhaps in the main -- in the capital. >> well, currently, there are only 68,000 hotels rooms in cuba. >> that's it. >> about 70% of those hotels are segments that have been approved for americans to visit cuba, those hotels that are on the coastline or on the beach are out of bounds. so basically only 30% -- so, that's around about 20,000 rooms -- are available for americans who are visiting cuba. and that is particularly why it's really important that americans embrace the cuban private sector and use bed-and-breakfasts -- there is an ample number of bed-and-breakfasts in cuba --
other aspects of the private economy, such as the paladar restaurants, which are privately owned restaurants. >> how do you access casa particulares? how do you get a reservation? >> well, for example, on our websites, cubahavana.com, cubaoldhavana.com, you can visualize and see over 450 private homes. and we're actually currently uploading another 4,000 private homes across all of our million page views a year. and 33% of these visitors are now from the u.s. >> give me a ballpark estimate on a week's stay, a night's stay, however you want to -- >> well, you're looking at prices between 20 and 35 bucks a night. >> a night. >> that is the price. >> very reasonable, yeah. >> completely reasonable. >> yeah. [ laughs ] >> does a little bit about what he said clarify for people that, if i'm thinking of going to cuba to go to the beach and throw down some pi?a coladas or some havana rum -- that that's not really reality.
obama's, you know, policy right now, you're supposed to go there, you know, basically for cultural/educational reasons. however, if you're real savvy, if you can work out a situation where, you know, you're doing some type of research -- let's say the ocean or sea or whatever -- >> marine life. >> marine life, that sort of thing -- then you have a legitimate reason for being at the beach. >> because what could happen if you -- >> [ laughs ] >> what's the penalty or what could happen if you went under the guidance of, "i'm going for education or art," but you end up at the beach? what could go wrong? i mean, under obama's policy, you know, americans are basically going under the honor system. so, when they check off why they're going to cuba in the first place and say they're going for, you know, educational/cultural reasons, if they deviate from that, at some point, the treasury department -- that's ofac -- you know, may step in and ask that particular traveler, "okay, what were you really doing out there? >> okay. >> yeah. >> we've talked before about flights, and it seems like every other day, more and more airlines are sending more flights to cuba. however, they're not necessarily going to the capital city, are
cities holgu?n, camaguey, santiago de cuba. those are the routes that have been given until now. >> okay. >> department of transportation, yeah. they cleared that recently. >> what's the hold-up with flights to havana? >> well, what's going on is, there's a huge demand for flights to havana, of course, all the major american airlines. so, because of that, you know, there's a delay in the process, the applications. we're probably not gonna hear anything about it until, let's say, this september, in terms of which airlines are gonna be granted those routes straight to havana. >> and, steve, are travelers still pretty capital-centric when they're going to visit havana -- or cuba? >> yeah, unfortunately, the major focus from the u.s. is obviously havana. i guess, just historically, that's the case. >> sure. >> but cuba has numerous 500-year-old cities. and you can experience cuban culture right across the country. i mean, you know, there's no reason particularly to go specifically to havana. and you could easily visit a
just spend a day in havana from trinidad. it's only a couple of hours drive. >> santa clara. >> santa clara's another one. yeah, santiago de cuba. >> fantastic colonial city. >> yeah. >> we got 30 seconds left. hotels -- he shed light on it a little bit, but is the development continuing? i think starwood or somebody -- >> starwood has a deal to manager three hotels in havana right now. so, obviously, because of that, you know, you have this momentum taking place from other companies to strike deals with various cuban entities, you know, to really get into that market... >> mm-hmm. >> ...'cause it's only growing. i mean, there are currently over three million tourists going there, and it's only gonna grow. >> all right, guys. tips on traveling to and from cuba. thank you guys both very much. before we go, a look at the "tiempo" community calendar for this week. today in manhattan, the annual street salsa street party and old timer's stickball game comes to el barrio, located at 111th street and 5th avenue -- all-day
the event runs through 6:00 p.m. today on long island, the 5th annual colombian pride festival comes to eisenhower park in east meadow. live performances and tons of food there, as well. that event runs from 2:00 this afternoon to 9:00 tonight. admission is free. much?simas gracias. thanks for spending part of your sunday with us. don't forget -- you can watch "tiempo" at abc7ny on the web, on your tablet, or even on your smartphone. we will see you next time on
>> "here and now," the program featuring the news and interests of the african-american community. here's your host, sandra bookman. >> coming up, reaction to the resignation of new york city police commissioner bill bratton. how will new leadership affect the strained relationship between the nypd and the black community? and the new book, "nobody: casualties of america's war on we'll talk with its author, marc lamont hill. later, operation backpack, providing much needed school supplies to thousands of children in new york city shelters. plus, tony award-winning actor and singer leslie odom jr. what's next after the broadway hit "hamilton"? that's all ahead on