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  • Residente started actively supporting Puerto Rico

    Residente started actively supporting Puerto Rico's independence in 2011 after the so-called Associated Free State was not allowed to be part of the regional organization Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. | Photo: EFE

The rapper is touring the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, premiering his documentary “Residente."

Rene Perez, aka Residente, co-founder and lead singer of Puerto Rican band Calle 13, said Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump was an “idiot” as he deplored the United States for being one of the most "racist" countries on the planet. 

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“Trump helped identifying the racists, you can see them with the little cap,” Residente said, alluding to the red “Make America Great Again” headwear that is popular with Trump supporters.

He emphasized that racism has always existed in the U.S but during former President Barack Obama's administration society believed “everything was fine” even though “it was actually the same country."

On the issue of Puerto Rico, Residente branded it “ridiculous” that the island “remains a colony” which cannot elect its own president.

His comments come as Puerto Rico's U.S.-appointed oversight board approved Monday a revised version of a fiscal plan proposed by Governor Ricardo Rossello to tackle the island's debt crisis that will ramp up punishing austerity measures through more cuts to public spending.

The board had previously rejected Rossello's plan, saying it failed to comply with PROMESA, the controversial 10-year debt restructuring and oversight act passed by U.S. Congress to manage the island's economic woes. 

Puerto Rico's status as a U.S. colony forbids it from making any independent decisions about its economy, particularly regarding debt.

This status denies it the legal right to file for bankruptcy and means it cannot negotiate new debt terms, which would allow the protection of public assets and pay for essential services.

Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898 when the U.S. usurped it from the Spanish Empire, and there's a new push for the territory to become a U.S. state. But Residente insists that full independence is key to Puerto Rico managing its own resources and breaking free from Washington's colonial rule.

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