Córdova Students Seek Solutions at the Department of Commerce

Córdova Students Seek Solutions at the Department of Commerce

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Christian Holm
October 30, 2014

With Puerto Rico in the midst of a long-term economic downturn, many students in The Washington Center’s Córdova & Fernós program have come to D.C. looking for solutions to take home to help the U.S. territory. William Ramos, director of intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce, hosted the fall 2014 Córdova students and discussed possible economic solutions during a two hour discussion about Puerto Rico’s future.


Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Ramos was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Miami, Fla. Prior to his service at Commerce, Ramos directed the Washington office of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and is a member of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rico has the most developed economy in the Caribbean, but suffers from a high level of public debt and lack of cohesive public policy. Ramos is optimistic, especially given the fact that Puerto Rico is a powerhouse in the pharmaceutical field and is attracting a significant foreign investment in the aerospace industry.


Ramos left students with some perspective their role reviving Puerto Rico’s economy. “Elect the government you deserve, believe in the wisdom of crowds. That is what democracy is.” Ramos stressed the importance of the role Puerto Rican’s have as minorities in the U.S.  “A response I give to people is that ‘I don’t speak with an accent, you listen with an accent. Business is done by people with many different accents.”

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