They shouted angrily about “colonialism” and called for a Prexit, or Puerto Rican exit, from the United States. They denounced the “junta” — or federal control board — that will soon direct this island’s failing governance and finances. Late Thursday afternoon, even Gov. Alejandro García Padilla seemed to be joining in the protest, declaring a moratorium on paying the island’s debts just one day before a big payment was due — even as President Obama was signing a new law that precludes the governor from making such a move. But beneath the defiant rhetoric — on the Puerto Rican talk shows, at labor rallies and at an “Occupy” vigil at the federal courthouse here — there was also resignation: an awareness that Puerto Rico’s own elected officials had let the island slip into a death spiral, and that the passage by the United States Senate on Wednesday of a bill meant to assert federal authority was really the only available solution.
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