Puerto Rico is in a desperate state of crisis as time is running out on the May 1 deadline to restructure its $70 billion debt. Making matters worse, as John Oliver explained on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, they can’t file for bankruptcy due to an unexplainable, tiny provision in a 1984 law. But Oliver wasn’t alone in detailing the urgency of the situation — he had a little help from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“We need to stop treating Puerto Rico like it’s just a tax haven or a place to have terrifying sex with a stranger in a coconut mask, and instead, we have to start treating it like an island of American citizens whose fate is interwoven with ours,” Oliver summarized about 19 minutes into his segment. “And, look, there are certainly better voices than mine to speak on behalf of Puerto Rico. Luckily, there is someone with Puerto Rican parents and an amazing voice,” he added before introducing Miranda himself, who performed an entirely new rap dedicated to the situation.
“A commonwealth with not a lot of wealth, a not-quite nation, $70 billion topic of conversation,” he began. “Hoping to God John Oliver’s comical dissertation resonates with the Congress that got us in this situation. Along with suicidal tax incentive declarations, ‘Yeah we’ll pay your bonds first, close the hospital, f— the patients. This is an island, 100 miles across. A hurricane is coming and we’re running up a loss.”
Last month, Miranda made a heartfelt plea to Congress on the matter, even promising, “If I can help in any way, if I can get more eyeballs to this crisis, it’s a fixable problem. … If Hamilton tickets will help, I’m happy to do that too.”
Miranda concluded his Last Week Tonight rap reiterating that point: “Paul Ryan, I’ll come sing Hamilton at your house, I’ll do-si-do with Pelosi, I’ll wear my Hamilton blouse. Our citizens are suffering, stop the bleeding, stop the loss. Help Puerto Rico, it’s just 100 miles across!”
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Watch the clip below and click here for the full lyrics to Miranda’s song.. Last Week Tonight airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.