For Immediate Release
Puerto Rico Defaults on Debt to Pay Public Services
Religious Development Group Releases Statement
WASHINGTON - The government of Puerto Rico says it will default on most of $422 million in debt payments due. This would be the third time Puerto Rico missed debt payments in the past 9 months and would be its largest default to date. Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the missed payments May 1 in a televised address and implored Congress to give Puerto Rico legal tools to restructure its debt.
Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA, releases the below statement. LeCompte serves on debt expert groups to the United Nations and testified to Congress on Puerto Rico's financial crisis:
"While this default is significant, all eyes are now on the island's July payment. The July payment is for bonds protected in the constitution. Some of the holders of this kind of debt argue they should be paid before other creditors, pensions or social services.
"Congress could have prevented the May default. With even greater consequences around a July default, Congress needs to act quickly.
"Congress needs to act. Puerto Rico needs to bring its debt back to payable levels. Any solution must respect the rights of the creditors, Puerto Rico's government and the needs of the island's people.
"We remain concerned how this fiscal crisis is impacting the poor and vulnerable. 57 percent of Puerto Rico's kids live in poverty. The most important cost to be concerned about is the human cost of this crisis."
Read more about the default
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.