National Puerto Rican Agenda
A Newsletter documenting the Puerto Rican Stateside Response to the Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis

To Our Readers:

We send the urgent message below as part of the National Puerto Rican Agenda, 
a coalition of groups who are working in the Puerto Rican Diaspora
to mobilize, educate and take action on the Puerto Rican Fiscal Crisis.

Please forward to 20 friends immediately and ask them to 
demand that President Obama take action.
President Obama Must Include the Puerto Rico Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis in the State of the Union Address
Puerto Rico is facing a serious fiscal and humanitarian crisis. On behalf of 8.5 million Puerto Rican American citizens, I call for immediate Presidential action.
The U.S. territory has been mired in a decade-long recession, during which more than 450,000 people have left the island in search of employment. The exodus is accelerating, with over 83,000 migrants leaving in 2014. The Puerto Rican government has cut services, increased taxes, and taken emergency liquidity measures to service its $72 billion debt. None of these measures will suffice.
Extraordinary measures to service its debt were not sufficient to prevent partial default on debt payments last August 2015 and on January 1, 2016. Puerto Rico has lost access to credit markets. Without cash, it will be unable to cover upcoming bond payments of over $2 billion in 2016.
The consequences of a default of this magnitude will be catastrophic for the people of Puerto Rico and will send shock waves through the U.S. bond market. Without federal action, Puerto Rico will not be able to dig itself out of this fiscal hole.
Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico's Future
The impoverished island turned to hedge funds to stave off collapse. Now someone has to pay.
The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country's biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.
There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island's Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees' health care or teachers' salaries.
But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico's future.
On the surface, it is a battle over whether Puerto Rico should be granted bankruptcy protections, putting at risk tens of billions of dollars from investors around the country. But it is also testing the power of an ascendant class of ultrarich Americans to steer the fate of a territory that is home to more than three million fellow citizens.

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

Chicago Press Conference Highlights Puerto Rico, Illinois Fiscal Crisis
By L. Alejandro Molina, PRCC
In response to the default on January 4, 2016 by the Puerto Rican government, various organizations held a press conference which drew links between the debt crisis on the Island and the budget crisis in Illinois.

More than 50 people participated from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Puerto Rican Agenda, Grassroots Collaborative, CTU, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and a few others. Alderman Carlos Rosa and State Senator Iris Martínez participated.

View the Univision's segment:
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/342-6609

"Live and Help to Live"