Highly indebted Puerto Rico’s about to collapse

“I ask you to join our efforts (…) to demand a more prominent role from federal officials and members of US Congress, in order to assist our financial situation,” Juan E. Hernandez, director of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration said in a speech at the September 2015 Puerto Rican Day Parade in Newark (NJ). Since then, the US territory has been running out of cash and options prompting Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla to issue “a distress call” in order to prevent bankruptcy and a subsequent bailout. Puerto Rico rather needs tools to restructure the – currently “unpayable” – $72 billion public debt, Padilla said.

US lawmakers agreed that the crisis is acute and demands action, “Congress cannot tell Puerto Rico to drop dead financially,” but there’s still need to craft a “long-term solution (able) to address the fundamental causes” of the crisis, they said. A recent White House roadmap for Congressional action stressed that further strengthening Puerto Rico’s fiscal discipline would be insufficient and that the island cannot solve this crisis alone. Since 2006, Puerto Rico’s economy has shrunk by more than 10% and earned the nickname of “Caribbean Greece”.