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PRESS RELEASE


Like Greece, Debt-Ridden Puerto Rico Ordered To Murder Its People

July 14, 2015 (EIRNS)—Like Greece, Puerto Rico has been offered a murderous plan by which it is supposed to kill off its population through brutal austerity and "reform" of its financial system, so that creditors, many of whom engaged in predatory lending to the island for years, can be assured of "fair treatment" when Puerto Rico restructures its $73 billion debt. Puerto Rico hasn’t defaulted, but Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced on June 28 that, as a result of the island’s dire economic crisis, the debt is "unpayable."

Yesterday, island authorities met in Manhattan with 350 creditors, most of whom were chomping at the bit to know what they were going to get out of a restructuring—who cares about Puerto Rico? They learned little from the Puerto Rican finance team, which told them they’d have to wait at least until after Sept. 1 to get further details; but they did hear the deadly recommendations of former IMF Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger, one of three former IMF officials hired by Gov. Garcia Padilla to propose solutions to the island’s financial crisis.

Appropriately, Puerto Rican protesters outside the Citigroup building where yesterday’s meeting was held, wore masks of the Freddy Kruger character from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" film, warning that Ms. Krueger planned to massacre the island population. Her recommendations fit the bill: there should be debt restructuring, not a writedown. "Overly restrictive" labor laws, which offer too many "generous" benefits, should be eliminated, along with too-high welfare benefits. "Excessive" regulations which "discourage" investment and creation of new businesses should also be eliminated. Puerto Rico’s federal minimum wage is "too high," Krueger asserted, and must be reduced, as it discourages companies from hiring. This is the only way to revive Puerto Rico’s economy, she insisted.

Krueger also proposed draconian budget cuts and called for creating a supervisory board to oversee the reform process. The New York Times reported today that a "financial control board" proposed by Gov. Garcia Padilla, some of whose members will be "selected independently" of island authorities, "could compel the government" to ram through austerity.

These are to be imposed on an island of 3.5 million people, whose unemployment rate is 13.5%, and the poverty rate 42%.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito last week slammed Barack Obama, The New York Daily News reported July 9, for failing to keep election promises to help Puerto Rico, and for allowing the federal government to slash funding by 11% of the island’s Medicare Advantage program, on which many citizens depend.