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PRESS RELEASE


The Murder of Puerto Rico: Vulture Funds Say Debt Relief Unjustified—Just Kill People Instead

July 27, 2015 (EIRNS)—The murder of Puerto Rico is following close on the heels of the murder of Greece—and carried out by the same London and Wall Street-steered financial predators.

A new report issued by the Centennial Group Latin America, commissioned by a group of 35 vulture funds known as the Ad Hoc Group, which holds $5.2 billion in Puerto Rican debt, baldly states that there is no need for a restructuring of the island’s $72 billion debt. Instead, it asserts, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla should increase taxes by $1 billion and cut another $2 billion from the budget—on an island with a 14% unemployment rate and widespread poverty, whose population has already suffered greatly from previously-imposed austerity measures.

Responding to Governor Garcia Padilla’s late-June announcement that the debt is unpayable, and would require a lengthy moratorium, former Argentine IMF official Claudio Loser, the rabidly neo-liberal founder of Centennial Latin America who contributed to the report, argued "there is no evidence that one can gather that says there is a need for a general restructuring of debt. There is no reason for anything like that," Bloomberg reported today. "We feel that the moratorium is certainly costly and not a good idea."

According to the New York Times today, Loser suggested that Puerto Rico needed short-term financing of $2.5 billion to get through 2016 safely. For the Puerto Rican people? No. To pay the Commonwealth’s current overdue bills to vendors, make payments on existing debt, and finance a budget deficit in the range of $500 million.

Sound like Greece?

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Governor Garcia Padilla responded to the recommendations: "No!" he said.

"This would represent a reduction in the country’s basic services. Reduce the budget of the police, the University’s budget.... This would mean firings.... Their recommendation is that I fire people, and raise taxes by $1 billion. The answer is no!"

El Nuevo Dia reported today.

The Governor’s Chief of Staff Victor Suarez remarked that

"There is a big difference between the report published by the Ad Hoc Group and the plans of the Puerto Rican government, and that big difference is that the Ad Hoc Group’s report is intended to protect the members of that group, which are the so-called vulture funds. The Puerto Rican government’s plans are intended to protect the interests of Puerto Ricans."

Moreover, he said, the imposition of "extreme austerity" isn’t feasible in an economy that is "already on its knees."