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We have our own Greece in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico

puertSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--Puerto Rico cannot repay its debts. The governor of the island, Alejandro García Padilla, declared this in a speech last Monday.

The debt crisis in the Caribbean island did not attract as much attention as that of Greece, but observers have long been onto America’s own Greece.

Puerto Rico is not a state of the US, but it is part of it. The Caribbean island has built up a debt of US $73 billion. The country has 3.6 million inhabitants, of whom approximately 45 per cent live in poverty.

Two years ago Governor García Padilla swore that Puerto Rico could not go bankrupt, because it is a constitutional duty of the country to pay its lenders, but he did complain that the debt is unpayable. According to the Governor, he will have a plan before August 30 of this year for restructuring the debt. He hopes for a long delay in payments.

The special status of Puerto Rico does not make a solution to the debt problem any easier. The island is not an independent state and cannot request help from, for example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But it is not a district or municipality of the US, so it cannot file for bankruptcy protection, as Detroit, Michigan, did.

Puerto Rico is a Free Associated State (“Estado Libre Asociado”). In 1917, Puerto Ricans were given US citizenship. In 1952, the current relationship with the US was established in Washington called “Commonwealth.” The island is part of the US, but the people do not vote in federal elections, and pay no federal taxes. ~ Curaçao Chronicle ~

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