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Puerto Rican religious leaders ask for US help in debt crisis

March 23, 2017

Religious leaders in Puerto Rico have joined in an appeal to the United States to help the island territory escape a debt crisis.

Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan and Rev. Heriberto Martinez, the head of the Bible Society, signed a joint letter to the US Congress seeking tax benefits for children and health-care coverage.

“We want to prevent financial crises that have an impact on all children,” the letter said. “Since our island is preparing to restructure its debt, we need you.”

Archbishop Gonzalez and Rev. Martinez argued that the debt crisis has been caused in part by the absence of American laws to govern loans, to ensure “responsible lending and its repayment.”


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  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Mar. 24, 2017 4:10 PM ET USA

    They caused it to themselves. They are a Commonwealth, separate by choice,despite the gift of citizenhip. Why should the rest of us bail out people who overspent? Let them go bankrupt and let it be a warning to the 50 States as well, like California and a host of others. Puerto Rico is NOT a Territory whose affairs were managed by the Government. They made their bed, let them sleep in it.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Mar. 24, 2017 2:06 AM ET USA

    I am not up to date about the current welfare (i.e., food stamps, Medicaid, etc.) relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, so maybe my question is more ignorant that I think it is. What is a "tax benefit for children" in the context of Puerto Rico?

  • Posted by: pja - Mar. 23, 2017 11:11 PM ET USA

    This "crisis" is the result of profligacy and irresponsible gov't budget policies and fiscal management. When the inevitable specter of default arises someone else (taxpayers) is always asked to bail them out, invoking that most cynical of excuses, "for the children". PR should be left to use the bankruptcy laws to restructure and lay the groundwork for financially responsible future - for the children.