Puerto Ricans protest gov’t agreement with creditors


Hundreds of protesters gathered on Jan. 16, 2019 before the US federal courthouse in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to express their rejection of the agreement reached between the Puerto Rican government and holders of debt issued by the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation, known by the Spanish acronym Cofina.v EPA-EFE/Thais Llorca

SAN JUAN.- Hundreds of protesters gathered Wednesday before the US federal courthouse in San Juan to express their rejection of the agreement reached between the Puerto Rican government and holders of debt issued by the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation, known by the Spanish acronym Cofina.

The rally, called by the Puerto Rican Independence Party, followed a vigil organized by a group representing retired teachers.

Inside the courthouse, US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain reviewed the proposed debt restructuring.

Opponents say the deal with Cofina will cost the people of Puerto Rico a great deal since funds necessary for essential public services will have to be reallocated to pay the creditors.

Should the judge approve the accord, the Puerto Rican government will begin paying $420 million annually to Cofina’s creditors starting this year.

The protesters denounced that what critics call «vulture funds» which bought up defaulted Cofina bonds for pennies on the dollar and now are demanding compensation far beyond their original investment while the island finds itself in a critical economic situation made worse in September 2017 by the devastation that accompanied Hurricane Maria.

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