Organize Now to deliver nearly 7,000 petitions demanding no more austerity cuts in Puerto Rico

by Jun 8, 2016Congress0 comments

On Wednesday, local activist group Organize Now will hand deliver nearly 7,000 petitions signed by Central Florida residents to Congressman John Mica’s office prior to Congress’s scheduled vote on H.R. 5278, the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (known as “PROMESA”. “promise” in Spanish). Copies of these petitions will also be mailed to Congresspersons Alan Grayson, Corrine Brown, Bill Posey and Daniel Webster. The petitions ask these members of Congress that any legislation imposed on the U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico not include a single additional austerity measure while respecting Puerto Rico’s autonomy and providing a boost to the island’s economy.

Organize Now’s delivery comes as a response to the severe economic and humanitarian crisis resulting from decades of mismanagement of funds by government officials and predatory lending by hedge funds, which are now demanding their profits take priority over providing basic services for the 3.5 million U.S. citizens residing on the island. In May, Puerto Rico defaulted on a $370 million installment payment on its debt. Next month, a $2 billion installment comes due, including $800 million guaranteed under the island’s constitution. A default on that payment will bring on a wave of lawsuits from creditors that could further destabilize Puerto Rico’s economy and accelerate its decline.

“By delivering these petitions tomorrow, we are sending a clear message that we will not remain silent and will continue to fight for Puerto Rico,” said Frederick Velez III, Latino Outreach Organizer at Organize Now. “The PROMESA bill includes measures that not only go against the wishes of thousands of Central Florida constituents, but also fails to prioritize the needs of working families on the island.”

This issue has direct implications in Florida, with over one million Puerto Ricans now making the Sunshine State their home, and thousands more arriving each week.  With the economic situation in Puerto Rico deteriorating for years, the last couple of months have sent the island into a full-blown humanitarian crisis with no clear end in sight. Congress has run out of time debating the fate the 3.5 million Americans residing on the island. We are counting on our elected officials to promote prosperity, not austerity, for Puerto Rico.