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Anti-Hedge Fund Activist Group Publishes Report on Puerto Rican Crisis

By on March 1, 2016

SAN JUAN — A report released Tuesday delves into the impact the fiscal crisis is having on Puerto Ricans in the mainland U.S. and the mass exodus from the island.

The report, “Puerto Rico: Pain and Profit,” by HedgeClippers, a group that says it exposes “the mechanisms hedge funds and billionaires use to influence government and politics,” paints a picture of the declining economic conditions in Puerto Rican communities “while hedge fund investors block a new path forward for the island to restructure its debt,” according to a release.

The reports highlights that to pay back its creditors, Puerto Rico has resorted to extreme measures including delaying tax refunds to its citizens, “increasing sales tax by more than 50%,” and instituting massive cuts to education, healthcare and social services.

“Last year, Puerto Rico closed 100 schools. The island’s only children’s hospital cut its budget by 14% over the last two years and does not even own an MRI machine. And about 2,400 students with special needs are not receiving services such as speech therapy,” the release reads.

“Up to 3,000 Puerto Ricans a week are leaving Puerto Rico every week for the mainland. If this continues, 156,000 people will leave Puerto Rico in a year, the equivalent of more than twice the population of Harlem leaving New York City in a year, and more than half of Orlando, or the populations of Kissimmee, Poinciana and Buenaventura Lakes combined,” the report says.

More than 30 local, state and national civic, social justice, labor, grassroots and progressive advocacy organizations signed on in support of the report.

The report features the personal stories of Puerto Ricans living on the island and mainland affected by the increasing cuts to education, pensions and other vital public services.

The organizations supporting the report include 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Alliance for Puerto Rico-Massachusetts, Asociación de Economía Política de Puerto Rico, ASPIRA Inc. of Illinois, Center for Popular Democracy, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Chicago Teachers Union, Florida Immigrant Coalition, The Florida Institute Reform and Empowerment, Grassroots Collaborative, Hedge Clippers, Iniciativa Acción Puertorriqueña, Junta for Progressive Action, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement Central Florida, Make the Road Connecticut, Make the Road New Jersey, Make the Road New York, Make the Road Pennsylvania, New Florida Majority, New York Communities for Change, Organize Now,, Proyecto Matría, ReFund America Project, Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Trabajadores, SEIU Florida, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Stand Up for Puerto Rico, Strong Economy for All Coalition and Unión de Empleados del Banco Gubernamental de Fomento.

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