Puerto Ricans protest Cofina deal in front of federal court
SAN JUAN – Members of various organizations gathered Wednesday morning in front of the federal court in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, to protest the agreement between the government and the bondholders of the Sales Tax Financing Corp. (Cofina by its Spanish acronym).
A hearing was being held by bankruptcy Judge Laura Taylor Swain to ratify said agreement, which would pay about 32 percent less of Cofina’s debt, which represents a saving of close to $17.5 billion in debt service payments.
In addition, the agreement reportedly means the government would have access to an average of $425 million a year for the next 40 years.
The protest was called for 7 a.m. by the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). Several organizations joined the demonstration.
“It is important to fight this agreement, which goes against the best interests of the country, while at the same time compromises the future of several generations. The bondholders who lent money to the government are the only ones who benefit from this, while the country will see increased austerity measures to comply with what’s stipulated,” the president of the Puerto Rican Workers Central (CPT by its Spanish initials), Pedro Irene Maymí, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, from New York, the Frente Independentista Boricua endorsed the demonstration.
“We have expressed ourselves very clearly from the beginning; the debt is illegal, immoral and hateful,” group spokesperson Eric Ramos said in a statement.
He criticized that the deal comes about while cuts to pension plans for public employees and retirees and other measures related to the University of Puerto Rico that would affect essential services are being considered.
Among others, a group of retirees also participated in the protest.