Thursday, December 3, 2015
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami
Miami…(Dec. 3, 2015) The $72 billion debt crisis faced by Puerto Rico’s people can and must be addressed immediately in order to avoid further suffering, according to Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami.
In a letter to Congress, Archbishop Wenski, who also chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, noted that “The people of Puerto Rico are suffering from painful poverty and hunger, persistent joblessness, and other social problems, as a result of the financial crisis gripping the Commonwealth's economy.
They bear little responsibility for the situation yet suffer most of the consequences.” Over 45% of the Puerto Rican population lives in poverty, according to the Census Bureau, and the unemployment rate, at 12%, is more than double the domestic unemployment rate.
Archbishop Wenski urged Congress to advance the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, a bill that would give the Puerto Rican government the same bankruptcy protections afforded to American cities. Because Puerto Rico is neither a sovereign nation nor a state, it has virtually no ability to restructure its debt and address the crisis.
In urging Congress to act, Archbishop Wenski reminded them that “Financial instruments should encourage development, not deprivation. We all have a shared responsibility to protect our poor and vulnerable brothers and sisters around the world.”