Miguel Negrete Alvarez, Francisco Llamas Duran, Santiago Garcia Elizondo, Rosalio Padilla Estrada, Barnabe Lopez Garcia, Ramon Paredes Gonzalez, Tomas Avina de Garcia, Salvador Sandoval Hernandez, Guadalupe Ramirez Lara, Severo Medina Lara, Elias Trujillo Macias, Tomas Padilla Marquez, Luis Lopez Medina, Manuel Calderon Merino, Luis Cuevas Mirando, Martin Razo Navarro, Ignacio Perez Navarro, Roman Ochoa Ochoa, Apololinio Ramirez Placencia, Alberto Carlos Raygoza, Guadalupe Hernandez Rodriguez, Maria Santana Rodriguez, Juan Valenzuela Ruiz, Wenceslao Flores Ruiz, Jose Valdivia Sanchez, Jesus Meza Santos, Baldomero Marcas Torres, Francis C Atkinson, Lillian K Atkinson, Marion H Ewing, Frank E Chaffin
The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country’s biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.
There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island’s Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees’ health care or teachers’ salaries.
But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico’s future.
Puerto Rican officials talked tough ahead of a major debt payment due on Monday, with the U.S. territory’s governor predicting default, and chances slipping for a restructuring deal with creditors.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said “there will be a default on Monday,” adding, “I don’t think there is a deal on the table that avoids a default.”
Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, the island’s primary fiscal agent, owes creditors $422 million on Monday, a payment Garcia Padilla has said the bank cannot afford. The looming default is part of a broader economic crisis in the Caribbean haven plagued by $70 billion in total debt, a shrinking population and a 45% poverty rate.