Dangers of Austerity

Concerned that Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is inflicting hardship on poor and middle-class households, Archbishop Robert González Nieves of San Juan met with congressional leaders and the White House to push for a resolution in September. The crisis has led to school closings, cuts in social services and health care and job layoffs and reductions in employee benefits as Puerto Rico struggles to make payments on the $72 billion in debt the U.S. territory holds. After meeting with congressional leaders on Sept. 30, Archbishop González said, “We want to create more awareness of the urgency of the situation in Puerto Rico and the dangers that more austerity measures would create.” He added, “In terms affecting human lives, especially the poor, we already have approximately 50 percent of our people living under the poverty level and obviously the impact of the current situation is creating unemployment and a new exodus of people.”

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