NEW YORK — Leaving no doubt whose interests it will defend, the fiscal control board for Puerto Rico held its first meeting Sept. 30 near Wall Street. The board was appointed by President Barack Obama to ensure payment of Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt to bondholders. It has the power to override all financial-related decisions of the Puerto Rican government, including jobs, wages, health care and retirement funds.
More than 50 people protested outside chanting, “Your economic policy proves that we’re a colony,” “Who voted for you?” and “It’s not our debt!” Protesters also demanded freedom for independence fighter Oscar López, jailed in the U.S. for more than 35 years. A simultaneous protest took place at the U.S. Courthouse in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The board’s first action was to give Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García two weeks to submit plans for budget cuts. He promised to collaborate.