San Juan, Puerto Rico - Archbishop Roberto González, the Secretary General of the Puerto Rico Bible Society Reverend Heriberto Martínez and the island's Catholic Charities head, Reverend Enrique Camacho released a statement calling for support of pension agreements and debt and disaster relief for the island on Friday.
“This week as the oversight board met and workers voted on new pension proposals, we appreciate that the oversight board kept the promise to protect the pensions. We stand with labor leaders in urging the passage of pension plans that protect the vulnerable and protect the pensions of most of our people," stated González, Martínez and Camacho in a statement released at the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.
The press conference held at one of the oldest Cathedrals in the Hemisphere, responded to new disaster relief authorized by President Trump, proposed pension agreements, meetings this week of Puerto Rico's oversight board and the court bankruptcy process. The head of the religious development group Jubilee USA, Eric LeCompte, joined the San Juan press conference along with Catholic, United Church of Christ, Lutheran and Disciple religious leaders from the United States.
"For the first time in any debt restructuring for a US city, territory or country, we are seeing pensions being protected," noted Jubilee USA Director and United Nations debt expert, Eric LeCompte. "While we are extremely pleased by the pension proposals, we also must see Puerto Rico's debt cut by at least 80 percent."
Puerto Rico is mired in a billion debt crisis and struggling to recover from 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The major Puerto Rico religious leaders assert their ability to resolve disaster and debt crises are hampered by their relationship with the United States.
“Our ability for resiliency, recovery and resolving our own challenges is tied to our political and colonial status. We call on our people and our officials to begin a new and creative dialogue to resolve our political status," asserted González, Martínez and Camacho in their statement.