Monday, August 3, 2015

Puerto Rico just went into default for the first time in its history.

The commonwealth paid a mere $628,000 toward a $58 million debt bill due Monday to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation. This will hurt the island's residents, not Wall Street. The debt is mostly owned by ordinary Puerto Ricans through credit unions.

"This was a decision that reflects the serious concerns about the Commonwealth's liquidity in combination with the balance of obligations to our creditors and the equally important obligations to the people of Puerto Rico," Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank president Melba Acosta Febo said in a statement.

The default is a historic moment in Puerto Rico's economic "death spiral," a term the island's governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has used. The island is struggling with about $70 billion in total outstanding debt, and its economy is in recession.

Padilla has put together a team to come up with a plan to restructure Puerto Rico's debt crisis by the end of the summer.

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