February 28, 2017

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump and Congressional Leaders:

As leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in accord with the instruction approved by our 222nd General Assembly in June 2016, we write to urge you to use your good offices to ensure an effective, prompt, and humane response to the debt and economic crisis in Puerto Rico. This is especially important to us in that we have had Presbyterian congregations in Puerto Rico for more than 100 years.

Puerto Rico’s unsustainable debt, which is more than two-thirds the amount of its GDP, cannot possibly be repaid simply by using spending cuts and tax increases, since those measures will inevitably accelerate the exodus of capital and labor and shrink the economy further. More importantly, this would result in even greater distress on people who are already in dire straits—more than half of the children now live below the poverty line and many families and individuals already struggle to survive.

As the oversight board continues its work, we believe that it is critical they listen to all the civil sectors in Puerto Rico, including those who are experiencing the worst effects of the crisis. A debt deal should also take into account Puerto Rico’s vulnerability to external shocks, like hurricanes and earthquakes; it could include a clause for a payment moratorium in case of such a disaster.

The concern of our General Assembly and our Presbyterian churches in Puerto Rico is that the PROMESA agreement so far only prevents litigation by creditors, but it does not address the dangers of austerity that would come from extracting further sacrifices from regular citizens to pay bondholders who have already benefitted from high interest rates.

As a community of faith guided by our holy scriptures (most notably God’s call for a Year of Jubilee—Leviticus 25 and Luke 4), we are challenged to follow God’s counsel that no economic arrangement should impoverish people permanently, thus creating a hopeless future. In solidarity with the poorest of Puerto Rico’s citizens, and in the hope for a future of recovery and prosperity for all, we urge you to include citizens from every sector of society, including the churches, as you find ways to implement the PROMESA legislation.

For the well-being of all God’s people,

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II 
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
Luis Antonio De La Rosa
Interim Executive Director
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Denise Anderson
222nd General Assembly (2016)
Jan Edmiston
222nd General Assembly (2016)

La IP(EE.UU.) pide al gobierno que responda a la crisis económica en Puerto Rico